Diamonds are used to:

  • deepen visions through establishing locally relevant SMART indicators
  • investigate extent and patterns of differentiation within communities and/or groups in those visions and indicators
  • rapid participatory impact assessment
  • establish locally-relevant priorities for change and set targets

With experienced facilitation they are a good tool to use with very large numbers of people. In the images below from Ivory Coast gender diamonds were used with 350 women and men, many of whom had not been to a meeting before and could not read and write. The groups quickly learned to self-facilitate with a small number of people who were doing the exercise for the first time leading and in communication with the main facilitator. All the group diamonds were quantified and fed back to the plenary. But because of the gender imbalance – many more women than men – there was no bringing together in to a ‘parent diamond’ (see below.


It is very important that the Diamond is self-facilitated by the groups. Apart from giving instructions on the main steps and ensuring everyone is participants, the facilitator/s only intervene at the end through posing certain questions and summing up.

1) Individual reflection: participants identify what criteria they think characterise extreme opposites of an issue or spectrum eg poverty, empowerment, violence. They draw these extremes on a set number of colour-coded cards.

2)Sharing: participants form groups of people as relevant to the issue and share their cards. This is often done as a game like charades where one person comes up and shows the card, the others first have to guess what it means. Then those with the same issue/criteria hand their cards to the person at the front. That person sits down and the next person comes up until all cards are finished.

3) Voting: having heard everyone else’s ideas, participants are then given a certain number of votes. They come up and confidentially put a mark on the cards they want to vote on. The difference between the number of cards and the number of votes for any issue can be taken as a rough indicator of changes in attitude/awareness as a result of the exercise.

4) Ranking: the votes are then counted and placed on the relevant level of the diamond: best likes at the top, medium likes towards the middle, medium dislikes middle below the line, worst dislikes at the bottom.

5) Plenary: the groups present their group diamond. As they do so they remove the card from their own drawing and, with discussion with the rest of the participants, place these cards either on their side or in the middle of the ‘parent diamond’.

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Then they progressively move inwards to obtain a scale towards  the average situation or majority of a population as the middle of a diamond.  Then the numbers of people within each band scale are plotted as before, after and/or target situations. This is then used as the basis for discussion of how the situation of those at the bottom of the diagram can be substantially improved.

Types of diamonds

Diamonds may be of many different types including, but by no means only:

Poverty diamond

Looks at whether most people are above or below the poverty line as identified by a community, then how many people are very rich or very poor, what criteria are used and why. This can also focus on particular dimensions of poverty eg food security.

!!Insert from KRC, LEAP and USAID

Gender Diamonds

Used as part of GALS, but also generating gender visions and indicators in PALS and FALS. These can focus generally on perceptions that women and men have of ’empowerment’, happy  families’, gender justice/empowerment’.

For discussion see:

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend


  • Empowerment diamond

Looks at whether most people consider themselves, or could be considered, powerful, how many people are very powerful or very powerless, what criteria are used and why.

See examples from Pakistan:

Kash Empowerment Diamonds

  • Household equality diamond

Looks at concepts of household equality, where the most households are above or below this ideal, the criteria used and the numbers and characteristics of ideal households and very bad households.

See examples from Pakistan:

Equity Diamond Pakistan

Taraqee Diamonds

Or the Diamond Tool can be used to look in detail at specific issues like violence, property rights, decision-making and other dimensions of CEDAW.

  • Violence diamond

Starts by examining the types of domestic, caste or community violence to which most people are subject. Then it looks at what an ideal state would be, and the very worst cases. Then the incidence can be quantified. For violence like domestic violence where even women suffering from it may deny its existence it may be best to start with extreme cases and then move up to awareness of generalised levels of violence or harassment.

See discussion of CEDAW Diamonds

Leadership Diamonds

Used in Tanzania coffee sector.