OL 241 Indigenous Assignment One Homework

Online Learning: OL 241 Writing Your Indigenous Climate Action Plan:

Center for Sustainable Development: https://training.csd-i.org/

 This week’s resources:

Class Home Page 241 Indigenous

Download Class Documents:

Assignment One Discussion

Assignment One Special Discussion on Problem Definition

Assignment One Homework

Magee Example Project Assignment 1

Chapter One. Community Needs Assessments and Project Outline.

Field Guide 1: Participatory Community Needs Assessments, Workshop Lesson Plan & Illustrations

‘A Field Guide to Community-Based Adaptation‘ by Tim Magee

Assignment 1. What’s the real problem?

This first week’s assignment will take longer that any of the assignments over the next 8 weeks. This is why you have three weeks for it. This gives you time to explore the online course structure and resources, to read the discussion, and to engage with a small group of community members who are concerned about climate change and would be willing to participate in a community needs assessment.

This assignment also has two components: a field component and a written component. I would suggest printing this assignment out by downloading it from Download Class Documents.

Getting Started on the Field Component.

Part 1: The Needs Assessment

Download the Summary of the Chapter One. Community Needs Assessments and Project Outline, the Field Guide 10.1: Participatory Community Needs Assessments, Workshop Lesson Plan & Illustrations, and the Magee Project Example from the Download Course Documents.

I would recommend role-playing the Lesson Plan with a colleague for practice.  Make adaptations to the lesson plan that would be appropriate for your community situation and context.

Find a group of community members that either you or one of your community contacts already has a trusting relationship established with. Set up a 2-3 hour meeting with eight or 10 community members. Please try and meet with community members that represent the ultimate beneficiaries (mothers, fathers, families, farmers, ranchers – whoever describe the community you are working with). Try to avoid basing you assessment on a meeting exclusively with people in higher positions: tribal council members for example.

Work through the lesson plan with the group. I like to have an easel with large sheets of newsprint where I can quickly jot down ideas as they are voiced in the discussion. After the group has come up with a good set of needs/problems, let them have a short coffee break. I will take that 15 minutes to organize the list so that similar things are grouped together. I then like to take another sheet of newsprint on a table and draw a large rectangle with perhaps 12 smaller rectangles inside of it and then a simple description in each one that represents one of the needs/problems.

Take your notes from the assessment and write down the challenges identified on newsprint. Put a voting square by each one.

Let participants vote individually with 10 grains of corn, or beans, or pebbles.

Tally the votes and arrange challenges by most votes at the top. Have an open discussion to see if the group is in agreement with the results.


Then, have everyone leave the workshop area. Give each one of the participants 10 seeds, or beans, or small stones. Only one person should go into the workshop area at a time to use their seeds to vote on the needs. They should select the needs which THEY feel are the most important. It is their decision if they want to put all 10 seeds in one square or if they want to distribute them around several different problems.

After each workshop participant has had a chance to cast their votes, you can count the total seeds in each square and quickly write up a prioritized list ordered by the number of votes each problem received. This is a good time for the participants to have an open discussion about the results of the vote.


You should take a minute alone with the prioritized list and make a determination whether the items on their list are problems or underlying causes.

You should also make the determination if the prioritized list represents two or three unrelated projects such as some health needs and some agricultural challenges . If that is the case, organize the list so that health needs are in one place and agricultural challenges in another.

For the purposes of the course, I want you to develop a very simple, easily defined project. It would be a good idea to let the participants come to an agreement on which project should be attempted first. In our example above, you could ask them if they would prefer to work on the health component or the agricultural project first.

 Getting Started on the Written Component

Part 2: The Simple Project Outline

Take the project component that you agreed to work on with the community and write an outline (just exactly like on the Magee Project Example) of:

  1. One or two (maximum 2) problems.
  2. An underlying cause or two.
  3. Some of the long-term negative impacts that will result from the problem.
  4. Add a climate change related problem if the community didn’t mention one.
  5. A short paragraph (Problem Statement) that is nothing more than the combination of the three things in the simple outline above. The problem statement is not an introduction to a proposal, nor a paragraph of background information. It is simply the problem, the underlying causes and the negative impacts copied and pasted together in order.

I find that annotating these components in red (like in my example) makes it easier for me to combine them into an organized problem statement.

Follow the Magee Project Example exactly – it is what we are looking for. Pull it up on your screen and type right over it.

The complete Assignment One homework to turn in will be:

  1. The full list of needs/problems with the number of votes each received (Photos too please if possible! Attach a few separately or paste them onto page 2.
  2. A simple project outline of problems/causes/negative impacts of the chosen project idea.
  3. A short paragraph (Problem Statement) that is nothing more than the combination (copy and paste) of the problems/causes/negative impacts in the simple outline above. Look at my example to see how simple it is – no embellishments.
  4. Your climate challenge (problem and or/underlying cause) added into project outline if necessary.

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

See you next week.

Copyright © Tim Magee