A good participatory process should be grounded within its context. This means taking into account the particular circumstances or context surrounding and affecting the process in a broad sense. This checklist aims to help you to focus on some particular aspects that should be considered.

Ask yourself…

Are you aware of how committed, involved or interested the key decision makers are with regard to the engagement process? ❏

Do you have an idea as to how your process will fit into any decision-making mechanisms in terms of timing and documentation required?  ❏

Are you aware of any previous participatory initiatives and their outcomes? It is important to be informed by previous experience rather than beginning from scratch.  ❏

Have you found out if there is a history relevant to the process that you need to take into account when planning? ❏

Have you considered which participants are considered less likely to participate and how to reach out and support their involvement?  ❏

Are you aware of any pre-existing relationships between participants and facilitators? There may be friendships or strained relationships that you need to be aware of.  ❏

Personality of the group – are you aware of individuals who may need extra encouragement to participate in group discussions, or of those who may dominate? Approaches to managing these differences should be prepared beforehand.  ❏

Diversity of the group – is it appropriate for the whole group to meet together ( i.e. men and women, young and old, senior and junior) or will this affect participants’ ability to join in a frank and open discussion?  ❏

Formality of communication – what tone is appropriate for the group? This will affect the type of place you may meet, whether online methods are used and the type of language spoken and written.  ❏

Do interpreters need to be used and if so do you have a strategy for publicising the presence of interpreters to potential participants? ❏

Are you aware of any informally discussed hopes or aspiration that have not been formally acknowledged in the process aims? ❏