Robert Chambers Award

Issued 11 May 2015


To celebrate the contribution of Professor Robert Chambers (Research Associate, Institute of Development Studies) to innovation and research for empowerment in the field of development studies, DSA Ireland has established the Robert Chambers Award.

This award will be given during the course of the Nutrition and WASH Integration, Research and Future Challenges Seminar (Dublin - Tue, 19 May 2015) by Professor Chambers himself to the most innovative paper presented at the DSA Ireland Conference 2014, having the potential to make a significant contribution to strengthen the empowerment of the world’s poor to achieve just and sustainable development.

A key idea that has accompanied the development of the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques by Professor Chambers is that of a 'new professionalism', explained as follows:

"The central thrusts of the [new] paradigm … are decentralization and empowerment. Decentralization means that resources and discretion are devolved, turning back the inward and upward flows of resources and people. Empowerment means that people, especially poorer people, are enabled to take more control over their lives, and secure a better livelihood with ownership and control of productive assets as one key element. Decentralization and empowerment enable local people to exploit the diverse complexities of their own conditions, and to adapt to rapid hange." 

Adapted from Chambers (1993)