Participatory Knowledge Mapping (PKM) refers to approaches aimed at visualising (through diagrams, graphs, workflows, tables, images, or geographical maps) the relationships and issues within an organisation or community. This visualisation is achieved using participatory mechanisms such as workshops, interviews, or deliberative meetings. PKM can also be referred to as Participatory Modelling, Group Model Building, Participatory Mapping, or Participatory System Mapping. It is often used in development contexts.

  • Knowledge Asset Mapping: Identifies existing knowledge assets (experts, practices, documents, etc.) and helps visualize and transfer this knowledge, as well as flagging up future knowledge needs.

  • Interdisciplinary Interaction: Provides a methodological basis allowing different kinds of knowledge (scientific, professional, experiential, political, emotional, etc.) to interact. Resulting conceptual frameworks can be used in planning or evaluation.

  • Cause-Effect Relations: Can suggest cause-effect relations among factors contributing to a problem or situation

  • Enhanced Understanding: Increases mutual understanding and creates common ground among participants, favoring the involvement of marginalized groups.

  • Comprehensive Knowledge Inclusion: Valuing all types of knowledge (both scientific and lay) as relevant to the problem in hand.

  • Stakeholder Participation: Ensuring stakeholder participation is willing and motivated, including agreement among the participants on the overarching goals of PKM.

  • Inclusive Facilitation: Inclusive facilitation to manage any tensions among participants and prevent the dominance of some or marginalization of others.


IFAD: The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has produced a Good Practices Guide which draws on work supporting communities in Angola, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Peru, the Philippines, Sudan, and Tunisia.


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