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Guidance on Participatory Assessments

Guidance on Participatory Assessments   

This handbook offers guidance on how to use participatory methods to conduct needs assessments.

Download the PDF (549 KB)

How to conduct a participatory assessment

  1. Plan for the assessment. Decide what information to collect, where to collect it, who to talk to and which methods to use by analyzing existing information.
  2. Conduct the assessment. Use participatory tools such as transect walk, interviews, mapping, ranking, calendars and focus group discussions.
  3. Analyze the findings. Refer to analysis tools, such as tables and matrices.

The handbook discusses how to do each step.

Why are participatory assessments important?

  1. A strong assessment is the key to good problem analysis and project design.
  2. The assessment gathers the information required to develop the program strategy and ProFrame, including the definition of indicators.
  3. Participatory methods are the best way to ensure that the project design is relevant to the people we serve, by giving a voice to the most marginalized and most vulnerable households and communities and helping us to understand how their needs may be different from others.


Introduction 1
I. Plan for the Assessment 2
II. Conduct the Assessment 9
III. Analyze the Findings
Annex 1. Assessment Planning Table 13
Annex 2. Assessment Tool Outline Table 14
Annex 3. Matrix for Assessment Analysis 15
Annex 4. Daily Analysis and Review of Assessment Plan Table 16
Annex 5. Participatory Assessment Tools 20
Annex 6. Khandamal Livelihoods Assessment Methodology 20
Resources 28

Publication details

Authors: Cassie Dummett, Clara Hagens, Dominique Morel
Publisher: Catholic Relief Services (April 2013)
Handbook: 30 pages
Language: English
Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches

Posted on April 9, 2013

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