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Issue Trees

Trees are concept diagrams used for analysis of issues and strategies that can be tracked over time.

What are they?

Trees show relationships between different types of inputs and outputs in order to identify actions and target achievements.

All elements of the tree: trunk visions/structures, roots, branches and particularly the action fruits can be quantified for monitoring and impact assessment.

Types of Trees
  • Happy Family or Gender Balance Tree: The Happy family Balance Tree identifies gender and age inequalities in work contribution and expenditure benefits in the household and the changes needed for balance to make the tree grow straight and the tree to be sustainable and thrive.
  • Livelihood / Business / Financial Management Tree: Livelihood Trees are a ‘snapshot’ planning tool to examine existing costs and income structure for particular economic activities and how incomes can be increased through changing costs and/or expenditures to enable reinvestment and savings.
  • Challenge Action Tree: Challenge Action Tree (an action-oriented adaptation of a ‘problem solution tree) examines the causes of challenges, potential solutions to reach a vision and action commitments needed by individuals to move forward.
  • Multi-stakeholder negotiation ‘win-win’ trees to examine different stakeholder perspectives and bring these together as a set of action commitments for each stakeholder.

How to do it: Generic steps

Step 1: Trunk

Trees start from a trunk representing an issue or an institution like a household or community. They may also have circular linkages from branches to roots to show cycles of cross-fertilisation. representing an issue or an institution like a household or community with vision top and current circle bottom.

step 2: roots

to show inputs or causes/dimensions/perspectives.

Step 3: Branches

to show outputs or potential solutions.

Step 4: Forces

Symbols outside the trunk to show external forces and/or links between roots and branches.

Step 5: SMART Action Fruits

GAMEchange Trees must have fruits or concrete action commitments that can be implemented by individuals within a given time-frame and tracked. Not just vague ‘solutions’ like ‘more training and awareness’. These individual change commitments are shown on the branches (like apples), roots (like potatoes) and/or trunk (like cocoa).

The action fruits are tracked and turn red as they ripen. Symbols are put against actions or targets that need more attention.