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Research and Analysis

In this section, you will find a compilation of tools to conduct research and analysis on the problems you face and want to change in your community. This will be the foundation of any advocacy campaign that you develop. It is essential to deeply understand the root causes and systemic nature of the problem, so that you can identify the creative strategies and solutions that are needed!

Problem Tree / Solution Tree: This powerful and simple activity uses a visual tree metaphor to analyze the root causes and negative impacts of a specific problem in order to identify strategic interventions and solutions. 


Systems Iceberg: This systems analysis tool is used to explore what lies beneath the surface of events, in order to identify underlying patterns,  structures and beliefs that contribute to the existence of any problem and therefore identify needed strategies and solutions.


Source:  Northwest Earth Institute

 Appreciative Inquiry: Appreciative Inquiry is an approach that looks at what is already working well and building on it. The question is: "Where do you want more of?" rather than "What problem must we solve?" A basic tenet is that an organization or group of people will grow in whichever direction people focus their attention.  It typically uses a process called a “4D cycle” with four phases of inquiry: Discover, Dream, Design and Destiny. The group chooses a theme, identifies what they are already doing well, what their dream is for the future and how they will get there. 

Source:  Case Western Reserve University's Department of Organizational Behavior


Fishbowl Dialogue: Participants discuss an issue in a role-play format to represent the different perspectives of a variety of stakeholders. Chairs are placed in a circle with one empty chair and multiple concentric circles for those listening to the discussion. The people who are listening can join the discussion by coming up to sit in the empty chair and bring in their questions, concerns or perspectives or the point of view of a stakeholder that isn’t being represented.


 PhotoVoice:  A qualitative method used for community-based participatory research to document and reflect reality. It is an empowering and flexible process that combines photography with grassroots social action. Participants are asked to express their points of view or represent their communities by photographing scenes that highlight research themes. These photographs are collaboratively interpreted through discussions in both small and large groups, and narratives can be developed that explain how the photos highlight a particular research theme.These narratives are then used to promote dialogue to mobilize and help change-makers (i.e. policymakers) better understand and develop effective solutions to address social and ecological issues.

Source: PhotoVoice and Rutgers Facilitators Guide


Sustainable Development Goals: On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you. See what goals align with your advocacy campaign and build movements with others to share best practices and research and take collective action toward a common goal.



Human Rights Frameworks: Structures put in place to protect the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every human being. Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where a person comes from, what they believe or how someone chooses to live their life. These basic rights are based on values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence.1



UN Gender Rights Treaties and Conventions: East African countries are member states of the United Nations, an international organization founded in 1945 and committed to maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. To enable the UN in being able to achieve its goals , they have developed several international “Conventions” (also called Treaties, Covenants, and Optional Protocols) in order to protect people’s human rights. These include Conventions to prevent and prohibit specific abuses such as torture and to protect specific populations – such as women, children, migrant workers, and people with disability.UN Conventions are written legal agreements between countries including countries in East Africa and the UN. They describe the human rights people are entitled to, and what the country has to do make sure that people can enjoy their human rights.

Problem Tree/Soluton Tree
Systems Iceberg
Appreciative Inquiry
Fishbowl Dialogue
Sustainable Development Goals
Human Riights Framewoks
UN Gender Rights Treaties and Conventons
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