The Nhlangwini Integrated Rural Development Project aims to empower local people, in order that they may improve their quality of life, by helping them develop strategies for addressing basic needs. The Nhlangwini Ward is situated in southern KwaZulu, South Africa. Three workshops were held over a period of three months during 1989. The first examined development problems in the area; the second specifically probed those problems associated with family planning; the third was a development planning workshop, employing visual techniques described in some detail by the paper. Participants were asked to draw local resources by imagining they could view the area from a helicopter. The process of adopting visual techniques has resulted in a change in emphasis - as a result of findings, the integrated development programme has switched approaches with regard to issues facing women, and in terms of its goal setting mechanisms.