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"Fairness is an across-the-board requirement for all our interactions with each other. Fairness treats everybody the same."

Barbara Jordan

The case study technique uses a printed description of a problem situation that includes enough detail for participants to determine certain appropriate actions they might take to resolve the problem situation. A case study simulates reality, allows participants to draw upon their own experiences and promotes a more active involvement as they apply theory to practice.


· Choose an appropriate case study that will fit your objectives. Adapt the details of the case or write a new case that best fits the problems of your participants.

· Develop strong characters and include adequate conflict in their interactions to insure interest and realism.

· Explain to the participants the purpose of using a case study and read any particular directions you want them to follow for this study.

· Work in small groups to analyze the case. This encourages a more varied response from participants than working in a large group.


"Misfortune is sometimes just good fortune well wrapped up; when the wrapping wears away, good fortune tumbles out."

Ahmadou Kourouma


Participants are given a written case taken from either a real or hypothetical situation. The case is read carefully, small groups are formed to discuss the circumstances of the case and asked to address a set of questions that are introduced by the facilitator. In the large group, a spokesperson from each small group summarizes the group's findings and responds to the questions posed. An open discussion is conducted in the large group after all individual presentations have been made. Learning takes place in large part by listening to the divergent views of the entire group. Sometimes the biggest lesson is that there is no one right answer. Sometimes there may be no answer at all.


The trainer brings in someone who is currently immersed in a problem situation and is willing to share the problem with the group, describe in detail the situation, and answer any questions the participants might have to help them better understand the situation. After sufficient time in the large group, the participants can form smaller groups for brainstorming on possible approaches or solutions to the problem. The spokesperson would then reply to their propositions, giving realistic feedback on their appropriateness. Again, some of the best learning might come from seeing that there is no one answer and that there are always many details to consider before launching into a solution.


Present a comprehensive case to the large group and propose a list of possible solutions. Have the participants rank the solutions on an individual basis first. Next, break into small groups; instructing participants to discuss their personal rankings and agree on a final ranking for their group to be presented to the large group. Reconvene and compare the ranked lists, allowing time for discussion.


A case study is distributed to participants but there is too little information included for them to easily reach a decision, even a preliminary one. The trainer has all the necessary information but only reveals it when asked the specific question. The participants have to learn how to ask questions properly so that they can get the information they need to make a decision. The Incident Process Approach works well to promote communication and problem solving skills.


· To provide Trainees with an opportunity to develop analytical and problem solving skills.
· To introduce Trainees to basic elements of gender analysis in development projects.
· To provide accurate information about guinea worm disease.


· Trainees will have learned to use case study as a technique in how to analyze a problem situation.

· Trainees will have completed a gender analysis matrix.

· Trainees will be able to cite at least three impacts of guinea worm disease.



1. Begin by reviewing basic knowledge concerning guinea worm disease. (Trainees should have read the fact sheet on guinea worm by now.) Lead a brief discussion about what causes guinea worm, how to prevent it and how cases of guinea worm are best treated.


2. Explain to the group that in this exercise they will be using a case study technique to practice some basic elements of gender analysis. Explain that there are many ways to use the case study method and this is just one example. (The handout included with this lesson plan suggests other uses of case study.)

Write the words "GENDER ANALYSIS" on a large sheet of flip chart paper. Explain that there are many ways to do a gender analysis and this lesson will present just one example.

Distribute copies of the case study to all participants and ask them to read it carefully.

Ask someone to briefly summarize the main points made in the case so that the large group may proceed in general agreement.


3. Form small groups of no more than five or six people each and distribute a copy of the gender analysis form to each group.

Instruct the small groups to fill out the matrix form identifying the differences that exist between women and men in this case study. For some of the information requested, participants can make assumptions based on their own experiences.


4. At the end of the 30 minutes, ask each group to give a three minute report to the large group on their findings. Use the previously prepared flip chart to write key words from the small group responses.

Allow a ten minute discussion by the large group on their collective findings and what it might mean to the community.


5. Ask the small groups to re-form and discuss the following questions:

· Given what we now know about the situation in Zabo, what might you, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, propose as a strategy to further address the guinea worm problem in Zabo or your community?

· What would you be concerned about as you develop and organize new projects?


6. In the large group setting, taking one question at a time, ask for volunteers from each group to share their responses.

Record key ideas on flip chart paper.


7. Close by explaining that they have just studied a case from a gender perspective. Encourage them to look into other gender analysis techniques that could help them in their work.

And finally, ask if any new information about guinea worm was given in this lesson and if they see a relationship between guinea worm eradication efforts and gender considerations.

Case study