Circles Diagram Tools GAMEchange Methodology

Relationship Maps

Update 27/11/2020 Copyright Linda Mayoux as public resource.

Relationship maps (also known as Circle, Venn or chapati diagrams and systems maps) map are used for analysis of interrelationships and power relations and ways of strengthening and upscaling these relationships.

They can be adapted for any issue, used in any context and facilitated for any number of participants from individual level to very large collective planning processes.

Types of Relationship Map
  • Empowerment Leadership Map looks at support networks and power relations to plan and track peer sharing.
  • Market and value chain mapping: to look at possibilities for market diversification and increasing gender balance in markets:
  • Financial resource mapping: to look at the range of different sources of finance and their opportunities and challenges.
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Institutional governance mapping: institutional governance map to look at inter-organisational decision-making and power relations and how they can be changed.
  • Institutional advocacy mapping: mapping powerful institutions and strategies to influence them.
  • Information Systems mapping: to look at information flows and structures of power and transparency within and between organisations.

Dance DNA :
Relationship Maps

Relationship Map Key Features

Relationship maps combine on one diagram:

systems elements and boundaries

relationships between these elements

priorities for change in the elements and/or relationships with details and timeframes.

Combining these analyses into one diagram means that people can analyse in detail how different elements are interrelated within a whole system, adding details as they go along. The aim being to reflect on strategies that strengthen or create positive elements or relationships and help address negative ones.

Change Movement building

Relationship maps are often used to build networks and develop leadership.

  • Share the steps with other people in your households, communities and networks so that they can do their own map – not copy yours. NOTE: some maps must remain confidential, particularly those showing interpersonal relationships.
  • Meet together regularly to share experiences of what works and what does not work.
  • Develop collective plans over time for individual and collective actions to support each other – change starts with the individual, that is where you have responsibility and some control, But not all things can be done alone. And not everything should be just for you if you want a community, society or world that is good to live in.
System elements

The elements of a system or concept are represented making use of the whole surface available:

  • a system may radiate out from a single middle person, institution or concept or they may have several different starting ‘nodes’.
  • shapes or symbols show common and distinct features between different elements eg people, institutions, markets.
  • colours, shapes and/or symbols signify which elements are similar and which are different.
  • elements are grouped spatially and/or as overlapping shapes, shapes inside or next to other elements.

the types of interrelationship between the elements are shown as lines and arrows of:

  • different direction
  • different colour
  • different thickness

Action learning/
building networks

Living action learning map that is revisited, tracking progress, analysing what works and does not work, and and tracked over time, not left in a drawer until the next workshop or visit by the donor.

Consistent colour coding so that the map and action plan is kept clear. Best to start with a draft in pencil, but then distinguish:

  • red ‘ripe fruits’ are drawings and circles for vision and achievements/actions done.
  • black ‘native fruits’ are what is already there.
  • green ‘unripe fruits’ are drawings and circles of positive things yet to be achieved or actions yet to be done. Once one thing is achieved, think of some new green fruits.
  • blue ‘perished fruits’ are drawings, crosses and circle for things thatare to be avoided, no longer want or you know from experience now will not work.

How is it done:
Generic Steps

Generic  steps

  1. Individual or target institution either as they want to be or as they currently are in a circle at the centre of the page
  2. Other elements are placed spatially far or near with different types of colour/line coding/shape.
  3. Linkages and interrelationships are shown with different types of arrow
  4. Elements or linkages to be strengthened or changed are marked with symbols representing action or by thick coloured circles.

As things change they are marked with a thick red circle as a ripe fruit or smiley face. Symbols are put against actions or targets that need more attention.

iLEAD leadership map from Oxfam Novib Marriage is No Child’s Play project 2020.

Relationship Map:
Facilitation Examples

Change Leadership Map

Developed in 2017 for SNV Ethiopia with Sara de Smet and SNV staff and champions as part of a PALS Toolkit for Gender and Youth in Horticulture Markets project.

Leadership Web

Developed in 2020 for Oxfam Novib with Katja Koegler and partners in Mali, Niger and Pakistan for Marriage is No Child’s Play project.

Business Innovation Market Map

Developed in 2019 for IFAD with Asel Kuttubaeva for Business Action Learning for Innovation (BALI) methodology as part of IFAD’s Rural Women Economic Empowerment Joint Project in Kyrgyzstan

Financial Empowerment Map

Developed in 2017 for Oikocredit with Intan Dharmawati, Malou Juanito and partners NWTF and ASKI in Philippines for Financial Action Learning System (FALS) methodology as part of Oikocredit’s Bridging the Gender Gap in Responsible Finance project.