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close this bookNon-formal Education Training Module (Peace Corps, 1991, 182 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentWhat is Nonformal Education?
View the documentAdult Learning
View the documentSession: 3 Helping People Identify Their Needs
View the documentFacilitation Skills - Part 1
View the documentFacilitation Skills - Part 2
View the documentNFE Materials Development
View the documentGames in NFE
View the documentPlanning
View the documentEvaluation
View the documentLooking Back/Looking Ahead
View the documentAppendix I: Warm- Ups
View the documentEvaluations
View the documentReferences



Though Volunteers may have had a good deal of experience setting their own goals and planning how to meet them, they need to understand how to involve local people-some of whom may have limited literacy skills and no formal planning experience-in the goal setting and planning process. Striking a balance between being too directive (planning for people) and not being directive enough (doing nothing but feeling useless and frustrated) may be one of the most difficult challenges Volunteers face in their assignments. This session gives participants practice in planning procedures that have proven effective in involving local people in setting and meeting their own goals for community development - thus helping Volunteers avoid both extremes.

Objectives of Session

· To explore how to help a group set their own goals from needs they have identified.
· To practice setting clear goals, objectives and tasks.
· To demonstrate how to involve people in planning NFE activities.

Activity Sequence

1. Warm-up and Processing

35 minutes

2. Goals and Objectives

35 minutes

3. Planning Tools

Group Work

60 minutes

Presentations (includes BREAK)

40 minutes

4. Evaluation

10 minutes

Total Time Required

180 minutes

Materials Needed

· 3 waste baskets (or other baskets, all about the same size and shape)
· A stack of waste paper (old newspaper, magazines, etc.)
· Flip chart paper
· Markers
· Flannel Board (from Session 6) or a blanket and pins
· Sandpaper
· Scissors
· Heavy paper or light cardboard
· Glue
· Stapler
· Masking Tape
· Handouts:

Your Goal - One per group (See Trainer Preparation 3)
Problem Tree - One per participant OR flip chart of problem tree
Planning Tools - One set per participant
Case Study Waste-Water Gardens - One per participant

Trainer Preparation

1. Read Peace Corps NFE Manual, Chapter 5.

2. Read through the session with your co-trainers and decide together on the options that you want to use.

3. Make one copy of Your Goal handout. Cut into three strips,, with a different goal on each strip.

4. Assemble all materials.

5. Be sure that participants who signed up to do the warm-up and evaluation have the materials they need and are ready.

Activity 1: Warm-up

Activity Time 35 minutes

Purpose To explore how having different goals determines how groups use resources - materials, time and people.

Step - by - Step

1. Explain to the group that ideally, planning with people starts with determining goals together. However, in their work they may come into a project whose goals have already been determined. In this warm-up, participants will divide into three groups and play games that look similar, but have different goals. As each group plays the game the other groups watch to see how the different goals influence the decisions groups make about how to play the game.

2. Explain that all groups will toss wads of waste paper into a basket from distances of 2 feet, 7 feet and 12 feet.


You can use other "found objects" instead of paper if you like.

Nuts, shells, small stones or bottle-caps are some possibilities. Try them out yourself first from the various distances to make sure the game will be easy - but not too easy - to play. Change the distances if necessary to fit with your particular materials.

3. Say that you will give each group a handout with their particular goal written on it.

All groups will have 5 minutes to strategize. During the strategy session groups should decide how to most effectively meet the goal they have been given. While they are strategizing, you will set out the basket and paper and mark distances on the floor or ground. Then one at a time, each group will have 2 minutes to play the game.

4. Ask participants to form three small groups. Give each group one strip from the handout Your Goal. Remind groups they have 5 minutes to decide on their game playing strategy.

5. While groups are planning how to meet their goals, set out the basket and stack of waste paper (or other objects) and mark off distances of 2, 7 and 12 feet with chalk or another marker. (For measuring-your foot is about a foot long.)


You may notice from the Your Goal handout that at least one version of the game is ridiculously easy, especially when 2 feet is one of the distances that can be chosen. This has been done on purpose. While a group may react strongly against goals they consider pointless, this reaction can be exploited effectively in the processing (e.g. "Do you see any connection between your reactions and the reactions that local people might have to projects whose "rules" they cannot control?"). We suggest you use your own discretion and creativity in deciding how to set up and process this game.

6. Call groups together and ask Group 1 to play while other groups watch.

7. Keep time (2 minutes). Repeat with Groups 2 and 3.

8. Take about 15 minutes to process the games, bringing out the following points:

· What each group's goals were.
· What each group's strategy was to meet their goals.
· How each group used their resources - materials, time and people - differently to meet their goals.
· How each group felt about the goals they were given. (Were they reasonable? Pointless? Etc.)
· Why each group planned the way they did. (Why Group 1 didn't use resources in the same way as Group 3, for example).
· How this game might be similar to an NFE project participants could be involved in (e.g. sometimes goals are already set by the Ministry, or Volunteers come into a project that is already going, or sometimes the goal seems pointless, etc.)


You may refer to the wall chart of the Experiential Learning Cycle as you ask these questions to remind participants of the WHAT? SO WHAT? and NOW WHAT? of processing an NFE activity.

Or, you might point out how the whole warm-up follows the ELC: the game is an experience, the processing aids reflection on the experience, and the application of that reflection to real life (for example, spending more time helping people set meaningful goals) is the action that can grow out of the reflection. You might ask - participants to notice how the other activities follow the ELC as the session progresses.

9. Sum up the discussion. You might say:

It is important to have clear goals that people see as satisfying and realistic in order for the group to plan well and use resources effectively. The goals of a project determine how people will work together and use the resources they have.

Activity 2: Goals and Objectives

Activity Time 35 minutes

Purpose To explore how to help a group set their own goals from needs they have identified.

Step - by - Step

1. Lead into this activity from the previous one by saying something like this:

Handing out goals for the game was a top-down goal setting process. But in NFE goals should ideally be determined by the people who will benefit from the project and come from needs identified by them. Once the needs are identified by a group, you can help them turn some of those needs into clear, realistic goals.

2. Remind the group of the Problem Tree needs assessment tool they may have tried out in Session 3. Give the Problem Tree hand-out to each participant or refer to the flip chart you have prepared in advance, e NOTE: Instead of using the Problem Tree in the NFE Manual you may use a Problem Tree made by participants in Session 3 or one of your own design that uses realistic problems, causes and possible solutions from your particular cultural context.

3. Ask participants to recall that in a problem tree exercise, the group starts with a problem they have identified (" Children are malnourished") and then explores some of the deeper reasons why the problem exists in their community ("Not enough food" etc.).

Through discussion, the group may uncover the roots of the problem and begin to suggest things they can do about it ("We could generate income in new ways," etc.).

It is at this point that they are beginning to set goals.

4. Mention that many kinds of groups have difficulty setting clear, realistic, understandable goals-multinational corporations and universities probably have as much difficulty as an unschooled group without much experience in planning. Because setting goals is not easy, it is necessary to understand how to work with a group to move from a general discussion of ideas to specific goals that will help solve the identified problems.

5. Referring again to the Problem Tree, suggest that one of the difficulties is in helping people to sort out which problems are feasible to solve. Ask the group for suggestions of questions they might ask a group to help them decide on a problem to work on:


Which of these causes of the problem can we do something about? What do we have enough money to do? What do we have enough time/energy/skill, etc. to do? What problems might we have in carrying out our plan? etc.

List the group's responses on flip chart paper.

6. Suggest that an aid to discussion of feasibility of a solution is Force Field Analysis

(NFE Manual page 83). Ask the group if anyone has used this technique to help people think through the feasibility of a goal. If someone has, you might ask them to model the technique briefly with the group (5 - 10 minutes). Have the facilitator start with one of the possible solutions suggested on their Problem Tree handout (or your flip chart), e.g. "We could use more organic fertilizer," etc. The facilitator should ask the group for the opposing forces, or the problems they think local people might encounter promoting the use of organic fertilizer (e.g. people will say "it's not our tradition," "most animal waste is already used for fuel," etc.) as well as the driving forces that would enable them to adopt the technique (e.g. "it's cheaper than chemicals" nit's safer to handle, etc.). If the driving forces seem to outweigh the opposing ones at the end of the discussion, the goal may be feasible, e NOTE: See also the Cart and Rocks Exercise (NFE Manual, page 85) for a more concrete version of Force Field Analysis for groups of limited literacy.

7. Suggest that Force Field Analysis and the Problem Tree are aids to promoting discussion about solutions to problems that people have identified. The next step is to help people state these solutions as clear goals.

8. Remind the group that as they read in the Peace Corps Nonformal Education Manual

(Chapter 5, pp. 77 - 78), GOALS ARE GENERAL STATEMENTS OF WHAT THE GROUP IS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH OVERALL. For example, referring to the discussion of the problem tree, above, a goal might be to introduce the use of organic fertilizer to women vegetable fanners in a certain region. Ask the group for other possible goal statements from the problem tree example. Write these on flip chart paper.

NOTE: You may need to help the group make their goal statements more clear and specific. Examples of unclear goals might be: To involve people in using organic fertilizer (what people? where?)

To improve child health (too broad - better to focus on a specific aspect of health in a particular locality)


TAKEN TOGETHER, ACHIEVE THE PROJECT GOALS. Objectives are more specific than goals, and usually contain results that can be measured within specific time periods. Ask the group for examples of some objectives for the goal in Step 8, above.

You may want to remind the group that objectives need to state WHO will do WHAT, WHEN, and that they represent RESULTS (i.e. changes). (Examples of objectives: To develop over the next two planting seasons, a community awareness of the benefits of organic fertilizer. To involve the women farmers' cooperative in the development of an experimental plot during the next planting season.)

10. Mention that tasks are even more specific than goals. TASKS ARE THE STEP-BY-STEP ACTIVITIES THAT WILL ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVES. Elicit suggestions from the group for possible tasks to meet a specific objective in 9, above. You might use buzz groups to involve everyone briefly in thinking about this (pairs brainstorm for 2 or 3 minutes). (Example: a women farmer's cooperative wanting to start an experimental plot might plan such tasks such as getting permission to use land, composing the organic fertilizer, gathering tools and seeds, setting a cooperative schedule for watering and weeding, etc.)


Some Volunteers (especially in an IST) may feel frustrated that the people they work with seem negative, apathetic or unrealistic in setting goals and taking responsibility for community improvement. If so, you might want to take some extra time to explore the reasons that local people might feel this way. (Some possible reasons: discouragement with previous projects that have promised but not delivered; personal illness; being overwhelmed by family responsibilities; etc.)

In fact, this exercise makes an interesting way to model the use of the Problem Tree. You or a Volunteer might want to lead a short evening session (1 hour) to try this. Start with the group's statement of the problem as they see it: ("People here don't want to try anything new," etc.) Explore the possible reasons for this, taking plenty of time for discussion. Draw the problem tree as suggestions are given for causes of the problem (and causes of the causes) to try to reach the roots of the problem. Cultural sensitivity will be very important here to help some Volunteers empathize rather than moralize.

Complete the session by suggesting some ways (and having Volunteers suggest others) to decrease local people's resistance to setting goals and planning activities that solve problems in their communities. One of these ways might be to make the process more concrete and connected to people's daily activities. For example, a facilitator can point out to local people that they commonly set goals and carry out plans such as giving a successful feast, arranging a marriage for a daughter or son, saving enough money to send a child to school, getting all the harvest gathered before the rains, etc.

Refer to Navamaga (see Appendix m): "Making a Cup of Tea" for an exercise that has been used to make the entire planning process concrete and applicable to women's lives in rural Sri Lanka. You may refer also to Before and After Pictures and Story with a Gap on pages 80 and 81 of the NFE Manual as tools to help people plan for community improvement.

Activity 3: Planning Tools

Activity Time 100 minutes

Purpose To demonstrate how to involve people in using planning tools for NFE activities.

Step - by - Step

1. Let the group know that they will now be introduced to several planning tools they can use to help a group plan a project they want to carry out. Remind them that the focus here is on helping local people use these tools to carry out their own goals and objectives, rather than planning for people. While planning by outsiders may be quick and relatively easy, the trick is to get people involved in directing their own projects and carrying out the improvement of their own communities.

2. Explain that you will pass out a case study of an NFE project where people have already developed goals and objectives together. The group's task will be to think of some activities that will help meet these goals and objectives. Then, using the planning tools, they will demonstrate how these activities can be broken down into tasks and carried out in an organized way. The demonstration should show both how to use the planning tool and how to get local people involved in using it. Say that you will supply them with materials for their demonstrations. Suggest that participants divide into three groups and that each group work with a different planning tool.

3. Pass out the case study: Waste-Water Gardening to each participant. Give the group a few minutes to read it. Ask the group to brainstorm ideas for activities John's group might come up with to meet their goals and objectives. These activities should be able to be carried out over a three month period. Write their ideas on the board or on flip chart paper.

Examples: poster campaign, community bulletin board, newsletter, school or community meetings, demonstration garden plots, school gardens, etc. Be sure to let the brainstorming go on until the board or flip chart paper is covered with possibilities

(10 - 15 minutes).

4. Ask each small group to choose one or more of the activities they have brainstormed and break them down into tasks. (For example, preparing a display on the community bulletin board might require borrowing a camera, finding a donation of film, getting permission for using space at the market, involving families in taking pictures of existing gardens, etc.)

5. Pass out handouts: Planning Tools, containing Easy Pert Chart, Gantt Chart and Pocket

Chart. Each participant should have all the handouts (for future reference). Ask participants to divide into three groups, each group choosing a different planning tool to read, understand and demonstrate to the large group using local materials. Remind participants that their main emphasis should be to show how local people can be involved in the planning process.

NOTE: To add an extra challenge, suggest that some groups consider how they would work with groups with mixed literacy skills.

Mention to participants that they will have about 40 minutes to work in their small groups and that each group will have 10 minutes to present. Participants should take their break during their work period as needed.

6. Make materials available to groups to make charts or displays for their demonstrations

(e.g. flip chart paper, markers, a flannel board from Session 6 or a blanket and pins, sandpaper (to make figures for the flannel board), scissors, heavy paper or light cardboard, stapler, glue, masking tape).

7. Keep time (40 minutes). Circulate to make sure everyone understands the directions and to give suggestions, if necessary.

8. When all groups are ready to present, call participants together. Ask each group in turn to present their planning tool and their suggestions for how to involve local people in the planning.


You may want to invite HCNs and/or experienced grassroots workers from local NGOs to comment on participants' presentations and offer further suggestions on how to involve people in planning.

Activity 4: Evaluation

Activity Time 10 minutes

Purpose To have participants plan and carry out an evaluation of the session.

Step - by - Step

Have participants who signed up to evaluate the session to carry it out.

For Next lime

Participants should read Peace Corps NFE Manual, Chapter 6: Evaluation.

Time Saver #1

1. OPTION for Activity

260 minutes

2. Planning tools

100 minutes

3. Evaluation

5 minutes

Total Time

165 minutes

Time.Saver #2

1. Warm-up (generic)

10 minutes

2. Goals and Objectives

30 minutes

3. Planning Tools

100 minutes

4. Evaluation

10 minutes

Total Time

1 150 _ minutes AA

Time Saver #3

1. Warm-up (generic)

10 minutes

2. Planning Tools

100 minutes

3. Evaluation

10 minutes

Total Time

120 minutes

Your Goal


This game is played by tossing wads of waste paper into the basket from distances of 2 feet, 7 feet and/or 12 feet. Your group's goal is to have each participant succeed at tossing at least one wad of paper into the basket. The trainer will mark the distances from your basket. You may decide as a group who will play and where they will stand.

When the trainer says to begin, you will have 5 minutes to strategize. You will then try to meet your goal while the other groups watch. You will have 2 minutes to try to meet your goal.

There are no other rules or explanations to this game. You might want to observe your own reactions and group process for later processing of this warm-up.


This game is played by tossing wads of waste paper into the basket from distances of 2 feet, 7 feet and/or 12 feet. Your group's goal is get as many points as you can in 2 minutes.

A toss that hits the basket - from 2 feet is worth 5 points from 7 feet is worth 50 points from 12 feet is worth 100 points

The trainer will mark the distances from your basket. Any number of your group can play. You may decide as a group who will play and where they will stand.

When the trainer says to begin, you will have 5 minutes to strategize. You will then watch Group 1 try to meet their goal. Then it will be your group's turn. You will have 2 minutes to try to achieve your goal while the other groups watch.

There are no other rules or explanations to this game. You might want to observe your own reactions and group process for later processing of this warm-up.


This game is played by tossing wads of waste paper into the basket from distances of 2 feet, 7 feet and/or 12 feet. Your group's goal is to get as many wads of paper in the basket as possible in 2 minutes. Any number of your group can play. You may decide as a group who will play and where they will stand.

When the trainer says to begin, you will have 5 minutes to strategize. You will then watch Groups 1 and 2 try to meet their goals. Then it will be your group's turn. You will have 2 minutes to try to achieve your goal while the other groups watch.

There are no other rules or explanations to this game. You might want to observe your own reactions and group process for later processing of this warm-up.

Case Study: Waste-Water Gardening

As part of his work in Water and Sanitation, John has moved to an area of the country that has been threatened for some years by drought. Although the earth around most people's houses is bare and cracked, he notices that a few families have flourishing vegetable gardens. In talking to these people, John learns that everyone used to have gardens, as the soil is really quite fertile. Now, however, most people are discouraged by the drought, and it is all they can do to carry enough water for their daily needs.

John discovers that the reason some families manage to have healthy gardens under such conditions is that they are making imaginative use of waste water from dish washing, laundry and bathing. As they talk, these families decide they want to spread the word about more efficient water use and to try to inspire the community to return their gardens to their former state. John agrees to help by bringing in resources-a pamphlet on how to make a photo mural and some information on waste-water garden projects in other parts of the country.

During the first meeting of the families and their interested neighbors, they decided that they would be able to give some time to the project for about three months, and that they hoped to try to double the number of gardens in their community by the end of that time.

Goal: To involve the community in planting and maintaining home vegetable gardens.


· To develop community awareness of recycling of waste water for vegetable gardens over the next three months.

· To double the number of home vegetable gardens over the next three months.

Planning Tools

Easy PERT Chart (from NFE Manual, pp. 85-88)


A PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) chart Is a tool developed by systems analysts to plan project consisting of Independent tasks which must be completed In a certain order and In a certain time frame. It tells when the projects will be started and completed, by whom and for whom, In what sentience and with what effects.

A simplified I led version of the PERT chart Is presented here, adapted to NFE planning by Its flexible format that groups can work on together and adjusts as the situation changes.

You will see the similarity between the EASY PERT chart and the STORY WITH A GAP exercise (page 81), a more concrete planning tool for village groups.

Start by brainstorming with your group a list of all the activities that need to be done to reach their goals. Write the activities I es on separate slips of paper or file cards so the group can arrange them In a logical sequence. Post these cards on the wall with masking tape so everyone can see them, add to them, and move at will.


Easy PERT Chart/Planning Tools - continued

A the group decides on the sequence of the cards they will find that some of the activities can be done simultaneously. These cards should be placed on the same


If the group has a deadline for the fine I activity, this date should be posted at the end of the I line.


The group then can work backwards, establishing dates for the completion of the other activities.

Easy PERT Chart/Planning Tools - continued

For example, Chris's group of agriculture 1 extension I on agents might plan to accomplish their tasks this way:


Since some of the tasks In any projects are more crucial to Its success than others, these should I d be singled out by the group and marked In a special way, In color, or with appropriate symbols of urgency!! In the tree-planting protect, ordering the trees on time Is crucial to the success of the project, so It needs to be given special attention. Alternative ways of getting the seedlings to the village on time should also be discussed In case the original plan falls through.

The more thoroughly these details are talked through with the whole group, the more information will be shared, and the more each group member will feel responsible for the success of the project.

Next, the group should decide who will be responsible for the various activities. As decisions are made, names can be written on the cards along with the activities.


Gantt Chart (from NFE Manual, pp. 88-89)


Another useful tool for longer and more complex projects Is the GANTT chart or time line which maps the objectives on a calendar. This process helps the group visualize the project as a whole.


Then, each of the tasks on the Gantt chart (such as preparing the land for planting) can be broken down Into Its component parts (Identify possible I e appropriate land, engage support of land owners/users, create strategies to protect land and new seedlings from goats, etc.). These parts can be written on cards as In the previous activity and arranged In their logical sequence.


Planning Tools - continued

Pocket Chart

The Pocket Chart helps groups with limited literacy skills and little formal planning experience to set tasks in a sequence. It provides a particularly easy way of moving the tasks around and adding new ones as the planning proceeds.

Use a long sheet of heavy paper (or two sheets of flip chart paper, attached together) for the backing. Cut 10 or 12 squares of paper about half the height of the backing, and glue or staple them in a single line along the bottom edge of the backing, leaving their tops open to form pockets. Cut about 20 paper rectangles that are taller and a little narrower than the pockets.

Ask the group to draw a picture on one of the rectangles showing the goal or objective they want to reach. Suggest that they post it at the end of the line of pockets. As the group decides on tasks, suggest that they draw each task on one of the rectangles. Tasks may then be placed in the pockets and rearranged to forte the sequence in which they need to be done. Tasks that can be done simultaneously can be placed in the same pocket. To designate individuals responsible for each task, the group may decide on a symbol for each member and mark them on the rectangles.