This article describes a three day workshop on PRA conducted by the NGO SPEECH in Tamil Nadu, based in a village where SPEECH was working. The main purpose of the PRA was to discuss the rehabilitation of an irrigation tank network, while introducing the concepts of PRA to the participants. Several techniques were taught and practised: timelines, participatory mapping, modelling, seasonal calendars. One of the group activities documented was the construction of a matrix of six trees according to eight criteria, illustration included. There was initial resistance to the discussion of trees in gardens, but apparently good discussion on the growth and suitability of different trees both near homesteads and on communal lands, along the bunds and on wastelands. The general concensus at the end of the workshop was positive, in terms of the use of PRA in daily planning activities.
This could be of use to NGOs conducting training, and to those working and planning at community level. Practical examples are given but it is not exclusively about forests or trees and has broader application.