This training manual, shared under a Creative Commons license, describes how participatory methods can be used for (ICT) needs assessment, business idea generation, and idea testing. The reason we put ICT in brackets in the previous sentence is because our aim was to make all content of the manual applicable for sparking ICT innovation at the BoP, but most of what is stated can very easily (and sometimes even more intuitively) be employed in other sectors or industries.
Download the manual here.
The document starts with giving general advice on how to apply participatory methods. It provides a list of do's and don'ts, specifies steps in the needs assessment process, talks about how to select participants and work in the community, mentions gender issues, gives tips on how to work with groups, and provides advice on how to listen, keep notes and assess the quality of the research findings. All of this focuses on a community setting. In Ungana-Afrika's Participatory Entrepreneurship Development (PED) project, external people (from Ungana-Afrika or its partner organisations) teach community members to use participatory methods for entrepreneurial purposes. This group will not have a research background, so Part I of the training manual is written with that in mind.
The second part of the document contains a flowchart that helps people decide when to use which participatory method, and gives detailed and hands-on descriptions of 43 participatory methods. For each method a short overall description is given, followed by practical details on its use: when to use the method, its duration, the number of people involved, materials needed, steps in executing the method, and some advice in the form of tips and a “watch-out” section. Our goal here is that community members who will do the needs assessment, or use the methods for other purposes, can follow the method description step-by-step.
In our pilot in the Zandspruit community (which runs throughout 2011) we will use this training manual. Our experience there will teach us how to improve the document.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 South Africa License.