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Vision Diamonds are diagram frameworks for establishing local detailed indicators for visioning, targeting and impact assessment. They are particularly useful as a participatory tool to look at more sensitive issues where consensus is needed on ways forward.

For videos on Gender Diamonds from Kyrgyzstan that were too big to put on this blog see: Zemni Images Kyrgyzstan

How are Diamonds used?

Vision Diamonds show the degree of spread of values horizontally around an established norm or average. They can also show differences between stakeholders in columns vertically.

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

Diamonds can be drawn at individual or household level eg Friendship Diamonds. But more often they are a participatory tool that incorporates drawing games and development of participant group facilitation skills. With experienced facilitation they are a good tool to use with very large numbers of people.

Diamonds are the most complex of the GAMEchange tools to facilitate, and take time, particularly if dealing with sensitive issues. If time is very short and/or facilitation skills do not exist, then alternative visioning and assessment methods are used.

Diamond Tool Examples
  • Poverty Diamonds: the first Diamond developed with Rose Mutasi in SATNET, Uganda and used in many places including PASED, Sudan and ANANDI, India to establish women and men’s indicators for poverty targeting.
  • Empowerment Diamonds: establishes criteria of most empowered and least empowered for different stakeholders (used in many places for women’s empowerment including ANANDI, India, MFIs in Latin America and staff of ASKI in Philippines, RWEE Kyrgyzstan, Gumutindo and Bukonzo Joint in Uganda and Nestle cocoa cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire)
  • Gender Justice and CEDAW Diamonds to identify detailed indicators for gender justice and reach consensus between women and men as part of a GALS Participatory Gender Review.
  • Happy Family Diamonds: establishes criteria for women, men and youth in Happy and Unhappy Families (used in many places including Pakistan Micro-finance Network as more ‘men-friendly’ alternative to Gender Diamonds)
  • Violence Diamonds: establishes a hierarchy of different types of psychological and physical abuse suffered by women, children and men to establish non-violent modes of conduct. Used in ANANDI, India.
  • Food Security Diamonds: used in ANANDI to look at the types of food women and men had in the most food secure and insecure households.
  • Leadership Diamonds: looks at criteria for good leaders and good members to establish agreed common codes. used in Vuasu Coffee Cooperative Union, Tanzania, to
  • Decent Work Diamonds: looks at employee and employer criteria for Decent Work and establishing an agreed Code of Conduct as part of value chain training (ILO).
  • Friendship Diamonds: a personal Diamond Tool used between two people to improve their relationship through bringing together what each person likes/dislikes about themselves and what they like/dislike about the other person.

Diamond Generic Steps

STEP 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.

STEP 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.

STEP 3) Voting

When they have 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. Or they can vote by show of hands. 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

Participants then count the votes and place each set of cards 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) Action priorities

Action priorities then ringed in green as planned fruits. These are most likely to be the things that people really want, but that few people have. Or the things that people want least and many people have.

5) Plenary sharing and negotiation

Participants from each group presents their group Diamond – those who are normally least vocal should present first with others adding. One person removes the cards from their own drawing and, with discussion with the rest of the participants, places these cards either on their side or in the middle of the ‘parent diamond’. This identifies common indicators and potential lines of difference to establish common Codes of Conduct. In particular discussion of how the situation of people suffering at the bottom of the Diamond can be substantially improved.

Tracking and Impact Assessment: Achievement of action priorities are ringed as red fruits. Impact can also be shown retrospectively for individual indicators as mini-wiggly-road journeys.


It is very important that the Diamond is self-facilitated by the groups.

The facilitator’s role is mainly to ensure inclusive participatory process. They:

  • Provide the Parent Diamond Framework and give instructions on the main steps for the groups as people go along.
  • Ensure everyone is participating and the most dominant participants stand back and listen.
  • Decide the order of group presentation in the plenary – if it seems that the more powerful stakeholder groups have already given a lot of ground, then they should go first. In the case of gender diamonds men should often go first. If the process has been too conflictual, then the plenary can be left until later after ‘discussions over dinner’.
  • The facilitator/s only intervenes on substance at the end through posing certain questions and a very brief summing up. Their main inputs are informally later.

In a Nestle GALS Catalyst workshop with cocoa cooperatives in 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’.

Page updated 07/02/2022
Copyright Linda Mayoux as public resource.
Conditions of use: for ethical development purposes, provided original sources are fully accredited and a link to this website is clearly provided so that users can access further updates.