Part 3: Case Study

To The Instructor

Part 3 develops students’ abilities to apply what they know about sustainability issues to an actual sustainability project. Initial activities aim at understanding the diverse set of issues presented in the case. Later activities provide an opportunity for students to analyze the effectiveness of the approaches being used in the project based on the issue strategy knowledge they developed in Part 2.

Issue knowledge from Part 2 will also supplement and enhance student answers to many Assignment Questions. The answers provided here are based solely on the Case Study.

For students with advanced understanding of the Part 2 issues, the Part 3 case can be used before Part 2. In such a situation, the Part 2 Issue Modules can then be used to fill in gaps in issue understanding.

In the final activity students use the Sustainability Strategy Analysis and Application Sheet they have become accomplished in using in Part 2 to analyze one of the actual projects in the Case Study. This activity is the final step in preparing them for creating their own proposed sustainability project in Part 4.

Local Site Visit

If at all possible, have students visit a local community-based organization to discuss a community sustainability project, preferably in small teams, during Part 3. Such a site visit will aid the students tremendously in their understanding of the real challenges, opportunities, considerations, and compromises involved in designing, launching, and sustaining a project.  Have the students do some independent fact-checking research about the project on their own to supplement what they are told and learn during the site visit. Encourage the students to use the Sustainable Strategies Analysis and Application Sheet to document what they discover. This will help them refine and improve their strategies for their Community Application Projects in Part 4. (These site visits can also be combined with visits begun during Part 2.)

If the students visit a local project during Part 3, you may want to combine Activities 1 and 2, then 3 and 4 (see below), to provide time for presentations and discussions of what the students learned from their site visit. Have some students prepare a short briefing about the issues involved in the project visited and others prepare questions about the project for class discussion. Have the students design their questions using Activity 3 – Challenges and Activity 4 – Example Project Analysis as models.

Each classroom activity in Part 3 is intended to take one hour of class time.

Discussion Groups

In Part 3, it is recommended that you use small discussion groups of four to six students in a group. Ideally, each group should have a mix of students with diverse expertise (or interests) so that each group will have someone interested in representing the social, economic, and environmental issues involved in the case. This is especially true if you have not already established small discussion groups during Part 2. If students will be doing group projects in Part 4, it is logical that those groups work together in Part 3.

As was mentioned in Part 2, there is great value in challenging the students to develop their higher thinking processes such as identifying bias, inferring, relating, applying, and reflecting. The Assignment Questions can be used to facilitate this course objective in the classroom. A site visit will give students a chance to exercise these processes in the field.

Using your own Case

We believe it is important to make the students’ learning experience as practical and locally relevant as possible. We believe that the case study provided here has relevance for many African sub-regions. However, it may not seem “local” enough for either you or your students. If this is your situation, we encourage you to create your own case study. If you use a local case, we very strongly recommend that the students visit the case site.

If you choose to do this we strongly recommend that you follow the organizational structure used for this case as a template, that is:

  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Section A - Individual issues
  4. Section B - Assessment of the project
  5. Section C - Examination of project challenges
  6. Section D - If it is a large project, a several page summary of an element of the project to provide an example of the length and depth of what students should write for their Part 4 project
  7. Assignment Questions
  8. Discussion Questions

Your case should include social, economic, and environmental issue material and include information on project costs and benefits. A good way to test the project you are considering using as a case is to outline it using the Sustainable Strategies Analysis and Application Sheet. Developing your case in this way will ensure that it will integrate smoothly with the rest of the materials.

There is a second reason for organizing your case study in the same manner as the one presented here. We envision that over time multiple local case studies will be generated through the use of Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development. By organizing yours in the same way, it can become part of a database of cases that can be shared with other course users.


1. Case Review

2. Issue Connections

3. Challenges

4. Example Project Analysis