The rapid decline in biodiversity associated with environmental degradation has encouraged governments worldwide to take urgent action aimed at monitoring and documenting its current state. In response, governmental and non-governmental institutions have supported the rise of technology-mediated public participatory systems, also known as citizen science initiatives, designed to encourage citizen participation in gathering relevant environmental data using their mobile devices. However, despite the ubiquitousness of mobile phones, there is a disturbing paucity of these systems in developing nations as compared to the developed nations. A review of the literature dealing with the extant participatory systems offers interesting insights regarding this uneven distribution. This paper explicates the design of extant participatory systems and the constraints in translating it to the context of developing nations often characterized by low levels of literacy and ICT skills, lack of appropriate devices, sparse internet connectivity and high data costs. Following design science principles the paper identifies the problem and delineates a solution. Taking inspiration from social science theories on enabling access to and motivating participation in environmental systems, the meta-requirements for design are identified and associated design principles are extracted. Future directions for researching operational aspects are discussed along with a description of the potential design architecture of the participatory system.