The Positive Path – Using Appreciative Inquiry in Rural Indian Communities

Appreciative inquiry is explained here as a strategy for purposeful change that identifies the best of “what is” to pursue dreams and possibilities of “what could be.” The methodology is based on 4 stages that form a continuous cycle – Discovery, Dream, Design Delivery. By using questions to discover the strengths and successes that exist in every individual and community, a sense of hope is generated through which people begin to anticipate a better future. Further, it is argued, they have a better understanding of the relevance of new initiatives to their long-term goals. Buoyed by the confidence of their past successes, and inspired by a vision of a better future, people are able to take up the many challenges that they face in their day-to-day lives.

This field guide was produced to share the results of previous projects and to assist other organisations in the use of appreciative inquiry. The experiences upon which this approach is based are with small groups that participated in exercises that took between two and five days to complete. The guide itself is divided into three sections:

  • Section 1 – presents a summary of the project including its objectives, strategy, participants and outputs.
  • Section 2 – presents the rationale for an appreciative approach, a step-by-step outline of the four stages of appreciative inquiry, including the exercises that were found to be particularly useful, and illustrations of their results. In addition, possible applications and limitations of appreciative inquiry are explored as well as its relations to “participatory rural appraisal” (PRA).
  • Section 3 – provides a summary of the theory behind appreciative inquiry and a selection of resources the reader may find useful.

A link is also attached below, which directs you to a selection of MYRADA’s films that can be viewed online or downloaded. These include a video on appreciative inquiry.

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