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close this bookPHAST Step-by-Step Guide: A Participatory Approach for the Control of Diarrhoeal Disease (PHAST - SIDA - UNDP - WB - WHO, 2000, 137 p.)
close this folderPart II: Step-by-Step Activities
close this folderStep 1: Problem identification
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentActivity 1: Community stories
View the documentActivity 2: Health problems in our community

Activity 1: Community stories


· to enable group members to identify important issues and problems facing their community
· to help build a feeling of team spirit and mutual understanding
· to generate group self-esteem and creativity


· 1-2 hours


· tool: unserialized posters
· sticky tape

Sample unserialized posters

What to do

1. Ask the participants to form groups of 5-8 persons. Give each group a set of materials.

2. Give the groups the task using these words:

“Each group will choose 4 drawings from the set Working together, develop a story about your community using the 4 drawings you have selected. Give names to the people and to the place where the story is taking place. Your story should have a beginning, a middle and an ending.”

3. Give the groups about 15-20 minutes to make up their story.

4. When all the groups are ready, ask each group to tell its story to the other participants using the drawings it chose. Let the groups decide how they will tell their story to the other participants. Possible options include:

- a single person selected by the group
- a number of persons selected by the group
- participants act out their stories.

5. Invite the other participants to ask questions about the story and let the group answer them.

6. Once all the stories have been told, invite the group to discuss the main points of each story.

7. The following questions can be used to help stimulate the discussion, if the group is very quiet or silent:

- Are these stories about events happening now in this community?
- What issues were raised that could be considered to be problems in the community?
- How could these problems be resolved?
- What other (or similar) problems does your community face?

8. If the group did not come up with any problems related to water and sanitation, try the activity again using a set of drawings which are less general. Use instead a set of drawings which are more directly related to health and sanitation issues. Facilitate the activity in the same way as before.

9. Facilitate a discussion with the group on what it has learned during this activity, what it liked and what it did not like about this activity.


1. Let the small groups make up their stories by themselves. Do not offer guidance or assistance on what the subject of the groups' stories might be.

2. The purpose of this activity is to help the group express issues that are of concern to it. Don't worry if health issues are not directly identified. (The next activity will help the group to do this.)

3. If it appears that the group would like to work on issues which are not related to environmental sanitation, try to put it in touch with appropriate institutions, government departments, development agencies or nongovernmental organizations.

4. Groups will frequently find this activity stimulating and enjoyable, and may come up with two stories or ask for a second chance. If time permits, carry out the activity again since it may help you to discover important information about the community.