The Habitat and Health Project was implemented in 1992 by IIED-Latin America in Barrio San Jorge, a poor squatter settlement in Buenos Aires. The article describes how three preliminary focus groups were piloted to test participatory methodologies on a small scale. The aim of the focus groups was to get to know local people's perspectives on the main health and habitat problems of the barrio, and to identify local facilitators with whom the project could work. Joint progress could then be made in the design and implementation of initiatives. The results of the pilot suggested that problems of low levels of community organisation and participation were not fully overcome. An evaluation of the experience has been used to revise the strategy for the second phase of the project.
Likely to be of interest to community development workers in urban areas.