FALSatScale Session 1: Vision Drawing

tool 1
Vision drawing

designed and written by
Linda Mayoux

Facilitator Guide

FALS@Scale Tool 1 Vision Drawing: Facilitator Guide Draft 1 November 2022 © Linda Mayoux and IFAD

VSLA members in Malawi drawing a circle in the air before drawing in their notebooks.


FALS@Scale Tool 1 Vision Drawing : Overview Programme 3
FALS@Scale Introduction 4
Facilitation principles 5
Facilitator preparation 1: what to tell people before the training 6
Facilitator preparation 2: how to prepare the venue 7
1a: Introduction – Training overview 8
1b Drawing the vision: plenary on the floor and applause 9
1c Why and how Drawing 10
2a What is your dream vision for happiness? 11
2b Refining the vision: what will your happy family look like? 12
2c Refining the vision: leading change for friends,VSLAs and community 13
3 Soulmate sharing the visions 14
4 Homework: personal practice and family/community sharing 15
Accreditations and acknowledgements 16

FALS@Scale Tool 1 Vision Drawing : Overview Programme

3 – 4 hours
This session should not be rushed – especially steps 2b and 2c of the vision drawing. Everyone draws for themselves. People who have difficulty should be in groups with others of the same level to support each other. People who draw more easily should be pushed to put much more detail and pay full attention to clarity.
The facilitator should read the Methodology overview and facilitation principles, then the facilitator Tool 1 notes on the pages in blue very carefully before starting the Session.
1: Introduction 30 minutes

  • pairwise discussion until start of session
  • lead by VSLA leader, brief introduction from facilitator, participants in groups with people they do not normally talk to. This should mix leaders and people with no formal education, women and men.
  • plenary drawing of vision circle and lines in the air and decide on applause
    2: Individual Vision Drawing 1 hour 20 minutes
  • First dream 20 minutes
  • Happy family 30 minutes
  • Happy as leader of change with friends, VSLA and community 20 minutes
    3: Soulmate Vision Sharing and plenary presentations 1 hour
    4: Homework 10 minutes explanation, questions, clarification

FALS@Scale Introduction

We need to start our road to the future somewhere – to develop the habit of visioning, planning and assessing our progress.
This training uses three tools.
Tool 1: Vision Drawing – You will start by drawing your vision for where you want to go in life, what will make you happy and satisfied. How do you want your business, your family and your community to be.
Tool 2: Happy Family Vision Journey and show your family how to draw their own journeys. And you will do a joint family Vision Journey.
Tool 3: Financial Action Plan a very detailed one year finance plan – something you can implement in a year, including savings and loan from your VSLA, starting from now.
Everything is done in drawing because:
‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ – science shows that visual communication has more impact on our memory, and improves memory.
many more details can be put on one sheet of paper through drawing that in writing.
drawings enable people who do not know how to read and write to participate equally.
drawings enable communication across language barriers – to other African countries and also UK.

Facilitation principles

The aim is detail of thought and analysis in developing action commitments to promote gender equality and financial plans that can be implemented. It is important to help ALL participants develop well thought out plans that will succeed. Not pretty pictures that look nice.
The facilitator is a smiling, inspirational and friendly supporter of learning, not a teacher police with a big stick. The facilitator’s role is to ensure that all participants are learning, participating in the groups and confident in the plenary.
The facilitator sits at the back and does not hold the pen – expain to participants that this is a rule of the methodology. The facilitator should talk at most 10% of the time, the rest should be questions and ideas/reflection/discussion by participants. Good facilitation is when the facilitator can leave, or focus on photography and the participants continue with their work.That means the training, discussions and financial planning will be sustainable after the project ends.
Start all steps with questions to participants to get different opinions, not a lecture from the facilitator. That is the best way for partiipants to remember.
Every person draws for themselves – encourage people by putting them into groups with people with similar level of education. DO NOT STAND LOOKING OVER THEIR SHOULDER.
Always gently encourage people who speak least to talk first. Prioritise people who cannot read and write, women etc.
The views of those normally lead or talk are also valuable, but they should be asked to listen to others first before giving their opinion.
EVERY VIEW IS RESPECTED AND APPLAUDED. The facilitator observes what people are saying in the groups and encourages those who have understood to present. Each presentation is followed by applause – this also acts as an energiser for team-building.

Facilitator preparation 1: what to tell people before the training

This training is a personal and financial planning training in 6 x 3 hour sessions as part of VSLA meetings – make sure the timings are possible for members eg avoid harvest time and festivals. If 3 hours are not possible, then the training will require 8-9 sessions.
The aim is to help people to decide how they wish to improve their lives in 5-10 years time, then draw their own realistic savings and loan plan for the next year that they can present to the VSLA and implement over the year.
The focus is particularly to help people who have not had a VSLA loan before, or who are struggling to save
It is a pictorial methodology developing visual communication skills that can be used by anyone from PhD doctorates to people with no school education. Those skills will also be useful for other trainings and business.
The project wants to reach thousands of people and improve the local economy with a limited budget. So each person is asked to bring their own notebook, a pencil and something hard to support their book while they draw. If people can afford alcohol or women’s beauty products then they can just miss those for a short while to invest in learning for their future success. If they can afford coloured pens or crayons, or borrow from their children, that will make the drawings even more attractive.
The training will start exactly on time – there is a lot to do in a short period.
Learning will be fun – as well as useful.

Facilitator preparation 2: how to prepare the venue

This training should take place in the same venue as regular VSLA meetings – then it will be more sustainable.
Seating should be organised for 4 groups – the groups will be decided during the facilitation.
Make sure there is a space in the middle for plenary presentation, songs and dances.
Make sure there is enough space around the groups for people to move – some songs and dances go right around the room.
The facilitator has a place at the back for any resources, phone etc. They can go into the middle space for very short periods – keep explanations to 2-3 sentences. Then return to the space at the back as soon as they can and encourage participants to come into the central space.

a: Introduction – Training overview

Introduction Question 30 minutes

  • the VSLA leader should be in charge for the first 10 minutes or so to establish VSLA ownership and responsibility for the FALS@Scale process. The leader should to be briefed beforehand – they should not say more than indicated below.
  • as people arrive the facilitator and VSLA leader asks participants to sit with someone that they do not know well and discuss what they think they will learn in this training. This aims to increase communication and team spirit between all members of the VSLA from all backgrounds to give each other mutual respect. It is very important for time discipline that people who come early are not kept waiting and are doing something useful – or they will come late next time.
  • at the allotted start time the VSLA leader gives a 2-3 sentence introduction to the training. Then the VSLA leader asks participants to feed back what they discussed – making sure to prioritise people who do not normally say very much in VSLA meetings.
  • The FALS@Scale facilitator then gives any necessary clarification on expectations and a very brief summary of the methodology and Vision Drawing Tool based on the Overview. Keep this very brief – points should be repeated and emphasised at relevant point of the rest of the session. People never remember much of what they are told at the beginning.

b Drawing the vision: plenary on the floor and applause

The facilitator and VSLA leader move to the back of the venue (See diagram above).
The facilitator asks the participant who arrived last to come into the middle and draw a large circle with their hand in the air (See Photo).
Explain to participants that in this methodology we have lots of applause – to both value each other and as a fun energiser. Ask for suggestions on the type of applause – it should be energetic like 3 -5 claps in a good rhythm. If people are sitting down, also some stamping of feet. There should also be a signal from the participant to accept the applause – for example blowing flowers back.Make this fun, creative and energetic. But very short – they will be doing this a lot.
When they have applauded the first person that person sits down.
Then ask the person who arrived second to last to come forward and indicates with their hand lots of short lines around the edge of the imaginary vision circle in the air. Repeat the applause as they sit down.
Ask participants what they think the circle and lines might represent – get 2-3 answers before giving the correct answer ie the sun that stands for the big vision for the future.

c Why and how Drawing

Ask people to divide into groups, sit comfortably and get out their notebooks and pens
Group 1: The leaders and people with high levels of education into one group – say that they may not find drawing so easy – the facilitator took some time to learn. They will be expected to work hard.
Group 2: People who have never held a pen or done any drawing before – they will help each other. In many other places people have been doing very good drawings after about a month if they practise – and it is fun.
Groups 3 and 4 could separate men and women, or self-select into groups of people who do not know each other well. This depends on the membership composition and history of the VSLA.
Inside the sun circle everyone will draw their own vision. Going step by step. No one should draw for anyone else – people need to develop their own skills. And no one should copy anyone else’s vision – the vision must be their own – or they will end up the the house their neighbour wanted, not the one they want! People who are already confident should not be asked to help others to catch up or they will become bored. Support for Group 2 and anyone having difficulty is the facilitator’s task.
Do not go into much detail about drawing at this stage. If you see that particular people are not taking drawing seriously then explain why it is important to draw as you go around each group.
Make sure everyone is having fun. Encourage particularly people who are not confident. Do not stand over their shoulder watching. That will make them nervous. If you leave group 2 to laugh and help each other they will advance faster.
Really push people in group 4 to make their drawings really clear – no children’s drawings here. We want clear communication like CEO boardrooms.

Tribal champion from India after 1 hour from not holding a pen – her drawings show 4 different types of pigs in her plan – spotted, tied up foreign pigs, plain pigs
See video on You Tube:

a What is your dream vision for happiness?

Draw a vision sun circle
On the first page of your notebook draw a very large red circle like a sun with rays shining from it. Make the circle the full size of the paper.
Now you know how to draw! So no more excuses not to try your best to draw even better! All other drawings are just circles and lines of different types. Put symbols for family members so you can recognise them.
Draw your dream vision
Close your eyes. Think of what your life might look like in 5-10 years time if you are happy?
How is your farm or business?
Your house? What do you want to have?
Inside the circle draw the things in your vision. It is important to draw because we dream in pictures. It is the visual things we see that will inspire us when life becomes difficult. Even if we can write, drawings are also clearer when we show them to our family and friends. Have fun!

b Refining the vision: what will your happy family look like?

The following questions should be asked in an open way – some people may be widows or widowers, some people may have lost children. So be sensitive. These are examples. If people are living alone, they can think about their wider family – sisters, brothers, in-laws etc. Or they move to the next step about friends and community and leadership. If they wish they can sit in a new group with other single people. The important thing is that everyone should be happy at end, not sad.
What will your Happy Family look like? Who is there? Put symbols for the different family members and some pictures of what your happy family looks like.
Then put symbols for the different family members next to the relevant objects.
Who is doing what? Who is driving the car? Who is working on which crops? Who is looking after the children?
Who will earn the money? Who will control the money? What might they spend it on? Will the money be used to help other family members set up business?
Who owns what?
Who will decide what?
Some people – women in particular – may want to focus on their owh business because otherwise their husband does not give them any money. Men may also have more than one wife so they should consider how they treat each wife – polygamy issues should be open as reality and addressed. Not hidden.

Vision drawing and happy family by a man coffee farmer in Tanzania

c Refining the vision: leading change for friends,VSLAs and community

Achieving our visions will also need us to work with other people – our friends, other VSLA members and other people in our community. In this methodology everyone can become a leader of change – gaining respect for their knowledge, kindness and wisdom. People who could not read and write develop the confidence and support to learn. Men who were wasting money on alcohol and other activities damaging their health and their families work with other men to change addictions and violence. Women who previously had no voice in the family or their communities have become leaders in their cooperatives – and even learned English to speak at international conferences after about 5 years of effort.
So in your vision circle think also and draw:
What are you doing with your friends in this happy life? How do you want your friendships to increase and deepen?
What does your VSLA look like? What contribution can you make?
What does the community environment look like? How do you want it to change?
What do you yourself look like if you are empowered to lead change to achieve this vision? Make sure we know the figure in the middle is you – not the president, not someone else in your family – how will you make that clear?
You may find it difficult to draw these details clearly at first. But with practice your drawings will become beautiful to inspire you whenever life becomes difficult.

Vision drawing and happy family by a woman coffee farmer in Tanzania showing her vision for leadership and her cooperative.

Soulmate Vision sharing

Ask everyone to stand up and share their vision with someone they do not know so well. To see how similar or different everyone’s vision is. As soon as they have talked to one person they should move on to someone else until they have shared with everyone. This is the chance to really understand other VSLA members and make new friends.

Participants then stand or sit in groups with people whose vision they think is most like their own. This normally produces about 4 ‘soulmate’ groups of people with similar needs and perspectives. People who cannot find a group with similar visions should form a group together ‘the innovators’.

Each group decides on a representative who doe not usually talk much in the VSLA. The representative then explains their visions and why they chose to group together.

These soulmate groups provide a way of forming self-selected groups for future Tools.

Coffee farmers from SMS, Kenya share their visions.

Homework: personal practice and family/community sharing

Explain in 10 minutes leaving time for questions and clarification
This training has been streamlined for VSLAs. To get the most from the training and develop the best plan for success depends on doing homeowkr between sessions:
Personal practice – practice your drawing until your vision circle is full of things in your vision, with your vision for your family and community. Things alone are unlikely to make you happy.
Family sharing – Ask members of your family to do their own vision. First just explain the steps so that they really draw what is in their own heads. So that you really understand. Then finally you can compare their vision with your own and see what is the same and what is different.
VSLA member peer support – the methodology also depends on VSLA members helping each other with drawing skills and to remember the steps. Before people leave people should pair up or form small support groups so that everyone has caught up with the vision drawing before the next session.
How can the VSLA arrange for flipcharts and markers? Tool 2 sessions can be done in notebooks, but ideally the final Happy Family Vision plans would be drawn on flipcharts with markers for sharing – and also give each member their own family vision plan to put on their house walls. So ideally 1 flipchart per member and 4 coloured markers that can be shared – red, green, blue and black How can the VSLA or members themselves provide these?

Coffee farmers from Tanzania put their vision drawings on their walls. If they or other family members forget about the changes they want to make, there is a record to refer to. When neighbours come for tea and ask what the drawings mean they explain what they are hoping for in their life.

Accreditations and acknowledgements

!! Full accreditations to be updated in the final handover version under IFAD Copyright.

This Toolkit is based on piloting by Opportunity Malawi, SNV Ethiopia, Bukonzo Joint Uganda, Jamghoria Sevabrata, India and Coffee Partnership of Tanzania.
For further details and links in different Google Translate languages see:

Vision Journey:
Common Steps

  • Vision Journey
  • Vision Journey Step 1 Vision
  • Vision Journey Step 2 Current Situation
  • Vision Journey Step 3 Opportunities and Challenges
  • Vision Journey Step 4 Target and Milestones
  • Vision Journey Step 5 Action Plan
  • Vision Journey Step 6 Track, Reflect, Share

We need to start our road to the future somewhere – to develop the habit of visioning, planning and assessing our progress.

The Vision Journey is a planning tool that has helped many people (women and youth as well as men) to plan how to use their money, savings and loans to achieve at least parts of their vision – higher education for children, better houses, buying land, setting up new businesses, buying means of transport (that women as well as men can drive).

Financial Action Learning for Sustainability at Scale


Draw the Vision in a big circle on the front page.
The Vision Journey then follows across the next double page. Use the book horizontally. Start in pencil first and then add colour.
Remember to put your name (or think of a symbol) and a date (or another symbol).


written and designed by

Individual: Mobile version



Page 1 of 6

0: Vision or dream

Every journey starts with a dream vision – what you are hoping to achieve. This will depend on the type of project, but should be something that will inspire you. You should dream big and as long term as you wish, but not so big that it is impossible.

Open your notebook at the front page.

Start by drawing the Dream Vision in a big circle. Make the Circle fill the whole page. Then draw lines on the outside like rays of a sun. It should be shining bright to inspire you.

Inside the circle draw the different elements in your dream vision.

Vision Journey Step 1 Vision
1: Starting the Vision Journey

All journeys start with a dream of where we want to go and a plan or road map to get there. On the next double page of your notebook you will draw your first plan.
Vision sun
Draw a large circle at the top right hand corner of the double page. This represents the future. It is a large circle at the top because it is like a sun and you are reaching for the sky. It is the vision that will inspire you to pick yourself up, and continue to move forward if you fall and stumble on the rocks along the road.
Most important vision
Now select one thing from your dream. Draw your vision of how this will look if you are happy in 5-10 years time. This will be your vision for this first journey.
Once you have learned the tool to plan then you can draw more vision journeys for the other things in your dream. Or combine them into a ‘multilane highway’ that has lanes for each thing.

Vision Journey Step 2 Current Situation
2: Current Baseline

Current circle
Draw a second large circle at the bottom left hand corner of the double page. This is drawn in black – the colour we use for what is already there.
Current situation
In this black circle draw symbols for your current starting situation for the thing in your vision eg if the vision is a house, how is your house now? If your vision is a beautiful farm, how is your farm now? If you want to be president, what is your starting point?
The road
Draw two straight black lines to link both circles. This represents your road from the present (bottom left) to the future (top right). The road is straight and upwards, because this is how you hope you will reach up to your vision. You will assess this later.

Vision Journey Step 3 Opportunities and Challenges
3: Opportunities and challenges

Now think of the different things that can help you along the road. Draw these opportunities above the road.The more opportunities you think of, the quicker you will advance. But you need to think of at least 10. They are the things which will help you up if you fall down and keep you feeling positive. The opportunities which are most under your control nearest the road. The things which you cannot control eg winning the lottery, weather or ‘acts of God’ go furthest from the road. Take plenty of time on this. Put details eg numbers and amounts of money if relevant.
Now you need to do a thorough risk analysis and honestly identify the challenges. These go under the road because these are the things which can drag you down. It is important to foresee as many of these as possible in order to avoid them. Put details eg numbers and amounts of money if relevant. Take plenty of time on this.
If challenges are too many, then try to identify and draw corresponding opportunities at the top of the road that can help you address them eg mosquito nets for malaria. You should have more opportunities than challenges if you want to stay positive. Again take plenty of time.

Vision Journey Step 4 Target and Milestones
4: Target and Milestones

Every journey starts with small steps. Your vision is a long term dream. Now you need to plan realistic timebound steps – given your opportunities and challenges.
Draw a circle with a thick green line right next to the vision. This is your ‘SMART’ target. This should be 1 year or less eg a loan cycle or plan till the next festival. Put a symbol to indicate the timeframe. Put symbols in green inside the target circle to indicate what you think you can realistically achieve towards your vision in that time based on your analysis of opportunities and challenges. Put numbers and amounts of money if relevant.
Then put 3 – 5 thin green circles along the road as milestones – what you can achieve by specific times. The first circle should represent about 1 month’s time. Or even tomorrow. You need to start to move immediately, or your will put everything to the ‘never never’. The other circles are ‘monitoring points’ you will aim for like harvest, Eid/Xmas. Or they could be repayment of savings points. Whatever makes sense for your plan.

Leave enough space in between the circles – that is where you will put the actions.

Vision Journey Step 5 Action Plan
5: Action Plan

Now you need to think about the actions needed to move from one milestone to the next – to make sure you seize opportunities and avoid the challenges. Put symbols for the different actions in green. Put details eg amounts of savings, exactly who will do what.
If you are making assumptions that your family members will help, draw clear symbols to represent them – and think how they will be persuaded and rewarded.
Revise the milestones and target if necessary. You may also think about further opportunities and challenges as you reflect in more depth.

Vision Journey Step 6 Track, Reflect, Share
6: Track, reflect and share

It is important to continually review your progress towards the target if you want to succeed. Do not just put the plan in a drawer and forget about it – or leave it for the children to tear up.

As you progress to each milestone:
Ring in red those things you achieve, those actions you take. Those are juicy ripe red fruits towards the vision.Some things in your next milestone may be achieved more quickly than anticipated. Ring those also in red.
Ring in blue those things that really do not work out and you cannot recover. Those are perished fruits where you need to think of alternative action.
Ring in green those things or actions that were planned but not yet achieved. Those you draw again in green for the next milestone.

The aim is to make very visible your progress and achievements through the amount of red replacing the green. But also to make clear what is not going according to plan, so you can retthink and adjust. And still achieve your target towards your shining vision.