Demonstrations are a very effective way of introducing and explaining improved or unfamiliar
ways of doing practical tasks. A good demonstration will clearly show people how and why a
new method or product might be useful to them. It will also give people an opportunity to
participate themselves, so that they can learn from direct practical experience.
Advantages of Demonstrations
People are likely to
remember what they have
learnt, because they are
‘learning by doing’.
People can test out new
methods and products and
ask questions there and then
to get immediate answers.
convincing because they can
take place in the real
situation (e.g. the home or
farm of community
The local language can be
Demonstrating a donkey plough - Darfur Sudan
Practical Action Sudan
used, and literacy is not
Demonstrations are liked by people who are not comfortable in formal training
How to Use Demonstrations
Demonstrations are most effective if the subject matter is genuinely relevant to the lives of
people in the community and the people conducting the demonstration are trusted and well
Find out about the community’s existing knowledge in the subject and current practices.
The person conducting the demonstration should be clear about the purpose of the
demonstration and have suitable expertise.
Use a step-by-step approach if necessary and allow people to practice at each stage.
Improve people’s understanding by repeating parts or all of the demonstration.
An appropriate venue and time should be chosen and announced.
Ensure that all the necessary equipment and materials are available.
A series of separate demonstrations could be planned (e.g. 1 preparing soil, 2 sowing
seeds, 3 fertilising and weeding, 4 harvesting and storage).
Prepare summary drawings or written sheets for people to take home.
Consider recording the demonstration with photographs or video.
Constraints of Demonstrations
A person with relevant expertise is essential. A poorly planned or incompetent demonstration
can turn people against the method or equipment being explained.
Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK
T +44 (0)1926 634400 | F +44 (0)1926 634401 | E firstname.lastname@example.org | W www.practicalaction.org
Practical Action is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee.
Company Reg. No. 871954, England | Reg. Charity No.247257 | VAT No. 880 9924 76 |
Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB