C13 Setting aims and objectives

  • A new group must take time to carefully agree on the purpose of the group.
  • Most groups come together because members all have an interest in a similar idea. This is usually the main ‘aim’ of the group. However, they should first meet with others in the community to discuss the needs, then agree on exactly how they plan to work together, what their priorities are and how they can work together effectively to reach their aim.
  • It is usually a mistake to set lots of objectives. Discuss what you hope to see happening in the future. Then try to decide on just a few key objectives.


  • First discuss what people mean by objectives and aims. A group will usually have just one or two main aims. These could include supporting their community, improving health, raising income.
  • How can the real needs of the community be understood? How important is it to make sure that activities planned by groups will help meet some of the needs in the community?
  • Groups then need to set objectives, which are the ways in which they plan to achieve their aim. For example if the aim of the group is to improve health, their objectives might be to improve the water supply, to build latrines, to have a health worker trained in each village and to support the clinic in their immunisation programme.
  • What sort of objectives might a group set if their aim was to improve literacy in their community – or to protect their environment by planting trees?
  • What happens if group members have very different ideas on what the group objectives should be? What should happen if they cannot agree? Should groups agree to split at the first major sign of differences? What are the alternatives?