To effectively plan and implement conservation outreach efforts, it is important to have a clear understanding of the problem we are trying to address. Clearly identifying the problem and its root causes is known as a situational analysis. This fact sheet presents some concepts you will want to consider before beginning an outreach planning process.
At its core, this process results in a clear and direct problem statement. What is the core problem we are trying to impact with our efforts? This will depend on your organizational goals, your setting, and the goals or objectives of any particular project or funding that underlies your outreach. In the conservation context, this most often has to do with limiting agriculture’s impact on local or regional environmental conditions, or protecting the natural resource base upon which agriculture depends. In the behavior change context, we also need to consider the behavioral aspects that contribute to these conditions, which may come down to not enough farmers using practices we know can protect local natural resources.
After identifying the core problem we are trying to address, the next step is to consider the conditions and factors that contribute to this problem. Environmental conditions are typically the result of the interaction of complex systems that include social, economic, political, and ecological components.
You can use the Situational Analysis worksheet below to identify the current conditions facing your area.