HAF applies the participatory method in all its projects, from start to finish. This is essentially a grassroots, “bottom-up” approach: local communities are both the initiators and the beneficiaries of any given initiative and they are fully engaged throughout the process. As such, the timing of meetings, project implementation, and of the overall development process rests with the people–acting in communities–who identify problems, find and implement solutions, and benefit from the initiatives thus created. When local communities perform their own investigation, analysis and implementation of projects, their knowledge (critically built during the data-generating and information-sharing process) is directly relevant. To enable an inclusive planning process to take place, the approach applies visual—and therefore generally accessible—diagramming and planning.

HAF facilitates community meetings and workshops, which are open to everyone, that focus on the community’s data gathering, economic priorities, and project needs. The dialogues that stem from these meetings are integral for future women’s and youth economic empowerment as they give women and youth a platform to voice their ideas as well as sensitize the communities to the prospect of their empowerment.

Participatory community planning has been applied with success in a wide variety of situations, including:

  • Business management
  • Infrastructural projects
  • Poverty alleviation & economic development
  • Technological development
  • Architectural planning
  • Community control of policing and schools
  • Creation & delivery of services
  • Waste management
  • Disaster management
  • Peace-building
  • Ethnic conflict reconciliation
  • Work of welfare organizations
  • Farming systems & food production
  • Natural resource management
  • Cooperatives
  • Land use
  • Empowerment for disabled
  • Adult education
  • Gender & youth development
  • Organizational development & management
  • Building civil society
  • Human resources management
  • Project & program evaluations
  • Policy development, reform, & advocacy