Lesson 2: Planning

Participants in the Instructor-Led Course:
Before the second class session, please read the materials on this page and complete the assignment.

Click here to watch George Washington University’s Kathleen Schafer discuss

The Importance of Believing in Yourself


  • Believe in yourself and your unique abilities.
  • Don’t feel that you have to always stick to timelines. Use them as guides, not rigid requirements.
  • Pace yourself. Know that not everyone will want to go at the same pace as you. Give people time to go through the process of change.
  • Do something every day to move toward your leadership goal. This will help you increase momentum.
  • Track your progress. Acknowledge your successes along the way.
  • Get feedback from people. This will help you stay flexible and motivated.

Leadership Principles at Work: Believe in yourself and be open to feedback
In 1988, during Brazil’s transition to a freer media and more democratic government, feminist journalistThais Corral decided to create a radio program to address women’s needs and interests.

The producers of “Fala Mulher” wanted to be flexible in their approach to developing the program. They were willing to experiment with its content and length, to share their experiences with other women, and to learn from those women. This flexibility and willingness to experiment inspired [the program’s associated NGO] to inaugurate training seminars for women around the country who wished to launch their own radio stations and programs. During 1992-98, the number of women trained in these workshops increased by hundreds, with the result that women’s stations and programs proliferated throughout Brazil.1

Because the leaders of this effort were willing to be flexible, change their approach, and gain input and participation from their audience, they ultimately expanded far beyond their original radio program to achieve success on a nation-wide level. Continuing their flexible and participatory approach, the organization is now moving beyond radio to focus their work on the internet.

Click here to watch George Washington University’s Kathleen Schafer discuss

The Importance of Writing it Down


  • Putting your plan on paper makes it real, transparent, and accessible to everyone.
  • Make sure everyone contributes to the plan so they’re fully invested in it.
  • You must use your plan every day to keep yourself on target.
  • Track your successes within your plan as you go along.
  • Remember that your plan is a living document that you can change. No plan is perfect at the start.

What to Do:

  • Bring your team together to create a plan.
  • Integrate vision, strategy, tactics, and logistics.
  • Make sure your plan is at the center of your activities.

Writing Your Plan
If you’d like a template as you write your plan, Tavaana’s activism plan builder template is available. It provides a framework for you to:

  • Define your vision
  • Create your goals and objectives
  • Examine your leadership experience and explore your leadership traits
  • Plan your strategy for building a team
  • Choose the institutional channels you will use in your campaign
  • Draft your message
  • Identify and understand your target audiences
  • Create targeted messages for your different audiences
  • Create a coalition map and communications strategy

Also see CIVICUS’ guidelines on strategic planning: Word or PDF format.

Assignment 2 - for Participants in the Instructor-Led Course:

1. This week you will fill out your Personal Political Leadership Plan. This is an opportunity for you to think about all the pieces of your leadership and your life and how you can best put them to use with one of your most important assets – your time and attention. Please be as creative and expansive as you wish.

Use the template "Personal Political Leadership Plan Template", and submit your completed leadership plan to the instructor in one document by email.

2. Make a post in the forum discussing any of the questions below. You do not need to answer them all.

  • Who are you? What your unique talents, strengths and skills?
  • What do you want to do? What is the change that you want to create?
  • Where are you going to create this change?
  • When are you going to do it? What is your timeline?
  • Why are you the person to lead this change? Why are you pursuing these changes?
  • How will you achieve your vision for change?

Post a response to at least one other person’s forum post to give them feedback or support.


1 Afkhami, Mahnaz, Ann Eisenberg, and Haleh Vaziri. Leading to Choices: A Leadership Training Handbook for Women (PDF). Women’s Learning Partnership, 2001. Pp. 78-9.

Go back to Part I: Getting Started.

Go on to Part III: Taking Action!




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