Copyright and Usage

© Linda Mayoux 2019

Unless otherwise stated on the relevant document, all materials on this website are copyright of Linda Mayoux.

My aim is to retain  free usage of the original source documents and best practice in the methodology as part of a social and gender justice movement. To prevent certain unethical practices that have arisen on the part of certain people and organisations. So that people working on the ground can continue to adapt, implement and innovate with the different methodologies.

Copyright aims

The aims of this Copyright are to:

  • make the original methodology freely available and as accessible as possible, particularly for use by smaller local organisations on the ground who do not have access to funding.
  • reduce conceptual and methodological distortion of the community-led original intentions of the methodology by plagiarism and organisational branding.
  • prevent powerful organisations and ‘experts’ imposing their own copyright restrictions on use and innovation.
  • create thereby a change movement that can work together for community-led social justice advocacy.

Conditions of use

The materials are free for use and adaptation for noncommercial and ethical purposes under Creative Commons protocols, on condition that :

  • you notify Linda Mayoux through filling in the comment form below, stating the purpose for which you are using it. She will then contact you by email.
  • there is a very clear and visible accreditation of the authors of the relevant materials and the implementing and funding organisations.
  • there is a URL link to the original document on this website prominently displayed and a link to this copyright page.
  • Linda Mayoux is cited as the originator of the PALS methodology and its GALS, FALS and other derivatives.
  • you send Linda Mayoux a copy of the final document/public reports with a brief 200-500 word description so they can be posted on this blog.
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For commercial purposes and use by private companies, application should be made to Linda Mayoux through filling in the comment form below.

An example of accreditation protocol:

For the original document and other PALS/GALS/FALS adaptations and experiences for livelihoods, value chain and coffee sector see: http://gamechangenetwork.org/empowerment-methodology-pals/ . For more about experiences of using the methodology elsewhere see links from: http://gamechangenetwork.org and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GAMEchange-Network. Any further adaptation and use of this document should observe the ethical Copyright principles stated in: http://gamechangenetwork.org/copyright/ in the interests of maintaining free use of the methodology and expanding the gender advocacy movement. Any errors of translation or interpretation (and also credit for further innovation) lie with the authors.


Unless otherwise stated all photographs on this website are copyrighted to Linda Mayoux. They can be downloaded as long as they are accredited with a link to the website page.

High resolution versions of the images are available on: http://www.zemniimages.com/GAMEchangeNetwork. 

All are password-protected but free to use by the participants, partner organisations and sponsors of the relevant project. That is to protect the people in photographs and also the interests of the project and funders.

If other people want to use these images, please send a request as a comment to the homepage of this website and I or the relevant organisation will get back to you.

Diagram Tools

The GAMEchange empowerment methodology uses a set of four diagram types:


A strategic planning and assessment ‘road map’ tool over time (future and/or past) that consist of 1) Vision 2) Current situation 3) Opportunties and Challenges (SWOT) 4) periodic targets and actions 5) track progress over time


Concept diagrams that consist of a) trunk showing visions and current situations for an issue b) roots to analyse inputs c) branches to analyse outputs d) forces and links on the trunk to explain interlinkages between inputs and outputs e) fruits that identify and track actions and achievements.


Systems maps that 1) show and rank importance of elements – social networks, institutions, markets 2) look at different types of relationship between these 3) identify and track strategies for change.


Ranking tools that 1) brainstorm criteria/indicators of success/failure 2) Place and rank these on a Diamond framework 3) Identify changes that are desired and/or have happened 4) Identify priorities for future changes that then form the basis for further analysis using other tools.

These are adapted in different ways to different purposes and questions. Facilitation guidelines also differentiate between the ways that tools are used at individual level, in face to face peer sharing and larger participatory workshop contexts.

Organisational Mainstreaming

Organisational mainstreaming builds on and links with the community-level process. Staff are trained by the champions, and then have a role later in monitoring and supporting service improvement and/or advocacy on issues arising from the community process. The mainstreaming process follows the same stages integrated with the community process:

  • Catalyst Inception meetings (1-3 days before the catalyst process) for preliminary introductions and training of a small team of core staff who will be involved in leading implementation. Ideally they would also go to see PALS in an existing PALS resource organisation. They also use the tools for themselves. Following the catalyst workshop, there is also a planning meeting to look at short term implementation and possibilities for longer term sustainability.
  • Organisational/stakeholder visioning and planning after 3-6 months larger numbers of staff are involved in the process strengthening workshops, trained by the champions. By this time the value of PALS and working on gender should have been established on the ground with both men and women community advocates. This enables a discussion of ways of mainstreaming upscaling within existing staff activities involving the champions.
  • Review and Sustainability Plan introduce the methodology properly for staff, demonstrate its proven value for the organisation and discuss ways of mainstreaming using facilitated by the champions and core catalyst team to . Ongoing implementation and tracking of progress at individual level, group sharing of experiences, organisational quantification and aggregation of information on changes by the local core catalyst team and work on integration into the business model and supporting institutions. includes and trains field staff who will integrate gender justice and relevant PALS tools and processes into other organisational activities including technical and other training.

Phase 3: Annual Review And Sustainability Plan

After 1 year an Annual PALS@Scale Review and Sustainability Planning Workshop agrees or at least initiates a sustainability plan for further deepening gender and livelihood changes, strengthening leadership and scaling up for the following year.

  • Achievement review brings together aggregated information on achievements on: core aims (eg livelihoods, health etc) to establish the local business/efficiency case for PALS; gender justice and deepens understanding and commitment to gender justice and women’s human rights and peer sharing networks and upscaling.
  • Sustainability plan identifies the most effective strategies for pyramid peer sharing to accelerate voluntary scaling up and strengthen leadership networks and certifies a core set of the best champions who have changed their own lives and taught a significant number of people in their own communities to a good quality standard, and who have participatory facilitation skills. They will qualify to be involved in upscaling, documentation and dissemination on a paid basis in other regions (locally, nationally or internationally) in recognition of their contribution to increasing profits of the company/cooperative and/or reducing costs for the service organisation.
  • Leadership and facilitation strengthening trains the champions to facilitate larger meetings using soulmate visioning, gender justice diamond, challenge action trees and organisational vision journey.
  • Multimedia documentation for promotion and advocacy and to finalise training materials that can be used at different levels, establishing the business/efficiency case and covering gender issues arising to feed into gender strategies and advocacy.

Leadership Strengthening: Tanzania

Leadership Strengthening 2 day workshop

Why do you want to be a leader? reflection and visioning

Participants were asked to why they wanted to be leaders. All participants came up with 5 different reasons why they wanted to be leaders. The next step was to draw a good leader, how a good led community would look like, and what does a good leader do? Different drawings came from all the participants explaining qualities of what they thought a good leader is! Discussions came around what they highlighted as qualities of a good leader for example one participants drew a fat man seated in front of thin people giving instructions to them as his car was parked by the side. From different discussions came from the group on what they all agreed as qualities of a good leader:

  • cooperative
  • hard working
  • listens to people
  • visionary
  •  optimistic
  • contributes to the needs of the society
  •  cares for people
  • is a doer
  •  is a good advisor
  •  is a good manager

A leadership song was composed based on the qualities of a good leader and participants were asked to draw in their notebooks qualities of a good leader based on the decided upon qualities.

Leadership Diamond tool

Participants were asked to draw a shaped diamond and two lines were drawn to split and a middle line was drawn, on the left side qualities of a good leader were drawn, and on the right qualities good members were drawn and down wards left side, were qualities of bad leaders and right side qualities of bad members.

After the discussions, the similar qualities of both members and leader were drawn in the middle of the diamond tool; also the bad qualities were changed into positive and drawn in the middle, participants came to a consensus on qualities of both members and leaders.

Consensus on good leadership and good membership

LeaderQualities for bothMember
Good manager Good implementer Good advisor Good listener
Hard working Attendance Visionary Responsible Contributor Caring

Organisational governance map

The participants then came together to draw an institutional relationship map of Vuasu and the primary cooperatives. They discussed

  • how the system worked for decision-making and benefits – which decisions are made where and by whom
  • how far leadership was a challenge at the different levels
  • specific barriers to women becoming leaders

The conclusion was that much of the challenge was due to political interference in approval of candidates and into the voting meetings themselves. This meant that even if good people were proposed and accepted their nomination, they could not even be presented for election.

Leadership Vision Journey

After the discussion on the Diamond the champions reviewed their leadership visions and drew their own vision journey for leadership in their community and/or cooperative.

Catalyst Process

PALS Phase 1: Catalyst Phase

The Catalyst Phase is a 0-6 months process involving two parallel activities, sequenced and adapted to the overall aims and design of the intervention, the needs of the participants involved and the context. It generally consists of:

  • Inception consultations with the implementing organisations to agree on overall purpose of the PALS process, activity schedule, selection of field-testing and pilot locations and participants in the light of the overall goals and a sustainability plan. Ideally this involves a 2-3 day face to face meeting for detailed presentation of the methodology and a visit by the lead persons to an organisation already implementing PALS. Alternatively through setting up a draft blog page and e-discussion in advance and 2-3 days planning and field context visits by the external facilitator immediately before the Champion Catalyst Workshop.
  • Champion Catalyst Workshop/s (5 days – preferably as 10 half days over 2 weeks) with 20-60 champions from one or more communities and organisations facilitated by GALS expert practitioner/s. This introduces at least the first four tools: Soulmate visioning, Vision Journey, Gender Balance Tree and Empowerment Leadership Map together with songs and cultural innovations and basic facilitation and peer sharing skills.
  • Core staff and champion facilitation training (5 days – preferably as 10 half days over 2 weeks in parallel to champion workshops so that staff get hands-on facilitation practice)
  • Community Peer Sharing Community peer sharing workshops (1 day each) immediately following the Champion Catalyst Workshops. The champions practice the facilitation skills, start to establish their leadership networks and reinforce their own understandings of the tools.
  • Community Action Learning Ongoing tracking of progress at individual level, group sharing of experiences and support from the local core catalyst team. Champions then track and share progress in existing or new groups. Aiming to implement their visions and gender changes and for each champion to scale up by a factor of average 1 to 30 over 6 months.



Drawing is not just ‘pretty pictures for illiterates’, but a way of clarifying and communicating very complex concepts.

Drawing is:
  • liberating activity: freeing thought from long wordy definitions and clarifying underlying assumptions and differences in understanding of complex concepts like empowerment, gender, wealth creation and leadership. Scientific research has shown that drawing uses a different part of the brain from normal linear thought, and promotes intelligence, creativity and even seems to counter some of the effects of dementia.
  • fun collective activity – bringing people from very different backgrounds together to explore ideas and clarify concepts, identify differences and reach some sort of consensus. The outputs can be extremely attractive murals and meaningful decoration in meeting places and workshops as a form of collective memory or training aid.
  • an effective tool for learning, remembering and inspiring action. For that reason mind mapping and sketch-noting are an important part of modern higher education.
  • a good way of promoting mutual understanding and respect between people with different levels of education – people who cannot read and write are often better at drawing concepts than those with higher levels of education. Drawing also reduces the need for translation in multilingual contexts.
  • a very powerful communication of ideas and images for gender change – it is very difficult for donors and policy makers to dismiss graphic pictures of dreams and also constraints like violence drawn by women and men in poor communities as ‘feminist imperialism’.
The aim is not ‘correct pictures’ but sophisticated analysis of complex issues and identification of realisable change strategies. Participants create their own pictorial manuals and notes – not only reducing costs, but also making it more likely they will remember and implement what they have learned. Using drawings means that people who cannot read and write, as well as embattled CEOs of global companies and government officials, are able to put their experience and ideas on paper and communicate clearly to each other.

Fun with a Serious Purpose: Facilitation techniques

PALS is like learning to dance. First you need to feel the basic underlying rhythm – the principles of respect, inclusion, equality and empowerment for all and belief in the possibility of change and need for discipline and self-reliance to achieve in life. Next you need to regularly practise particular routines learned from others who have been dancing for some time to really experience the benefits and changes so that the rhythm becomes automatic. Then you can really be creative with your own dance – fit, energetic and responsive to the dances of others.

Everyone can do this. But some people, including many teachers, mistake the practice routines for both the rhythm and the dance. They become over-concerned with ‘correctness’ and cannot judge which steps are necessary to maintain the rhythm and take the wrong short cuts to keep time. They get easily confused and their own dance becomes stiff and uninspired.  Yet other people think they are already ‘naturals’ and do not need to practice any steps or discipline and try to go straight to free-style. Those people can get tripped up and often bump into others and the whole dance becomes chaos.

The skill is to know when you have understood the rhythm enough to guide your detailed practice with confidence and when you need to go back to listen more carefully to the rhythm again. To realise that learning the dance is a lifelong process getting ever stronger through integrating inspiration from the rhythm, disciplined practice and creativity of your own dance. And to really watch, share inspiration and dance in harmony with others.

It is a key task of PALS facilitation is to inspire an excitement and enthusiasm for change. As an exciting process of self-empowerment and exploration, a process of breaking barriers that prevent men as well as women from achieving their full human potential. All PALS workshops and meetings aim to help people:

  • vision how their lives, families and communities could be in a more gender equitable world
  • identify achievable steps to change that they can implement immediately and also over the longer term
  • develop partipatory, listening and leadership skills
  • build confidence and creativity in visual communication, songs and theatre
  • form new friendship networks within which women and men treat each other as equal human beings.
  • develop facilitation skills to become champions of change in their households and communities

In PALS common human rights and concepts of social justice are progressively internalised as ‘natural’ through fun processes: drawing, songs and theatre. This then transforms perceptions of men as well as women, and inspires them to share what they have learned with others. As the basis for a sustainable movement for social change, in which equal human rights of all people including those currently most disadvantaged: women, young, old, poor, people with no formal education, ethnic minorities are an integral and no longer questioned element.

Facilitation Principles

PALS facilitation aims not only to teach diagram tools and skills, but to catalyse discussion, awareness and motivation ‘from within’ the participants themselves so that they own the change process and are able to facilitate themselves.

Key principles are:

  • start with visions and the positive
  • everyone can be a leader
  • action from Day 1
  • inclusion: everyone has a right to be listened to and respected
  • facilitation from the back
  • MAKE IT FUN!! or people will want to be paid to come back

Facilitation Process

In PALS the focus is on ‘active learning’. Every session or meeting should include a range of different elements to make the meeting lively and participatory, and develop peer sharing and facilitation skills of participants. The facilitator needs to develop listening and observation skills and experience in distinctive PALS facilitation techniques and processes adapted to specific mixes of participants, in particular:

  • Facilitate from the back so by the end participants will be able to facilitate themselves and others to continue to use the tools for empowerment and change when they get back home.

For details see Facilitation Process

Specific techniques include:

    • Visual communication through drawing and diagrams that people themselves own and can show to others.
    • Participatory drama to question preconceptions and ‘subvert’ cultural stereotypes and practice new ways of behaviour.
    • Songs and Dances people will take back home and sing in the shower to reinforce change.

Key resources


December indonesia_galsgaps_facilitation


Advanced Tools And Leadership Strengthening

After 3-6 months more advanced versions of the same tools are introduced for the most active champions emerging through the catalyst phase through:

  • core skills strengthening (eg livelihoods, health, climate change) (3 days) to: introduce more advanced versions of the basic diagram tools adapted for livelihoods (increasing incomes challenge action tree, household business tree, market map, livelihood calendar vision journey) and examine areas for collaboration to increase incomes. This starts to look at how the business/efficiency case for gender and PALS could be established and how to collect the necessary information.
  • leadership strengthening (3 days) introduces tools for leadership development (leadership soulmate visioning, leadership diamond, leadership challenge action tree and leadership vision journey) and reflect on PALS facilitation and peer sharing experience.
  • initiating monitoring system reviews experience so far looking at the achievements (red ripe fruits) on the original diagrams and introduces the core PALS monitoring tool for the whole process (Multi-lane Vision Journey).



‘The process through which those who are currently disadvantaged achieve equal rights, resources and power’

“Empowerment is like obscenity; you have trouble defining it but you know it when you see it” (Rappaport 1986)

“I like the term empowerment because no one has defined it clearly as yet; so it gives as a breathing space to work it out in action terms before we have to pin ourselves down to what it means. I will continue using it until I am sure it does not describe what we’re doing.” (NGO worker quoted in Batliwala 1993)



•  is concerned with increasing realisable and informed choices within a framework ofhuman rights and equality

•  inevitably involves challenging existing inequalities in power and resources

•  involves a combination of individual initiative and collective action

•  is a complex process which consists of interlinked and mutually reinforcingdimensions (economic, cultural, legal, political, psychological) and levels (e.g. individual, family, community, macro-level)

•  requires not only ‘self-help’ by those who are currently disadvantaged butchanges in those who are currently advantaged and addressing macro-level inequalities

Elements of a framework:

  • process of transformation in power relations
  • dimensions of inequalities where change is needed eg economic, social,political, legal
  • levels at which change is needed eg individual, household, communities, markets, national, international.


The English term ’empowerment’ originated in the second half of the 17th century. It gained widespread usage in the 1960s in the US Civil Rights and Women’s Movements. But it is an extension of earlier concepts of equality, justice and freedom which were expressed in many anti-imperialist and political struggles. These are also enshrined in international agreements and also underlie the precepts of many religious traditions, including Islam.

In the 1980s the term was adopted by NGOs in both the South and the North to signify an alternative development agenda for poverty alleviation based on principles of participation and self-help. At the same time neo-liberal politicians also adopted the term empowerment to underline a commitment to increasing individual choice and self-help in the context of market reform (and also the cynical might suggest to increase their popular appeal).

Women’s empowerment is not a Northern concept. Women all over the world, including countries in the South, have been challenging and changing gender inequalities since the beginnings of history. These struggles have also been supported by many men who have been outraged at injustices against women and the consequences for society. It would be yet another instance of imperialism to say all these women and men did not have minds of their own!

Quantitative methods

Advocacy campaigns often require justification through ‘rigorous’ quantitative information on large numbers of people. Quantitative methods as they are commonly conceived derive from experimental and statistical methods in natural science.

The main concern is with rigorous objective measurement in order to determine the truth or falsehood of particular pre-determined hypotheses.

  • the main focus is on measuring ‘how much is happening to how many people’.
  • the main tools are large scale surveys analysed using statistical techniques. Quantitative measurable indicators relevant to the pre-determined hypotheses are identified and combined into questionnaires.
  • questionnaires are then conducted for a random sample or stratified random sample of individuals, often including a control group.
  • causality is assessed through comparison of the incidence of the variables under consideration between main sample and control group and/or the degree to which they co-occur.
  • in large-scale research projects teams are composed of a number of skilled research designers and analysts assisted by teams of local enumerators.

Use of quantitative methods on their own have a tendency to reduce complex issues, including gender issues, to simplistic indicators chosen for ease of measurement, but which may not be the most important or relevant in planning for change.

Empowering Enquiry in Quantitative Research

All research and impact assessment methodologies, including statistical surveys, informal interviews as well as participatory methods, can be more empowering for those giving their valuable time to answering questions.

Empowering Enquiry provides simple guidelines that can underpin any methodology.

  1. Stakeholder participation
  • ensure inclusion and informed participation of the most vulnerable stakeholders
  • include these stakeholders in those stages in research where participation can be most directly empowering to them. Participation may be more important at the design, analysis and dissemination stages than the actual collection of information itself.

2) Design of questionnaires, interviews and participatory meetings to contribute to increasing people’s understanding of their situation and ways forward as well extracting information without necessarily increasing their length. Questions can be sequenced to:

  • start by clarifying the vision people have
  • celebrate what they have already achieved
  • identify challenges to further progress
  • identify clear concrete strategies for moving further along the road to their vision.

3) The research process itself aims to contribute to an ongoing multi-stakeholder learning process through:

•  building up capacities and structures for ongoing representation of poor women and men and other vulnerable people in the policy making process.

•  facilitating direct interaction between powerful stakeholders and poor people in order to break down the barriers of complacency, misinformation and prejudice which are in themselves key causes of gender inequality and poverty.

For more details see the Empowering Enquiry Toolkit:

What is Empowering Enquiry?

1: What do we want to know? Selecting Indicators
2: Whom do we ask? Sampling
3: How do we find out? Collecting Information
4:What Do We Do with it? Documentation and dissemination

Gender inequalities raise particular challenges for all types of research: participatory, quantitative and qualitative. See:

Intra-household Impact Assessment 2005

For easily accessible overviews of the strengths and pitfalls of different statistical techniques see the website for Statsoft For access to many further resources see the quantitative methods, statistics and quantitative database sections on the MathsZone and LearnStatistics.com websites.