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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

Fried cakes Zabo


"Your attitude about who you are and what you have is a very little thing that makes a very big difference."

Theodore Roosevelt

Zabo is a small village in the district of Aka. The village is isolated by 30 kilometers of unpaved roads that are impassable for more than half the year. The people of Zabo rely on their excellent farming and hunting skills to feed their families. Any excess of produce, animal meat, or hides is easily sold at local markets. In fact, the fried cakes made in Zabo are known to be the best in the country and always sell out completely on market day. People say it is the superior corn raised on the soil of Zabo that makes the fried cakes so much better than others. The women of Zabo like to tease that they have a special and secret way of preparing them, which they could never share with outsiders.

In Zabo, both men and women work the fields year round. The men always manage the corn and manioc crops, while the women concentrate on vegetables and potatoes. The men are skilled hunters and the women know how to skin and treat the hides to get the best price at the market. In Zabo, it is the men who tend to participate in politics as community representatives at the district level. They even represent the needs expressed by the women of the village. The women don't hesitate to speak openly about their concerns in Zabo, but they rarely attend the district level political meetings.

The women in Zabo take almost exclusive responsibility for raising the children, cooking, cleaning and other household chores. Women, or the older children, are responsible for gathering water and wood for the family's daily needs. Men often carry large branches of wood home when they find it in the fields.

Access to clean water has always been a problem for the people of Zabo, but recently the situation worsened considerably. Two years ago, during the visit of a family member from another part of the country, the local pond was contaminated with guinea worm and now 30 percent of the population suffers the disease. Many of the men have not been able to plant their corn at all; others are not able to tend the fields to assure a good harvest. The women haven't had the necessary corn to make their special fried cakes, and in any case, many who are sick with guinea worm are not able to work as they did before and cannot make it to the markets at all. The older children with guinea worm are absent from school for weeks at a time and chores around the house simply do not get done. The smaller children suffer the lack of attention from their mothers and fall sick with belly aches, infections, and fevers from the unhygienic conditions that have developed around the house and community.

The women of Zabo asked the men to seek help for this problem at the district meeting because they were suffering so much and because they were not able to sell their goods at the market. Two of the men came back from a visit to the district and reported that there was nothing to be done about the guinea worm in Zabo. They heard it was the result of a curse placed on the village when someone did something to offend the ancestors. The entire village was upset with this news. Not everyone accepted it as truth.

One day, a woman of the village returned from a day at the market and spoke of a man who asked why he had not seen the Zabo fried cakes lately. The woman explained the sad situation in the village and the man said he had heard of this awful disease. He said it was not a curse put on the village, but rather tiny, almost invisible bugs in the water that were giving the people of Zabo guinea worm when they drank it. He said they should start to pour their drinking water through a cloth to remove the tiny bugs. He said it could be any cloth with a tight weave, but he had heard of a special filter cloth that was used in other parts of the country. He suggested that a request be made to the district health center to have a health agent visit the village and better explain the disease.

When the other women heard this news they asked the men to go again to the district for help. The men hesitated because they said it was embarrassing to reveal the curse that was placed on their village. The women insisted that the men try again or they would go to the district themselves.

In the meantime, a few women started to filter the water they brought from the pond with pieces of their cotton wraps. They weren't sure that it would do any good but when they looked at their sick children, the state of their homes and their own bad health, they knew they had to do something.

Friend cakes of Zabo

When health agents finally arrived in Zabo, they were shocked to see so many cases of guinea worm; it was not a common problem in this district. Through interviews with the villagers the agents confirmed that it was the visitor who stayed with them two years ago who first contaminated the pond, but since that time, it was the guinea worm infected people of Zabo who were recontaminating the water by immersing their sores in the pond water. Up until now, the people of Zabo had not understood the life cycle of the guinea worm.

The health agents held an afternoon education session to explain the causes and prevention of guinea worm. Nearly everyone was there to listen. Before leaving, they washed and treated some of the worst cases that they found in the village and explained that unless everyone took precautions to drink only filtered water and keep infected people away from the pond, the village of Zabo would have an even worse problem the following year.

After the agents left, it was the women who started filtering water that came from the pond, but they asked for help from everyone else to assure the water was filtered and kept clean. They asked the men of the village to build a dock that would extend into the pond so that no one would have to step in the water. The women were insisting on change. They wanted their children back in school. They wanted their husbands back in the corn fields. And they wanted to get back to the markets to sell the famous fried cakes of Zabo.

Gender analysis form for the case of Zabo

1. What household tasks and agricultural work do women and men perform in this community?



2. What is the important work that women and men each contribute to the survival of their community?



3. Based on the type of work they do, what are the different interests, concerns, and needs that women and men have in Zabo?



4. What resources might men and women have control over?



5. What different and similar benefits might men and women receive from guinea worm eradication efforts?



6. What type of control might women and men have over the benefits of eradication of the guinea worm in Zabo?



7. What might be some reasons for resistance to equal responsibility in eradication efforts in the community of Zabo?