Step 1. Analyse the issue or problem
What's the issue?
Find out what's causing concern, and break the issue down into its components. You can do this by collecting information from a variety of sources and discussing the problem with others.
A clear understanding of the issue is essential to the good design of a community education project. You can identify and clarify issues in a regular, planned approach to managing your group, or in response to a recent event.
To define an issue or problem, you need to investigate, discuss, analyse and review with input from stakeholders. If you look for solutions before you fully understand the issue, you could have trouble clarifying what you want, and are able, to achieve
- Find out what others have done about this problem: what worked, what didn't, and why?
- Decide on a broad goal for the focus and direction of the project. This will be confirmed or changed as you gather more information in the next steps (see step 4).
- Consider and revisit this step continually as you design and formulate your community education project.
- Do a literature search.
- Spend a day on the phone talking to stakeholders to find out what they know about the topic.
- Check local and metropolitan papers.
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Questions you can ask
- What is the problem or issue of concern?
- To what extent is this an issue of concern within our community?
- Does our community realise there's a problem?
- What are the reasons for or causes of the problem?
- How can we promote community discussion and debate about this issue?
- What do we know about the issue? What research do we have? What's been done already? Who's been involved?
- Is `education' the way to deal with the issue? What about other approaches such as regulation and enforcement, economics, engineering and science?
- What do we want to achieve? What can we achieve? What's our goal?
- What outcome do we want from education? Are we trying to encourage debate? influence attitudes? give or gather information? develop skills? change behaviour?
- Are the alternatives we wish to promote practical?
- Can we formulate our needs in terms of short, medium and long-term goals?
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Case Study: Shoalhaven Business
What was the problem?
The problem comprised:
stormwater pollution and waste generation associated with small industries and businesses
perceived lack of interest and activity in environmental management across small industries and businesses
the limited resources of small industries and businesses.
What was the broad goal?
- The broad goal was to develop and implement a partnership project with Shoalhaven City Council to address waste generation and stormwater pollution problems associated with small industries in Nowra as part of the Solutions to Pollution campaign.
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Page last updated: 27 February 2011