Exposure visits are organised so that people living in one place can visit another location to
observe and learn from the other community’s development activities. The purpose of
exposure visits is to learn from the experience of others outside your own community, by
direct interaction. Participating communities may be a short distance from one another, or in
some cases, in different regions or even different countries.
Advantages of Exposure Visits
The visiting groups take very seriously
lessons which are learnt from people
who live in similar circumstances to
Learning takes place in a real life
situation, which allows visiting
groups to ask questions about the
development activity being
implemented and get first hand
It is practical, learning from
experience (not theoretical).
Often broader information exchanges
take place between the two groups,
beyond the core topic.
Maasai women in Kajiado District of Kenya visit
a near-by community to learn about donkey
harnessing. Practical Action East Africa
How to use Exposure Visits
To ensure a successful exchange visit, it is important that the visiting group is fully involved
in identifying the subject matter that they are interested in learning about. Development
organisations can help with finding suitable host communities but individual contacts and
experiences are also very useful.
Think carefully about how participants are chosen. They should represent the whole
community and be willing to share their new knowledge when they return from the
Ensure that the visiting and host groups are both clear about the purpose of, and
arrangements for, the visit.
Prepare a programme for the visit. This makes it efficient and cost effective with regard
to transport, accommodation and other expenses.
Allow adequate time for discussions and demonstrations where necessary.
If the two communities speak a different language, a translator should be arranged in
Photographs, video or audio tape can be used to record the experience.
Consider the possibility of reciprocal visits or longer learning tours involving visits to
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Constraints of Exposure Visits
The cost of travel and other expenses can be prohibitive.
Visits require time for detailed planning.
In some countries cultural constraints may be encountered, for example women’s
freedom to travel outside their home communities.
Real Life Story
Learning from Experience in Western Kenya.
In May 2001 a team of 13 women from Valongi
Producer Group made an exposure visit to the Keyo
Group. The objective of the visit was to learn about
the Keyo group’s clay stove production project. The
visit started with Esther Ombima, the Keyo Group
Chair-lady, explaining how and when the group
started and the activities they were involved in.
Trying out the stove moulding process
process from clay preparation to firing and all the
difficulties involved in the process. Members of the
Vaongi Group took the opportunity to have a go at the
production processes themselves. Advice on managing
the business and marketing the stoves was also
Unloading the pottery kiln
The Valongi Group asked questions about how the Keyo Group had been able to stay together
for several years without any conflicts or splits. The answer given by Esther Ombima was that
each member produced her own stoves and was responsible for her own production material;
this meant that they were working as individuals but supporting each other as a group. She
said each woman contributes 5 Kenyan Shillings per stove to the group account.
The Valongi Producer Group members were so impressed with what they saw, they became
determined to produce their own stoves for sale. They organised another visit for detailed
production training and went on to apply what they had learnt in their home community.
Real life stories and photographs by kind permission of Practical Action
Using existing mass media Practical Action Technical Brief
Storytelling Practical Action Technical Brief
Community/Street drama Practical Action Technical Brief
Newsletters / Booklets / Brochures Practical Action Technical Brief
Public Gatherings Practical Action Technical Brief
Information, Communication, Learning selection of Practical Action Technical Briefs
The Schumacher Centre
Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ
Tel: +44 (0)1926 634400
Fax: +44 (0)1926 634401
This document is based on the Micro Media Card Pack: A Tool Kit for Community
Development Workers produced by Practical Action in October 2003. Reproduced
as a Technical Brief in September 2007.
Practical Action is a development charity with a difference. We know the simplest ideas can have the
most profound, life-changing effect on poor people across the world. For over 40 years, we have been
working closely with some of the world’s poorest people - using simple technology to fight poverty and
transform their lives for the better. We currently work in 15 countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin