Topic 1 Construction of proposals

It is not about making self-diagnoses just to find out more, but to jointly build actions to improve the quality of life. In this way, we will go from the planning and programming of activities to the participatory execution of the proposals.

Within the Strategic Planning models we usually give priority to Situational Strategic Planning (for example, from there we have taken the Flowchart and other planning mechanisms). But we also use the EASW (European Awareness Scenario Workshop), the mechanisms of Participatory Democracies, Popular Education, the PRD (Participatory Rural Diagnosis), etc. Here we are only going to present a brief introduction to how we understand these steps for preparing proposals and monitoring their execution.

Planning is projecting future scenarios: defining together the EXPECTED situation we want to reach, through an Action Proposal, from a situation characterized or defined in the form of detected problems, possible causes and expected effects (Self-Diagnosis).

These are questions that we ask ourselves when intervening on reality and that help us prepare the sections of the Comprehensive Sustainable Action Plan (CSAP):

  • WHAT? (Nature of the Project)
  • WHY? (Substantiation)
  • WHAT FOR? (Objectives)
  • FOR WHOM? (Recipients)
  • WHERE? (Location)
  • HOW? (Methodology of actions and evaluation)
  • WHEN? (Schedule)
  • WITH WHAT? (Material, economic, human resources)
  • HOW MANY? (Budget)

This technique is not only for planning. We can also use it at the beginning of the participatory process, in the design phase.

This technique is a useful instrument for the construction of proposals that satisfy the densest and extensive set of action, that is, the one that brings together more group realities with the greatest intensity around a common project. It can also help us define the main idea, which we will see below.

For this, the participants must have an initial matrix that includes all the positions. For this, a matrix must be prepared in which the constituent elements of the Plan to be developed are stated in the columns (nine questions technique), and in the rows the central position of each sector or group with respect to the problem that is being addressed, placing in each cell the opinions expressed in this regard. It may be the case -in fact, this is confirmed by the research experience- that there are empty cells.

Likewise, a matrix can be made in which the constituent elements of the Plan are stated without labelling the groups, where the opinions expressed in this regard are placed in each cell.

This initial matrix is ​​elaborated in one way or another, the important thing is that we have a material where the group can visualize, without difficulty, the different positions on the Plan and on each of its constituent elements in order to be able to reflect on the multiple and diverse sayings.

The objective of applying this technique is not to embarrass anyone, but rather for each person to question their positions by observing both their internal coherence and the positions of other group realities, thus promoting the approach of group realities that apparently seemed more far from what they really were.

How to proceed:

  • An initial matrix is ​​previously prepared showing the positions with respect to each of the constituent elements of the Plan.
  • The presence of the participants is greeted and appreciated. The dynamics to follow are explained. The initial matrix prepared is shown (and/or given to each participant) where the different opinions are exposed.
  • Ask them to form groups according to the degree of affinity suggested by any of the expressed positions. Each group is assigned at least one assistant and one facilitator to help organize the debate and write the content.
  • Each group is asked to try to fill in the cells that are without text, and to do so, weigh the contents that are in the cells belonging to other positions.
  • Be that as it may, once completed, they are asked to reflect on the internal coherence of the statements expressed.
  • If the group does not appreciate any type of contradictions, it resorts to questioning the contents given. For example, it asks why the content of a cell belonging to another position has been selected or not? They are requested to present reasons and arguments.
  • In light of the debate, it is requested that they re-elaborate the content of the matrix.
  • A compendium of all the matrices elaborated by all the groups is made, where the new resulting positions are exposed with respect to the structuring sections of the same. Each participant is given the compendium made.
  • They are exposed in plenary.
  • We proceed to the construction of a unique matrix, for this we proceed as follows:
    1. Each participant is asked to indicate if there is any section that is not subject to discussion-negotiation. This veto reduces the number of sections.
    2. In the event that they are indicated, initially the sections that have not been previously vetoed will be discussed, or in the event that all of them are, by those who have fewer vetoes.
    3. In descending order of vetoes, each of the sections will be debated.
    4. In order to facilitate the formulation of bridges that connect different positions, it is requested that the nuances and comments deemed appropriate be exposed.
    5. Consensus will be sought, but in case it is not achieved, as many texts will be drafted as clearly differentiated positions are exposed.
    6. Each content will be named with a letter to facilitate the realization of section h.
    7. In this way, it must be preceded section by section.