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Gather the facts

Who? What? Why? Where? How?

So you've decided on your cause? That's great!

Before you just jump in, make sure to do your research. This will help you decide what actions to take. The more you know about your cause, the more effective you'll be, so make sure to spend some time on this part!

Your five big questions:

1. Who is affected? Are they affected directly and indirectly? Is there a particular group who is vulnerable? Does it affect the wider community?

2. Where do the people who are affected live? Is it a global issue? A regional one? Specific to your community?

3. How are people affected? Which rights are being violated? Who benefits from the situation as it is?

4. Why are people affected? What is the underlying cause of the problem? It might be poverty or lack of access to water. It might be a combination of things.

5. What can be done? Have some solutions already been tried? Why did or didn't they work? Who is standing in the way of progress?

To gather the information you need, seek out printed sources like newspapers and journals, use the internet to find material or make face-to-face contact with people who work for local businesses or relevant organisations.

Tip: Research on your local situation can be more relevant for practical action in your community. So, while informing yourself about the global situation on HIV and AIDS can be good, it may be more practical to know how HIV is affecting families in your neighbourhood. As much as you can, think local!

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