Guidelines for Change Project

Introduction and process

In this course you will be learning how to support the learning and action of the communities and organisations you work with. To support the integration of the new knowledge and skills that you will be exposed to, you will be asked to complete one large integrated workplace/community-based assignment for this course, which we are calling a Change Project. This project forms the basis of your course work and will contribute to your workplace/community based learning activities based on the case study that you are involved with as a member of the South African water caucus.

The change project consists of a Pre-Course Assignment plus one assignment for each of the four modules that you will cover. You will be assessed on these five assignments. Your Change Project needs to be relevant to the case study you are involved in and it should help you to improve your practice as an environmental practitioner/activist/community leader and mediator. It must deal with a project, activity or programme that links to the case study you are involved in and include the people you work/live with who would like to initiate, improve, or change.

What is a change project?

It is social learning process that you will develop to support and mediate learning in the area of your work or interest. The aim of the social learning process is to initiate collective change.

Change Project Requirements (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)

Your Change Project should focus on the case study that you are involved in that is linked to the Environmental Monitoring research project that is investigating strengthening civil society action in the water sector. It should also be part of your everyday work. The case studies that have been identified for this research project are:

  • water demand management in urban areas: the case of poor infrastructure and high unaffordable bills in the Western Cape.
  • plantations and water: the case of communities access to water being limited by the high water usage of large scale plantations in Limpopo.
  • water quality: the case of the exclusion of certain groups and their use of water from the debates on water quality and mining in the Vaal area.
  • access to productive water for poor communities and small farmers: the case of policy not responding to the needs of small scale economic enterprises and the need to access affordable water in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

Your selected Change Project should be clearly linked to your daily work and/or your institutional mandate. In other words, you will need to choose a project that uses what you learn during the course to improve and strengthen your everyday work practice.

  • It is important to choose a project that is achievable within the timeframe of the course (or for which the development phase is achievable during this time period).
  • Projects should not require budgets and resources that you do not have access to as part of your existing work.

During Module 1, you will have the opportunity to reconsider and / or fine-tune your Change Project with the course facilitators.

Assignments for the course

There are five assignments in all starting with a pre-course assignment.

Pre-Course Assignment (to be completed before coming on the course and presented during Module 1): Identify the practice that will become the focus of your Change Project that has relevance to the work that you are doing. Describe the practice and the challenges to the practice that you are hoping your change project will address (mark allocation: 20%). If there are more than one of you looking at a particular case study you can develop this assignment together.

Assignment 1: Investigate context and practice. Audit/Review a community-based water practice. (mark allocation 20%)

Assignment 2: Identify knowledge and knowledge networks. Identify and source relevant knowledge resources and networks. (mark allocation 20%)

Assignment 3: Develop your case study and start implementing your plan of action. (mark allocation 20%)

Assignment 4: Review and evaluate. Develop your Change project portfolio of evidence and reflect on all that you have learnt. (mark allocation 20%)

Below is a diagram representing how your assignments fit into the cycle of the ‘Changing Practice’ short course.

All the assignments need to be collated into a Change project portfolio of evidence for peer and tutor review, before the course certificate can be awarded.

Assessment

The assessment process is open and transparent. You will be assessed individually on your progress at each stage of the course and measured
according to your own development in your professional practice. There are no written exams, model answers or quizzes.

There are five assignments: the Pre-Course Assignment and Assignments 1 to 4 which are at the end of each of the four modules.

There are two assessment tables for each assignment, which your facilitators will use to grade your assignments. The first table shows the assessment outcomes for the assignment and the way in which the assignment will be graded. The second table is the same, but the grading blocks are left blank. After completing your assignments, you should spend some time doing a self-assessment using these tables. You may also want to refer to the tables before starting your assignments so that you have a clear idea of what is
expected from you.

Building a portfolio of evidence

Throughout your Change Project, you will need to keep good records of the work you do. Your project will be assessed on a compilation of evidence (called a Portfolio of Evidence) that will be submitted to your course tutors at the end of the course modules. The following are all examples of evidence that should be included in your

Portfolio of Evidence:

  • Assignment reports
  • Peer and tutor feedback and institutional feedback (that is feedback from colleagues and stakeholders)
  • Evidence of engagement with the broader community
  • Any other form of evidence that illustrates the learning and professional development you have undergone during the planning and implementation of your Change Project.