Well-Being Analysis

  • Objective: To understand the conditions – social and economic – within a community.
  • Materials: Idea cards, pens, markers, stones.
  • Participants: Members from across the community (young and old, women and men, different ethnic groups, etc.)


Following introductions of the exercise and its objectives, facilitator begins by asking the community members to explain how they divide their community – north-end, south-end, old neighborhood, new neighborhood, or other sections? The facilitator then asks people to sit with their neighborhoods. This helps identify if any neighborhoods are not represented. If there is a gap, the facilitator asks participants to identify people from the missing neighborhood and asks them to join.


What Makes Us Different From One Another?

To begin the discussion, the facilitator asks: Are we all the same (in terms of how we live, land, what we eat, what we where, how we educate our children)?

The facilitator then asks participants: What makes us different? Participants brainstorm characteristics, and each is placed on an idea card (either written by facilitation team or participants themselves).

The facilitator probes into the cards to draw out a spectrum of characteristics. If land is discussed, for example, the facilitator may ask about the different sizes of landholdings, or different types of tenure (ownership, renting, share-cropping, landless).

Once characteristics are discussed, the facilitator then asks participants to group individual characteristics (i.e. land size, education, etc.).



Based on groupings, the facilitator asks how many classes are in the community (i.e. rich, middle, poor)? And what are characteristics for each? The group then reviews the established classes and characteristics so participants may propose changes and adjust categories. Though people may mention rich, middle, poor, very poor, etc. it may be best not to write down such labels during the discussion.

The facilitator then takes the cards with each household listed (from the social mapping).
With cards of every household in the community (often taken from the social and resource mapping exercise, described above), groups then reviewed each household within the community and discussed in which category the household would belong. Once complete, facilitators reviewed the decisions made by participants in grouping households in terms of well-being, and made corrections as necessary.

The outcome is a grouping that provides a snapshot of the extent of poverty / wealth within a community.  For each household, participants discuss where does the household belong in the continuum of classes and why. This process may surface other characteristics that had not been discussed originally. These should be added to the continuum – and new class categories created for household cards, if necessary.


Probing Question

Looking at all of the cards, the facilitator asks participants to point out which households are women-headed, child-headed, seasonally migratory, etc. based on the interests of the study. These should then be labeled on the card.

At the end, the facilitator asks if they would like to add anything, or make changes. Once the process is finished, the facilitation team thanks people for their information and generosity of time.
Each card should then be coded according to what category it belongs to – as well as other key characteristics identified.

Related Tools


  • B Bode (2010). Regional Capacity-Building Initiative in Situational Analysis. CARE International – East / Central Africa Regional Management Unit.
  • B Bode (2009). The Causes and Conditions of Poverty in Acholiland, Northern Uganda. CARE Uganda.
  • S Sharma (2009). Participatory Methods, Processes and Analyses: A handbook for identification of underlying causes of poverty and formulation of strategies. CARE Nepal.
  • B Bode (2006). Disaggregating Community through Social Analysis. CARE Bangladesh.