Skip main navigation

Why do you need a situation analysis?

A mindset considering people, needs, resources, dimensions and questioning your assumptions.
Girls from Bendera (Maroon and Green - Samburu) and Nachola (Yellow - Turkana) in a high-jump competition

In order to succeed, policies and programmes need to consider a community’s needs prior to implementation.

“Nothing about us, without us”

A situation analysis is pro-active research – it involves including your identified beneficiaries from the start so policies and activities can respond to their needs, rather than trying to align retrospectively (which does not work long term).

It helps you to understand the local context, beneficiaries’ views, opportunities to engage with sport, and any relevant challenges.

Even if you run the same project with two different groups, it is likely that some variables will change as no one group is identical to another. A situation analysis should be on-going, rather than one-off.


As a starting point, consider the following:

  • People – who do you want to engage with?
  • Need – what do they require?
  • Resources – what resources are required?
  • Characteristics – are there any unique characteristics or challenges for this group?
  • Assumptions – have you spoken to your audience to test your assumptions?

This process should form the first step of your planning cycle. Start with the people and their needs, then build your policy or programme with them. Ideally those designing policies and programmes should come from, or at least understand, the communities they serve.

Proper collaboration and co-creation of policies and programmes is vital, rather than simply consulting people for the sake of it. This includes actively involving stakeholders in the design, delivery and measurement of policies and programmes.

Use the workbook (pdf) to plan for a situation analysis before moving on to the more detailed next step of conducting the 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).
This article is from the free online

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education