Pedagogical Kit - Creating your own project

Dear Teachers,

The aim of this pedagogical kit is to help you and your pupils to go a step deeper and get a better understanding of development cooperation by working on a case study based on real facts.
In a summarized version you find relevant information about the specific development issues of a central African country. A problem solving methodology helps you to work on this real case and come to reasonable solutions. Additional country information helps you to embed the case study into the country’s context.

The case study and the methodology are provided by EuropeAid, the Commission's co-operation office which manages EU external aid programmes.

 

Create your project based on a real situation

The text about "Orphans in Rwanda" provides a summary of the situation of orphans in this country and its social consequences.

Study the text carefully and then work on it by using the problem solving tool which you will find below. It will help you to analyse the situation and identity the sources of the problems. Once you know about the real reasons in the country’s context you can start thinking and creating own projects that could help to improve the situation.

This exercise will help you and your pupils to understand how cause and effect are related and what it takes to really help the people. In addition it will help to avoid clichés and stereotypes when talking about development countries in the future. Everyone doing this exercise will gain a real insight into concrete problems and solutions.

At the bottom of this page you find additional information about the country that might help you to find reasonable solutions in the country’s context.

How to proceed?

The aim of the exercise is to find solutions to problems associated with development. To do this, we suggest you use the below method, which places the emphasis on the chain of causality:
the root causes of the problem must be correctly identified to arrive at lasting solutions.
In practical terms, this means schematising your understanding of the situation as well as your proposed solutions.

You find downloadable guidelines that will help you to carry out the exercise, step by step.  We advise you to print and read them first to better follow and understand the procedure.

A – Problem analysis
B – Choose relevant and realistic objectives
C – Starting to plan the project (logical framework)
D – Broadening the investigation

A - Problem Analysis

The students should carefully read the text describing the problematic situation and build the problem tree  by prioritising the causes and consequences.

The wording of the practical case is the raw material of the project. It is advisable to have the students read and analyse the wording and then explain to them the first stages of the approach. Not until then should they move on to creating the tree, which is a logical reorganisation of the contents of the textual components by means of an organisational chart.

They make further investigations (D) if need be so as to consider the causes in more detail.

The additional investigations are not vital for undertaking the exercise but they do allow students to go further into the theme addressed by the project. This also helps them to realise that countries and international agencies often produce quite detailed analyses of the contexts encountered, along with policy documents for guiding the projects designed by the various development stakeholders.

B - Choose relevant and realistic objectives

Students use the problem tree as a basis for moving on to create the objective tree.

This stage is quite mechanical in that is involves converting the problem tree (negative perspective, analysis of the current situation) into an objective tree (positive perspective, objectives to be attained to remedy the problematic situation). It is important for the students to adopt a discerning attitude by sticking to a realistic phraseology.

They identify the various potential strategies.

Identifying the various strategies builds on set theory. Some strategies may form part of broader strategies. In this case, it is advisable to encourage the students to circle the various strategies with different colours, for example.  This helps emphasise that there are several "gateways" for tackling a problem (for example, the focus might be on higher farm output via a strategy for boosting the growing areas, a strategy for improving farming techniques, a strategy for selective more productive varieties, etc.).

They choose one or more of the strategies for the project you define.

In a group setting they have an opportunity to reflect on and identify the strategy or strategies they wish to establish. They try to discuss their choice. The choice is generally made in view of the priorities of the country, sector, target group and stakeholders/institutions involved.The choice is also usually made on the basis of the resources available in terms of skills, financial and material wherewithal, time, etc.

The students transfer this(these) strategy(strategies) to the logical framework's "intervention logic" column.

They imagine the activities that could be rolled out to achieve the objectives and list them atthe bottom of the logical framework's "intervention logic" column.

The students are to spell out the response strategy they have chosen. Consequently, this will mean being creative and listing the activities they feel are needed to achieve the intermediary results (these intermediary results should provide a means of achieving the specific objective and the latter should help achieve the overall objectives). The value of this is that the students are required to offer an innovative and creative approach and then discuss it among themselves and with their teacher.

They try to imagine the risks that could jeopardise the success of their project and transfer these items to the "hypotheses" column of the logical framework.

Analysis of the risks is an integral part of the project planning approach. The students are required to anticipate the possible events that could arise. A project exposed to too many risks has to be amended or adapted to increase its chances of success.

 

D- Broadening the investigation: Information about Rwanda

 

If you need further information about Rwanda – the country, its people, its history – you find here a number of useful links: