Using this tool is one of the participatory approaches that can easily extract information from participants engaged. I have used this tool in two of our LRPs in AA-Uganda (Busiki and Katakwi); and it was interesting to see all participants actively engaged. First; during the identification of the available resources within the community. The participants were given a chance to brainstorm among them selves, and identify the resources available in their community. It was amazing to see every member of the group say something. In fact; after the process; one of the group members was happy with the level at which they had been engaged. She cited that; "I appreciate this kind of participation in discussions; as opposed to the conventional questionnaire approach".
Guiding the process and letting the participants do the writing and plotting of the matrix using locally available materials; enabled them own the process. When we were discussing and analyzing the results, both the present and past situations (shifts in power); most of the participants were shocked about how these results are usually interpreted to support community needs and project development. This answered a question by one of the participants at the beginning of the session, that; "You are going to collect this information from us, but we never really get to know how and what you use it for".
My personal learning is that; In such a group discussion; it is not wise to have more than nine participants. This may be too big for this discussion to be fruitful. Secondly; the results need to be analysed and interpreted/discussed together with the participants; this is because they know why they plot the matrix the way it appears in your reports. This basically implies that the community has the practical interpretation and solution to the problems they face and fruits they reap from projects; as opposed to hypothetical interpretations. Therefore they need to plot it and discuss the results.