Transect walk

A transect walk involves walking through the community to observe and discuss the daily activities, the surroundings and the risks and resources. It is used to note the sites and topography of the area, to understand interrelationships based on space. It is a useful exercise to do in the assessment stage to get a feeling for the issues and capacities which exist in a community. In the programming and evaluation phases, it can be used to verify what changes have occurred in a community.

A transect walk is usually done early in the process because it gives an overall view of the community and helps identify things that may require further investigation later on during interviews or group meetings. The tool is most effective when done with community members.

Use it to…

  • Build trust with the community by being visible.

  • Cross-check oral information and verify the information from the mapping exercise.

  • See first-hand the interactions between the physical environment and human activities, behaviour, values, attitudes, practices and capacities.

  • Complement the information in the maps with additional details and spark further discussion on danger zones, evacuation sites and local resources used during emergency periods, land use zones and natural resource management, commercial activity in the community, health issues, and safety and shelter concerns.

  • Identify problems and opportunities which may be worth further exploration such as, housing or sanitary conditions; food available and sold in open-air markets; informal street commerce; or roles of men, women and children

See how to do transect walk step by step
Want to go more in depth? see additional considerations 
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© International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 2018