Problem Analysis

In conducting a problem analysis, the following approach might be helpful: 1. Distinguish between problem and symptoms; 2. Analyze the symptoms and seek to identify the problem; and, 3. Design the project or programme response DISTINGUISH BETWEEN PROBLEM AND SYMPTOMS A problem is a negative situation that is usually not easily identifiable. In contrast, the symptoms are indicators, or signs, that are often easier to identify than the problem. For example: if the problem being addressed is the common cold; two likely symptoms are: stuffy nose, and headache.

However, the underlying “cause” of the problem is not necessarily easy to determine. Similarly, the core development problems within the macro-economic planning environment are difficult to determine, and sometimes, planners might in futility be treating the symptoms. Two example of the likely difference between problem and symptoms are illustrated at Appendix 1. ANALYSING THE SYMPTOMS AND IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM Problem analysis starts with efforts to identify the core problem.

The crucial starting point is to listen to stakeholders and thus determine the underlying causes, and if possible, the “core” problem. These causes are sometimes viewed as “contributory factors”. Based on this analysis, the project could be targeted to provide the optimal intervention, in the most cost effective and socially acceptable manner. Major challenges to be avoided in problem identification are: • Inadequate problem specification (eg if the problem is poor management, what do we mean by “poor management?

” Are we talking about inadequate levels of delegation, poor financial controls, delays in delivery of key services, or what? • The statement of “absent solutions” (eg. It is important to avoid statements such as “lack of this or of that”), but instead focus on an existing negative situation. For example, “Lack of trained staff” does not describe the specific problem (perhaps the existing staff has insufficient or inappropriate skills), and risks biasing the intervention towards the absent solution (“training”) when in fact it might be an issue of recruitment or personnel management.

2 Unless you analyze the problem, you might end up trying to address the symptoms. By treating the symptoms: • • • • • the cure may take longer; or the problem may not be solved ; or the cure might cost much more; or we patient might become addicted to paying for relief, with no efforts at finding a cure; or the core problem might become worse, and kill the patient. The main justification for the Problem Analysis is to determine the main cause (or causes) of the problem.

The general framework is outlined below and illustrated at appendix 2: Problem Identification/Analysis (Negatives) EFFECTS: The most important short/medium/long-term consequences of not solving the problem: 1 2 .. N Position Statement: The observed negative situation/symptom: (Positives) ENDS: (positives) The desired short/medium/long-term benefits and justification: 1 2 .. n SOLUTION The desired result that would be observed.

CAUSES: The underlying problem/ the most likely contributory or risk factors: 1 2 .. N MEANS: The best short/medium/long-term projects/programmes/strategies: 1 2 .. n 3 DESIGNING THE PROJECT OR PROGRAMME RESPONSE Given the range of “Means” that are identified, the planner is then in a position, based on prior experience, to recommend to the stakeholders the most appropriate mix of elements that should be included in the project or programme to be developed.

Some likely criteria for selecting the components may be as follows: • • • • • • • • • Acceptability to the target group and other relevant stakeholders Resource availability and affordability Existing potentials and capacities of the target group Relevance to sector development Relationship to complementary projects Social acceptability and contribution Urgency Viability Time phasing This approach should lead to an improved strategy for analyzing symptoms and identifying and addressing the core development problems. ****************************************************************.

References: EUROPEAN COMMISSION, EuropeAid Co-operation Office, General Affairs, Evaluation: Project Cycle Management Handbook, March 2002. COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES DIRECTORATE GENERAL FOR DEVELOPMENT, EVALUATION UNIT: Manual Project Cycle Management (Integrated Approach and Logical Framework). 4 Appendix 1 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROBLEM AND SYMPTOMS SYMPTOM “stuffiness” SYMPTOM “headache” SYMPTOM SYMPTOM SYMPTOM “sneezing” SYMPTOM “coughing” PROBLEM “Run-down immune system? ” Example 1 SYMPTOM High levels of unemployment SYMPTOM.

SYMPTOM SYMPTOM Vandalism of public Assets SYMPTOM SYMPTOM Run-down social services High levels of Violent crimes Extortion PROBLEM “Break-down in Governance systems” Example 2 5 Appendix 2 ILLUSTRATION OF PROBLEM ANALYSIS PROBLEMS (NEGATIVE) EFFECTS: Living conditions of local people are reduced Bad quality of river fish: Frequent diseases among fish consumers Smaller catch for fisher folk Attractiveness for tourism reduced Income of population reduced THE “PROBLEM”: River water quality deteriorating CAUSES (THE PROBLEM (/S):

Uncontrolled dumping of waste into river : Polluters are not controlled Population is not aware of the dangers of waste dumping Most households and factories Discharge wastewater directly into river: Incentives for avoiding high pollution of waste water not operational Legal regulations are not adequate to prevent discharge of wastewater Wastewater treated in plants does not meet relevant standards OBJECTIVES (POSITIVE) ENDS: Living conditions of local people are improved Improved quality of river fish:

Reduction in diseases among fish consumers Larger catch for fisher folk Attractiveness of tourism improved Income of population increased THE SOLUTION: River water quality improved MEANS: Control dumping of waste into river : Effective control of polluters Improve public aware of the dangers of waste dumping Decrease discharge of wastewater into river by households and factories Improve incentives for avoiding high pollution of waste water Improve and enforce legal regulation to prevent discharge of wastewater Improve wastewater treatment plant to meets relevant standards.

IDBI Federal Life Insurance Co Ltd is a joint-venture of IDBI Bank, India’s premier development and commercial bank, Federal Bank, one of India’s leading private sector banks and Ageas, a multinational insurance giant based out of Europe. In this venture, …

From the information provided there could be three conclusions that point towards the causes of cancer and ongoing illnesses amongst the community people. Firstly the elevated level of a particular chemical in the river that has been found by the …

From the information provided there could be three conclusions that point towards the causes of cancer and ongoing illnesses amongst the community people. Firstly the elevated level of a particular chemical in the river that has been found by the …

Common to all antibodies is the specificity they exhibit in binding to epitopes present on the surface of antigen in which ultimately a lattice formation results due to cross-linking. The present experiment exploits this interaction and is physically observed as …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out