Seasonal Calendars

Brief Description

A seasonal calendar is a participatory tool to explore seasonal changes (e.g. gender-specific workload, diseases, income, expenditure etc.) These charts show monthly changes in climate (rainfall or temperature) or agricultural activities (agricultural hours worked, different activities undertaken, crop cycles). The calendars are useful in identifying planting and harvesting times, labour constraints and marketing opportunities.

History (if applicable)

When to use

Objective: To learn about changes in livelihoods over the year and to show the seasonality of agricultural and non agricultural workload, food availability, human diseases, gender-specific income and expenditure, water, forage, credit and holidays.

How to use

  • Find a large open space for the group. The calendar can be drawn on the ground or an very big sheets of paper.
  • Ask the participants to draw a matrix, indicating each month along one axis by a symbol.
  • It usually easiest to start the calendar by asking about rainfall patterns. Choose a symbol for rain and put/draw it next to the column which participants will now use to illustrate the rainfall. Ask the group to put stones under each month of the calendar to represent relative amounts of rainfall (more stones meaning more rainfall).
  • Move to the next topic and ask people during which month the food is usually scare. Discuss the reasons why it is scarce and make sure that the different kind of food donations that people receive are discussed and that this information is shown in the map.
  • Go on like this, meaning topic by topic.
  • After the calendar is finished ask the group which linkages they see among the different topics of the calendar. Encourage the group to discuss what they see on the calendar.
  • Make sure that your copy of the seasonal calendar - has a key explaining the different items and symbols used on the map.

Material needed:

Documentation Sheet, this tool sheet, white paper for copying the seasonal calendar.
1) If drawing on the ground: soft ground, stones, sticks and other available material to produce symbols, or
2) if drawing on a paper: BIG sheet of paper, pencils, markers

Tips and Lessons Learnt

Additional issues for the Seasonal Calendar may be added according to the needs and interests of the participants.

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