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A Handbook on using Participatory Monitoring and Learning Tools   
A Handbook on using Participatory Monitoring and Learning Tools

Contributors: G. Jayanthi,
Janet Geddes,
Utpal Moitra and
Ashis Mondal

Published by
Academic Foundation, New Delhi
in association with
Action for Social Advancement (ASA),
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Paperback book (8˝" x 11") :   Pages : 66
2007  Edition   :   ISBN -81-7188-642-5
Price : INR 595 / US $ 39.95
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Participatory Monitoring and Learning (PM&L) is a process of collaborative review and problem solving, through the generation and use of information on a regular basis throughout the project cycle. It is a process that leads to corrective action or improvement within the project, based on the shared decision-making of a number of stakeholders.

Action for Social Advancement (ASA) launched a pilot initiative that experimented with the Participatory Monitoring and Learning (PM&L) approach, within three World Bank assisted rural development projects in Madhya Pradesh, India—the District Poverty Initiative Project (MP-DPIP), Rural Women’s Empowerment Project (Swashakti) and MP Forestry Project.

The goal of the two-year World Bank-funded pilot was to field-test and fine-tune PM&L approaches that would improve participation of primary and secondary stakeholders within the project cycle. The pilot’s overriding hypothesis was that PM&L can contribute to improved learning, participatory decision-making and better governance at all levels within a project, primarily at the community level. Ultimately, it enables a project to become innovative, bottom-up and demand-driven.

The ASA PM&L initiative adapted a number of existing PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) tools to undertake monitoring and learning ‘at the community level’, within the three World Bank assisted projects in Madhya Pradesh. This Handbook presents a number of these tools, together with others synthesised from experiences of other organisations. It offers an overview of the kind of tools that are proving to be effective in PM&L processes.

The Handbook provides facilitators with practical information on how to apply the tools. It is hoped that use of these tools in the field will further fine-tune them and also lead to the development of new tools.

The Handbook is structured as follows:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Preparation

Chapter 3: Tips on Using Common PRA Tools within PM&L

Chapter 4: PM&L Tools

Chapter 5: How to Present the Results



Action for Social Advancement (ASA), a non-government development organisation has been working for the livelihood enhancement of the rural poor in several districts of Madhya Pradesh, parts of Bihar and Jharkhand. The thematic areas of interventions include community based natural resource management, participatory irrigation management, participatory agriculture research and extension, micro-finance, research and training. ASA's approach to development is firmly founded upon participatory action at the community level.

Community participation is the cornerstone of all programmes in ASA, where the community takes decisions on what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. ASA believes that ownership of a programme by the targeted community, triggered and facilitated by their participation, is central to sustainability. While ASA's roots remain firmly grounded in addressing the local concerns of the target community, its experiences have proven valuable to the development sector as a whole.



Ashis Mondal and G. Jayanthi the co-authors of this book are the founding members of ASA and full-time working directors, while Janet Geddes and Utpal Moitra are associate consultants of ASA.




1. Introduction to Handbook


What is Participatory Monitoring and Learning?

Purpose of Handbook

Structure of Handbook


2. Preparation

Preparation Needed

A Checklist for PM&L


3. Tips on Using Common PRA Tools within PM&L

Group Meetings

Focus Group Discussions

Participatory Mapping

Seasonal Diagramming and Analysis



4. PM&L Tools

Tools for Gathering Initial Information

Well-being Ranking

Livelihood Analysis

Mobility Mapping

Planning and Vision-building Tools

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: A Vision-building Exercise

Signs of Well-being Table

Tools for Monitoring Problems and Conflicts

Problem Action Analysis

Conflicts History Timeline

Monitoring at CBO Level

Group Self-Assessment Table

Group Self-Assessment Chart

Institutional Mapping/Venn Diagram

Summarising Support

Communication Linkage Matrix

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Limitations (SWOL) Analysis

Monitoring at Community-level

Impact Mapping/Process Mapping

Monitoring NRM Activities

Forest Dependency Matrix

Participatory Transect Walks for Environmental Assessment


5. How to Present the Results



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