What is Participatory Appraisal?

PA is a set of approaches and methods used to enable people to present, share and analyse their knowledge of life and conditions, to allow them to plan and act.

The approaches and methods are:

  • Participatory
  • Flexible
  • Lightly structured
  • Adaptable
  • Exploratory
  • Enjoyable
  • Interactive
  • Creative
  • Empowering

There are three elements in the PA process:

Learning | Research | Collective Action

What does it do?

  • Focuses on visual methods of communication which are not exclusive and enable those whose voices are rarely or inadequately heard to participate actively and share information
  • Allows comparisons and relative values to be discussed and does not depend on specific measurements or quantification of ‘results’
  • Seeks diversity, recognising that people’s lives and ideas are diverse and complex, and does not create averages or demand homogeneity
  • Encourages group work as well as individual input to enable discussion, expressions of difference and checking or correction, as well as transparency
  • Moves from closed ownership of information extracted by experts to community/common ownership of the process and the products of the process
  • Empowers local people to set and take forward their agenda(s)
  • Values local knowledge and information, and local people are experts, and empowers them to be catalysts within the community

PA ‘hands over the stick’

What does it involve?

A five day training course in Participatory Appraisal (30 hours) – the course can be organised over one week, five consecutive weeks, three days one week and two the next, or indeed over evening sessions.  We can tailor the course to suit the local need and availability of participants.

Are there any other benefits?

  • Access to a network of PA practitioners
  • Potential to gain a further qualification by training as a PA trainer

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