In collaboration with Shinyanga Regional government, UNDP is funding a pilot project on decentralised poverty eradication initiatives, as part of its programme support for Tanzania (1997 - 2002). This document reports on a participatory poverty assessment (PPA) carried out in eight villages in phase I of the project. The PPA went one stage further than earlier PPAs in sub-Sahara Africa in that it sought not only to enrich poverty profiles with local understanding but also to build in as a central component, action-oriented research and planning. An attempt was also made to make the PPA a locally owned activity and capacity building process. An overview of the process methodology is provided, a brief account of the findings and also a review of the impact to date of the whole Shinyanga Human Development Report process at village and government level.