Chapter 3 – Take Action
3.1 Participatory Assessment
Although the mobilizer must first make an assessment of community resources, potentials, hindrances and needs, the strategy of the Animation Cycle requires that an assessment be done with the community as a whole.
This might not be done all at once, and may be done or continued to be done by the working group later, after it is formed and organized.
All future plans and actions in the intervention must be made on the bases of observed reality, not on the imaginings or special interests. The needs and potentials must be recognized by everyone in the community.
TIP 5 ⇒ Use the preliminary survey as a basic canvas to be developed and enriched all along the project development.
3.2 Defining Priorities, Problems and Goals
When the community is sufficiently unified, and when all factions are involved, including persons less likely to enjoy full participation in community decisions, it is time to set the community into action.
That is done by obtaining a consensus of priority problem, and turning it around as a way to identify the priority goal.
TIP 6 ⇒ The brainstorming technique is one of the most common tools to use here.
3.3 Waterschool Action Plan
The school community must agree on what it wants to achieve over the next period of time, one year, five years (usually the same period as for the district plans).
It is now time to define an action plan to become a Waterschool.
Be aware that Waterschool initiative could also be part of other more general or wider projects, e.g. a project about reducing environmental impact of your school activities.
To manage the defined plan, an Executive Committee should be chosen by consensus, if voting will increase factionalism in the school community; here the mobilizer must be aware of and sensitive to community values and practices.
TIP 7 ⇒ A sample of a Waterschool Developing Committee (WDC) in your school.
3.4 Management Training
When activated, the WDC needs some skill transfer, but also awareness raising, information transfer, encouragement and restructuring (organizing for decision making and organizing for effective action).
The key to management training is the asking and answering, of four key questions:
1. What do we want? We want our school could become a Waterschool.
2. What do we have? Here you have to analyze the initial situation of drinking habits in your school: maybe you already did it through the initial suvey.
3. How do we use what we have to get what we want? You could use existing tap water to become the most relevant beverage all people in your school resort to, all over the working day.
4. What will happen when we do that? You could inviduate which results you will be able to achieve in terms of money sparing, people wealth improving and plastic waste reduction. Consequently, you could use these achievemenst as a plus for your school. You can communicate that and be proud of!
TIP 8 ⇒ How to use PCM (Project Cycle Management) technique.
3.5 Waterschool Project Design
These points have to be expanded in detail, to become a Waterschool Project Design.
In the methodology we suggest, the answering of those questions, and the design of a community project, is participatory, in that it is guided by the mobilizer as a trainer (who asks the questions), and generated by the participants as a group (who answer the questions).
Our course is just aimed to help you to get these goals.
TIP 9 ⇒ How to build a Project Plan resorting to Project Management criteria.