Friday, March 21, 2008

The start of March madness (not basketball)

Having secured that aforementioned grant, now is the time to not only finish this master’s thesis which has been dogging me for at least six months now, but also to start program planning. I intend for this project to be a full-fledged program—partially because my inherently neurotic nature demands a pretty organized and logical follow-through and partially because I’m terrified to land in Guåhan and flail around physically, emotionally, and professionally.

So from here on out a few of my posts are going to be related to the maturity of my project and my reflections on the coming challenges.

To date: I’ve had one meeting with my project partner and we’re working on a logic model and mission statement. Today I wrote three emails outlining our current needs (lesson plans for listening, interpersonal skills development, leadership training) and hoping to schedule appointments with other organizations who either share our social justice goals, target populations, and/or mediums of projects (i.e. video, the web).

What’s a logic model? This is a chart that project planners use. Let’s say you want to start a project that addresses a social problem, like poverty. A logic model compartmentalizes the ways that you’ll tackle this problem. It shows you what kinds of resources/INPUTS you already have (money, facilities, staff), the ACTIVITIES you'll do to attack an aspect of the problem (provide social worker counseling sessions), some ways you'll measure the scope of what you're doing (listing how many sessions a social worker might have in a month and with how many clients), and some OUTCOMES (clients get hooked up to health and food pantry services). There's another box for IMPACT, which measures the long-term success of a project. An example of an appropriate impact here would be the eradication of poverty. Logic models show how a process works and where there might be problems in the implementation of that process, as well as reveal inconsistencies in the process and problem.

Here's an example of a logic model.

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