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SWOT analysis

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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SWOT analysis, sometimes also referred to as “Scoping Analysis”, is a popular tool. It identifies the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) related to a specific situation/scenario, programme or planned campaign. While the “strengths” and “weaknesses” tend to focus on internal issues and past experience, the analysis of “opportunities” and “threats” is outward- and forward-looking.

SWOT analysis needs to happen early in the strategic planning process to obtain a first idea of likely options. At a later stage in the process, it can be used to verify the viability of a strategy envisaged, and what adjustments may be needed. SWOT is an excellent support for joint brainstorming in a workshop setting, to be used with the campaign team, or with the campaign alliance.


SWOT Analysis











Practical Instructions for SWOT

In a planning workshop, the standard template above can be split across four large flip-charts or pin boards for joint brainstorming.

  • Strengths are internal factors within the organization or alliance that may be of particular importance for the campaign, e.g. human and material resources, access to relevant government decision-makers, or a good reputation. In a workshop, the questions “what are we good at” and “what are we proud of” help to surface these elements. See also below, “resource mapping”.
  • Weaknesses are internal factors that may inhibit the ability to campaign. They may include inexperience in campaigning, limited funds, lack of relevant contacts and lack of capacity.
  • Opportunities are usually external factors, e.g. aspects in your society or community that potentially offer support to your campaign or that you could use to gain public attention. They may include media attention, or a pre-existing public debate spawned by an event that makes violence against women and girls (VAW) more visible.  It could be the ratification of the Convention against Torture or another relevant Treaty by your national parliament, a favorable national policy, or the appointment of a government Minister who supports your campaign goal. It could also be an on-going or planned larger national or international effort (e.g. United Nations or national campaigns) that you can refer to and obtain support from. Mapping opportunities helps to determine whether it is worthwhile to start a campaign, and what is an effective timing.  The existence of a national or international campaign on your issue may offer the opportunity to simply join the campaign and/or tailor it to your community’s needs.
  • Threats are external factors, i.e. factors beyond your direct control, that may have a negative impact on your campaign and the likeliness it achieves its goal and objectives, for example security issues, a change in government, a hostile social environment, or national crises.

In order for this exercise to provide useful information, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats should be phrased as concretely as possible. Avoid abstract concepts such as ‘unstable political climate’ – specify, in this example, what aspects of politics are unstable and how each aspect may affect your campaign goal and objectives.