OL 303 Assignment Seven Discussion
Vegetable Gardens & Community Gardens for Family Nutrition & Food Security


Assignment 7. How will you transfer the solution to the community?
Turning one of your project’s activities into a lesson plan and a take-home, how-to card.
The concept of sustainability also has implications for your organization. In working with NGOs I’ve discovered that many of them don’t document their activities. This means that next year when they decide to do an activity again, they might not have names and addresses of partners they worked with or background information for the activity, or the specifics of how they conducted the activity. I try to encourage organizations simply to take their loose documentation at the end of an activity and stick it in a folder. Even if it’s not tidy nor well organized, they will probably have 80% of the information they need for the next time.

You are designing a specific project and developing the documentation for that project, but this documentation can be used over and over again for different projects and different activities just by making simple modifications to the original template. So be sure to save these examples of your work. They could even come in handy during a job interview or an interview with a donor about a new project; you’ll have examples for them of the quality of work that you’re capable of doing.

The project you are building is made up of a series of activities—activities that might be launched with a workshop. The Week 1 needs assessment that you did with the community was a workshop and we provided you with a lesson plan for conducting the workshop.

You can research lesson plans on the Internet, but you’ll find that they all follow the same format. At the top there is a description of what activity the lesson plan is for, who the lesson plan is for and who will be presenting at. Then follows background information which includes information on the purpose of the lesson plan with goals and objectives, materials that may be needed, and a brief summary of the activities. A well-written lesson plan will be a helpful to your organization in scaling up activities in other communities with other staff members.

Last week we wrote a one-page field guide for one of your project activities. This week we’re going to expand that field guide into a lesson plan. We have provided a lesson plan this week as a template for you to edit into your own activity.

To convert your field guide into a lesson plan you’ll need to visualize yourself presenting information to a group of people. You will need to use your imagination to think of fun ways for them to adopt the practices that they will learn in ways that will help them remember how-to do it.

Also this week we’re going to draw a ‘how-to card’ for your workshop participants to take home. The card should be a simple reminder of the different phases of the workshop. I try not to include words on my cards because so many community members can’t read, and because in the countryside there are so many different languages.

In the field, I will work with a local person to do the drawings because their drawings will be representative of the culture participating in the workshop. This week you won’t need to work with a local artist, I simply want you to work through the process of developing a lesson plan and a matching how-to card so that you can see how the process unfolds. Even if your illustrations aren’t as good as you would like them to be — don’t worry — your how-to card will be a useful tool to give to an illustrator so that they will know what are looking for.

This week is a process of projecting into the future what your activity will look like in a classroom setting. When I wrote my first lesson plan I sat down with a teacher friend and had her go through it and make suggestions to me on how to improve it. Her biggest suggestion to me was “don’t forget to make the lesson fun.”

Good luck and enjoy this week’s assignment. Click on homework for Assignment Seven to get started.

Tim Magee