Preliminary socio-economic/context assessment

Determining whether TREE is going to be a useful method to use in a particular context is an important first step. This is not the in-depth analysis you will use to develop the details of a TREE program, but a high-level scan to see if the right elements are in place for TREE to be relevant. Key things to consider are:

Does the country have relevant target groups and economic/geographic areas that are suitable for the method?
  • This means populations that are chronically poor, living in areas with limited formal economic opportunities and few services.
  • There are also potential risks associated with these conditions: stability, security, and potential for significant climate impacts. Areas may be post-conflict or have been devastated by a natural disaster.
What is the legal, political and institutional context?
  • Does the country or region have a development or poverty reduction plan that includes objectives for rural economic development?
  • Are there any legal barriers that would limit the potential for development of employment, self-employment or cooperatives for some or all potential beneficiaries (for example, women's access to title, citizenship requirements)
  • Are there existing or potential champions for the approach at the local and higher levels in government or community, including religious and social organizations? Conversely, is there potential for opposition from any such group?
  • Are there training and business support service provider systems, institutions and other providers, and do they currently provide any services to rural areas and/ or the intended beneficiaries?
  • Are there tensions, divisions or conflicts that could be reduced or resolved by improved jobs and livelihoods in selected communities?
Is it likely that local actors will be able to take on full responsibility for TREE?
  • Part of TREE’s approach is to build the capacity of local actors, so they may not be immediately ready, but the longer-term potential should be there.
  • Consider how other programs and projects in the area have fared, and what expectations a TREE approach has
  • If TREE is implemented in fragile contexts, conduct a peace and conflict analysis.
Is there potential for national and donor-based financing?
  • This could include donor support specifically for a TREE program, using the TREE method to develop services under national / donor funds intended for rural economic development or training, allocation of national training funds, or a combination of sources.
  • If external or short-term funding is available, what are the longer-term options for sustainability?
Based on these factors, consider whether a TREE program is likely to be both welcomed and have potential for success.

Note that while some environments may not be suitable for long term sustainability/adoption of TREE yet, the method can be used to develop short term interventions in crisis/post-crisis situations, adapted as needed.

Sources of information for this preliminary socio-economic/context scan include:
  • National or local economic development plans
  • National poverty reduction or other plans
  • ILO Decent Work Country Program (DWCP) plans and reports
  • ILO and UN country office information
  • Peace and conflict analyses
  • Employer and Worker specialists in the region
  • Information from related programs and projects in the country (skills, cooperatives, jobs etc.)
A short report on the socio-economic/context scan serves as an initial decision and planning document for the development of a TREE program.