OL 203 Assignment One Homework Instructions
Online Learning:
OL 203 Designing and Funding Non Profit Projects. The Community Focus
Center for Sustainable Development.

This week’s resources:
Class Home Page 203
OL 203 Assignment One Discussion
Magee Example Project 203 Assignment 1
List of Resources and Discussions on Needs Assessments

Specific Resources to use for Assignment 1
You can download this Needs and Assets Lesson Plan to use as a template for your assignment:
OL 203 Needs and Assets Lesson Plan

Community Assessment Tools
Rotary International

Communities in Action: A Guide to Effective Projects
Rotary International

Conducting a Community Assessment
Strengthening Nonprofits

Needs Assessment Ideas
Craig Van Korlaar. Top Nonprofit

Assignment One. Strengths and Weaknesses: Capacity, Assets and Vulnerabilities.
Part 1.

Download the handbook from the Rotary Club: Community Assessment Tools. There is also very good information in its companion document: Communities in Action: A Guide to Effective Projects—and you might want to skim this and highlight areas which are of interest to you for future reference.

Also be sure and skim both Conducting a Community Assessment and Needs Assessment Ideas.

Download the Needs and Assets Lesson Plan to use as a template for your assignment. Simply make minor modifications to best fit your context—and from using ideas from the Rotary handbook.

In the Community Assessment Tools document are participatory exercises—each about 1 to 1 1/2 hours long—that will create a two-way learning experience both for you as the facilitator and for your workshop participants.

We are only going to do 3 or 4 of the 8 exercises; this should take 4 – 5 hours total; These can be broken up into several meetings if you like. Here are the eight exercises to choose from:

  1. a survey
  2. asset inventory
  3. community mapping
  4. daily activity schedule
  5. seasonal calendar
  6. community café
  7. focus group
  8. panel discussion

The trick here is that we’re looking for both community member capacity (skills they have, things that they know how to do), assets (perhaps tools the community members have, other programs that would complement your program, public spaces that can be used) and needs and vulnerabilities which community members face (no where for schoolchildren to go after school that is safe, a shortage of food for families for the week before payday).

A good idea is to make your data collection during the assessment workshop very visual. So a tablet of newsprint and a newsprint stand complete with colored markers are very good idea. You can lay sheets of newsprint on a table for drawing a community map and clipped the newsprint to the newsprint stand for making simple tables of things like daily activities.

Once you’ve completed illustrating one of the exercises ask for feedback from the community members. Would they like to add something additional—or re-prioritize a list?

Part 2.
So pick out three or four of the exercises, print them out and review them your team. You can adapt them specifically to your community context.

You may choose to produce a handout or some posters this week prior to conducting a workshop next week.

You can take my workshop lesson plan and modify it to better suit the exercises you’ve chosen by using ideas from the Rotary handbook. You’ll find this is fairly quick to do. And, having a printed out lesson plan that you can refer to during the workshop can help keep you on track.

Part 3.
I would then recommend role-playing the exercises with your colleagues so that you will be better prepared when you present the workshop, and so you can discover if there are any problems in the design of the exercises for your community.

Write a brief description of modifications that you made to the exercises in order to adapt them to your community’s needs. Then edit them and Microsoft word and print them out in preparation for your workshop.

Part 4.
Aside from developing your materials, I would begin organizing the workshop itself a week in advance. If you arranged the workshop for the Saturday of next week, then you really have almost two weeks of preparation time.

Make sure that you have all of your materials together—like large sheets of paper, and pens and markers for doing the drawings. Because this 4 hour workshop (unless you break it into two shorter workshops) you may also need to plan snacks, drinks, and/or lunch.

My suggestion would be to have two/three colleagues accompany you to help with the workshop. This will be especially useful if you decide to break the participants down into sub-groups (of men and of women, or of teenagers and of parents). Also, if you are considering providing snacks, drinks and lunch, you should put someone completely in charge of that (including a helper or two) so that you aren’t distracted with the details and are free to focus completely on facilitating the workshop.

Be sure to have somebody in charge of taking photographs and that they first read my field guide on Capturing Compelling Photographs from the Field. Three simple things that you can do are to check the screen in your camera after taking a photograph to make sure that the lighting is good and the photograph is in focus you probably do not need to use your flash—the quality of the photo will be higher. Don’t take pictures of the back of people doing things—take pictures of the front of people doing things.

These photos really help me in working with you to understand the context of your community—and are excellent to use for your own communication work such as newsletters and reports.

Part 5.
Write a brief description of your favorite quote from this week’s discussion—and why. It only needs to be one or two sentences.

The homework to turn in will be:
1. Write a brief description of your favorite quote from this week’s discussion—and why. It only needs to be one or two sentences.
2. A copy of your modified workshop Lesson Plan.

Go to Magee’s Example Project Assignment 1 to see what this could look like.

See you next week.