Participatory methods

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Participatory Methods

What are they?
provide active involvement in decision-making for those with a stake in a project, program, or strategy and generate a sense of ownership in the M&E results and recommendations.
What can we use them for?

  • Learning about local conditions and local people’s perspectives and priorities to

design more responsive and sustainable interventions.

  • Identifying problems and trouble-shooting problems during implementation.
  • Evaluating a project, program, or policy.
  • Providing knowledge and skills to empower poor people.


  • Examines relevant issues by involving key players in the design process.
  • Establishes partnerships and local ownership of projects.
  • Enhances local learning, management capacity, and skills.
  • Provides timely, reliable information for management decision-making.


  • Sometimes regarded as less objective.
  • Time-consuming if key stakeholders are involved in a meaningful way.
  • Potential for domination and misuse by some stakeholders to further their own

Low to medium. Costs vary greatly, depending on scope and depth of application and on how local resource contributions are valued.
Minimum several days’ training for facilitators.

Commonly Used Participatory Tools

  • Stakeholder analysis

is the starting point of most participatory work and social assessments. It is used to develop an understanding of the power relationships, influence, and interests of the various people involved in an activity and to determine who should participate,and when.

  • Participatory rural appraisal

is a planning approach focused on sharing learning between local people, both urban and rural, and outsiders. It enables development managers and local people to assess and plan appropriate interventions collaboratively often using visual techniques so that non-literate people can participate.

  • Beneficiary assessment

involves systematic consultation with project beneficiaries and other stakeholders to identify and design development initiatives, signal constraints to participation,and provide feedback to improve services and activities.

  • Participatory monitoring and evaluation

involves stakeholders at different levels working together to identify problems, collect and analyze information, and generate recommendations.