People-centred development places a great deal of emphasis on the participation of the "beneficiaries" (or what I call targets) in the process of their development. The language of participatory development is often used in development programmes in South Africa, but very little is said about how participation is measured. In this thesis I grapple with the problem of how to measure participation in participatory development. I have designed and tested an instrument based on Arnstein's well known ladder of participation in order to gauge perceptions of participation. I reflect critically on this process, identify limitations in gauging perceptions of the levels of participation, and critique Arnstein's model. The case used to test the instrument I designed was a school building development project which was undertaken by the Independent Development Trust (IDT) as part of their Mud Schools Eradication Programme in the community of Klapmuts in the Western Cape. The methods I used for data collection included archival and documentary research, participant observation and semi-structured interviews. I drew on Miles and Huberman's (1994: 10-12) three step iterative process of data reduction, data display and conclusion drawing to analyse the data. I also made use of NVivo, which is a computer software package for qualitative data analysis.