Target audience : Best suited to grassroots-level groups/faith communities, civil society organisations and human rights defenders.
To enable participants to recognise the good things that they appreciate about their society/community, before moving on to look at problems.
A fun game and a good opening exercise for sessions focused on context analysis. Participants stand in a ring and throw a ball of wool or string to each other; naming things they appreciate about their community each time the ball is thrown. This creates a visual representation of being interconnected in the form of a ‘web’ of wool.
TIP! This exercise uses a methodology very similar to the ‘Trapped in the spiderweb’ exercise. Don’t use both exercises in the same training event.
A ball of wool (or string).
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.
Ensure there is enough space in the training room for participants to form a ring. Ask participants to move tables and chairs if necessary.
Ask the group to stand in a ring. (The ring should be sized so that participants can easily throw the ball of wool to one another.)
Explain the following:
We are going to throw a ball of wool across the ring to one another.
Before throwing the ball, each person has to complete the following sentence, ‘A good thing about living in my town is…’. For example, ‘A good thing about living where in my town is being close to my family’, or the football team or the local school. You are not allowed to say something that someone else has already said so it will get harder as we go along!
When you throw the ball, hold on to the strand of wool with one hand and throw the rest of the ball onwards with the other hand. This will create a strand joining you to the person before you and the person after you. Keep hold of the strand for the entire exercise.
Start the exercise yourself by completing the statement and throwing the ball of wool to someone on the other side of the ring. Remember to keep hold of the end of the wool! Gradually a ‘web’ will be created between the participants.
When everyone has caught the wool once, bring the exercise to a halt but ask people to keep hold of the strands.
Conclude with the following reflections:
What does the space between us look like now? A spider’s web or a net perhaps?
Even if the rest of this session focuses on the problems in our country or community, there are good people and good things happening too. There are things that work!
It is important to remember these things when we work to change problems. Partly because they give us strength and hope. And partly because networks of good people and good things could be a resource to help us tackle the problems.