Conventional health needs assessments do not normally involve community members who experience health problems. In this article, the author examines the processes involved in conducting Participatory Wellbeing Assessments in the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton. These Assessments engaged residents in documenting and analysing their needs, broadened the focus from 'needs' to 'wellbeing' and involved residents at every stage. The methods employed are described, which range from participant observation to participatory planning. The author also elaborates how the analytical process evolved in phases from 'extraction' to broadening ownership to building partnerships for change, and how the initial analyses done by the author allowed her to better facilitate what was to follow. Finally the challenges and possibilities of strengthening analysis in PRA are briefly examined.
International Institute for Environment and Development