|Creative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)|
· Anywhere in the community
A map is a diagramatic representation of a location and its features. It presents information in a readily understandable and condensed form.
Types of maps
· social map (households and other social services, roads,
sources of water, etc.)
· natural resource map (natural resources)
· land use map (land use systems, indicating use and ownership of parcels of land and major crops)
· coastal resource use map
· body maps (for health studies where an outline of the body is used as the 'map').
· To identify locations and key features of an area
according to the topic under discussion.
· To provide a quick and simple understanding of a local situation or geographical area.
· To provide initial material to work on.
· To offer a quick and simple method of identifying problems and issues in an area.
· To motivate discussion and eventually assist decision-making.
· pencils, colored pens, paper, chalk boards.
· If making the map on the ground: sticks, stones or leaves found on the ground and used to represent key features.
· Different sizes and colors of leaves or stones can be used to denote differing sizes/importance of features/structures.
· A copy of the map can be made later for reference
if it is made on the ground or in chalk.
1. Gather the participants and explain clearly the purpose of the exercise and the area that will be covered before letting anyone to begin.
It is useful for all the participants to walk through their
community before you begin the map-making.
2. Give an orientation on map symbols and conventions in map making. Ask participants what symbols are appropriate for their community and elicit from them any other symbols they use or have used in the past to represent key features in their community.
3. Begin by suggesting key features as the basis for the map to be made, e.g., river, main road. Encourage the addition of appropriate features.
Establish rapport with the community first. Be sensitive, always
clarify with them why you are conducting this activity.
4. Use probing questions to bring out details or issues relating to the features mapped. This can be the beginning of a discussion and identification of issues and learning points.
Be sure to make an accurate copy of the map and use clear symbols
and labels to avoid confusion. Document the process well because of tentimes the
original map can get lost or become torn or tattered.
5. Ensure the participation of everyone, especially if community members are making the map.
6. Make a copy of the map for future reference.
The result will be a diagrammatic representation of a real place with initial discussion points noted. Participants will gain a preliminary understanding of the surrounding social and geographical area that can be enriched by using other techniques later.
· Effective for learning about local perceptions of the
· Can be highly participatory and enables people to learn from others.
· Can be updated or referred to later to indicate progress, learning or change.
· Often brings out important issues that may not have surfaced in a mere discussion.
· Lots of information in an accessible and compact form.
· Useful for semi-literate or illiterate participants as colors, objects and symbols can be used.
· Visioning tool (participants can draw a map of how they would like to see their community resources in the future, e.g., in 20 years time).
· Awareness raising tool (participants can draw a map of their community 20 years ago. This often starts a discussion of how abundant the resources were in the past and what has led to their present situation).
Participatory mapping was used as a tool in compiling the Community Resource Profiles of communities in Samar during Participatory Community Development. A large number of community members participated in making a social map of their barangay on the basketball court using chalk and any materials they could find nearby. They used leaves to represent houses, and larger leaves and twigs to depict buildings such as the school and church.
The map was large enough for two or three people to be involved at one time. They began by marking the highway and placing the houses along it. The whole map was appraised at the end by all present and judged to be accurate in terms of scale and position of features. The whole process took around one hour and the output was comprehensive and accurate. The people enjoyed the activity as a team exercise.
Map making was used as a visioning tool during a workshop on Environmental Planning with the communities in Samar. Participants were given a sheet of manila paper and some crayons. The participants were guided in creating an ideal resource map by asking them to put in features that they wanted to see in the future, using their existing resource map as a basis. Note: Visioning can provide direction for community action towards their goal of a better environment. Their visions are translated into concrete strategies and actions in order for them to work towards achieving their objectives.
My experience using map-making as a visioning tool:
When I used visioning as a tool for the first time, I thought to myself, "There is no way I am going to be able to facilitate this. How will the community be able to express their common goal and vision in a map?" However, they clearly expressed what they wanted their community to look like in twenty years time in terms of resources and services. Often their output was a real development dilemma for me, as a volunteer worker from Ireland, coming to work in the Philippines as an environmental educator.
Maps drawn of their future communities often depicted factories and industries, multiple lane highways and gigantic electricity poles. Inwardly I would say to myself, "No, you don't want to go the way of the West with all that industry and roads and where life is lived in the fast line and the community spirit is dead. You want to go back to the past when all the resources were plenty, when you could still pick fish from Maqueda Bay, with no need for a fishing net." This is a dilemma for me. Who am I to think that the communities should not want all that industry, that they should not dream of having shopping malls in every small town? This led me to think deeper.
By having a different vision than the community, I have to be very careful not to impose my vision or view on them. For many weeks I was in despair, wondering if I should go home now. I don't want to be a new form of colonizer, where I think I know what is best for the community. Thankfully, I decided to stay.
Deciding to do VSO in the Philippines where I can promote
sustainable development and international understanding has been the best
decision of my