GAMEchange Network promotes and innovates with:

Community-led empowerment methodologies that aim to give women, youth and men of all ages and from all backgrounds more control over their lives and catalyse and support a sustainable movement for social justice that will as far as possible include and benefit all stakeholders to be sustainable.

The GAMEchange family of empowerment methodologies adapt similar tools, facilitation and implementation processes to enable women and men from any background to identify and implement their own individual and collective strategies and communicate these to powerful stakeholders.

Each GAMEchange process is unique and adapted over time to different purposes, contexts and types of development action. There are an ever-expanding range of adaptations of the original generic PALS methodology, often with names to reflect the particular purpose of the process and/or local terminology.

Principles and non-negotiables

The different methodologies vary as they integrate into different types of intervention and sector, and adapt to different organisational and social context and responding to needs of different stakeholder combinations. Nevertheless, they are all underpinned by a number of common principles and non-negotiables:

  • Inspiration is key
  • Inclusion and respect for all
  • Self-reliance
  • Everyone can be a leader of change
  • Action from day 1
  • Reflective learning
  • Community-led and multi-stakeholder
  • Social justice principles of gender and diversity rights are mainstreamed and non-negotiable

Distinctive features

Pictorial Diagram Tools

The methodology is based on pictorial drawing tools. Drawing is used not only because it is more inclusive – people who cannot read and write can often draw better and communicate directly with powerful stakeholders. Drawings as visual communication and enable more information to be put on a page with clearer concepts and showing interrelationships. Four diagram types are adapted to different issues, contexts and processes:

  • Journeys to show progress over time and plan towards a vision
  • Trees to show inputs/outputs, challenge/action, cause/effect
  • Circle Maps to show relationships and systems
  • Diamonds to examine local concepts and bring different sides together
Fun with a Serious Purpose’

Participatory facilitation techniques based on deep listening, ‘facilitation from the back’, ‘facipulation of chaos’ using:

The diagram tools themselves encourage specific types of questioning. Facilitators talk as little as possible, creating spaces for different voices to be heard and listened to. In good PALS facilitation the facilitator can leave the room, focus on photographing or video while participants facilitate themselves.


The empowerment methodology and strategies are shared by community ‘champions’ as a way of strengthening their social networks rather than organisation-led Training of Trainer systems. Experienced champions are then certified as paid community trainers to train outside their own communities. The role of development organisations is to respond to issues coming up, mainstreaming the methodology into other activities and decision-making, and empowering enquiry to ensure quality information for advocacy.

Mainstreaming empowerment

GAMEchange empowerment methodologies are integrated into other existing activities and interventions. The same tools and participatory processes used at individual level are used for more inclusive and effective participatory technical trainings and organisational strategic planning. This enables effective and cost-efficient strengthening of capacity and self-reliance at community level. And inclusive informed communication between stakeholders at different levels.

Empowering Enquiry

Participatory action learning, based on participants’ individual reflection for their own learning. Information is aggregated and analysed through participatory information systems and workshops to feed into advocacy. Participatory methods are complemented by qualitative and quantitative enquiry that incorporate empowerment of respondents into their design.

Future Adaptations

Further adaptations explored and envisaged for further development include:

  • literacy and numeracy integration
  • environmental management
  • nutrition and food security
  • health and reproductive rights
  • counselling and conflict resolution.