Participatory Needs Assessment - Nutrition and Food Security - Advantages and Limitations

  • Provides information of the perceived needs, according to the community’s nutritional and food problems.
  • Provides useful qualitative information of the local food and nutrition situation from the point of view of the population.
  • Is open and flexible for handling issues that emerge during the open interview situation or group discussion.
  • Helps to understand the constraints of food and nutrition within the community.
  • Raises awareness of people’s nutritional habits and behaviour through discussions of the constraints.
  • Respects cultural aspects of nutrition and local customs.
  • Mobilises people’s participation within the community and initiates community processes.
  • Provides a good entry point for discussion of general development problems and conflicts facing the community.
  • Involves women as well as men, governmental institutions as well as NGOs and community based organisations.
  • Needs time and specific skills in participatory methods and procedures.
  • Risks creating a lot of expectations due to the atmosphere of trust and the time spent in the community.
  • Does not provide a quantitative data base for statistical calculation to compare different regions, population groups etc.
  • Should be completed with objective data, such as nutritional status measurements and prevalence of diseases, in order to estimate the real nutritional situation of the community in any of their complex aspects.