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What the Mobilizer Should Ask

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Workshop Handout

Guidelines for What a Mobilizer Should Find Out

Here is a list of questions that can guide you about what information you need to find out about a community before you can be successful in organizing it for self help activities.

    How does one approach community elders and leaders?
    What is the physical geography:
    (surface, vegetation, altitude, climate)?
    What is the size (geography, area) of the community?
    What is the history of the community?
    What is the major technology (horticulture, herding, fishing, trading), crops,
    What is the economic system?
    Is there cash crop money?
    Exports from the community?
    Are their groups already active in self help?
    What are the important customs and beliefs?
    What are potential areas in which to begin self help activities?
    How are decisions made in the community?
    What are the roles of community leaders?
    What are the community sociological and demographic characteristics:
    Size (number of people)
    Location (on what major roads? Relation to other communities?)
    Settlement pattern (how and where do people live, locate their houses?)
    Age structure (dependency ratio), pyramid
    Religious composition
    Levels of education and ratios
    Ethnic composition and
    Languages spoken.
    What is the gender situation, relations between men and women?
    How are women/men seen in roles:
    water, health, child raising, food production
    What is the health situation?
    How is disease understood and treated?
    Are there factions (political, religious, ethnic, clans)?
    Any violence?
    If there are factions, what is the potential for unity organizing?
    Who are the opinion leaders?
    Who is influential?
    Who are the educated people?
    How are they seen? and
    What people are away (eg in urban areas) that have an influence on the community?

In a workshop or seminar, discuss how each of these, when answered, can contribute to an understanding of the social organization of the community, and in predicting the possible success of social mobilization for self reliance, and what strategies might be most appropriate.

Are there other questions that should also be asked? Should any of the above questions be expanded to include specific details?


Situation Observation:

Situation Observation and Analysis

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2012.09.15

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