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Research, Policy and Practice

Table 4 Strengths and weaknesses of participatory analysis of vulnerability

From: Participatory analysis of vulnerability to drought in three agro-pastoral communities in the West African Sahel

Strength Weakness
1. It is empirical and based on actual observations of current climate risks and how communities cope with them 1. It may reinforce existing power relationships and inequalities in the community
2. Allows for a representative participation of stakeholders in dealing with their problems 2. There is the likelihood of being dominated by few people while those who are shy or with minority viewpoints may not have opportunity to express themselves
3. It promotes inclusivity and participation in decision making on community strategies to reduce their vulnerability 3. It still relies on the traditional mechanisms of extractive data collection
4. It can foster local ownership and responsibility for identified strategies or actions to reduce vulnerability 4. The problem of scalability of location-specific findings to elsewhere with similar contexts
5. It responds to people’s own priorities and concerns about the risks/hazards they face 5. It often requires a skilled facilitator who can manage groups of people and effectively guide the discussion
6. It can strengthen linkages between research and local practices, and can strengthen alliance with external agencies that can provide support to reduce vulnerability of the community 6. Respondents may not be comfortable in expressing controversial opinions as confidentiality and anonymity are not assured in a group discussion
7. It facilitates co-learning and capacity building of the local stakeholders to conduct vulnerability assessments 7. It may create expectation of external support due to involvement of outside agencies particularly NGOs
  1. Sources: Roncoli 2006; Tschakert 2006; van Aalst et al. 2008; Fazey et al. 2010; Brockhaus et al. 2013; Rurinda et al. 2014; Asare-Kyei et al. 2015