Activity Mapping - Brief Description


Targeting of project funds often starts with the question:
Where does a new project have the most impact?

In a world with a multitude of state, donor and non-governmental organizations implementing projects, the picture is often unclear, where and how much activities are carried in a location or the entire country.

Activity mapping is a quick and feasible way to identify gaps in the coverage of services by inventorying all stakeholders’ activities and locating them geographically. The mapping exercise gives all organizations a clearer picture of where work is being done, and where demands for services or support are still remaining.

Depending on the given situation and resources, a grid can be developed, which collects information on predefined series of activities, their implementing agencies, their target groups, their outreach coverage and their time frame.  The definition of fields of activity and the planning level that is referred to determines the precision and resolution of the results. Additional parameters can quantify the intensity of the activities.

Results of the analysis can be used to target activities based on the questions:
  • Which areas are mostly underdeveloped or least supported by development projects’ or government services?
  • Which (project) staff has to be (re-) allocated into another area to provide better services to the people?
  • How is the coverage of services in respect to the number of beneficiaries, family income, indicators reflecting the seriousness of a problem, etc.
If data can be assigned to administrative units, GIS or mapping tools (e.g. a simple web mapper) can visualize the survey results in maps.

An important outcome for this exercise is, that a complex project landscape can be easily grasped through maps produced according to specified activities in the predefined grid.

This can lead to a fruitful discussion among stakeholders thus  promoting further cooperation and coordination. Once stakeholders cooperate, resources can be used more efficiently. This method helps stakeholders to align to an overall objective, while not duplicating each others efforts.