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Foster dialogue and reflection on key values related to sexuality, purity and rights. Surface diversity in the room
This exercises involves the facilitator reading statements and participants moving across the room to demonstrate whether or not they agree with it. It allows participants to see diversity of values within the room, and discuss different viewpoints.
Describe the activity and its purpose: “I will read out a statement that reflects an opinion or a value. If you agree with the statement, you go to one side of the room (point out the sign that says ‘agree’); if you disagree, you go to the other side of the room. You must agree or disagree, there is not middle ‘unsure’. You can feel free to move from one side to the other as you re-think your own opinion.”
Be sure to tell participants that this is a group learning exercise where everyone in the group gets to give their opinion. The purpose is to allow people to reflect on their personal attitudes and values, and practice dialogue skills. The goal is not necessarily to convince anyone of anything, but encourage dialogue across diversity.
Remind participants of the ground rules: right to pass, and confidentiality. To help participants understand our cultural differences and how our basic assumptions about the nature of reality (how things are in the world) affect our lives and interactions.
Starting the exercise:
Read the first statement.
Ask participants to respond by moving to the sign that most corresponds with their opinion.
Once participants have settled into the sides of the room, ask a volunteer from one side to say why they agreed or disagreed. Ask others in that same group if they have anything to add.
Turn to the other side of the room and do the same.
Allow different sides of the room to dialogue (they can ask each other questions).
As a facilitator, ask probing questions to dig deeper. Even simple questions such as, “why”, or “how” may help. Another example of a probe is asking participants how they define phrases in the statement.
Ask if anyone wants to move or change positions.
Close the dialogue and then read out the next statement, and repeat the steps above.
When done with the statements, initiate a reflective discussion with the whole group. Possible questions include:
How did it feel to confront values that you do not share?
What did you learn from this experience?
If you were in the minority group, how did that feel?
Did you change your opinion about any issues?
Thank participants for their honesty and willingness to open their minds and share with others. Remind people that values and opinions are constantly evolving as we gather new experiences and knowledge.
Pregnant girls should leave school.
A younger wife adjusts better to her new husband and family.
A woman who never marries can feel equally fulfilled and have respect in the community.
It is shameful for a family if a daughter interacts freely and flirts with boys / It is shameful for a family if a son interacts freely and flirts with girls.
Promoting gender equality disadvantages men.
Other statements considered, but not used in this training include:
A woman should tolerate violence to keep her family together.
A man should be taller, more educated and earn more than his wife.
A 15 year old has the right to consent to marriage
In one training, there was a lot of discussion on whether or not it was shameful for girls to interact freely with boys and, conversely, for boys to interact freely with girls. This statement evolved over time to consider gender differences, and then differences between ‘interacting freely’ with a person of another gender or ‘flirting’ with members of the opposite sex. People also shared differing views when considering statements in general or for their own children.
In another training, participants first stood against the statement that ‘
it is better for a wife to be much younger than her husband
’ when in the context of child marriage. However, eliminating that consideration, most people agreed with this statement. Discussing reasons for why people agree or disagree opened up space for discussion on different types of power and relationships among couples.
It was useful to start with one statement and modify it slightly through probing questions to see if people’s opinions change.
This can be a sensitive exercise, so it is also important to emphasize that people are entitled to their opinions. The intention of the exercise is to learn each other's views. It is not to come to a common agreement. It is also important to stress non-judgment throughout this exercise.
Source: CARE Gender, Equity and Diversity 201 Facilitator’s Manual, Activity 3 (updated); Inner Spaces Outer Faces Initiative
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