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Participating in Community Appraisal

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Community Members' Handout

Notes for Community Members making an assessment

Map and Inventory:

Before you and your fellow community members can develop in the way the whole community wants, it is necessary to take an inventory, to find out all its resources and liabilities, and to determine what is needed by the community. A good starting point is to make a map of the community. Linked to and following that is to make a comprehensive community inventory.

It is important that the map and inventory be done by everyone in the community; not only by the local leaders and officials, not only by literate members, not only by adult males, not only by the ethnic or religious majority - everyone.

Your community mobilizer or facilitator will help organize the walk through the village or neighbourhood to make the map, and a community meeting to make the inventory. Your help in enabling the facilitator to make this a community effort is much needed and requested.

What to Do?

What is needed from you to make this a success?

When making the map, show up on time and encourage all community members to attend. Walk with the rest of the group. Point out community assets such as latrines that are clean and used, water points that are providing clean water (without water spilled all over the ground) , schools that are dry, clean, well lit and well used, playgrounds and ball fields that are tidy and enjoyable, good roads that have no dangerous pot holes, hygienic markets, and any assets that you can identify. Also point out facilities that are broken down, in need of repair, expansion or replacement, and ensure they are recorded on the map.

Your most important goal in this session is to ensure that the map is accurate and complete. Your needed contribution for making your community inventory is similar to the above.

Show up at the meeting and encourage all community members to do so also. Co-operate with the facilitator or mobilizer(s). List all resources and needs. Do not contradict or dispute with other community members. Ensure that you are heard and your contributions recorded, and that all other community members are heard and recorded. Especially encourage members who are not usually heard, for whatever reasons. Let them be heard.

Voice of the Whole Community:

Now is the time to find out: "What does your community need in order to develop?" This is not the time to insist on what you as an individual need most. It is also not the time to assert what you and your friends, family and/or colleagues need most. This is a time for team work, where the team is the whole community – everybody.

If you can read (and you can if you are reading this), then try to get out of seeing community needs only through the eyes of literate members. Imagine how the community looks to those who can not read and write.

If you can not read (and this is being read to you), consider how important literacy is to the whole community. Do not use this occasion to argue for benefits to your religious group, language group, ethnic group, family and clan, working group or your group of friends. Use it to benefit the whole community.

The Desired Product of this Appraisal:

When the map-making and community inventory sessions are completed, what should be the output; what should have been produced?

The map will be complete and accurate, and it will include all facilities, their positive and negative aspects.

The inventory will be complete and accurate, will include all facilities, resources and constraints (potential and current), all needs and opportunities, for the community to develop.

Both the map and inventory will reflect full participation and input from all community members, not only representative, not only factions or outspoken individuals – all community members.


Making a Community Map:

Making a Community Map

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
Web Design by Lourdes Sada
Last update: 2012.06.08

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