People who professionally facilitate participatory processes use special communication skills in their work. These skills can be improved with practice. This Unit takes communication techniques used by professional facilitators and applies them to PGIS. The Unit challenges trainees to take an introspective look at their own personal values, attitudes and behaviours and consider how these influence their communication style and increase or decrease their ability to serve as a PGIS facilitator.
Unit objectives / expected outcomes
After the completion of the Unit, the trainee will be able to
- apply appropriate strategies for participative group collaboration, specifically:
- develop norms of group behaviour
- document group memory
- facilitate group decision-making
- apply group decision-making tools
- facilitate group communication through the art of active listening and non-verbal communication
Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing
This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:
- Map Reversal (Exercise No. 1) (15 min)
- Fundamental Skills for PGIS Facilitators and Teams (interactive learning) (PPT No.1: Attitudes, Behaviours and Ethics: Fundamental Skills for PGIS Facilitators and Teams, (1 hour), including the following subjects:
- beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviour and ethics
- promoting participatory attitudes and behaviours
- developing norms of group behaviour
- listening challenges and strategies
- communicating effectively
- group memory
- group decision-making
The PowerPoint presentation is intended to introduce the exercises that follow, which take an hour and a half. It is possible to replace the PowerPoint presentation with group discussions and exercises as long as all of the main topics of the Unit are discussed.
- The Group’s Ground Rules: Exercise No. 2 (30-45 min)
Keywords / key concepts
PGIS facilitation, participatory group collaboration and communication,
group values, group memory, decision-making, active listening,
Components of the Unit
Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):
Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in digital format)
Additional trainer resources
- Rambaldi, G., R. Chambers, M. McCall, and J. Fox. 2006. Practical ethics of PGIS practitioners, facilitators, technology intermediaries and researchers. Participatory Learning and Action: 54 (April).
- Patterson, J.L. 1993. Appendix 3: Tools for Reaching Group Consensus. In “Leadership for Tomorrow’s Schools”. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria, VA.
- Kaner, S. with L. Lind, C. Toldi, S. Fisk, and D. Berger. 1996. Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. New Society Publishers. Gabriola Island, BC, Canada.
- Nagy, J., and M. Axner. 2007. “Generating and Choosing Solutions”. In Community Toolbox. Schultz, J. and K. Nagy (Eds.). Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development. Lawrence, KS, USA. Accessible online at:
- Chambers, R. 2006. Participatory Mapping and Geographic Information Systems: Whose Map? Who is Empowered and Who Disempowered? Who Gains and Who Loses? EJISDC 25, 2, 1-11.
PC and LCD projector for PowerPoint presentation or overhead projector with transparencies.
Flipchart with markers, chalkboard with chalk or whiteboard with dry-erase markers, meta cards.
Large craft paper, masking tape to adhere paper onto the wall, large markers (various colours), an easel (or other device to hold up paper so it is visible to the group).
Map of the country in which the training is being held, without any writing on it (displayed on a flip chart and also one copy for each participant). The map used for this exercise should be developed by the facilitators according to the context of the training (i.e. use a map with which the audience is familiar).