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This content is taken from the The International Platform on Sport and Development, Commonwealth Secretariat & Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)'s online course, Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes. Join the course to learn more.
Girls from Bendera (Maroon and Green - Samburu) and Nachola (Yellow - Turkana) in a high-jump competition
Girls from Bendera (Maroon and Green - Samburu) and Nachola (Yellow - Turkana) get style points in the high-jump competition. Children's Peace Initiaitve Kenya , Peace Camp Baragoi

Situation Analysis - developing the mindset

Success of a policy or programme of activities is dependent on a genuine understanding of a community’s needs and requirements, prior to any activity planning.

“Nothing for us, without us”

Policies and strategies set the agenda for subsequent activities, however they too must be mindful of the environment they are operating in.

A situational analysis is a piece of pro-active research - it involves including your identified community from the start so policies and activities are created in response to their needs, rather than trying to align retrospectively (which doesn’t work long term).

It helps you to understand the local context where you wish to deliver your initiative. It provides you with the community’s views, highlight opportunities to engage with sport, and identification of social challenges people in this community face.

Even if you run the same project twice, with two different groups, it is likely that some variables will change as no one group is identical to another. A situational analysis should be seen as an on-going process, rather than a one-off piece of work.


As a starting point, consider the following:

  • People - who is it you want to engage with?
  • Need - what is it they require or are struggling with?
  • Resources - what resources will be required?
  • Dimensions - are there any unique dimensions or challenges for this group?
  • Have you spoken to them? - have you tested your assumptions?

This process should form the first step of your planning cycle. Start with the people and their needs, then build your initiative accordingly.

Use the workbook (pdf) to practice reflection on these core components of a situational analysis before moving on to the more detailed next step of conducting a full analysis:

Screenshot of handout Towards a Situation analysis
This workbook allows you to capture your initial thoughts about the context surrounding your project (pdf).

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This article is from the free online course:

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

The International Platform on Sport and Development