Participatory Learning and Action: A Trainer’s Guide
by Pretty, Guijt, Thompson and Scoones.

This is an excellent and comprehensive guide to the whole subject of PLA. It is well designed and easy to read and use with 267 pages. It covers a wide range of topics, from warm-up exercises with newly formed groups, to adult learning and the challenges of training in the field. Full details are given for 101 exercises, including their uses, time involved, materials needed and how to use them. This would be an excellent resource for trainers. It is available from:

IT Bookshop, 103–105 Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4HH, UK.

Training for Transformation by Hope and Timmel

There are three manuals (approx 180 pages each) in the series. First printed in 1984, they provide an excellent introduction to participatory development and are full of practical ideas, suggestions, case studies and exercises. They have been widely used by many organisations. Though expensive, they would be a valuable investment as a group resource for any organisation. Discounts are available for large orders. Available from:

Mambo Press, Box 779, Gweru, Zimbabwe.

Participatory Rural Appraisal: Practical Experiences by Nabasa, Rutwara, Walker and Were

Natural Resource Institute, UK

This booklet provides a very straightforward introduction to the use of participatory exercises. It costs £7.50. However single copies are available, free of charge to educational groups, research institutions and non-profit-making organisations in countries receiving British aid. Write, using your official title (not name), to:

NRI, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK.

A Participatory Systematization Workbook by Daniel Selener with Gabriela Zapata and Christopher Purdy

This manual is aimed at any group involved with development projects, whether large NGOs or small grass-roots organisations. Systematization is a continuous process of participatory reflection about projects involving both staff and participants. It looks first at how to analyse projects, then how to draw lessons from this analysis which can help to improve the project as it continues.

The manual is very clearly laid out, with key ideas presented so that they can be understood easily. Many examples are given of how to analyse options and possible solutions. Much of the text is laid out in boxes and tables, for copying and using more widely. Permission is given for any page to be copied, reproduced and adapted to local needs.

This would be very helpful for any group involved in planning projects. It is available in Spanish and English (about to be printed) from the following address:

IIRR, Oficina Regional para América Latina, Ap Do 17-08-8494, Quito, Ecuador. Fax (593-2) 443 763 Email:

Setting up Community Health Programmes by Dr Ted Lankester

This practical manual covers all aspects of setting up and running community health projects. Particular emphasis is given to the need to consult the local community long before the programme begins. Chapters deal with working with partners in the community, decision making, monitoring and evaluation, immunisation, TB, AIDS, maternity, family planning and malnutrition programmes. Plenty of practical tips are included. The book is written in simple English and well illustrated. Recommended to anyone concerned with community health care.

A second edition is soon to be published. As an active member of the Footsteps Committee, Dr Lankester is offering a limited number of free copies of the first edition to Footsteps readers working in community health care. If you would like a free copy please write, giving brief details of your work, to:

Tearfund Resources Dept, 100 Church Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 8QE, UK.

An Indian edition of this book is available and is highly recommended for anyone in the Indian subcontinent. Available from:

CMAI, Plot 2 A-3 Local Shopping Centre, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110 05, India.

Maintaining Fish Quality: An Illustrated Guide by S E Johnson and I J Clucas Natural Resource Institute, UK

Readers who found the Footsteps issue on fish farming an encouragement and prepared their own fish ponds will find this book very helpful and well timed. Written in simple English with plenty of useful diagrams and illustrations, it is full of advice on how to look after fish once they have been harvested – processing methods, preserving techniques, transport and packaging. Ideal for fish farmers who live a long way from markets, it gives full details on salting, drying and smoking fish. Maintaining fish quality from catching to eating should be every fish farmer’s aim.

This is a practical book (94 pages). Educational groups, research institutions and non-profit-making organisations in countries receiving British aid can apply for a free copy of this book. Write, using your official title (not name), to:

NRI, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK.

The Tropical Agriculturalist Series

Four new books have recently been published in this useful series. They are Goats, Avocado, Animal Health Vol 1 (Vol 2 was published earlier) and Livestock Production Systems.  They are practical and detailed resources for agricultural officers and trainers. They are available from:

CTA, PO Box 380, 6700 AJ Wageningen, The Netherlands.

PLA contacts

Many groups produce useful resources for PLA work. Here are some addresses to write to for further information…


They produce a number of books, booklets, research papers and a very good series – PLA Notes (free for many southern groups). International Institute for Environment and Development, Endsleigh Street, London, WC1 0DD, UK



Center for International Development and Environment, 1709 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA


This group in South India produce a number of useful resources about the use of PLA – known as PALM to them. These include a very helpful training video – A Participant’s Diary of a PRA Exercise in Karnataka, India.

MYRADA, 2 Service Road, Domlur Layout, Bangalore, 560 071, India