Participatory Action Plan Development

PAPD: a facilitator's guide

This guide, adapted and tested by Practical Action in Bangladesh and Sudan, sets out an approach to community planning that intends to build local consensus to help people manage and improve their livelihood options.

The approach is Participatory Action Plan Development (PAPD) - a structured and repeatable set of activities that helps local people identify key problems and constraints together with realistic opportunities to address them.

The guide provides a basic explanation of six key stages required to reach consensus on simple livelihoods related initiatives at local level. The purpose, approach and process of each stage is described with reference to specific examples.

It is expected that facilitators will follow the sequence outlined in the guide and will understand the purpose of each stage. This structure is useful to maintain consistency between locations and will aid reporting and documentation by the facilitating agency. However, it is understood that facilitators and communities may have the confidence to modify activities and the direction of planning where appropriate.

The guide concludes with some general observations and recommendations for expanding the planning process to a wider geographic which might include and benefit additional project stakeholders.

What is Participatory Action Plan Development?

Participatory Action Plan Development (PAPD) is a consensus building tool that seeks to identify and then solve environmental or livelihoods problems with community support and input. PAPD draws from several participatory techniques and principles. Its key features are: 1) recognising the wide range of stakeholders and their diverse interests in natural resource management and; 2) engaging these stakeholders fully. Over the last nine years the approach has been used in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia and Vietnam to help local people plan in floodplains, forests, coastal areas and cities. Its original development was supported by a DFID research programme called the Natural Resources Systems Programme.

Planning and discussion within PAPD is intended to increase the level of understanding of all stakeholders and to help reach consensus on proposed new activities. These agreed activities can sometimes be modest but they will be well thought through, with broad support, and will benefit most local people. In turn, this planning can provide the foundations to address more complex issues such as long-term disputes or conflict.

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