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Knowing your country
- Where is it in the world and what are its neighbours? Which countries are powerful in its region?
- What system of government does it have and who is its leader? What type of government does it have, e.g. is the government elected or is it a dictatorship?
- Is its economy industrialised or mostly agricultural? What are its main sources of income?
- What is the role of religion in the state? Do all or most of its people belong to the same religion? How tolerant of different religions and beliefs is its government? Are its laws based on religion or is it secular?
- Are there minority groups which are different to the majority because of their race, language or culture? Are these groups treated differently to the majority? Do the minorities have links with similar people in other countries?
- Are there civil conflicts (groups of people within the same country which are violently opposed to each other)? What is the government’s response to this?
- Are there any groups that are fighting to be independent or autonomous?
- What is the country’s history? Was it a colony? What country was its colonial power? Has it had revolutions?
- Is it a developed or developing country? Does it have adequate roads, schools and hospitals? Does it struggle to feed its population? Do most people have jobs? Does it owe money to other countries or is it able to be a lender?
- What is the state of your country’s environment? What is the climate like? Do people have access to fresh water? Are there high levels of pollution? Is your country being affected by global warming?
- What is the political and social position of women and girls? Can they go to school and get jobs? Can they vote for the government and be elected themselves?
- Has the country been guilty of human rights violations? What kinds and to what extent?
- Is it open to contacts with other countries? These contacts could be through tourism, business, schools and universities etc.
- How does the government get on with other countries? Does it cooperate with or is it a member of international groupings, such as NATO, the European Union, the African Union, the Commonwealth or the Non-Aligned Movement?
- Are there individual countries with which it has especially strong ties (or animosity towards)? Who are its competitors and its allies? Major trading partners? Aid donors or recipients? Has it ever fought a way against another country and are there continued bad feelings as a result?