Target audience : A basic context analysis exercise, ideal for grassroots-level groups/faith communities, civil society organisations and human rights defenders.
Not suitable in more formal training settings. For formal settings or more complex tools of analysis, see ‘Three phases of persecution’ exercise or the ‘Triangle of violence’ exercise.
To enable participants to deepen their knowledge and understanding of how freedom of religion or belief (FORB) issues affect different people in their context.
To help participants learn skills for mapping human rights violations using a simple, visual model.
To help participants develop analysis skills in order to recognise patterns of human rights violations, based on Candelin’s three phases of persecution model.
This exercise uses a flipchart ‘map’ of a town along with a set of characters to help participants map and analyse violations related to FORB in their context. Participants’ own experiences and knowledge of FORB is used along with any additional knowledge you bring as a facilitator.
Pre-prepared flipchart ‘map’ (see instructions below).
This exercise is available in multiple languages as part of the Local Changemakers Course. See Session 5 in the facilitator’s guide to the course.
This exercise will be easier to facilitate if you read up on the state of FORB in your country in preparation for the session. You can find guidance on accessing information on FORB in your country here.
Make the following practical preparations before the session:
CREATE THE FORB MAP OF YOUR TOWN
Tape together four flipchart sheets to form a big block. Draw a map of a village/town on the sheets. Include rough drawings or the names of 10 different places where people might face problems related to religion or belief. (See illustration.)
Below is a list of suggested places to include on your ‘map’. Leave out any that aren’t relevant in your context, replacing them with others that are more relevant. Make sure you include homes, places of worship, public places like shops and ‘official’ places like the police station.
When drawing the map, leave plenty of space between places, but group together places that are closely related e.g., different government offices. Don’t be tempted to try and fit everything on one flipchart sheet – you will need space to write between the drawings during the exercise.
Suggested places to include on your map: Homes, a school, a hospital, places of worship, a marketplace, a factory, a farm, a bus, the police station and courthouse, the government office for planning permission, the government office for religious affairs, and the government office for registering births, deaths, and marriages.
(Alternative version: Divide into groups and ask each group to create their own map. Adds 20 minutes to the exercise.)
PREPARE FLIPCHART SHEETS WITH CHARACTERS
Prepare 1-2 flipchart sheets with the following characters written on, replacing the words in bold with the names of the religions relevant to your country context. For example, instead of writing ‘smaller minority woman’ you might write e.g., Baha’i woman. The writing should be big and clear enough for everyone to read from a bit of a distance.
Majority religious leader
Largest minority boy/man
Largest minority girl/woman
Largest minority religious leader
Smaller minority boy/man
Smaller minority girl/woman
Smaller minority religious leader
Female convert from majority religion to minority religion
Male convert from minority to majority religion
Male atheist whose views have become apparent via a social media post.
Inter-religious couple (specify which religion the man and woman have)
Challenger: majority woman whose behaviour/ideas go against majority cultural norms
Critic: A person who criticises religious ideas or practices, or the behaviour of a religious actor, or how the state deals with religion
Put the flipchart map and the character flipchart sheet(s) up on the wall in advance of the session.
PREPARE A KNOWLEDGE INPUT
Prepare a short, 10 min knowledge input based on Candelin’s three phases of persecution model: disinformation – discrimination – violence. Choose from the following options, according to what will work best with your target audience:
Show the FORB Learning Platform’s short 7-min film about the model.
Ask the group to stand in a semicircle around the flipchart map. Explain the following:
People face problems for freedom of religion or belief in concrete situations and places. They might face hate speech on the bus or on social media, discrimination at work or problems in their encounters with the state – with policies and laws, local officials or the police force.
Some of these places or situations can be seen on this ‘map’. (List the places you have drawn/written on the map.)
This map represents our town or area, but we can also think about our country more broadly. We are going to map problems related to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief on the map.
PRESENT THE CHARACTERS
Explain that our mapping will take its starting point in a number of characters who might face problems related to FORB in one or more of the places on our map.
Read through the list of characters on the flipchart sheet. Ask if any characters who might face problems are missing and add characters as the group sees fit.
THINK (5 MIN)
Ask everyone to silently pick a character who they think would face problems related to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief in their country/community.
Ask them to look at the ‘map’ and spend 3 minutes thinking about the following question: In which places on the map would your character face problems because of their ideas or religious identity, practices or beliefs? What problems would they face?
Make sure it is clear that the task is to map the experiences of victims of violations rather than focusing on perpetrators.
SHARE AND DOCUMENT (45 MIN)
1. Ask one person to say which character they chose and, very briefly, what places on the map their character could face problems and what kind of problems these are.
2. On the flipchart sheets, briefly note the character and the type of problems they mention next to each place a problem is experienced. For example, you might write ‘Inter-religious couple – harassment’ next to the bus.
3. Stop the person who is sharing after 2 minutes, even if they have only said a few of the places/problems they thought of. This is to ensure others have time to contribute!
Ask if anyone else chose this character and if they have additional points to make about this character. Encourage some discussion and storytelling at this point.
Ask if any of the other characters would face the same problems in the same places. Note these characters next to the problems concerned.
Repeat steps 1-3 above asking another person about a character they chose. Continue going through the characters until there are 10 minutes left of the 45 minutes allocated. At this point, ask everyone who has a problem that has not been discussed yet to come up and write the problem at the relevant place on the map, noting the character concerned. Spend the last few minutes reading each other’s additions.
TIP! As this exercise is quite long, why not take a break here or run an energiser? See ice breaker and energiser exercises for ideas.
KNOWLEDGE INPUT (10 MIN)
Give a short knowledge input based on Candelin’s three phases of persecution model: disinformation – discrimination – violence. (See ‘Advance preparation’ above for details of resources to help you do this).
PLENARY DISCUSSION (30 MIN)
Ask everyone to sit in a semi-circle in front of the flipchart map.
Tell the group that they are going to analyse the findings of their mapping using the model they learnt about in the talk.
Ask the following questions and write up key points from the discussion on blank flipchart sheets. If additional problems or characters come up in the discussion, make a note of these on the map too.
Are there examples of disinformation, discrimination and violence on our map?
Who is affected by the problems we identified?
– Who is particularly vulnerable in our community?
– Do women and girls face different problems and vulnerabilities than men and boys?
How serious are the problems in terms of frequency, scale and impact?
– Frequency: Do the problems we have identified occur occasionally or frequently? Are any of them systematic – built into the way society works?
– Scale: Are a few or many people are affected by the problems? Which problems affect most people?
– Impact: Which problems have the most severe impact on those affected? Remind the group that even if only a few people are affected, if a violation has a devastating impact on those people, it is a really serious problem.
Who is contributing to the problems?
– Is the state actively committing violations, passive about the problems created by others, or active in promoting FORB?
– Are WE ever part of the problem, consciously or unconsciously?
Are there characters – individuals or religious communities – whose problems we don’t really know or understand properly? Could we find out about their experiences and add this to our map and our analysis?
(Optional) What feelings are coming up as we work to identify and analyse these problems?
During the discussion, try to highlight how examples raised by participants illustrate how FORB violations often involve violations of other rights too, for example, women’s rights, rights to education or employment. Make the point that our human rights are all interconnected. We need them all!
Conclude by saying something along the following lines:
In the face of all the problems we’ve identified we have two options: to feel depressed and powerless or to identify something concrete, however small, to try to change. To become changemakers in our own communities.
If possible, briefly share a changemaker’s story from your own local context – this is very inspiring for participants. If the remainder of your training includes action planning sessions, mention that participants will have the opportunity to think about how they can make change in those sessions.
TIP! If you can’t think of a story from your local context, share inspiration from these ‘Changemakers stories’.