Module M07 - Project Structuring and Initial Reconnaissance

Unit M07U04: Visiting Government Agencies and NGOs


This Unit introduces the trainee to participatory mapping with communities. Participatory mapping with communities is not just a technical exercise; it is done with political objectives in mind. It can be done to protect and legalise land, to plan for economic development, to provide materials for environmental education, to strengthen cultural identity and political organisation and for a variety of other objectives. If there were no political agenda involved in mapping land, there would be no reason for going through a time-consuming and demanding mapping exercise. In regions where indigenous people and their governments have generally hostile relations, the political ground must be carefully prepared in advance of the mapping work in the communities. Above all, it is important to be open and transparent about what one is doing. The best way to do this is to make contact with the appropriate government agencies and describe the methodology and where the mapping is to be done. Briefings might also be given to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the same region on similar issues.

Unit objectives / expected outcomes

After the completion of the Unit the trainee will be able to:

  • clear the confusion over the technical vs. political character of maps;
  • influence effects of empowerment;
  • analyse, list and prioritise relevant government agencies and NGOs;
  • specify the characteristics of government mapping agencies;
  • elaborate approaches for visits to selected agencies.

Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing

This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:

  1. Visiting government agencies and NGOs (PPT No. 1) (45 min)
  2. Key messages and action points for introducing a mapping project to government agencies and NGOs (Exercise No. 1)

Components of the Unit


Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):



2 ¼ hrs

Additional trainer resources

  • Mac Chapin & Bill Threlkeld (2009) Mapping Indigenous Lands: A Practical Guidebook. Arlington, VA, Center for the Support of Native Lands.

Equipment needed

Computer, beamer, flipchart, marker pens, two or more large sheets of craft paper, scissors, tape or glue

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