Guidelines for the Social Action Projects

How should you approach developing your social action project? Below are some guidelines to help you and your friends get started.

Step One: Select one problem, challenge, or issue to address:

What is going on in the community that we want to address?

Your project should be a step-by-step strategy for addressing a specific need. Your action plan will include the positive social change you wish to create and include those who will benefit from your project – great projects begin with planning for the end result. Keep in mind the following as you decide on your challenge:

  • Feasibility: What is the realistic goal for the project given your available resources and time?
  • Scalability: How many people will be helped? Can your idea be expanded?
  • Replicability: Can the project solutions be duplicated by others and used in other communities?
  • Longevity: How long will the results and effects of the project last?
  • Sustainability: Can the project continue on its own? Consider:
  • What are things we value in our lives? Do others share these same values?
  • What issues are important to us and would motivate us to take action?
  • What can we offer so that others might benefit from our actions?
  • What possible community needs or problems, challenges, or issues can we identify that we care about?

Step Two: Create a concise one sentence solutions-statement that describes what your social/action project hopes to achieve.

Examples:

  • We will raise awareness on the importance of voting in the community through a series of discussion forums.
  • We will design a safe walking path for children in collaboration with school officials.
  • We will improve waste collection habits in our living environment through a one-day workshop on recycling

Step Three: Think about assets, resources, and policies.

Think about the assets in your community that you can use for your project. The assets can be individual assets as well as institutional assets. What does the community already have that can help your project? Are there policies already in place that could help support the project?

What assets does the community have?

  • People: Who are the people who get things done? Look out for leaders or inspiring individuals in the community?
  • Institutions: Are there any organisation, which shares similar goals with your project? Explore the possibility of partnering with them for your project.
  • Policies: What policies already exist in places that can help you with your project?

Step Four: Identify your target audience

We must know who are our audience in order to make them aware of what we are doing and also to bring them aboard.

  • Who are we targeting?
  • Where do they live?
  • What tools are we going to use for getting the word out? Awareness campaigns, Social Media like Facebook, meetings, flyers etc.

Step Five: Your Solution

Write your action plan, which should consist of:

Goals: what are your project goals? These should be connected to your statement from step 2 and also be realistic and specific.

Example: Instead of saying, “stop bullying”, say, “Create and distribute a compelling”

Activities: What are the major activities that you will undertake? What are the steps you will take to achieve your goal?

Timetables: How long will it take to accomplish each major step in the project? Include a timetable for what you will do each month. Remember, your projects should end by September 15th 2018.

Resource Budgets: Plans stating how available resources, especially time and money, will be allocated or spent during the project. Please itemize your costs.

Step Six: Telling Your Story

If you are selected, you will be expected to document your project through photos, videos, or writing. Include ways you will measure the impact of your project. That is, how do you know you’ve made a difference? Do people view an issue differently? Have they learned a new skill that will improve their lives? Have they made a connection with other people? Also include your strategy to document and share your story? Videos? Social Media? Blogs? Pictures?

Additional tips:

  • Find people in your community who can contribute pro-bono. You’ll be surprised how prepared talented and resourceful people are to help a good cause. Do you know a talented artist who can help you design a poster? Musicians who can help you write a song to raise awareness? Or even businessmen who can help you reduce printing costs? Ask for their support!
  • Work in groups. Do not try to do this by yourself! Working with friends not only gives you more hands, but also more ideas for how to better achieve your goals.
  • Find organizations or groups who are already working on your issue. There are many nonprofits and Civil Society Organizations working on a number of good causes in Bhutan. If your issue is connected with theirs, seek them out, and even be a partner on the proposed activity! They can give you valuable advice for how to go about approaching your issue. And don’t forget the government!

Sample Approach to Social Action Project:

Stop Bullying in Our Schools!

A group of Middle School students in an after-school program decided that they wanted to conduct a Project to do some social good in their community.

PROBLEM

The Team met several times to decide on a community problem that they wanted to address.  They chose bullying, which affected many students in their school and others.  They sought out evidence by approaching school boards and administrations to find out how many reported cases of bullying there were, and were shocked to find that there was at least one case of bullying reported every day. The Team stated the problem simply, like this: There is bullying occurring in schools in our area.

SOLUTION

The Team considered several things they could probably do to address the problem, and they decided that they could raise community awareness of the problem and reduce bullying by creating and distributing a compelling anti-bullying poster that would get people thinking.  They developed this Action Plan.

GOALS

The Team defined its major goals for their poster: Raise community awareness of the problem and suggest possible solutions. Because posters can only do so much, they decided to also organize a school-wide assembly that would engage all students and teachers in discussion on this issue.

Milestones

The Team listed necessary intermediate steps: (1) find someone or some way to create a poster, (2) design a poster with the proper message, (3) get copies printed, and (4) put the poster in appropriate public places.

Timetable

The Team decided that they must finish the poster before the end of the school year.

Budget

The Team found one member’s brother who would create the poster on a voluntary basis and found a good but inexpensive way to have poster copies printed, and then they created a simple budget to determine how much they needed in a micro-grant from the funder.

Measurement

The Team decided to take informal surveys before and after poster distribution.

Documentation

The Team decided to take photos and make a video of events during the Project.

The team carried out its Action Plan.  The resulting poster is colorful, bright, and optimistic, asks the viewer to “Stop Bullying”, and suggests new attitudes of making things different, respecting those around you, and treating everyone equally.  They hung copies of the poster in their school, other schools, and many public places.  They talked about bullying, their project, the problem, and the solutions at school and elsewhere.

IMPACT

The Project made all Team members think more about the issue and how they can help others and not be bullies themselves.  They found that many others changed their behavior – at school, online, everywhere – because of the poster.