Tool 7 – Community Mapping

A community map helps local people engage in a project by highlighting their sense of boundary space. It is also a chance for them to mark places of importance that teams may be unaware exist, for example sacred sites or clan boundaries. It is a useful exercise that develops communication, increases knowledge of local environments and can be used as the first step towards creating a Community Action Plan (p165) (CAP) or for the initial analysis of a social baseline study (p127).

Step Guide


Invite all community members to the workshop


Divide into groups


Ask the groups to draw maps of their environment including buildings, cultural landmarks and areas of importance


Compare and discuss maps noting similarities and differences

Source: Training Kit on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication,
Module 8, Ground and Sketch Mapping. CTA, the Netherlands and IFAD, Italy
See for further information
(Photo. Steward Brown, 2010)


IFC, Investing in People: Sustaining Communities Through Improved Business Practice. A Community Development Resource Guide for Companies. Washington DC, 2001. Available here

National Environment Secretariat, Government of Kenya; Clark University; Egerton University; and the Center for International Development and Environment of the World Resources Institute, Participatory Rural Appraisal Handbook: Conducting PRAs in Kenya, December 1991.

Oduor-Naoh, E. et al. Implementing PRA: A Handbook to Facilitate Participatory Rural Appraisal, Program for International Development, Clark University, Worcester, MA, 1992.

Other participatory tools references are listed on p. 47 of the IFC, Stakeholder Engagement: A Good Practice Handbook for Companies Doing Business in Emerging Markets, Washington DC, 2007.