Scope Of Action


The world is big, problems are numerous. Where to start? What is realistically achievable with online volunteers? What kind of support can be provided to communities in need? The scope of action should answer the questions of a community potentially interested to request support from the organisation.

The forum offers a general discussion thread and several issues-related threads, more can be added on request, let it grow by itself. The Wiki should provide an overview of what an organisation dedicated to provide assistance to communities in need will commit to do and in what areas.

The scope of the OVO will be based on two important premises

  • The contribution requested is part of a project, fully designed or not, partially implemented or not,
  • It is limited by the profile of a "typical online volunteer" discussed elsewhere.

Let's consider a standard project management life cycle1.

Initiate Frame the problem, identify local needs
Assess local resources & knowledge
Define objectives, milestones deliverables
Project mission
Plan Create a structured break down of the activities required
Identify resources required
Sequence activities, identify dependencies, work out time scales
Establish a budget plan
Develop a risk management plan
Do it Track and monitor progress
Report status
Identify and manage changes
Deal with issues as they arise
Check that the deliverables continue to meet the desired out comes and benefits
Close it The full scope of the project has been delivered
The benefits are visible
The deliverables have a lasting impact
The community can carry on with a new project

There are several key points in this process where the OVO can contribute.

Identifying & defining the problem

What we can be sure about a community in difficulty is that people know what the overall problem is and what its consequences are. If it is lack of water it will be thirst and hunger, if it is poor or lack of education it will be less job opportunities and possibly unemployment, if it is lack of health service if will be sickness and death. But what may be less certain is the community's ability to ascertain clearly and with confidence the root cause of their problem, its extent and how to organised itself to sort it out.

There is room here for a first intervention by helping the community to understand the root cause of their problem and to frame it clearly and this should happen before any plan is designed. This does not mean that the community is unable to identify the root cause of its problem. It is a governance matter that dictates a correct assessment of a situation before volunteer time is committed to resolve a problem.

There will be situation where this work will have been done already because the community already works with a CBO or NGO and it needs only one-off support.

To be continued…

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See also…

vision and mission statement mechanisms of action

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