This handbook is a guideline for NGOs and other civil society organisations involved in community projects. Its purpose is to give suggestions and guidance on how to go about project planning and design.

Popular participation is envisaged both as a goal and a means of socioeconomic development. Crucial questions are how to initiate and how to maintain popular participation. The extent of participation in developmental activities depends heavily upon the characteristics of the project or programme e.g. technological complexity, resource requirements, design effects, administrative accessibility and project benefits. 

The benefits and costs of participation, to individual citizens, to local enterprises or government and to national planners and administrations can also be assessed. This Handbook seeks to contribute to people's participation in their development process.