Any action requires planning.

Planning should be carried out together with the members of your group/ organisation, to ensure that you focus on what your group wants, what they are able to do, and the best ways of achieving this.

This section offers a simple way of structuring a plan and organising work with a group in order to help them achieve their aims effectively.

The problem tree

The problem treeYou may use the example of this problem tree50 to explore the realities of gender-based violence in your community or organisation and strategise your campaigns, action or education activities. You may also use the problem tree to as an educational tool to work with young people to create a deeper understanding of gender-based violence.
  • Explain that in order to understand and respond to gender-based violence, we need to see it as a problem with numerous connections to socialisation and power relations in society. It can thus be useful to look at the underlying causes of gender-based violence.
  • Show participants the Gender-based violence tree and tell them that they will be working in groups to identify some of the things which lead to gender-based violence (the 'roots' of the tree), and some of its the effects (the 'branches').
  • Explain the logic of the tree image. Every box which leads up the tree to another box is answering the question 'why?'. This is true for the branches as well as the roots. You could take an example of gender-based violence to illustrate this in more detail, such as 'domestic violence is a private matter of the family' leads to / is renforced by 'reports of domestic violence are not followed-up by the police'. It is also possible to discuss how some of these causes and effects nourish or justify each other.
    • The roots: when participants work down the tree, starting from gender-based violence itself, they are exploring answers to the question 'why does this happen?'. They should fill the 'roots' with as many reasons as possible. Give them an illustration of how one 'cause' will have its own causes. For example, ask them why sexist jokes abound. Prompt with questions about where 'we learn' negative things we believe about LGBT+ people or feminists.
    • The branches: here participants need to explore the possible consequences of items lower down the branch. Ask them what could happen to an individual or to a group which is victim of gender-based violence. Ask them what might happen as a result of that.
  • Divide participants into groups and give them a piece of flipchart paper to draw their tree on. Tell them to write the following text, or an example of your own, in the ‘trunk’ of the tree and then to complete as many branches and roots as they are able to. You can provide this example has been posted on the Internet: We need to concentrate on curing gays, not tolerating them! Or this one from a news headline: One woman in ten is victim of violence in her own home51.
  • Give the groups some 20 minutes to complete their trees. Ask the groups to present their results and show their trees to the others.
  • Debrief the activity, focusing on the relations between trees and branches , how difficult it was and where it is possible or necessary to introduce change. You may also want to address vicious circles in the tree: for example, mistrust in the police forces results in fewer reports of violence, which reinforces the feeling of impunity and superiority… where to stop the circle?

50 This activity is adapted from the activity Roots and branches in Bookmarks, the manual to combat online hate speech through human rights education, Council of Europe, 2016.

51  Le Monde, 17 January 2019