Friday, February 9, 2018

Describing the social problem to build impact logic and successful social solutions

So you want to run a project that would bring social change to the community, where do you start? What is the first thing to do? For me the answer is very simple, before taking any action, start by describing the social problem.

A social problem is a condition that at least some people in a community view as being undesirable, is any condition or behaviour that has negative consequences for large numbers of people and that is generally recognized as a condition or behaviour that needs to be addressed.  Some social problems might include poverty and hunger, Sexual transmitted diseases, child labour, racism, drug use and violence, and climate change, unemployment, gender unbalance, to name just a few. Illustrating the problem is the heart of project planning as well as result based reporting. If you can’t describe the problem yourself, it will also be hard to describe it to others, understanding the underlying problem as well as being able to efficiently describe it, both to yourself and others is very important.

When describing a situation you think is a problem, here are few questions to ask yourself:

(a) What is the Problem? Why is it a problem? Why does the problem exists? Is it a problem to you, or to others? Does this problem pain you? Do you think this is a problem to you and others? How many others would think that this is a problem? Do they feel the pain for the problem? Would any of them be willing to find a solution to the problem? How far would you/they go to find a solution to this problem?

If something doesn’t pain you, then it really isn’t a problem. The above questions really matter when you want to identify a situation as a problem, sometimes what you see as a problem to yourself isn’t a problem to others at all. The questions help you to dig deeper into the social problem and formulate an outstanding impact logic that is presentable to you and others. Understanding the problem leads to formulating a solution that really solves the problem and meet the needs of the community.

It’s crucial to understand that analysing the social problem might take more of your time and energy to get it done, thorough analysis takes time and research; however, at the end of the day, if done correctly the results are promising and always rewarding. The more passion you put into what you desire to accomplish, the more positive results you’ll get.

In order to describe the social problem much better, the following steps will need to be taken into consideration:

1. Describe the initial social situation: 
    Start by describing the scope, the cause and the consequences of the problem.
2. Include Causes of the problem
    Describe what you see as being the main cause of the problem.
3. Include the extent and consequences of the problem
    Name what social consequences have so far been experienced and which social or economical      consequences you expect to see in the future, if the problem is not addressed.

Only after you’ve managed to show the above steps can you then find the solution. It’s very crucial to remember that you are required to identify the problem before formulating the solution. If there’s no problem, then there’s no need for a solution, and not every situation you see is a problem. Describing the problem helps you identify the real problem, and leads you to developing successful solutions to social problems.

To simplify it, we can put the above key points like this:

    1.  Identify the social problem (remember to ask yourself the questions we outline above)
    2.  Find the main causes of the problem (Write them as negative statements
    3. Suggest solutions (write them as positive statements)

And to even simplify it again, let’s turn them to questions:

    > What is the problem?
    > Is it really a problem?
    > What are the causes of the problem?
    > Are they the actual causes of the problem?
    > Can you suggest any solutions?
    > Will the solutions solve the problem?

In order to find your solution, you must first fully understand the underlying problem and describe it thoroughly and concisely. Identifying the actual social problem is at the heart of project planning as well as results-based reporting in social sector development. A better understanding of the social problem leads to successful impact logic and social solutions. Your pitching should include all of the following elements

    1. Describing the Social Problem
    2. Attempts made to date on solving the problem
    3. The failures and the success 

I hope this tip guides you in the process of identifying and describing the social problem and solution. Join me on my next blog post as I look into identifying your target group,and for more on posts for social sector development join my Social Sector Development Category.

Chaow Chaow!

Rumishael Ulomi is a Freelance Christian Consultant, Life Coach, and Motivational Speaker in the areas of Christian Ministry, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Sector development residing in Moshi,Tanzania.


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