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Created by Global CHE Network and LifeWind International

MENTORING THE COMMITTEE 4: PROBLEM TREE/SOLUTION TREE


Date: 11/07
OBJECTIVES:

(1 HOUR)
1.
2.

Participants will learn how to use a problem tree to investigate the root causes
of problems.
Participants will learn to use a solution tree to investigate solutions to problems.

OVERVIEW FOR TRAINERS: This is another lesson for TOT II on mentoring the committee, teaching
them to create a problem tree and a solution tree.
METHOD

TIME

Iztlapa Case Study:


Read the Iztlapa Case Study.

KNOWLEDGE

----SHOWD questions---S = What do you See?


H = What is Happening?
O = Does this happen in Our place?
W = Why does this happen?
D = What will we Do about it?

I.

Creating a Problem Tree


Draw a sketch of a tree with a
trunk, roots, and branches on
newsprint.
A. Pass out the Iztlapa Case
Study and the problem tree
illustration. What are the
main parts of a problem
tree?
B.

C.

Main Problem:
Give each person Post-It
Notes or index cards and
tape. They will identify the
main problem and place it
on a note or card on the
trunk of the tree. It will be
important that the groups all
agree on the main problem.
(It should be identified Few
Children Are Vaccinated or
Few Children Get Shots)
Root Causes:
1. Ask But why dont the
children get their
shots? Work to
identify the root
causes of the problem
and write them on
Post-It notes or cards
to be added to the
roots underneath the
main problem.

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I.

Creating a Problem Tree

A.

Problem Tree
1. The trunk or main problem.
2. The roots or causes of the
problem.
3. The fruits or effects of the
problem.

1.

See the Problem Tree


handout.

This lesson is part of an extensive series for use in Community Health Evangelism (CHE) ministries. CHE facilitators
skilled in participatory learning methods enable communities to escape cycles of poverty and live as followers of
Jesus. For information about CHE, and how you can be trained as a facilitator, go to www.CHEnetwork.org.

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MENTORING THE COMMITTEE 4: PROBLEM TREE/SOLUTION TREE
METHOD

TIME

KNOWLEDGE

2.

C.

II.

Keep on digging
deeper, continuing to
ask: But why? and
adding more roots to
the tree. Each main
problem may have
more than one cause.
And each root cause
may have several
underlying causes.
3. Draw lines between
the boxes to show the
relationship between
the root causes and
the underlying causes.
Effects
1. Return to the main
problem (the trunk of
the tree). Now work up
the tree to see the
effects of the problem,
and place them in
notes or cards above
the trunk or main
problem. These
become the branches
or fruits of the tree.
2. Ask So what? to find
out the effects of the
problem. Each
problem may have
more than one effect.

Using the Problem Tree


A. Divide into small groups.
Each group will draw
another problem tree,
based on an important
problem that you identified
through the Road to
Development and the
Scoring exercises or other
PLA exercises. Be sure to
identify and add cards or
Post-It notes for the main
problem or trunk, root
causes, and effects or
fruits. Report back and
show your problem trees to
the large group.
B. Where are we now in the
Project Planning Cycle?
Show the Project Planning
Cycle handout.

C.

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II.

2.

See the Problem Tree


handout.

3.

See the Problem Tree


handout.

Effects.
1. See the Problem Tree
handout.

Using the Problem Tree


A. Draw another problem tree.

B.

Project Planning Cycle


1. We identified problems in the
community.
2. We used scoring to decide

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MENTORING THE COMMITTEE 4: PROBLEM TREE/SOLUTION TREE
METHOD

TIME

KNOWLEDGE
what the most important
problem was.
3.
4.

III.

Creating a solution tree


Work in large group.
A. Show the completed
Problem Tree. Give each
person Post-It Notes or
cards and tape. Ask them to
replace the main problem
with the main solution or
goal.
B. Ask them to do the same
thing with every root and
fruit of the problem by
replacing each with its
oppositethe roots of the
solution, and the fruits of
the solution.
C. With the group, review the
solution tree, starting with
the solution. Work down,
asking, But why? To find
out why that problem has
been solved. Then work up,
asking, So what? to find
the effects on the
community of solving the
main problem.
D. Lets look at those roots on
the solution tree again.
What led to more children
getting vaccinated?

E.

IV.

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III.

What are the fruits of more


children being vaccinated?

Applying the solution tree to our


community
A. Now return to the same

Solution Tree
A.

See the Solution Tree handout.

B.

Solution tree

C.

Causes and effects

D.

Root causes
1. Their parents received better
advice.
2. They learned more about
health and vaccines.
3. The shots were given in their
village.
4. They did not need to travel.
5. They were less fearful.
6. They could talk with the health
workers.
Fruits or effects
1. Fewer children die.
2. Children stay healthy.
3. School attendance is better.
4. Childrens growth is better.

E.

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IV.

We investigated the problem


more thoroughly.
We used the problem tree to
identify the root causes of the
problem, and the fruits or
effects of the problem.

Applying the Solution Tree


A.

Draw a solution tree

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MENTORING THE COMMITTEE 4: PROBLEM TREE/SOLUTION TREE
METHOD

TIME

KNOWLEDGE

small groups.

B.

Starting with the problem


tree you drew earlier, create
a solution tree, focused on
the community problem you
identified. What are the root
causes that will lead to the
problem being resolved?
What are the fruits or
consequences of resolving
the problem? Again, use
Post-It notes to create a
solution tree. Report back.
How can this problem tree/
solution tree be used with
committees?
Discuss in large group.

B.

Using the problem tree/solution tree


1. This helps the committee to
identify the root causes of their
problem and to begin working
toward a solution.
2. They identified a community
problem.
3. They will ask But why? to
find out the root causes of the
problem.
4. They can ask So what? to
find the fruit or effects of the
problem.
5. The opposite of the main
problem is the solution.
6. They can work down the tree
and ask But why? to find out
the root causes which need to
be changed to solve the
problem.
7. They can work up the tree and
ask So what? to find the fruit
or effects of the problem being
solved.

ATTITUDE:
SKILL:

EVALUATION:

MATERIALS:

1. Participants are able to identify and distinguish the root causes and effects of a
community problem.
2. Participants are able to draw a problem tree. They will identify the main
problem, root causes, and fruits or effects of the problem.
3. Participants then can work from the problem tree to build a solution tree.
Facilitators will know the participants have learned the content of this lesson when
they can identify the roots and effects of their community problem and then propose
solutions to the problem.
-Newsprint, markers, and masking tape
-Iztlapa Case Study handout

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MENTORING THE COMMITTEE 4: PROBLEM TREE/SOLUTION TREE
METHOD

TIME
-Problem Tree handout
-Project Planning Cycle handout
-Solution Tree handout

This lesson is used in: TOT II

KNOWLEDGE

IZTLAPA CASE STUDY


In the area of Iztlapa, located high in the mountains, the children are always getting sick. Most children
are behind on their vaccines or shots. Many children die from common illnesses like measles and
whooping cough. Others seem scrawny and miss a lot of school due to their illnesses.
They live in remote villages, far from the health center. Most families speak their ethnic language,
Iztlapaneco, and few can understand Spanish. They are fearful of the health center and do not want to
take the time to travel there to get shots. Their local healer does not believe in immunizations.
The village committee has become aware of an important problem in their region too few children
are getting vaccinated.

PROBLEM TREE

Effects or
Fruits

Children
miss school

Poor growth
of children

So what?

Some
children die

Children Get
Sick

So what?
So what?

Problem

Few children are


vaccinated

But why?

Shots not
important

But why?

Shots not
convenient

Distrust health
center
But why?

Little health
knowledge

Takes too
much time

Fearful

Follow local
healer

Language
barrier
No health
center near

Root Causes
Mountainous
roads

But why?

PROJECT
PLANNING
CYCLE
Evaluating and
Celebrating

Identify the Problem

Analyze the Problem


Using different tools

Identify Root Causes

Implementing the Project

Getting
Permission
and Building
Relationships

Identify Potential Solutions

Plan for the Project

Select the Best


Solution

Consider
Resources and
Capacity

SOLUTION TREE

Effects or
Fruits

Children go
to school

Fewer
children die

So what?

Better
growth

Children stay
healthy
So what?
So what?

Solution

More children
are vaccinated

But why?

Want
vaccines

But why?

Shots more
convenient

More trust in
healthcare
But why?

More health
knowledge

No loss of
time

Less fearful

Better health
advice

Use local
language
Shots given
locally

Root Causes
No need to
travel

But why?

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