Target audience : Best suited to grassroots-level groups/faith communities, civil society organisations, human rights defenders and faith leaders.
Designed to precede an action planning exercise, this participatory, inclusive exercise helps participants to choose 1-3 freedom of religion or belief (FORB) problems for which they will go on to do action planning.
This exercise and the poster collection are available in multiple languages in the facilitators guide and accompanying materials of the Local Changemakers Course (find the exercise in Session 8 in the facilitators guide and the posters in the accompanying materials to Session 6).
Stick your context analysis flipchart sheets, ‘Action ideas’ flipchart sheets and all the ‘Talking tactics’ posters up on the walls as reference materials.
Decide how many action planning groups you will have in the action planning exercise to follow this. (If using the Our Change Journey, you will need 4-8 participants per group.)
Ask everyone to gather round the context analysis and the action ideas flipchart sheets and explain the following:
In later exercises, we are going to develop action plans that could be used to tackle a problem in our community. But before we get to that stage, the question is which problems should we focus on? We identified problems for freedom of religion or belief in the ‘FORB map of our town’ (or equivalent) exercise. And based on that and what we have learned about tactics, we have brainstormed and picked our favourite action ideas. Each of these ideas relates to something we consider to be a problem.
In this exercise, we are going to focus in, choosing the problem or problems we want to create action plans for.
THINK (9 MIN)
First gather round the context/problem analysis flip chart sheets and ask participants to remind themselves of the problems identified. Then ask participants to look at the ‘action ideas’ flipchart sheets, and especially at ‘our favourite action ideas’, and silently think about the following questions:
What problems do our action ideas try to tackle?
Which of these problems are most important to tackle?
Which problems can we make a difference to?
PAIR (10 MIN)
Ask participants to get into pairs and explain the following task:
In your pairs, choose one problem you think we should make an action plan for today, based on your thoughts about what is important and what we can make a difference to. Be as concrete and specific as possible in defining the problem. For example, instead of saying that the problem is ‘intolerance’ you could say:
Minority children are being bullied at the local school, or
Local religious or political leaders or local media are using hate speech.
Instead of saying minority (or all) women are vulnerable, you might say:
High rates of school dropout among (minority) girls,
Street harassment, especially of minority women, or
Early and forced marriage.
And instead of saying government discrimination you might say:
Local police do not investigate crimes against people from minorities properly, or
Community X can’t get permission to build a place of worship.
TIP! Adapt these examples so that they are relevant to your context!
SHARE (10 MIN)
Ask each pair to say which problem they chose in one sentence.
Write the problems in a list on the left-hand side of a flipchart sheet or whiteboard. Leave a space to the right for people to put a cross next to the problems they want to vote for.
VOTE AND CHOOSE (20 MIN)
Ask everyone to put a cross on the flipchart next to the TWO problems that they, personally, think the group should develop action plans for. Discuss the results in the group and together decide on a maximum of three problems to write action plans for (fewer than three if your group is smaller than 12 as you need a minimum of four participants per problem).
Emphasise that even if the problem you put a cross next to hasn’t been chosen, you can use the action planning skills we learn today to work with your chosen problem at a later date.
DIVIDE INTO GROUPS (3 MIN)
Ask the group to stand in a ring. Go around the ring numbering participants from one to the number of action planning groups you will have, (e.g., from 1 to 3 if you will have three groups).
Allocate a problem to each group and tell participants that their group will develop an action plan for that problem in the next session.
If any participant very strongly wishes to be in a different group to the one allocated (perhaps because they have knowledge of a particular problem), see if anyone is willing to swap. (Instead of numbering participants you could allocate specific participants to specific problems or to let participants choose which problem they want to work on – but make sure the action-planning groups are evenly balanced in terms of participant numbers.)
Conclude the exercise by thanking everyone for their thoughts and engagement in the discussion. Follow the exercise with an action planning session, for example using the ‘Our Change Journey’ exercise.