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Number of panchayats in States/Union Territories
(as on 31 March 2002)


Gram Panchayats

Panchayat Samitis

Zilla Parishads


Andhra Pradesh

21 913

1 095


23 030

Arunachal Pradesh

2 012



2 103


2 487



2 711


8 471



9 042


9 139



9 301







13 316



13 565


6 020



6 153

Himachal Pradesh

3 037



3 124

Jammu & Kashmir

2 683



2 683


3 746



3 979


5 659



5 861





1 157

Madhya Pradesh

22 029



22 837


27 684



28 038






















5 261



5 605


12 369



12 524


9 186



9 455






Tamil Nadu

12 618



13 032






Uttar Pradesh

52 029



52 908


7 055



7 163

West Bengal

3 360



3 718






A & N Islands










D&N Haveli





Daman and Diu





NCT Delhi#
















232 332

6 000


238 866

* Source: MORD, GOI
^ - Traditional Councils
# - Panchayati Raj system is yet to be revived
UT - Union Territory

Number of elected representatives of panchayats in States/Union Territories (as on 31 March 2002)


Gram Panchayat

Panchayat Samiti

Zilla Parishad


Andhra Pradesh

230 529

14 644

1 093

246 266

Arunachal Pradesh

5 733

1 205


7 015


30 360

2 564


33 769


114 721

10 992

1 004

126 717


149 968

2 795


153 053


1 281



1 316


123 470

3 814


128 045


54 346

2 430


57 002

Himachal Pradesh

18 264

1 661


20 177

Jammu and Kashmir






50 731

4 352


55 664


80 627

3 340


84 886


10 270

1 547


12 117

Madhya Pradesh

335 263

6 203


342 230


303 545

3 524

1 762

308 831


1 556



1 617

















81 077

5 260


87 191


75 473

2 441


78 188


112 897

5 494

1 028

119 419


1 827



1 972

Tamil Nadu

125 852

6 499


132 999


5 421



5 687

Uttar Pradesh

704 281

5 361

2 266

711 908


95 499



96 550

West Bengal

62 139

9 516


72 319

A & N Islands










D&N Haveli





Daman and Diu





NCT Delhi
















2 776 386

94 535

15 449

2 886 370

* Source: MORD, GOI
# Provisional figures
^ Traditional Councils perform duties of local government. 73rd Amendment not applicable


Training handbook for training of trainers on PRI capacity-building in NIRD and State-level training institutions


Participation and empowerment of rural people leading to better education, income and environmental standards fraternity enforcement of social legislation effective and efficient utilization of public funds social audit.

Important characteristics


Training content

For elected PRI members, development officials, NGO and self-help group representatives

Basic concepts

Participatory rural planning:

Plan formulation:

Promoting appropriate attitudes and behaviour for participatory planning, implementation and concurrent monitoring at different levels.

For role-planning team involved in consolidating district plan

Project appraisal and feasibility:

Phasing and budgeting of plan:

Application of cartographic and Geographical Information System (GIS) technique in district planning.

Implementation, management and monitoring:

Training modules

Number of trainees from each level:


Duration of training:

Five days


National/state level/NGOs


Objectives of training

For chairman & vice-chairman of zilla parishad/president & vice-president of panchayat samiti/sarpanch & panch

Course content

General orientation

For chairman & vice-chairman of zilla parishad/president & vice-president of panchayat samiti/sarpanch & panch

Subject orientation (at ZP/GP and sarpanch/panch level)

Role orientation

For chairman/vice-chairman zilla parishad

For president and vice-president panchayat samiti

For sarpanch and panch

Activity orientation (for all three levels)

Management orientation

For chairman/vice-chairman ZP

For president vice-president of panchayat samiti

For sarpanch and panch

Field observation

Organize visits to successful institutions/demonstration farms, etc. to educate trainees. This may include successful panchayats and knowledgeable individuals.

Illustrative list of institutions/organizations





Training module on enhancing women's participation

Selected target groups for training

Government officials
(village level)

Government officials
(middle level)

Government officials
(district level)

Panchayat Secretary

Block/Mandal Officer

Project Officer, DRDA

Anganwadi worker*

Extension Officers


Health worker*

Education Officers

District Project Officer (ICDS)

Village Administrative Officer

Agriculture Co-operative Bank

District Education Officer

Fair price shop dealer

Primary health centre doctor

District Revenue Officer

OHT operator

Health supervisor (female)

District Agricultural Officer

Hand pump operator

PWD - engineer

District Fisheries Officer

Multi-purpose worker

Taluk Revenue Officer

District Forest Officer

Bank officials

Integrated child development
services (ICDS) - supervisor

Agricultural marketing employee

Fisheries Supervisor/Forest
Range Officer

Co-operative society employee

Format for assessing bio-data of elected women representatives







Educational qualification:


Position in the panchayat:


Panchayat level:

Village level/middle level/District level

Experience with local government institutions:

First time/second time

Have you undergone any training:


If yes, where:

(Mention the place)

What type of training:

(Mention title)

SWOT analysis

  • To identify the extent to which the current strategy of development of women is relevant and capable of dealing with the changes taking place in the functioning of Panchayati Raj institutions.

  • The trainees can be tested through a question and answer session either at the time of registration or at the time of counseling.

Test for women trainees




  • Gram Sabha (GS) shall meet at least four times in a year
  • All adults are GS members
  • There is reservation for women as chairpersons
  • Gram Panchayat (GP) has to prepare agenda for GS
  • Quorum is required for passing resolution
  • Village development is the major focus of the GP
  • Social justice committee has to include Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe women
  • Panchayat assistant/secretary/clerk has to assist Sarpanch/President/Pradhan
  • There are different types of GP meetings
  • GP should meet once in a year
  • GP is under the control of the BDO (block development officer)

(*NR: No response)

SWOT analysis





Possess inherent knowledge and skill


Efficient leaders

Male domination suppressing

Familiar with local community

Less competent

Best resource persons

More counseling and mentoring

Easy accessibility to local culture and tradition

Male-dominated social values

Transfer knowledge and skills

Opportunity denied to other women

Moderately mobilize women participants

Gender bias

First lady of the village

Marginalized benefit

Content, resources and methods for training of women council members


Rules, powers, responsibilities and functions of local self-government

Leadership, communication and social mobilization/management skills

Integration of gender concerns in local development planning

Enhancing empowerment of women

Preparation of development plan at panchayat level

District Planning Committee

Implementation powers

Women in village development

Identification of poor, unemployed, under-employed/Agriculture and related/Rural industry/Basic amenities/Education/Primary health care/Women & child development/Revenue/Public distribution system

Resource persons

PRI expert/planning expert/expert in training methodology/self-analysis/behavioural science expert/rural development expert/experts from various fields/gender and development expert


Lecture-cum-discussion/Demonstration/Role-play/Case illustration/Interactive session/SWOT Analysis/Transect walk/Prepare village map/Case/research studies/Pictorial/Dialogue with successful SHG/Visit to NGO.

Charts/Posters/Video/Overhead Projector/Guide with definition/Compilation of Government Orders and Procedures/Findings of study.


Question and answer/Interactive session/thematic presentation followed by quiz/demonstration.


Training module on social audit

Example of training session on social audit

One-day social audit orientation for members of local bodies


1. To develop understanding at Gram Sabha level of social audit and its importance.
2. To plan social audit in local bodies and draw lessons from the process.
3. To prepare a social audit plan for respective organizations/groups/departments.

Participants: Thirty; mainly members of elected bodies and some community members/local CBOs (community-based organizations) and a few government officials.

Period: One day.

Venue: Preferably an isolated environment.



Arrival of participants, informal interaction, tea



- Introduction, some ice-breaking exercise.
- Purpose of the workshop.
- Inaugural remarks by a local eminent person.
(Some ideas on ‘social audit’ will be provided here through ‘Purpose’ & inaugural remarks)


Session I - ' Why, what and how ' of audit

- Participants given small cards to write 'why', 'what' and 'how'.
- Each 'why', 'what' and 'how' card pasted separately on the wall.
- Participants asked to identify common points in each and rearrange the cards.
- All participants asked to move around the hall and read the cards.


Brief consolidation by the facilitator and discussion, question/answers.

(It may happen that each point does not come up clearly or ‘how audit’ at the local level is not clear)

Tea break


Session I continues (30 minutes)

- Lecture on various types of audit, importance of social audit in our context and how social audit is being organized and could be organized (some examples).
- Discussion on this continues. Questions, ideas, experiences, doubts, etc raised (participants encouraged to do this) from their experience.
- Facilitator also encourages some people to answer the questions, share views, experiences, etc.


Working lunch.


Session II - To plan and draw lessons from social audit (10 minutes)

- Brief lecture on what could be done as part of social audit.
- Role-play on how to organize social audit planning.
- Develop roles, briefing each and all group members (For example, participants can be divided into various groups like elected members, government staff, villagers, village elders, youth, women, etc. and briefed on their roles.) There will be some observers among the participants.
- Role-play continues for 20 to 30 minutes depending on whether it is interesting enough to serve the purpose.


- Participants asked to briefly narrate their experiences. Facilitator to write the experiences/views on the flip chart in a framework. Also ask the observers' group for its views.
- Facilitator to ask questions to get them involved in more intensive, internal thinking, analysis and provide comments on that basis.
- Facilitator to explain the meaning of what they have experienced, said, and, if necessary, add some of his/her views as process observer.




Session III - To prepare a social audit plan

- Each group to work independently to plan what they will do/they can do, how they will do it with what purpose in mind. Facilitators to provide feedback to the group. (45 minutes)
- Group presentation, salient points. Facilitators to provide some simple ideas about communication, social audit planning process. (30 minutes)
- Concluding remarks.


Training module on partnership building

Objective: To develop understanding about the 'what, why and how' of partnership.

Participants: Thirty representatives from local bodies and state government staff at district level.

Day one






Welcome and purpose of the training/workshop

15 min.

Large group

Self-introduction including their role

30 min.

Large group

Ice-breaking exercise

What is partnership

Facilitator questions participants and writes their answers on a flip chart

Why partnership

30 min.

Form trainees into six small and diverse groups to discuss issue


20 min.


Group presentation and clarification

20 min.

Large group

Consolidation of the group work provide additional points (provide handout)

20 min.

Large group.

Presentation of various types of partnership - Network, Collaboration etc. and discussion on the same.

50 min.

Lecture, discussion

Working lunch (ensure participants mix with group other than their own)

45 min


Experience sharing and partnership Some participants share their experiences (facilitator to draw and note key points - what, why & how part of these experiences)

One hour.

Large group.

Consolidation and discussion

30 min.

Large group. Facilitation to ask the why, what and how of these experiences. Note answers on flip chart then provide his/her points.


30 min.


Case study on how to develop partnership (facilitators to provide inputs in the form of clarifying the task, help them to carry forward discussions etc.)

30-45 min.

Small diverse group

Case study presentation

30 min.

Large group

Consolidate and discuss presentation and identified issues

30 min.

Large group

Some good examples of partnerships. What it is, why and how they develop and with what results (provide handouts on these)

30 min

Large group

Objective - To understand the principles of partnership and how to solve conflicts

Day two

Recapitulation of Day I. Reading/presentation of a report by one or two participants

20 min.

Large group


How to develop and sustain the partnership/what are its values and principles


Participants asked to think individually and, if necessary, write points in their note book

Participants to discuss in small group (facilitators to clarify the task, help the group to discuss)

45 min.

Six small groups

Group report presentation, consolidation and discussion. Facilitator to write key points emerging from the discussion on a chart. (distribute handouts)

45 min.

Presentation on flip chart in large group


30 min.


Conflicts in partnerships and how to solve these

Identify potential conflict areas


Individual exercise

Participants to highlight the points and discuss the same

30 min.

Facilitator to write on a chart

Case study on collecting data on sources of conflicts in a partnership

Six small groups of diverse people


Training module on participatory community monitoring and evaluation


This helps in learning about specific needs and preferences of particular client groups. This can be done with simple questionnaires on the expectations from the training, objectives in attending the training, their conception and understanding of their changed roles and functions, and the general context of decentralization. Trainees can also be asked to prepare short notes prior to training and present these at the start of the training session.

This can be used as an ice-breaker to help introduce each trainee to the group and making each individual trainee's perception clear to the others and the facilitator. These presentations can be consolidated by dividing the trainees into groups of three to six, depending on the number of participants, and asking them to prioritize their expectations into four or five major ones.

These group priorities can be listed on a flip chart and consolidated into important priorities for training for the larger group. This exercise not only helps in building familiarity among the participants, but also aims to boost the spirit of participation in them. It gives the facilitator more scope to innovate and experiment while facilitating training sessions. It also provides the necessary baseline for post-evaluation.


Post-evaluation of training is to be included as a part of the training schedule. The trainees use self-appraisal to evaluate how many of their training expectations have been met. Individual evaluations can be consolidated into four or five small groups and further built up to form the client groups' evaluation of the training in terms of their expectations.

This has been found to be highly useful as it can be built into subsequent training programmes, making it a continuous process with training and resulting in need-based qualitative training with in-built mechanisms for upgrading.

Training module on evaluation

The organization and its staff members should be trained to:

E - EVALUATE the situation and define the objectives.
P - PLAN to achieve these objectives fully.
D - DO to implement the plans.
C - CHECK if objectives are achieved.
A - AMEND to correct mistakes.

Exercise to develop indicators

Time: Three hours approximately.


1. A planning meeting of eight to ten people from the group/organization involved in the work.

2. Discuss and decide purpose of work - organizing and follow-up of village assembly.

3. Write the purpose.

4. Based on purpose, write expected output.

5. Discuss and decide activities to be undertaken to reach/achieve expected result.

6. Decide/identify the indicators to evaluate the result.

Planning sheets

Area of work

Expected measurable output


Measurable indicators

Organization/follow-up of village assembly meeting

Meeting planned efficiently/held with the participation of all concerned

Decisions taken on relevant issues

Follow up decisions

Decisions on meeting date/time/venue

Group formed to plan meeting details such as venue/agenda/structure, etc.

Prepare/post major decisions in prominent locations

Participation of all concerned

Decisions on relevant issues

Meeting management

Minutes posted

Follow-up of decisions

Exercise to measure level of achievement

Time: About three hours

Participants: Eight to ten people from the organization involved in the work


1. Keep detailed plan in front of the group.

2. Write on paper/board activities undertaken against those planned.

3. Write achieved against expected output.

4. Check with indicators.

5. Participants will have different perceptions/views on level of achievement/Write these against expected output.

6. Discuss and write what is not achieved and the reason for this. Link this to activities undertaken.

7. Identify gaps and the reasons for these.

8. Fix/revise output, activities, indicators and plan to work on that basis.

Training design on evaluation

Session I

Understanding evaluation - 2 hours.

Session II

Exercise to develop indicators - 3 hours.

Session III

How to measure level of achievement - 3 hours.

(The intensity of exercise will vary depending on participants - single group, diverse group, etc.)


PRA tools


A diagram presents information in a readily understood visual form and has a dual use. First, the act of constructing a diagram is in itself an analytical procedure, which enables those preparing it to understand clearly the dynamics they are trying to record. Second, the diagram becomes a tool of communication and discussion among different people.

(i) MAP

This is very useful for creating an alternative database for the design of village plans by the local people. People can draw maps of their village and locate the services, facilities and infrastructure according to availability and access to different groups, thus facilitating the identification of needs, problems and solutions. Different village groups can draw different maps to depict their perceptions, problems and needs. A number of maps by all sections of people in a village can help in prioritizing and preparing village plans of action.

People in the village can draw maps on the ground, floor or on paper (these can later be transferred to paper by the facilitator/PRI actor). Social, demographic, health, natural resources or farm maps can be drawn to construct three-dimensional models of their land. Some examples of such maps constructed by villagers are shown as illustrations in this section. The part to be played by the decentralized development actors in this exercise is that of patient listening and motivating people to participate by accepting and respecting their knowledge.


Can be used to substantiate and support a map. A transect is a systematic walk with villagers through the village, observing, listening to villagers' descriptions, asking relevant questions, discussing ideas, identifying different zones, local technologies, introduced technologies, seeking problems, solutions and finally, diagramming/mapping the transect walk and its findings. This helps to:


An extended version of the crop calendar representing all the major changes within the rural year, such as rainfall patterns and other major climatic changes, cropping, livestock cycles, labour demand, etc. This helps in identifying lean periods for resources and in timing the supply of farm inputs and alternative employment initiatives. Many participatory approaches have been used in India for this purpose, either the locally known Hindu calendar months or festivals and fairs. People in the Indian countryside are more familiar, comfortable and accurate with these benchmarks than the Western calendar. Seasons and months can be related to festivals that are known and generally celebrated by the large majority of the local population.


Long-term changes in rural areas can be represented in diagrams such as historical profiles and graphic time trends. The local people's accounts of the past, of how things close to them have changed - ecological histories, land use and cropping patterns, customs and practices, trends in fuel use, etc. - can be represented with approximate dates before and after well-known events. Although secondary data may be available on these, a local perspective facilitates the design of development initiatives.

Another useful tool is the historical transect. This depicts local knowledge of the state of natural resources over a period of time. This can be initiated for various sectors of the rural economy to produce a series of diagrams reflecting people’s perceptions and priorities.


A Venn diagram shows the relationship between individuals, groups and institutions in a community as perceived by the people. It is made up of touching or overlapping circles of various sizes, with each circle representing an individual or institution. The size of the circle indicates their importance and the overlap indicates the degree of contact or inclusion in decision making. This will help in the formulation and implementation of development initiatives at the local level, as well as in identifying marginalized individuals/groups in the community


This is used to involve people in prioritizing their needs and type of development initiative suited to local needs. Villagers use seeds to give scores to development initiatives, either individually scoring or in small groups and aggregating for the community as a whole. This will facilitate a process of democratic prioritization by the entire community, ensuring people’s involvement in their own development. This is a very important tool for micro-planning by the PRIs at village level.

Geographical transect of a village

Historical transect of Ardnaryoura village

Venn diagram of water use control in a Sudan village


This is an important tool that will help trainees understand situations they will face in their work. It aids understanding of other actors in the working situation, their points of view, their reactions and feelings. It also gives them an opportunity to practise their roles in a 'safe' environment.

Most role-playing uses an improvised script, based on suggestions made by the trainees, either from their experiences or hypothetical situations that may arise in future. Trainees can be divided into two main groups, one enacting the script, the other observing the players/actors. The roles can be reversed after one performance, firstly, within the same group of actors playing different roles, secondly, with the observers acting out the script and the actors taking on the role of observers. The role reversals can be repeated to allow each trainee to play all the roles.

The role-playing can be followed by a group discussion to identify the most appropriate/effective behaviour/attitudes and mistakes to be avoided. This helps trainees learn in a risk-free environment with objective feedback from their peers and the facilitators, which is generally not possible in real life situations.

Role-playing tools can be a mirror for trainees to see themselves as others perceive them, encouraging insights into their own attitude and behaviour and sensitivity to the opinions, attitudes and needs of others. The benefits of change in attitude and behaviour are readily demonstrated, encouraging desired change.

Role-playing is most effective for practising or learning face-to-face communication skills, which will be needed for direct dealing with individuals/people in the decentralized development process.

Role-playing addresses basic aspects of face-to-face communication such as, listening, awareness and recognition of body language and appreciation of other points of view. Although often criticized for lacking realism, as it cannot accurately depict all the complexities of a real work situation, the strength of role-playing lies in the fact that it gives the trainees the confidence to try new approaches and innovate in the field.

An important consideration to be kept in mind is that people feel inhibited in playing roles in front of peer observers and video cameras. This can be overcome by creating an atmosphere of mutual trust/support among the trainees. Role-playing can be introduced towards the middle of the training, giving the group enough time to know one another. The tool's effectiveness depends on the quality of feedback, which must be constructive, enabling a reinforcement of effective behaviour, instilling confidence and highlighting specific areas for improvement in a way that is not critical and readily acceptable.

Example of role-playing

Script for gram sabha role-playing


The gram panchayat has received funds for the construction of four houses under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and two houses under the state innovative project, Mangal Gram Yojana (MGY). Houses will be given to people belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families approved by the gram sabha. The project will be implemented by the gram panchayat involving the beneficiaries and shall be completed within one year.

For Sarpanch

For Panchayat Secretary/assistant/clerk

For Panchayat members


Ward member 1, 2 & 6 - BC;

Ward member 3 & 9 - women (General)

Ward member 4 & 5 - SC;

Ward member 7 - woman (SC)

Ward member 8 - ST;

Sarpanch directly elected - BC Woman

BC: backward caste; SC: scheduled caste; ST: scheduled tribe.

For Gram Sabha members


By providing the opportunity for a focused, in-depth discussion of particular situations/events, a case study helps in the understanding of problems and events leading to more acceptable solutions and in relating field experience to training, making it more relevant. It gives insights into (i) results of action/inaction in terms of policy/programme/project implementation/nonimplementation; (ii) reactions, emotions and problems of people by following events over time and identifying key characteristics.

A case study can be based on appropriate real life/hypothetical situations. Or, it can be prepared as an exercise by the trainees before the start of the training. Trainees can also construct case studies during field visits planned as part of the training programme. A case study is especially useful for development functionaries as the problems are given a human face and can be dealt with more empathy, ensuring better acceptance and success.


This is a very important tool for development functionaries and government officials who have to interact directly with the community. For e.g. the Janmabhoomi programme in Andhra Pradesh (see Part I) requires officials and functionaries to meet people in their own habitat as against the earlier practice of people visiting officials at their work place. This also facilitates the use of participatory tools learnt in earlier training sessions and can be used by the trainees to build up case studies of real life situations for discussion in later sessions.

Depending on the objectives, field visits can be of different duration and form the penultimate session of the training. This may also be used as a part of the evaluation, with trainees applying newly learnt participatory skills in real life situations. The evaluation should include a self-appraisal based upon observations by the facilitator, with the trainees discussing the problems and solutions in practising participatory tools in real situations.


Traditional practices and beliefs


To encourage field staff to consider and acknowledge the validity and relevance of local knowledge, practices and beliefs.

Material: None

Time: 30 minutes


Early in the workshop, ask participants to think about intriguing traditional practices, beliefs and myths that they have come across. These will be the ones they may not be able to explain scientifically, but appear to have their own internal logic.

Ask participants to list some intriguing practices and beliefs from their own respective cultures. You should contribute a number of examples of your own.

Fruit salad


Material: Chairs arranged in a circle, one less than the number of participants and trainers. If there are enough chairs, these can be set up ahead of time in another area, such as in an adjoining room. The participants are asked to bring their chairs with them.

Time: 10 minutes


1. Decide on the number of groups, as this will determine the number of fruits selected. Set up a closed circle of chairs, one less than the number of people who will join the exercise.

2. Ask participants to sit on the chairs. The trainer begins the game by standing in the middle. Explain that this is an energizing exercise, which will require their (very!) active participation.

3. Let the participants name as many fruits as you need sub-groups, for example, four fruits if you need four sub-groups. Ask one person to choose a fruit, his or her neighbour another fruit, the next neighbour another, and so on until the desired number of sub-groups is formed. The next person in the circle takes the first fruit, the next the second, and so on until everyone, including the trainer, has a fruit name (such as apple, melon, orange, etc.).

Sequence analysis

Objective: To encourage use of participatory methods in sequence to address particular issues, topics or questions.

Material: Pen and paper

Time: 30 minutes


1. Develop a flow diagram of a potential sequence of methods for investigating a particular issue/issues.

2. Explore linkages between methods.

3. Discuss type of information to be learnt from each exercise.

4. Discuss how the group can facilitate fieldwork in terms of division of roles, revising interview guides, etc.

Comment: Following the development of the checklist, it may be useful to have the group reflect on the use of sequences of participatory methods. This emphasises the flexibility and interaction of different participatory methods in a field setting. These should not be seen as isolated methods, but as the means to encourage learning. Method sequencing thus enhances learning.

Brainstorming for interview guide and checklist preparation


Material: Flip charts, small sheets of paper, cards

Time: 5 to 10 minutes


1. Ask the group to appoint a recorder who will not participate and only record ideas.

2. Ask the group to think of issues, topics and questions they want to tackle in the field or in relation to any particular issue.

3. Encourage them to think of everything that can be included, even the most outlandish idea.

4. Encourage quantity rather than quality, the more ideas the better.

5. There are two options for brainstorming.

(i) People state their ideas and the facilitator notes each on a flip chart. No comments and evaluation can be made; it must remain a free flow of ideas.

(ii) Each group member notes issues, topics or questions on small pieces of paper or cards, which are then stuck up on the wall (see Delphi Technique, page 151)

6. Evaluate the ideas after the brainstorming session and agree on a final list of issues by using another method (for example Delphi Technique).

People find it very difficult not to comment on or evaluate ideas during a brainstorming session. Emphasize that all judgements must be ruled out until after all ideas have been generated. However, it is very important that the ‘rules’ of brainstorming are clear before you start.

Role-playing of good and bad interviews


· To generate discussion on the merits of adopting good interviewing technique.

· To summarize the main good and bad elements of semi-structured interviewing.

· To energize the group.

Material: None, although groups can find props around the training area

Time: 30 to 40 minutes


1. Divide the participants into groups of four or five people

2. Ask half of the sub-groups to develop a ‘bad’ interview sketch and the others to develop a ‘good’ interview sketch. Suggest that they reflect on all the do's and don’ts developed in earlier exercises as guidelines, and on the type of questions they can ask.

3. After 15 minutes, ask the ‘bad’ interview role-players to present their sketch first. These are much easier to do and result in much amusement.

4. After the ‘bad’ interview, ask the audience if there were still any good points. After the ‘good’ interview ask if there were any bad points.

Comment: The role-player groups can concentrate on different types of interviews. For instance, one group can do an individual interview, another a group interview, etc. In the subsequent discussion, highlight key points raised by the role-players and get participants to discuss their own experiences. You might need to tone down criticism of the attempted ‘good’ interviews by stressing how difficult it is to do a good interview. These should become reference points for the groups as the training progresses.

Delphi technique


· To generate ideas, issues, questions
· To group, sort, rank, set priorities

Material: Small coloured paper/cards, masking tape, pin gum, etc.

Time: 30 minutes or more


1. Use the Brainstorming procedure to generate issues, topics, questions from individuals or small groups. Each idea is noted on a card/paper (only one per card/paper).

2. The cards/papers are placed on the wall and grouped, either by one or a number of volunteers, or by all of the participants. Cards with exactly the same idea are removed, but all others must remain.

3. The group must agree on how the cards are to be clustered, as this will form the basis for the sub-division of a checklist into theme areas.

Comment: This method is quite flexible and can be used for a variety of purposes, including developing and revising an interview checklist, comparing strengths and weaknesses of various methods and preparing a team contract. Use your imagination and you will find it a good way to involve all trainees in almost any discussion. By asking one or two trainees to do the sorting and clustering of cards, you can encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning.

Transect walks

Objective: To demonstrate the importance of gathering and analysing local information.

Material: A table for a group of five people and five envelopes containing paper/small cards.

Time: About 1 hour (5 minutes for introduction, 20 minutes for task, 20-30 minutes for evaluation)


1. Identify the route for transect walks by several teams. This may be close to the workshop location (research station, neighborhood of the hotel); further away (a nearby village or community); or inside a large office building.

2. Provide for local key informants to accompany the teams.

3. Divide participants into small teams (using an energizing group-forming exercise).

4. Give the groups time to plan their transect walks. Use the group problem-solving exercise if you have time. Ensure that the groups focus on what they expect to find and the methods they will use. It is better if the subject of the inquiry is precisely defined, as groups will be able to compare findings on their return.

5. The groups return by an agreed time to prepare a diagram and present their findings.

Comment: During the debriefing, focus discussion on both methodological issues and findings.

Mapping your own town or city


· To demonstrate that everyone has different mental maps of where they live or work, depending greatly on who we are and what information we have.

· To practice mapping and modeling first hand.

Material: Pens and large sheets of paper, any other available material

Time: 45 to 75 minutes


Divide participants into groups to produce map-models of the village, town or city where the training is being conducted. The exact mix of groups and nature of the task will depend on the participants' knowledge about the locality.

Seasonal calendars

Objective: To demonstrate ways to explore changes during the year.

Material: Stones, sticks, seeds, beans, pens, etc.

Time: 20 minutes to 1 hour


1. Divide participants into small groups of between three and five people, using a group-forming exercise.

2. Either you or the participants select one or two ‘key informants’ from each group. Although not essential, these informants may be interviewed about some specialized knowledge they have of the local area or a particular subject. An agronomist may be asked to make calendars of cropping patterns of major crop pests and diseases; a public health officer may be requested to prepare calendars of major diseases.

3. The remaining members of each group are then asked to interview their key informant(s) about a theme assigned by you or selected by them. The informants are then asked to make a diagram or set of diagrams to illustrate trends and changes in those activities and/or events over the course of a single day, week, or year.

4. For example, if you have five working groups, each with their own key informant, they may be asked to create. (i) rainfall calendars - days of rain/month, relative amount of rain over a year, inches of soil moisture/month, etc - for a particular area, comparing these with the situation 20 years ago; (ii) major crop production and price calendars - average - of area; (iii) agricultural labour, income and expenditure calendars for men and women in an area; (iv) daily activity diagrams for particular groups - young men, young women, older men, older women; and (v) daily activity calendars - before and after some intervention or introduction of a new technology.

5. After the diagrams have been completed (usually 20-30 minutes), ask each group to present its ‘findings’ to the others. Encourage the groups to focus their presentations on the process they went through (how they interviewed their key informants, the way the diagram developed, and so on), not just the final product. The important point to highlight in these presentations is the possible applications and limitations of these methods in real world situations.

6. After the group presentations, ask the participants to reflect on the advantages, disadvantages and the analytical potential of seasonal calendars. Issues to be raised include:

A quick variation, which can also be used as an introduction, is to show the group how to establish quantitative information by conducting an analysis of the periodicity of human conception. Make a circle with 12 large cards with the months of the year written on these. Ask participants to line up behind the month of their birth. See if there is a pattern to the month of conception.

Venn diagram


· To teach the value of visuals in understanding institutional linkages and relationships.

· To reveal important linkages and constraints in the participants' own organization according to the perceptions of different participant groups (senior management, junior management, department heads, field staff. etc.).

Material: Pens, paper, scissors, tape or glue

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour


1. Divide participants into groups to produce Venn diagrams of a known institution, usually the one they belong to. Form groups, either according to what they know about the institution or according to hierarchy or department.

2. Describe the process of making a Venn diagram (you can use the examples below). Circles of different sizes are allocated to different institutions, groups, departments or programmes. These overlap, depending on the degree of contact in the real world. They are contained within a circle if they are part of that circle’s institution. A large circle means an important institution.

3. Explain that there are two processes: cutting circles out of paper sheets and laying these on or against each other, or drawing on paper or on the ground. The former takes longer, but is better as changes can be made. The latter is quicker, but changes can be messy.

4. Ask the groups to exhibit their Venn diagrams. Analyse key differences between groups and the underlying causes for this.

Comment: This can be an extremely illuminating exercise for the participants as certain aspects of their own institution and work may be revealed for the first time. It will also show the different perceptions of different groups. It may help to highlight contrasting perceptions of different roles, responsibilities and linkages, pointing to areas of conflict and dispute as well as ways to resolve these.

Following the construction of a series of diagrams of the existing situation as seen by different actors, participants can discuss ways of resolving conflicts, filling institutional gaps, or encouraging linkages.

A shorter variation is to give each participant a copy of the Venn diagrams below and ask them to identify key differences. These examples are quite striking but also very complex. If participants feel frustrated about not understanding the context, stop and summarize the main points. Different people will have a different understanding of the same organization depending on their role in the institution, and this might cause difficulties in communication.

Example of Venn diagram: Research project in Pakistan

In the example of a potato project in Pakistan, participants from headquarters (national and expatriate) and from the regions produced very different pictures of their project and its linkages with other institutions. Headquarters staff in Islamabad mapped a wide range of institutions with which they had regular contact. These included those at the international level. The provincial staff closest to the ‘centre’ knew of more linkages than those from other provinces, but did not show international links. The most remote staff indicated a very simple picture of institutional relationships, clearly illustrating that they are marginalized within the project.

Flow diagrams for systems and impact analysis


· To teach how to depict farm and livelihood systems in a diagram, leading to better understanding of the complexities of linkages and relationships at the local level.

· To teach how to depict the impact of an intervention or process, leading to better understanding of the anticipated and unexpected effects from the local people’s perspective.

· To describe the basic principles and procedures of flow diagrams.

Material: Large sheets of paper, pens

Time: 1 to 2 hours


Divide participants into groups (using a group-forming exercise)

For system diagram

1. Ask participants to consider a typical farming system in an area they know well. The first step is for them to identify and represent the components of the farming system.

2. Then ask them to show the linkages and flows between different components (such as manure from livestock to field, fuelwood from trees to homestead).

3. Next, they should show the farm's links with markets, seed stores, towns, etc.

4. Discuss with the groups whether the system they have depicted has changed over time. What happens if certain linkages break down?

For impact diagram

Ask the teams to select an activity or event, the impact of which they wish to explore. This may be a programme or policy change (such as a structural adjustment programme) or a household change (such as a disabling illness in a family). They could also consider the impact of training on their lives or work.

1. Ask them to represent the impact on paper, and identify the consequences of the activity or event. This could be both positive and negative. Ask them to link the consequences, using arrows to indicate the direction of flow.

2. Encourage them to think of primary, secondary and tertiary effects, grouping these into different sub-systems.

3. Ask them to exhibit their flow diagrams and organize a debriefing session.

Exhibit the results of the group work, with all participants visiting each group in turn. Use the presentation to allow participants to reflect on the actual findings and on the methodology:

Flip charts


These are very important and can be used in a number of ways.

Audio-visual aids have the advantage of being understood even by illiterate people. Learning to use these is essential for resource persons/master trainers who have to train lower level functionaries and interact directly with communities.

Flannel boards and diagrams

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