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Power Tool: Family portraits (PLA 53)

Sonja Vermeulen

Journal article

Family portraits are tools for understanding and communicating how real families organise their labour and other assets to make a living. The process of making and sharing the family portrait has the capacity to take individual and family perspectives to the level of policy change. A family portrait is a document of words, diagrams and photographs that provides a great deal of detail on specific activities carried out by individual family members on a seasonal and historical basis, and highlights the major constraints they face in their struggle to provide for themselves. It is a research tool, but one which presents an immediate human dimension to many of the issues surrounding sustainable development.

Guest-editor: Sonja Vermeulen. This special issue of PLA comes from the Power Tools initiative which aimed to develop, test and circulate existing and new tools to bridge key gaps in policy processes and content. These policy tools – tips, tactics and approaches – provide practical help to people working to improve the policies and institutions that govern access to and use of natural resources.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See: www.planotes.org

Keywords: policy, natural resource management (NRM), community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), Power Tools.

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