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By doing so, you can get around them. Analyzing community problems can also help you understand the resources you need. And the better equipped you are with the right resources, the greater your chances of success. Having a plan of action is always better than taking a few random shots at the problem. If you know where you are going, you are more likely to get there. In general, when you tackle a problem, it's almost always smarter to analyze it before you begin.

That way, you've got a deeper understanding of the problem; and you've covered your bases. There's nothing worse for member involvement and morale than starting to work on a problem, and running up against lots of obstacles -- especially when they are avoidable.

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When you take a little time to examine a problem first, you can anticipate some of these obstacles before they come up, and give yourself and your members better odds of coming up with a successful solution. Every community problem should benefit from analysis. The only possible exception is when the problem is an immediate crisis that requires action this very moment. And even then, analysis should help later. However, there are conditions when analysis is especially important. And these are:.

The ultimate goal is - to understand the problem better and to deal with it more effectively , so the method you choose should accomplish that goal.

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We'll offer some step-by-step guidelines here and go over a couple of specific ways to determine the causes of the problem. Since we know that childhood obesity tends to lead to adult obesity, and that obesity and being overweight are linked to chronic conditions — diabetes, heart disease, stroke — this is a problem that needs to be addressed now. Our organization has the will and the ability to do it.

State the problem without implying a solution or blaming anyone , so that you can analyze it without any assumptions and build consensus around whatever solution you arrive at. There are too many children in the community who are overweight or obese. The problem is particularly serious among low-income families. This can be as straightforward as individuals changing their behavior from smoking to not smoking, or as complex as persuading legislators to change laws and policies e.

All, and particularly low-income, children should have the opportunity and the motivation to eat more healthily and exercise more. In low-income neighborhoods, there needs to be greater access to healthy food and more safe places for children to play or participate in sports, both outdoors and indoors. The real cause of a problem may not be immediately apparent.

It may be a function of a social or political system, or may be rooted in a behavior or situation that may at first glance seem unrelated to it.

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Once a disease is understood well enough to cure, it is often also understood well enough to prevent or eliminate. Similarly, once you understand the root causes of a community problem, you may be able not only to solve it, but to establish systems or policies that prevent its return. But why? Market owners view low-income neighborhoods as unprofitable and dangerous places to do business.

The streets are dangerous because there are few job opportunities in the community, and young men turn to making money in any way possible. As you continue to question, you may begin to think about advocacy with local officials for incentives to bring supermarkets to low-income neighborhoods, or for after-school programs that involve physical exercise, or for parent nutrition education or for anti-gang programs…or for all of these and other efforts besides.

Or continued questioning may reveal deeper causes that you feel your organization can tackle. Identify the restraining and driving forces that affect the problem.

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This is called a force field analysis. It means looking at the restraining forces that act to keep the problem from changing social structures, cultural traditions, ideology, politics, lack of knowledge, lack of access to healthy conditions, etc. Consider how you can use your understanding of these forces in devising solutions to the problem. In analyzing root causes, you may have already completed this step.

It may be that other problems stem from the same root cause, and that there are other organizations with whom you could partner.


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Other organizations may be working on one or more of these, and a collaboration might help both of you to reach your goals. Identify personal factors that may contribute to the problem. Whether the problem involves individual behavior or community conditions, each individual affected by it brings a whole collection of knowledge some perhaps accurate, some perhaps not , beliefs, skills, education, background, experience, culture, and assumptions about the world and others, as well as biological and genetic traits. Any or all of these might contribute to the problem or to its solution…or both.

Identify environmental factors that may contribute to the problem.

chambersbayvacation.com/3307-mobile-phone.php These might include the availability or lack of services, information, and other support; the degree of accessibility and barriers to, and opportunities for services, information, and other support; the social, financial, and other costs and benefits of change; and such overarching factors as poverty, living conditions, official policy, and economic conditions.

Identify targets and agents of change for addressing the problem. Whom should you focus your efforts on, and who has the power to improve the situation? Often, these may be the same people. The best solution to a particular problem may be policy change of some sort, for instance, and the best route to that may be to mount an advocacy effort aimed at officials who can make it happen.

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People who are suffering from lack of skills or services may be the ones who can do the most to change their situation. In other cases, your targets may be people whose behavior or circumstances need to change, and you may want to recruit agents of change to work with you in your effort. The point of this step is to understand where and how to direct your work most effectively.

Parents of children in low-income neighborhoods or all parents in the community for education purposes The children themselves Elementary and middle school teachers School officials responsible for school food programs Executives and Public Relations officers of supermarket chains Gang members and youth at risk of becoming gang members.

What do you conclude? We hope you'll find some value in analysis. We do know that when we have tried this method with real problems in our own communities, we have drawn some additional conclusions of our own, going beyond the basics:.


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  • The analysis may not always be easy. The solution may be more difficult still. But that's why problems are problems. Community problems exist precisely because they often resist clear analysis and solution. They persist despite our efforts. They can be real challenges. Yet this doesn't mean we are helpless.

    Analysis, including the analytic methods we have described, can take you a long way. The program allows disadvantaged youths with an opportunity to earn wages and repay court ordered restitution to their victims while simultaneously offering opportunities for leadership and friendship. The communities involved benefit from these beautification projects, and the kids benefit by gaining confidence and a renewed sense of self worth. Sources: UrbanArtWorks.


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    • Creativity Explored offers both creative space and art education to adults with developmental and severe disabilities. The organization supports six yearly exhibitions of work ranging from painting and sculpture to handmade objects and books. Mentors and volunteers work together to create an engaging and unique community for disabled adults to find their voices as artists. Sources: FecalFace. Headed by Golden, the organization works together with artists and communities to increase neighborhood beautification through the arts.

      Golden's team invites graffiti artists and local residents to contribute their creative visions to each project, and currently the organization has created murals throughout the city. Pairing artists and communities together creates local pride and transforms urban spaces while simultaneously engaging residents and strengthening their communities. Sources: MuralArts. Started by the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Mid-America Mural Project creates meaningful creative work through collaborations between artists and communities.

      Six sites throughout America's heartland have acquired murals through the project, and many of the mural projects were physically created by members of the community while under the guidance of professional artists like David Loewenstein. Incorporating local history, people, and stories into each piece contributes to increased community pride and offers residents an opportunity to contribute to the enhancement of their own neighborhoods.