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17th Year of International Workshops

Offered only once this year!


Workshop with Certification
February 3 - 8, 2014
in Tepoztlan, Mexico
Organized by Sarar Transformacion & International, Inc.

A Six-Day Workshop that will show you how to:

  • MASTER participatory tools in the workplace;
  • APPLY participatory approaches to the project cycle;
  • DESIGN solutions for your own situation;
  • ANALYZE community needs and priorities from the community perspective;
  • INTEGRATE participatory methods into project design, monitoring and evaluations
  • FACILITATE tools that you can use in the workplace..

Here's what past participants have said about the workshop:

The workshop "was packed with information and experiences and very well thought out. I found it quite easy to learn and internalize new tools".
"The PRA workshop achieves its goals by being fully participatory, experiential, highly informative and fun. I will be using the tools in my courses to raise student awareness of community education issues and in my international development work".
"I can now connect the theory with the practice."
"There were many participants from many different organizations which meant that there were many different perspectives represented. This led to a richness of discussion..."
"The workshop was more than tools. It was an experience."

Why You Should Attend:
Experience has shown that participation improves the quality, effectiveness and sustainability of our actions (i.e. engagement, organizational change, leadership, building a common vision). By placing people at the centre, our actions have a much greater potential to empower and to lead to the ownership of initiatives. Giving the poor, local communities, and local government a central voice in development efforts that affect them is at the heart of participation.


What Results to Expect
The workshop is based on a hands-on approach to participatory development that can be applied in the South, in both urban and rural community settings. You will be introduced to the concepts and tools behind participatory development, also referred to as "Participatory, Learning and Action" (PLA) and "Participatory Rural/Rapid Appraisal" (PRA) and SARAR.

Practice assignments in the community will enable you to master and improve the tools and approaches to participation, to help you and/or your organization interact more effectively with groups and/or the community.
You can expect to enhance your awareness, knowledge or skills in any of the following areas:

  • Using participation in project design, management, monitoring and evaluation;
  • Increasing participation of different interest groups or stakeholders;
  • Learning and applying participation tools and community-based research methods such as semi-structured interviewing, community mapping, gender division of labour, institutional mapping, force-field analysis, seasonal calendars, historical timelines, and more;
  • Organizational development and capacity-building for your organization;
  • Community development methods;
  • Experiential methods for facilitating workshops.

Who Will be There?

This workshop is designed for:

  • Professionals & managers who work with different stakeholder groups at government, intermediary or community levels;
  • NGOs who are interested in learning the latest techniques in participatory development;
  • Academics and participatory-action researchers who use and teach qualitative methods;
  • Policy, program and project officers who make critical decisions on organizational policy, resource allocations, project design, monitoring and evaluation;
  • First Nations facilitators and leaders who work directly with aboriginal groups; 
  • Community activists who want to learn dynamic community methods and tools.
  • Consultants who want to broaden their repertoire of tools & methods.

Workshop Structure

This workshop is an intensive six day workshop set in the community to maximize learning, group interaction and networking. Sessions begin at 8:30 (except for the first day with registration at 8:00 a.m.) in the morning and run all day including some evenings, particularly Monday night. Please note that community work in communities is intensive and requires the full commitment of all workshop participants.  Please note that the workshop is conducted in Spanish and participants should have a basic understanding of Spanish.

Day 1: Introduction to Stakeholder Participation

  • Registration at 8:00 a.m.
  • Setting the Context: The Origins of Participatory Methods and Approaches
  • Key Concepts Related to Stakeholder Participation
  • Attitudes and Behaviors Conducive to Participation
  • Transect walk in the community

Day 2: Learning & Practicing the Tools

  • Participatory Project Design and Planning
  • Undertaking Participatory Evaluations
  • Learning PRA/PLA and SARAR tools:  Community Mapping, Semi-Structured Interviewing, Institutional Mapping, Facilitating Groups, Dealing with Saboteurs, Seasonal Calendars, Timelines, Venn Diagrams, Fishes and Boulders, Ranking and Scoring, Open vs Closed Questions, Applying a gender approach to the application of PRA tools, Appreciative Inquiry, and more......
  • Field work in the community to practice the tools.

Day 3: Learning the Tools and Preparing for the Community Assignment

  • Learning More Tools
  • Diagnosing your team strengths
  • Preparing your team strategy for the community assignment
  • 3:00 p.m.  Departure for the Community Assignment

Days 4 & 5: Fieldwork in the Community

Mosaic and SARAR will organize three-day community assignments based on the needs and priorities of community-based organizations in the Tepoztlan, Mexico area. Small project teams will work together intensively, practising tools learned in the workshop and adapting them to real life situations. Past participants of workshops have worked on the following topics:

  • Survey of community health needs and services
  • How to create a sustainable community in Tashirat
  • Promoting eco-tourism in Amatlan
  • Support to a Child Learning Centre
  • Exploring community needs and how to increase volunteerism
  • Assessing youth priorities
  • Resident needs and concerns for a new recreational facility
  • Community input to a Wellness Program

Day 6: Group Reports, Creating Your Action Plan and Evaluation

  • Presentation of Team Reports
  • Preparing an Action Plan for after the workshop
  • Certificates, Evaluation and Wrap-Up for 1:30 pm
  • Farewell Lunch

How Will This be Achieved?
This is a practical, iterative and hands-on workshop. The format will vary between small group work and discussion, plenary, and practical community assignments to encourage the sharing of knowledge and application of participatory concepts and tools to real life situations. Participants will go out into the community on a daily basis to apply tools and to learn by doing.
The community practice assignments will be in one of four different communities in and around Tepoztlan, Mexico. Teams of participants will carry out a simulated participatory development exercises, using the tools learned in the workshop. Where appropriate, links will be made to existing community groups and their issues. Evening meetings and on-going team-building exercises will be part of this process.

Tepoztlán: a town you will want to visit again...

Just 80 km south of Mexico City, Tepoztlán, is a magical town full of mysticism and tradition that, despite its small size, is world famous and a source of pride to its inhabitants.   

El nombre de Tepoztlán es una palabra que se deriva de la lengua náhuatl y que viene de Tepoztecatl (divinidad nahua) y tlan (junto a), por lo que su significado es: "en compañía de Tepoztécatl". Algunos autores piensan que significa "Lugar del hacha de cobre" o "Lugar de las piedras quebradas", posiblemente como referencia al hacha que formaba parte del atuendo del dios tutelar del lugar, llamado Ometochtli-Tepoztecatl. Según Adriano Ortega Sánchez, el símbolo del Hacha de Cobre (Tepoztli) y el Cerro (Tlan), es la connotación simbólico silabico (glifo fonético), del Códice Mendocino (la palabra Tepoztlán procede de la contracción de las palabras Tepetl Poztecqui Tlán (Tepetl, Montaña; Poztecqui, escultor, escurpir; y de Tlán, Lugar).

Today, Tepoztlán is a peaceful and quiet community of 35,000 habitants with a strong local cultural heritage (a microcosm of Latin American culture and tradition with a range of poor indigenous communities and weekend homes for the very rich).  Thus, Tepoztlán hosts all types of spas, alternative healing, yoga retreats and has a typical yet, new age feeling without being touristy surrounded by impressive mountain vistas. 

You will feel totally relaxed upon arrival and feel re-energized upon departure.

The weather in early February is warm and mild about 14-17 degrees.

Arrive early Sunday, and you will catch the local market in the Plaza Central, visit the nearby museum, the Ex-Convecto (with 2 museums and art exhibits) or hike up to the nearby Pyramid.


The Retreat Where the Workshop is Held:
The accommodations, La Casa de Tata (36 Netzahualcóyotl St, Barrio Santa Domingo, Tepotztlan, La Casa de Tata:;  Email:, located in Tepoztlán is in walking distance of the Plaza central in the lower part of the Barrio Santo Domingo.  Once in the barrio, go to the left on Calle Albino Ortega and then a right on Netzahualcoyotl.  Your accommodations called, La Case De Tata, is 50 meters prior to the Hospital Tepoz Fuego.
Starting Sunday afternoon after lunch, modest and comfortable shared accommodations with your own bathroom await you with a nice inner garden courtyard. Meals are home made and delicious and you will have the opportunity to taste local dishes, homemade tortillas and spicy salsas.  Access to free Wi-Fi internet will keep you connected if needed. 

What to bring?

Comfortable shoes, plastic sandals, soap, towel, light sweater for the cool morning, sunscreen, bathing suit and comfortable clothing. 

If you Arrive Early (Saturday) in Tepoztlán:
If you arrive early check with La Casa de Tata if they can receive you earlier.  If not, try Casa Socorro
Calle Cima 7, Barrio La Santisima, Tepoztlan, (739) 395-0948; Taxi:  Juan Carlos: (777) 187-3040.  Home cooked meals available.

If you Arrive Early in Mexico city:

1) Hotel Casa Gonzalez, located in a central tourist section of the city with accessible prices ( $ 50-$100 USD), not so far away from the airport. For further information and reservations, go to: or
2) Hotel Catedral:
3) Casa/Hostal Amigos:
How to Arrive:
Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport is located at the northeast of the city. After leaving the international arrivals gate, you can find Currency Exchange Houses and stores where to buy $30 peso Ladatel public telephone cards. Please call the Sarar Transformacion host to inform of your arrival. For further airport information, go to: Currency at the AirportIt is best to change currency at the airport after you exit with your baggage.  Do not change money before or near the baggage carousel as the rate is notoriously low.

You have two options to get to Tepoztlan: 1) From the airport take a taxi (buy taxi ticket near departure of taxis and not before), about 15 minutes to Terminal de Autobus Sud and buy a bus ticket with “Pullman de Morelos” to Tepoztlan direct (only one hour; leaves every 40 minutes about 150 pesos or USD $15). OR 2) Once in the airport, go to the Information Booth to ask about the "Pullman de Morelos" bus company. Once you find the bus departure, buy the next single ticket to Cuernavaca (about USD $ 12 in the daytime or $ 15 at night time or $200-300 pesos); the trip lasts around 2 hours.  Upon your arrival to Casino de la Selva Bus Terminal in Cuernavaca, take a taxi ($ 17.00 USD or $ 200 pesos) there to Tepoztlan. Make sure you have a printed version of how to get to La Casa de Tata (next page) to hand out to the taxi driver. The trip should last no more than 50 minutes.  La Casa de Tata is located at 36 Netzahualcóyotl,  Barrio Sto Domingo, Tepoztlán, Morelos, México.

Useful telephone numbers upon your arrival & map:
La Casa de Tata: 045 777 163 22 97
Sarar Office: 01 (739) 395 7505 / 04 and Laura Perez Cell Phone 045 (777) 201 2877

What to Bring: Walking/hiking shoes, thongs/plastic sandals, soap, towel, light jacket for the cool mornings, sunscreen, bathing suit, overnight bag for 3 nights in the community, comfortable clothing.

Great Places to Visit if You Have More Time: Taxco ruins are close-by to Tepoztlán, the beautiful colonial town of Oaxaca and its close-by beaches, Chiapas, San Miguel de Allende, Veracruz, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Yucatan and much more...

To know more about events in Tepoztlán:its restaurants, art and culture check the following link:
To learn more about Mexico see:

Visit the Frida Kahlo (famous eclectic painter and wife of Diego Rivera) Museum in Coyoacán, Mexico city:
Visit the Diego Rivera Museum in Mexico city: See:
Visit the amazing National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico city:

Registration Fees:

Please note that we expect a full workshop so to avoid disappointment, do not procrastinate. .  To guarantee your space, make a deposit of $ USD  350.00 as soon as possible.  The remaining balance is due one month prior to the workshop!
-  UN, international institutions and Government: USD $1750
-  International NGOs, academics, private sector: USD $1430
-  Local NGOs and private sector, full time students from the North: USD $1150
(must provide proof of full-time student status)
-  Full time Students from the South: USD $845.00 (must provide proof of full time student status)
**The workshop fee includes: Accommodations for 6 days and meals from Sunday afternoon-Saturday mid-day except during the community assignment, a binder of tools and resource materials, snacks and coffee.
Participants may be asked to make a small donation to the community assignment for their accommodations during the 2 nights in the community.

** Please note that all participants should have a basic knowledge of Spanish and be able to express themselves in the Spanish language.
Workshop Fees in USD can be made out to and sent to:  1) International, Inc, 705 Roosevelt Ave, Ottawa, Canada  K2A 2A8 ( or 2) SARAR Transformacion S.C., AP 8, Tepoztlan, Morelos, 62520  Mexico  (  Make sure to tell us which of the workshops you'd like to attend!

The Facilitators

Francoise Coupal is Director of International, a private consulting firm dedicated to providing innovative solutions to development. Françoise is an experienced facilitator and trainer in participatory methods having designed and delivered successful workshops for the World Bank, the UNDP, CIDA, UNIFEM, the World Food Programme and a variety of International Non-Governmental Organizations. Françoise has worked closely with organizations to mainstream participatory methods and approaches into their management practices. She has designed a PM&E system for a Maternal and Early Childhood Development Project in China and has worked on CIDA supported projects in Niger and Mexico to design PM&E systems. Françoise holds graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Carleton University in International Affairs and Development Studies in particular. She undertook her Bachelor of Arts at UCLA.

Ron Sawyer has more than twenty-five years experience providing participatory training and technical support to development programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia. During the 1980s he was the senior training consultant to the global UNDP/PROWWESS project for promoting the role of women in water and environmental sanitation services. From 1990 to 1994, as Regional Participatory Development & Training Specialist for the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program in Nairobi, he helped to integrate gender-oriented participatory methods into sector programs in Africa. In collaboration with WHO, UNICEF and the International Training Network, he spearheaded the Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation initiative -- PHAST.Since the mid-1990’s he has been a key collaborator in the Swedish Sida supported EcoSanRes/SEI (Stockholm Environment Institute) program, concerned with investigating and promoting alternative ecological sanitation systems.

Since 1995, Ron has been the Director of Sarar Transformación SC, an international consulting group based in Tepoztlan, Mexico, providing program development and communication support services to development organizations in Latin America --and Africa and Asia, with a special emphasis on-decentralized ecologically sustainable sanitation systems (ecosan). As consultant to EcoSanRes/SEI, during 2008-2009, he facilitated the integration of a regional Sustainable Decentralized Sanitation Node (resource center) based in Bolivia.

Register Electronically
(Payment must be sent by mail.)
Click on Print Registration Form, then print the form, fill it in, and mail or fax it to us.
We look forward to your participation!