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close this bookStep by Step Group Development - A Trainer's handbook (DES, 218 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
Open this folder and view contentsPREFACE: LEARNING AND GROWING IN GROUPS
Open this folder and view contentsFOUNDATION: COMMUNICATION
Open this folder and view contentsFIRST FLOOR: GROUP-CENTERED SKILLS
Open this folder and view contentsSECOND FLOOR: ACTION-CENTERED SKILLS
Open this folder and view contentsAPPENDIX
View the documentLITERATURE


Christine Grieshaber

Zentralstelle fung und Landwirtschaft
D - 82336 Feldafing

Deutsche Stiftung fernationale Entwicklung · Fondation Allemande pour le Dloppement International
German Foundation for International Development · Fundacilemana para el Desarrollo Internacional

DOK 1717C/a
TK 740-926-94

ISBN No: 3-924441-79-0

Published by:
Deutsche Stiftung fernationale Entwicklung
Zentralstelle fung und Landwirtschaft (DSE/ZEL)
Ref. 74.1
Wielinger Str. 52
D-82336 Feldafing/Germany

Distributed by:
DSE-Documentation Centre
Hans-Ber-Str. 5
D-53225 Bonn/Germany

December 1994
Reprint: December 1997

Printed by:
L&S Marketing GmbH
Moosstr. 4
D-82319 Starnberg/Germany

Author’s Address:
Christine Grieshaber
Fasanenweg 25
64753 Brombachtal/Germany


Self-help organizations (SHO’s) are mushrooming all over the world. In the context of development efforts they acquire utmost importance, in urban as well as rural areas. The motives of SHO-members to join and pool their efforts may vary from case to case. In many instances economic aims are associated with social and psychological benefits which may arise from an increasing self-esteem and acceptance in society. Among the most active within the self-help movements are women’s groups.

Growing together in a group is a long and sometimes painful process. Members’ aims and commitment may differ, conflicts arise, economic drawbacks, lack of support, bad leadership and external interference may pose serious difficulties. Lack of formal education, organizational, and technical skills often hamper the development of groups, but even more fundamental preconditions for success are mutual trust, and the ability to create and maintain open and “horizontal” communication relations among members and leaders.

Appropriate training in all these fields is vitally needed. Training which responds to the groups’ needs in various development stages and which enables them to take and carry out their own decisions and monitor their performance. These training efforts should not only include technical and commercial aspects of managing a group business, they should also help the members to foster satisfactory group relations, to build up self-consciousness and develop their identity as groups and individuals.

The Deutsche Stiftung fernationale Entwicklung, Zentralstelle fung und Landwirtschaft (DSE/ZEL) (German Foundation for International Development, Centre for Food and Agriculture Development) has been active for many years in offering advanced training opportunities in the fields of Management and Promotion of Self-help Organizations, for participants from SHO’s and promoting organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In these training courses, participatory training methods are not only being applied but also trained and evaluated. Exchange of experiences among participants is a key element. In this context the need for suitable and easy to apply training materials on topics like group development and community participation has become obvious. In the eighties, DSE-ZEL developed an introduction to “Participatory Approaches for Cooperative Group Events” *) which focussed on participant and problem-oriented working methods supported by mobile visualization.

*) DSE DOK No. 1637 C/a, completely revised edition, 1991, distributed by DSE-ZED, 53225 Bonn, also available in french (DOK 1404 A/b) and Portuguese (ISBN 85-85213-019)

Today, we are glad to present a training manual which is designed for direct application with groups on grassroot and multiplier levels. The author developed this manual during her research and education work in Zimbabwe, in close collaboration with the Association of Women’s Clubs. The material was applied in Zimbabwe and again tested in a DSE-ZEL training course at Feldafing, Germany in 1994, with participants from various African countries.

We hope this manual will find good acceptance among practitioners of self-help promotion all over the world and will prove fruitful in enabling self-help groups to achieve their development goals. Comments and further suggestions are welcome.

Feldafing, December, 1994

Dr. E. KrBR>Director of DSE-ZEL

This book is the result of a two-weeks-workshop, held in 1991 with 25 area trainers of the Association of Women’s Clubs in Mutare/Zimbabwe.

These female trainers deal with groups in their work as multipliers. Handling the many different expectations, including the training of skills, animating and facilitating in adult education as well as leading income-generating groups to project planning and management, certainly requires training and assistance, too.

When we finished the course and collected the material used in a handout for the participants, we decided to “open” the material to a larger group of people.

With its background information, exercises and games ready for use in daily group-work, this book is a worthwhile helper for all kinds of trainers on grass-root-level, especially those facing the tasks of developing countries.

It is written in an easy and understandable language with remarkable examples and ready-for-use exercises.

Based on the experience of the workshop and on many tips and hints from different group-workers, it serves as an introduction and a companion in further education of the trainer and group-worker him/herself and his/her work with the group.

Before we start, I would like to give many thanks to those who helped me to bring the whole project foreward:

To the Association of Women’s Clubs in Mutare, especially Mrs. Moyo and Mrs. Samatanga for their support;

Krischan Johannsen, for his assistance with many of the chapters;

To the Evang. Fachhochschule for Social Studies in Freiburg/Germany for supporting me with equipment and professional advice;

To the Kath. Landseelsorge in the Archbishopric of Freiburg/Germany and the German Foundation for International Development, Centre for Food and Agriculture Development, Feldafing/Germany for their support;

To Marie-Luise K for the pictures;

To Catherine Johnson for language revision;

To the “Friends for Zimbabwe” for their financial assistance during the workshops;

and, last but not least, to the women who attended the workshop, where it all began!

May all these people’s work be fruitful for those who will use the book!

Mutare, Freiburg 1992/1994
Christine Grieshaber


Have you ever seen the individual parts of a sewing-machine, of a radio or of a bicycle? You might have wondered how all these individual parts could form such a machine like the sewing machine or the radio you know. Probably there were big parts and small parts, all very different from each other and you couldn’t tell very easily what they were meant for. You might have seen wires and screws, which looked very indistinctive on their own, but when fixed in their correct places, their purpose became very clear.


And all the parts together formed something new: what was seen after the construction was a machine with very special functions.


So in the end, there were not only a whole lot of individual parts put together somehow, but rather there was a sewing machine, a radio or a bicycle, that worked and which you could sew with, listen to or ride. By putting the parts together in a certain manner, a new and functioning system was created.

This process of arranging parts to create a new system also occurs in groups.

The group as a whole is more than just the sum of its individual parts.

What happens in a group can be seen like a spider’s web: since everybody is somehow linked to the others, one move in the net affects all the others.



The vibration that is created by the movement of a single person or of a number of people of the group is called “GROUP-DYNAMICS”.

Dynamics means something that never stands still but is always in motion. Group members’ relations to one another change with the time they spend together, and this means that the whole group changes and will appear different from time to time. If the group and the group-leader are aware of these dynamics, they can consciously influence them and use this process as a learning experience for all participants.

Another important aspect of groups is that members can motivate and support each other in learning-processes. The group is therefore not only the place where I learn, but it can also be the topic I learn about including aspects like cooperation or communication. This phenomenon is called “GROUP-PEDAGOGICS”.

GROUP-DYNAMICS and GROUP-PEDAGOGICS are most important for any person dealing with groups, no matter what the group’s goals are in particular.

Trainers of any kind, working in and with groups should know about these essentials of group-work in order to make their own and their group’s life something enjoyable for all and to help them to reach their goals.

So welcome to this booklet, which will introduce to ways and means of learning and staying together in groups. With this little helper, we, the authors, want to assist you in getting familiar with the most important aspects of groups.

It is therefore written especially for those who are or will become group-leaders or trainers to assist their groups and their members in developing and becoming self-reliant.



The idea of Theme - Centered Interaction

The different facets of group life are expressed and developed in the concept of THEME-CENTERED INTERACTION (TCI) mentioned first by Ruth COHN.

The idea is to combine the processes of the interaction between members, the acquisition of certain topics and the expectations of each individual group member.

In this way TCI brings together three different aspects of learning and living in groups:

getting to know something about myself:
(the aspect of “I”);

experiencing the relationship in the group:
(the aspect of “We”);

and learning about a special topic or how to fulfill the group’s goals:
(the aspect of the “theme”).


A fourth dimension encompasses this triangle (see picture):

the surroundings, which I, We and the Theme are standing in:
(the aspect of the “globe”)

The globe influences the group’s learning and in turn the learning process influences the globe.

The Triangle in the Circle

What does this mean for trainers and group-leaders?

In the shaping of the principles of TCI the group’s trainer(s), naturally play(s) an important role.

His or her behaviour will act as a model for the group-members and so (s)he will have to reflect his/her role carefully. Just as the principles of TCI expect the participants to engage in the group-work with their whole person, the trainer has to do so as well This means that (s)he has to act on the different levels of the TCI group-work.

Part One - The theme-conscientious trainer

In terms of the theme, the trainer is a facilitator, assisting the group in reaching their goal (project, plan, learning topic, theme...), which is new to them or which they’d like to attain. Teaching and working with adults means considering their experiences, their wish to be taken seriously and their need to learn for action. Although the main task of the facilitator is to support the learning process of the adult-learners, at the same time (s)he has to act as an animator, who enables any process of learning.

The main task of an adult-educator acting as facilitator and animator is, in brief, to plan the learning process, which includes discovering the learning needs together with the learners and transfering those needs into learning topics and strategies for action.

On the other hand the facilitator will give supporting help during the learning process, mainly on the basis of “learning how to learn”. The goals of such a learning process are to strengthen and motivate the learners, and to prepare and plan the learning process. Moreover, the facilitator uses and activates the existing knowledge, experiences and needs of the participants as much as possible and tries to enable a learning atmosphere, where talking about emotions is allowed and welcomed.

In summary (s)he shows and expresses that (s)he is also a learning person just like the others and by doing so (s)he activates the others to learn much more effectively than by demonstrating to them how “stupid” they were before they came into his/her lessons!


Part Two - The group-conscientious trainer

In terms of the group, the trainer acts as an animator, enabling people to come together, to get in touch with each other and to learn from each other. (S)he picks up on the interactions in the group and shows how they can be used as a learning process in “living and working together”.

This means for him/her as an animator, that (s)he must know about the group-dynamics and be able to handle the different situations in groups, as well as know that these aspects are important for the whole process of learning and growing in groups.

Although his/her role is the one of a group-worker, supporting the participants in seeing and solving their relationship problems, (s)he should not forget that (s)he is a part of the group as well, though with special tasks!


Part Three - The personal-development-conscientious trainer

The same could be said about the trainer’s role concerning the principle of the personal development of each group-member. As (s)he is a group-member as well, his/her personal development is as important as that of the others.

What “personal development” means to each single member can’t be discussed here, but some topics to consider might be self-reliance, self-acceptance, self-responsibility and consciousness-raising.

The trainer, therefore, will help to work out (some of) these topics and use them for the participants’ personal development as well as for his/her own.


Working with groups means considering different aspects such as personal development of the group-members, the relationships of the members and the themes or topics they are working on.

The model of TCI reminds us of those aspects and gives us some support in working with them. In balancing the three aspects, the group’s trainer plays an important role. (S)he will be animator and facilitator, supporting the group and the individuals in their development. But besides these special tasks, (s)he should always bear in mind that (s)he is a member of the group as well.



Part One - Participatory Development - “Skill Set” for Group-workers and Trainers

Working with the ultimate participation of the people involved requires certain skills on the part of the trainers.

Trainers should be those who ease the process of getting involved in any development which people are aiming for. Trainers and group-workers have therefore been called animators and facilitators because they assist people at grassroot-level finding out what they want, in expressing their own goals and objectives, in making decisions and plans of implementation and finally in implementing and managing their own ideas or projects.


The trainers are not the “bosses” of the projects, but the best assistants, using their knowledge to bring people’s own ideas up best. It doesn’t matter how these trainers call themselves - animators, facilitators, group-workers - or where they work - in projects, as field-workers or holding workshops - it is their personal attitude towards people and towards the subject that is important to make it work:

Being able to listen and enable people to talk openly, to give everybody a feeling of being important for the process, to involve every member in this process is as important as being able to share responsibilities at the peoples’ own pace, so that they once will be able to take over the trainer’s tasks.

Each of us may know one or two people, who seem to be born with these skills, which is a pleasure for those working with them. But this doesn’t mean that it is not possible to learn some of the above-mentioned supportive attitudes and skills.


But remember: the trainer (and his/her skills) are there to assist the people, this is his/her primary and only purpose!

These skills are not to be misused for any personal purposes, whatever they might be!

Trainers deal mostly with people in groups. People have different reasons for joining groups and these needs result in different tasks for the trainer.

A very important aspect to support this process is the following Concept of Participatory Development.


source: RAPA: Taking Hold of Rural Life (THRL)

Participatory Rural Development (PRD) is the participation of village groups in their own development. Participatory field workers (trainers) assume that working in a partnership with people is fundamental to promoting such development.

This chapter introduces different aspects that form the concept of PRD, namely:

* Development
* Participation
* Goals of Development
* Women’s Role in Development
* the “Participatory” Trainer


“Development is a process of change. It involves improvement in factors which affect the standard of living and quality of life of the people. Planned change aims at specific improvements in the provision of basic needs, as well as a better quality of life. Unplanned change can result in negative impacts, such as environmental degradation, centralization of power and control, loss of status. Participatory development enhances human potential through a dual process of education and planned action.” (THRL: 2)


The following picture shows the cycle of learning and planning together using the dual purpose of PRD. It is a management tool which enables people to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. It is also an educational process in which participants increase their awareness and understanding of the various factors that affect them, thereby increasing their control over the development process.

PRD is therefore both, a part and a goal of the whole development cycle, as shown in the picture. It is a process within a system which allows the beneficiaries to continuously share in assessing their own progress, and to periodically evaluate themselves so as to learn from past mistakes.

A Development Cycle

source: RAPA: Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME): 10


source: THRL: 2

“Participation is a process by which people become involved at all stages in their own development, studying their own situation and making decisions in the development process, which consists of

* research
* planning
* implementing and managing
* monitoring and evaluating
* deciding on the distribution of benefits to ensure equitable sharing

Defining the Goals of Development

Development efforts should improve both the quality of life and the standard of living by addressing people’s basic needs. Overall goals can therefore be:

* increasing productivity and ensuring equitable distribution
* improving services for the well-being of all
* reducing the work-load through appropriate technology
* increasing choices and opportunities for the release of potential, particularly of the under-privileged.

Further, particular objectives should be set up with the participants and should serve as steps towards these overall goals.


Example: Exercise 1: Looking at “Development”

Instructions for the trainer:

Divide the group into three small groups and hand out to each group one of the following questions.

* What does development mean for us?
* Why do we want “development” at all?
* Where should development lead us to?


After 15 minutes of discussion, let them collect their answers on newsprint.

Discuss the answers in the big group and summarize the goals of development visible to all.

The above mentioned overall goals of development can be given as an input for discussion:

* Do our goals match those mentioned?
* Do we have severe disagreements?
* Can our ideas serve as objectives on the way to the overall goals?

Women’s Role in Development


In working with women’s groups, we have to consider their special role in society and in its development. Women are mostly concerned with family welfare and subsistence production which are fundamental to all kinds of development.

But they themselves are also an underprivileged group within society, which means that they need special consideration for their own needs. This could be equal rights of property, equal employment opportunities, equal pay for equal work and sharing of responsibilities and decision-making.

The Participatory Trainer

The role of trainers in this process is to enable people to learn and to plan for their needs at their own pace. This means, first of all, to be with the people and to work and learn with them. The tasks of the trainers are to ease the process of participating and to strengthen people’s power and knowledge to take over this process.

This includes a whole lot of animation activities to enhance self-responsibility and facilitate the process of learning like:

* understanding and practicing communication as a two-way process that includes listening as well as talking

* using feedback as a means of clear communication

* practicing democratic group dynamics and leadership

* using active learning by group participants

* motivating group members and leaders

* having awareness-building in mind

* knowing how to build trust and create a climate of mutual understanding and sharing of ideas in the group

* seeing conflicts as steps to better cooperation

* making regular needs assessments in groups

* introducing the group to program-planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation

* using participatory and creative methods of facilitating and animating such as:

- educational games and role play in groups
- practical group exercises
- stories and drama for presentation of findings
- real case studies



A process of getting more involved in any land of development, be it personal or regional, can be seen as a big house with a foundation and two floors. To get from the bottom to the top you have to take one step after the other.

Here the trainer acts like a guiding architect in the construction and maintainance of this house, assisting the group to build its own house, floor by floor. (S)he is not responsible for the final building, that is the group’s task, but (s)he will have to have an eye on the floors and the steps, so that nothing is forgotten.


Each floor requires certain skills on the part of the trainer to enable the group and its members to move in and around the “house” in order to to be trained.

Our book represents such a “project house”.

The chapters can be seen as steps, leading from one floor to the next. In this way, trainer and group proceed - step by step and at their own paces - in their house, going forwards or, if necessary backwards, or even leaving out one step to look at it another time, just as required.

There is always a short introduction to each step which is intended as background information for the trainer or group-worker, and is recommended reading before dealing with the topic.

Examples and exercises to be done with the group follow and their procedures are explained.

If a step contains more than one part, these parts are clearly marked.

Summaries conclude each step before we go on to the next one.

Games and suggestions for further reading complete the book in the appendix.

It is not necessary to have a lot of knowledge of groups to read and work with the book. Going through it carefully and comparing and completing it with one’s own experience in group-work or as a trainer should mean enough pre-knowledge to work with and understand it.

It is recommended that you do the exercises and games with some friends or other trainers before they are done with the group. This way you can see where there might be difficulties in explaining or involving the participants.

And if other problems, cultural hindrances or difficulties are discovered in using this book, or if additional ideas arise, which should be discussed in a book like this, the author would be very glad to hear from you, the readers!

For now I wish you good luck and a lot of fun in your group-work!!!


The foundation of the project house is called communication”. Just as the foundation of a house carries the whole house, communication serves as a foundation for all human relations. A famous author on communication (Paul Watzlawick) once said, that humans are not able not to communicate:

Whatever we say, however we behave, whatever we show with our body, even if we look away and keep quiet we express something our communication “partner” picks up. It therefore has an effect on his or her future behaviour towards us.

That is why humans as social beings are always communicating in one way or another.


The different steps of the foundation are given as follows:



Before talking about communication and learning in groups, it has to be understood that adults need and want another form of learning than the one that is practised in school. This first step will therefore be an introduction to the role as an animator in groups, as opposed to a traditional teacher. It explores the process of learning and demonstrates the application of adult learning psychology.

The first thing to understand is that adult education is different than children’s education.

Educating adults is more a matter of learning than one of teaching, as is the case with children. The tasks and behaviour of an adult educator (= animator) are therefore different from those of a “traditional teacher”.

The role of the animator includes

- creating a learning climate or atmosphere

- posing problems instead of solving them for the people

- encouraging the search for causes and solutions

- emphasizing people’s own capacity to solve their problems

- assisting the group to discover as much as possible for themselves instead of “filling” up people’s head with ready made solutions

- planning for action

source: Training for Transformation (TFT) 1:99


Example: Exercise 2: The Process of Learning

source: TFT 1:100

Often when we ask people what they know, the first things they think of are what they have been taught in a classroom. This exercise assists people to look at what they have learned and how they have learned it. By examining one’s own ways of learning, one can see how other adults learn, and what conditions are important for adult learning.


a. Explain the purpose of the session. Then give each person a piece of paper and ask them to answer the following questions:

- List three things that you learned at school that are important to you, that affect your daily life.

These should be things which you remember learning.

- Now choose one of them, and think carefully through the whole process of how you learned it:

(The following questions are written on newsprint or a blackboard):

* Why did you learn it?
* Who helped you to learn it?
* What was the relationship between you and the person who helped you?
* What was the situation in which you learned it?
* In which way did you learn it?
* Can you remember anything that made your learning easier or more difficult?

- Each person writes for 5 - 10 minutes.

Now ask them to share these points in groups of three.

In the whole group the answers are collected on separate pieces of newsprint in the following way:

Content -

What they learned

Situation -

What helped them to learn

Method -

How they learned

People -

Who helped them to learn

Time: about 1,5 hours

Materials: paper, pencils, newsprint, tape, markers


The animator summarises the points made by the group at the end and includes the following four major points about adult learning from Malcolm Knowles:

Adult Learning Psychology

1. Adults have a wide experience and have learned much from life. They learn most from their peers. So animators should help them to share their own experience and create a situation in which they are encouraged to have a dialogue with one another. Let them sit in a circle where they see each others faces so that speaking and listening can both be helped by the use of their eyes.

2. Adults are interested and learn quickly about those things that are relevant to their lives. So the animator needs to create a situation in which they can share in the planning, choose the topics and participate in regular evaluation of what they are doing.

3. Adults (and children!!) have a sense of personal dignity. They must be treated with respect at all times and should never feel humiliated or be laughed at before others.

4. As adults grow older their memories may get weaker but their powers of observation and reasoning often grow stronger.

source: Knowles: The Leader Looks at Learning Climate, in TFT 1:101


This step informs about the importance of clear and understandable communication as an aspect of development-work with people. The aims of communication are discussed as are the different steps that have to be taken in the process of development. Furthermore, different ways and means of communication are introduced and the most common obstacles to clear communication are presented.

Part One - Aims of clear Communication

source: K. Johannsen

Through a clear and open communication, people will be enabled to decide for themselves what they want to do to develop themselves further.

Several steps are necessary before this aim can be achieved. It is quite obvious that people won’t change their minds just because a development worker has told them to do so.

Behaviour, attitudes and opinions are usually changed only after people have had the opportunity to experiment with the new idea in their minds, but also in practical exercises. Very often too, they learn through an example they see somewhere.

Watch the following process of learning through communication:

Stages of Learning through Communication

In an Oxfam-Handbook, it is explained that Communication needs to go through several stages until it can reach the aim described above:

First Stage: Awareness-building


To build awareness means to become aware of a problem or a situation that was not seen or noticed before.

Let us go through these different steps with an example from a village in West Africa, where people commonly associated diarrhoea with witchcraft. Whenever somebody got sick with it, they thought that some bad spirit had affected that person. But they fetched the water from a stream which was very dirty at certain periods of the year and they lacked hygiene.

Then some development workers who had lived with them for a short time several weeks before came back to the village.

First they announced a drama show for the evening, in which the whole village was present.

The trainers presented a short drama, in which a lot of people got diarrhoea. They asked themselves the reason why they got it, and in their discussion one of them said: “Maybe it is from the water. At home I never have diarrhoea, but as soon as I come to this village here, I get it.”


That was the end of the drama. In the following discussion with the villagers, the development workers simply asked what they think the causes of diarrhoea are.

Through this discussion people became aware of the fact that water might have something to do with the disease.

Stage Two: Creating an Interest


Once people are aware of a problem, they are more interested in receiving additional information about it.

Using a technical term one could say that they begin to evaluate the problem in an informal way.

People who are interested in a question will try to learn more about it. And, almost naturally, they will notice the problem much more often than before.

In our little story, those who are now interested in the question of water and water-borne diseases will suddenly consciously notice many more cases of diarrhoea in their village. These cases existed before, of course, but that time people didn’t notice them as much.

When one of the development workers comes back to the village, people will now start to ask or talk to him/her about diarrhoea and about the water. This gives the development worker an opportunity to give more information about the problems in an informal way. They can now talk about the importance of clean water-sites, the purification of water and (s)he may even show through a little microscope what goes on in a drop of water. Carefully, (s)he may question the idea that water-borne diseases are caused by witchcraft.

This whole process will usually take some time. It takes a long time for people to inform themselves and furthermore to learn something which is contrary to their beliefs and traditions.

Stage Three: Change of Attitude


It takes some time before men and women change their attitude towards something through information.

If one family has an age-old quarrel with another family and two of them meet, their PREJUDICES, TRADITIONS and EDUCATION will hinder them for a very long time from finding out that the other is actually a nice person. But once they try to overcome the situation and it succeeds, the world will suddenly look different to them...


It is the same with our example:

It will take a long time for the majority of the people in the village to accept that polluted water is the cause of some of their illnesses. But once they believe this, their attitude towards all these questions will change radically. The knowledge that the water they drink everyday can make them sick will do a lot to change this situation.

Eventually this will lead to

Stage Four: Change of Behaviour


Once an attitude towards a problem has changed, the logical consequence is that this will lead to a change in behaviour.

But this is not always as easily done as one may think.

Think of all the women who discover after some time that their husbands are no longer the loving, caring and helpful men they were before they got married.

Instead they just sit at home, wait for the money the woman earns and drink. Many of these women would like to leave their husbands, but they do not. They suffer, but often bear the unhealthy and unhappy situation much longer than is good for them.

In the case of our example, behavioural change might be achieved easily. The people in the village will soon learn to go to different places along the river to fetch drinking water and to wash. Maybe they will even learn how to make and use small charcoal water-filters. Or they will even initiate the digging of a borehole.

The problem in a village will often be that it is impossible to convince everyone of the same thing.

We all know the case of the village that has got a new, really good borehole. But some people still go to the river for water. They say the new water has got “a taste”. What they really mean is: “I have always gone to the river for water, why should I change my behaviour after I have grown so old with my old customs?”

They don’t want to be convinced by somebody else. Only when they are ready for a change they will change, otherwise they will stick to their old behaviour.

The other villagers will - in an evaluation after some time - find out that they have accomplished

Stage Five: Consolidation into Normal Practice


Once a new practice has been followed for some time, most people will not even remember what was done before.

They have created a new custom, a new habit which will soon turn into a tradition.

In this case the development workers have achieved what they wanted: the creation of awareness and the achievement of a steady change in behaviour.

Part Two - Ways and Means of Communication

source: K. Johannsen

Comunicating with people can be done in a variety of different ways:

1. The most obvious is to use words by talking together or writing each other.


But communication can use all five senses (e.g.: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting):

2. Communication is seeing something:


Everybody knows that a crying child cannot be very happy - it communicates with its parents and they understand the message they see - and hear! Lovers, who don’t dare to speak to each other in situations with other people, know how to communicate with their eyes to understand each other.

3. Communication is touching something:


If a mother gently strokes her child’s head, the little one will always know what this means. Children have to learn - often by experience! - that something hot hurts by touching it.

4. Communication is smelling something:


Mothers, who cook a nice meal, will not have trouble in getting their children to come to eat. They will be led by their noses. Women (and some men) put on perfume to smell nicely when they go out.

5. Communication is tasting something:


In Germany people say: “The best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach”. If people eat something good and they eat it together this atmosphere will certainty influence them in a positive way.

6. Communication includes the whole body:


When people talk, they not only use their mouths. People, some more and some less, use their hands, their arms, their faces to express or underline their words with gestures. When people are very happy or on special occasions, they often dance together to express that they are happy.

There are various means that can be used to communicate.

Experience shows that it is much better to combine various means as this will lead to a much higher degree of effectiveness in communication.

If people only listen, the effectiveness of the message heard will be fairly low:

- They hear: “Mangos taste nice” - but how will they know this?


If people listen and see, the effectiveness will be much higher:

- They hear: “Mangos taste nice”, and they see one. Now they can imagine this, but are still not convinced.

But if people listen, see and do something, the effectiveness of the communication will be best:

- They hear: “Mangos taste nice”, they see one and eat one. Now they are convinced, because they know it from their own experience!

Therefore trainers should always try to combine several means of communication in their educational work.

It is advisable to combine a talk with the presentation of posters, and the opportunity for learners to try out, what was talked about for themselves.


In communication with others there are different aspects to consider. The following examples of a garden that doesn’t look very good will express them more precisely:

First, a sentence said has an aspect of giving some information or transmitting a message:

“this year our vegetable garden doesn’t look very good!”


But there is also an aspect of relationship that is hidden behind what the speaker is saying, e.g. to whom and therefore how (s)he says it.

- the speaker here could have meant:

“everyone (except me, the speaker) neglected their duties of watering and weeding.”


Now (s)he is expressing his/her anger with this project and its members.

Another possible reaction is to be disappointed:

“now we have been so busy the whole time, but because of lack of rain, we will fail to gain sufficiently from our gardens. What can we do now?”


A third aspect is, what the speaker says about her- or himself in the message like:

- “I am very angry about the bad output this year”

- or “I am concerned with the situation of our garden project and feel sorry about it.”

And last but not least there is a reason why (s)he says this at all, the aspect of a wish or an appeal, e.g.:

- (s)he wants the others to take more care of the garden
- or wants the others to know that (s)he will have problems, if there will be not enough money earned in the gardening-project this year.

The following picture expresses the four aspects of a single message given and the four “ears” that hear it:


source: Fr. Schulz von Thun, 1981

We see that communicating includes four aspects:

1. the information
2. the personal intention
3. the relationship and
4. the appeal

Just as the square has four equal sides, so communication has four equal aspects. It is not enough to consider only one of these four, for they all belong together and both participants, the sender of the message (speaker) as well as the receiver (listener, the one the message is meant for) communicate by using these different aspects.

This means that

a) speaker and listener have to clarify all four aspects to make sure that the receiver really understood what the sender said.

b) they have to consider that a message consists of much more than only its information, that the other aspects might help or hinder the receiver to “understand” the sender.


I say: “It was nice to meet you!”, but my voice is cold and I go away very fast. The receiver of this message will not believe me that I really enjoyed his or her company.

c) the information of a message is not the most important aspect, it is only one of four equals. We have to talk about relations, about ourselves and our wishes and needs as well.

But very often the aspects of relationship, personal intentions and appeals in communication are ignored or even hidden. Especially if the relationship to the other person is not a good one or if the speaker doesn’t dare to be frank, (s)he hides her/his feelings behind the information.


- “This aspect doesn’t belong to our discussion” she says, but she thinks “Mary never says something important, so it is best not to let her talk at all:”

- Rita is very tired of all the talks in the course, she would rather have a break. She thinks “I would feel much better if I could have a little rest” But what she does is to yawn all the time or whisper to Liz, who sits close to her. Due to Rita’s behaviour the animator becomes very irritated and thinks, something is wrong with his/her talk or with her/himself. (S)he explains more carefully and takes much more time than otherwise. Rita (and the others) have to stay half an hour longer. All of the women feel very uneasy.

This way we can never understand each other clearly!


Working with people, animators have to be aware of and be able to use different ways and means of communication. Again they have to be aware of what is going on between people sending messages and people receiving these messages.


The following exercises will help to facilitate clear and understandable communication.

Exercise 3: Exercises on Communication in Groups

There are many kinds of exercises with which a group can learn about communication. The first set of exercises deals with the idea that for good group-communication it has to be possible for everybody to communicate freely and to everyone and not just a few. The exercises also help to understand more about decision-making in groups.

Exercises 1-4 should always be used as a set. Since they don’t take much time, this should not be a problem.

Time for the whole exercise: about 2.5 hours


Exercise A:

Time: about 15 minutes

Five people (a, b, c, d, e) sit in a row. They all look in the same direction.

a is the boss, but (s)he can only talk to b
b can only talk to a and c
c can only talk to b and d
d can only talk to c and e
e can only talk to d


All of them have to talk about their journey to the workshop (where they are from, how they travelled, how long it took them to get here and so on).

The facilitator instructs all participants to try and convey as many messages to a and e as possible. Everybody has to start at once.

After a few minutes, the facilitator stops the exercise and asks the participants:

* How did you feel during the exercise?
* About how many of the participants do you now know something of their journey?

Then the audience is asked to give comments:

* What was wrong with this communication?
* Anything to add?


The answers are then listed on newsprint.

Exercise B:

Time: about 15 minutes

Five people sit in a circle. Another person sits in the middle of the circle. Everyone who sits in the circle is allowed to talk to the person in the middle. But they are not allowed to talk to each other.

Only the person in the middle may talk to those in the circle. The topic they discuss may be:

“Should we get a (higher) incentive for attending this workshop?” (or any other statement).


After about five minutes of discussion the facilitator stops the group and asks the participants for short evaluation:

* How did you feel during the exercise?
* Did you manage to get to the point?

Then the audience is invited to answer the following questions again:

* What was wrong with this communication?
* Anything to add?

Again the answers are listed on newsprint.

Exercise C:

Time: about 15 minutes

Six people sit in a circle. Everyone can talk to his/her two neighbours, but to noone else. The topic to discuss might be one currently important in local politics.

As facilitator make sure that they stick to the rules.


After about 5 minutes the facilitator stops the discussion and asks the participants again:

* How did you feel during the exercise?
* Did you get to the point?

Then the audience is invited to give comments:

* What did you think about this way of communicating?
* Anything to add?

Record the answers on newsprint.

Exercise D:

Time: about 20 minutes

Again six people are sitting in a circle. Here, everyone can talk to everyone. A topic of discussion might be: “Educating a girl at school is as important as educating a boy!”


After about ten minutes of discussion, the facilitator asks the participants:

* How do you feel now?
* Did you get to the point?

And the audience should give comments on:

* What did you think about this way of communicating?
* Anything to add?

Again the answers are kept on newsprint.

After the four exercises are finished, groups of three are formed and asked to come up with statements to complete the following sentence:

“The best way to discuss in a group is...........”

Time: about 15 minutes

Then the statements of the groups are collected and the whole group is asked:

* What does this mean for a good facilitator/group?

The statements are collected in the form of the following sentences:

- “A good facilitator will.......”
- “A good facilitator will not.......”

Again the completed answers are collected on newsprint to make them visible for all participants.

Communication works best in a way that everyone can talk to everyone in a direct and open way.


This chapter introduces listening as a means of clear communication and as a supporting agent in creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding. The major barriers to listening are explained as well as how and why good listening and understanding are closely linked and support each other.

Listening to people seems to be a very easy thing to do! Experience shows, however, that most people’s listening skills are often far from perfect. We think we listen, but actually we hear only what we want to hear!

This is not a deliberate process; it is almost natural Nevertheless people who are engaged in groups will have to become aware of it in their work with people.

Many of us know how wonderful ft is to meet and talk to someone who is a very good listener. We almost want to tell her/him everything and often don’t even know why. It is just as if the other one is inviting us to talk constantly and takes us seriously at every moment.

Maybe this is the secret: If I feel that the other person is really interested in me as a person and accepts me as I am, I want to talk to and share my ideas with her/him. If I do not feel accepted, I will not talk much about myself; I will just talk about meaningless things. What a waste of energy this proves to be!

For group-workers or trainers, ft often changes a lot, if the people they meet really get the feeling that they are genuinely interesting as people. Of course, most of this interest has to come from the heart, but ft can be supported by improved listening skills.

To do so, ft is important to know something about listening. Listed below are the so-called barriers to listening that may prevent proper and supportive listening. Knowing them will help a good deal to overcome them.


source: TFT 2:29

1. On - Off Listening

This unfortunate listening habit arises from the fact that most individuals think about 4 times as fast as the average person can speak.


Thus the listener has 34 of a minute “spare thinking time” in each listening minute. Sometimes (s)he uses this extra time to think about his or her own personal affairs, concerns and troubles instead of listening, relating and summarising what the speaker has to say. This can be overcome by paying attention to more than the words, watching non-verbal signs like gestures, hesitation etc. to pick up the feeling level.

2. Red Flag Listening

To some individuals, certain words are like a red flag to a bull.


When they hear them, they get upset and stop listening. These terms vary in every group, society and organisation. However, to some individuals the terms “capitalist”, “communist”, “money”, “modern youth”, “tribalistic” etc. are signals to which they respond almost automatically. When this signal comes in, they tune out the speaker. The listener loses contact with him or her and fails to develop an understanding of that person.

3. Open Ears - Closed Mind Listening

Sometimes “listeners” decide quite quickly that either the subject or the speaker is boring, and what is being said makes no sense.


Often they jump to the conclusion that they can predict what (s)he knows or what (s)he will say; thus they conclude that there is no reason to listen because they will hear nothing new if they do. It is much better to listen and find out for sure whether this is true or not.

4. Glassy-eyed Listening

Sometimes “listeners” look at people intently, and seem to be listening although their minds may be on other things or far away. They drop back into the comfort of their own thoughts.


They get glassy-eyed, and often a dreamy expression appears in their faces. Each of us can tell when people look this way.

Similarly they can see the same in us, and we are not fooling anyone. Postpone day-dreaming for other times. If we notice many people looking glassy-eyed in sessions, we have to find an appropriate moment to suggest a break or a change in pace.

5. Too-Deep-For-Me Listening

When listening to ideas that are too complex and complicated, we often need to force ourselves to follow the discussion and make a real effort to understand it. Listening and understanding what the person is saying, might result in us finding the subject and the speaker quite interesting. Often if one person does not understand, others do not either, and it can help the group to ask for clarification or an example if possible.


6. Don’t-Rock-the-Boat Listening

People do not like to have their favourite ideas, prejudices, and points of view overturned: many do not like to have their opinions and judgements challenged. So, when a speaker says something that clashes either with what they think or believe, they may unconsciously stop listening or even become defensive. Even if this is done consciously, it is better to listen and find out what the speaker thinks, in order to get the other side of the question so that the job of understanding and responding constructively can be done better.

Exercise 4: Listening Exercises

source: K. Johannsen

The following exercises help to make people aware of the problem and aim at improving conscious listening skills.

Exercise A:

Instruction for the facilitator:

Select ten people from the group. Ask them to leave the room. Then ask the first one to come back into the room. Make sure that none of the people outside will listen. Now read the following story to the first person:

My Aunty Jane is very old. She is almost seventy-three years old and forgets a lot all the time and sometimes even does silly things like the following:

Last week she left the house alone. Nobody saw her leaving and the whole family was very afraid that something bad had happened to her. We looked all over to find her.

I could not find her, Mamy could not find her, Peter could not find her. But uncle Max, her husband, found her. He went straight to the market. There she was, trying to buy things. But she only remembered the prices of goods from twenty years ago. So she made a big, big palaver with all the traders since things are much more expensive today. She called them thieves and liars and accused them, that they wanted to cheat her. But all the people had a lot of fun with her, since Aunty Jane is very well known and everybody likes her. She had no money with her to buy anything, but in the end, some market women gave her some tomatoes and oranges and cucumbers as a gift.

Mamy said: “I think we should send Aunty Jane more often to the market. She is a very good business woman.”

After reading the story to the first person, keep the text for yourself and ask the next person to come into the room. Now ask the first participant to tell the same story as exactly as possible to the next participant. Then continue like this: the one who heard the story last tells it to the next person from outside.

The group and other players are not allowed to make any comments. After the last player has told the story to the group, read the original text aloud once more.


Now ask the group to form small groups of three and discuss the question:

* What has happened to the story and why did it happen?

Let them discuss these two questions for about ten minutes and exchange the results in the plenary.

Phase Two:

Ask the participants to form groups of five and come up with suggestions on how the results could be improved without the use of the written text.

Give them about ten minutes again for this discussion and ask them to write down their results on newsprint. The newsprint is brought back to the big group and displayed around the walls. Everybody walks around silently and reads.

Don’t discuss the results now, but go on to the next exercise immediately.

Exercise B:


Phase One:

Let the group discuss in pairs about a certain topic (e.g.: “Women should not be allowed to drive cars”).

One (A) should support this statement and the other one (B) should oppose it.

The rules for the discussion are now as follows:

A starts to talk (for not more than 2 minutes).

Before B is allowed to answer, (s)he has to repeat the contents of A’s statement. B has to do this as correctly as possible and is only allowed to continue when A says that (s)he is satisfied with the repetition.

Now B makes her/his own statement.

Then it’s A’s turn to repeat what B said as correctly as possible.


Both should continue this exercise for about five minutes.

Phase Two:

After the short discussions, groups of three are formed and asked to think about the new ideas they got from this exercise (about ten minutes).

In the following plenary ask the participants:

* What did we learn from this exercise?

As a rule for gathering answers, every speaker should repeat her/his predecessor’s statement, before (s)he is allowed to continue.

Phase Three:

When nothing new comes from the participants, introduce the next step:

* What should the rules be for discussions in our workshop from now on?

Ask neighbours to talk to each other first for a moment before statements are made. Let the group then decide which statements are the most important ones. These should be written on newsprint and displayed in the room.

As with the communication exercise, these exercises should be followed by the question:

* What does this mean for a good facilitator?

List the answers this way;

- “A good facilitator will....”
- “A good facilitator will not...”

This way the group can work out its own rules for facilitating

Time: about three hours

Material: story, paper, pencils, newsprint, crayons, sticky-stuff


Objectives of Listening in Any Helping Relationship

The objectives, when listening to people, are both basic and simple:

1. People should be able to talk freely and frankly;

2. People should be able to cover matters and problems that are important to them;

3. People should be able to furnish as much information as they can and want to;

4. People should be able to get greater insight into and understanding of their problem as they talk it out;

5. People should be able to try to see the causes of and reasons for their problems and to figure out what can be done about them.

Some Do’s and Don’ts of Listening

When listening I should try to do the following:

- show interest

- be understanding towards the other person

- express empathy

- single out the problem if there is one

- listen for causes of the problem

- help the speaker associate the problem with the cause

- encourage the speaker to develop competence and motivation to solve his or her own problems

- cultivate the ability to be silent when silence is necessary


When listening I should not do the following:

- argue
- interrupt
- pass judgement too quickly or in advance
- give advice unless it is requested by the other person
- jump to conclusions
- let the speaker’s emotions affect my own too directly


(source: TFT 2:31)


Looking at aims, ways and means of communication and the improvement of our listening skills, we can see, how clear and open communication can assist in personal development and in that of the group. By the use of feedback, by giving information about ourselves and our inner feelings, we achieve deeper relationships to others and further our own development. Becoming familiar with the JOHARI-Window and getting used to giving and receiving feedback by the following exercises completes this step.

Part One - The JOHARI-Window

The way we see ourselves, (“I am pretty, capable, lazy...”) is partly a result of what we have been told by others (parents, friends, teachers...); how they see us. It might even happen the other way around: the way we behave or feel can depend on what we think others see in us. (“I didn’t understand, what the teacher told us, but if I ask her to explain it to me again, she will think that I am very stupid. So I better keep quiet”)

In this case it would be very helpful to ask others, (the teacher, the other participants) how they see me to clarify my imagination with an honest answer.

But how can I find out what others really think of me?

And how does it help me in finding out who or what I am?


Look at the following picture. It has the shape of a window with four frames. It is called the “JOHARI-WINDOW” after the people who worked it out.

The window is a model which shows how communication works.

Picture 1:

“A”: The Free Action Part

Frame A stands for the part of ourselves that is open to ourselves and to others. It is the part of our free action, when we don’t want anything and don’t have anything to hide. Mostly these are our “good sides” we are proud of and which we want others to know about.

“B”: The “Blind Spot”

Frame B shows the parts of ourselves that we don’t know or don’t want to know about. These are the sides of our personality, we could be ashamed of and therefore don’t want to look at But it can be an amazing experience to learn how others see these parts of us, while we are not aware of them at all.

“C”: The Hidden Affairs Part

Frame C is the part of us we are aware of, but don’t want others to know about. These parts could be our secret wishes, our vulnerable sides or behaviour, from which we know that others won’t like it.

“D”: The Unknown Action Part

Frame D stands for the part of our personality that is hidden from ourselves and others unless we undergo psychological analysis. This frame is the only one not touched in common group-work.


The real relation between the different frames (A, B and C) is not as equal as it is shown in picture 1. It changes depending on the situation we are in or the people we are with.

Picture 2 shows the window of a person who is new in a group or in a workshop.

Picture 2:

Frame A is very small The situation and the group are new to this person. (S)he doesn’t yet know how to behave here, or what the others expect from him/her and how much about him/herself (s)he can tell the others.

A new situation or a new group make people afraid in the beginning, because the “free action” part is hindered. They don’t feel free enough to feel comfortable, because they don’t know how to behave or how to act in this group.

The goal of group-work in this phase is to enable the group members to overcome this difficult and uneasy situation, to create a free and trusting climate in which to work with one another.

The magic word in this situation is trust.

To enlarge frame A a climate must be created in which the participants feel safe and free enough to communicate, because they know how to behave, what the expectations in this group are towards its members, and they can relax in a playful way. This is what to create trust in the group means.



Now look at picture 3. If frame A grows, this means that B and C will become smaller. The more people feel free to act, the less they have to hide and subsequently others feel free to talk about themselves and their own “blind spots”.

If there is trust in the group, the participants might feel even free enough to reduce frame C.

The magic word here is information (shown as an arrow in the picture).

The more people trust others, the more they will tell each other about themselves. And also, the more people are prepared to talk about themselves, the more others will answer this trust with information about themselves.

Picture 3:

Groupwork in this phase therefore involves enabling the exchange of information about one another.


This involves that the participants are asked first to look a bit closer at themselves, at their roots, their habits and history, their reasons for participating, etc....


This exercise invites the participants to look at themselves first and try to answer the following questions:

* Who am I?
* Where do I come from? What is my history? What are my “roots”?
* Where do I want to go? How do I see my future?

Exercise 5: Drawing A “Tree of Life”

Instructions for the facilitator:

Each participant gets a big piece of newsprint. Explain the exercise with the following words:

This exercise looks at our history, our present life and our hopes and wishes for the future. Each of us will draw his/her personal “tree of life” with its roots, trunk and branches.

The roots stand for the past

- the family we come from
- strong influences that made us the person we are now

The trunk stands for our present life today

- job
- family, friends
- organisations, movements, communities we belong to
- our achievements

And the branches represent the future, the hopes and fears each of us might have.


Make sure that you explain this exercise very carefully, so that people know what to do. Then they can start to draw, quietly on their own for about an hour.

The “artists” are free to express themselves however they like, (drawing only or combined with writing). Remember the pictures are not meant to win a prize in a gallery!

Now have each participant look for two others, with whom (s)he feels at home to talk about her/his “tree”. The rules of the discussions are that everyone says as much as (s)he wants to, not more. While one person is introducing his or her drawing to the others, listeners should listen intently. Questions are asked only for the purpose of clarifying what the teller wanted to express, not to question his or her lifestyle, history or wishes.

After about half an hour, when the small groups are finished, have them come together and reflect on the whole session.

* How did I like it?
* Could I work with these methods (drawing, small group with rules for communication)?
* Is there something I want to say to the whole group now?

If the participants are willing, the pictures of the trees can be hung on the walls to show to those not present in the small group.

Time: about 2 hours

Material: newsprint, crayons, sticky-stuff


Now, finally, look at picture 4. Frame C (the hidden parts of our personality) is reduced by information. Frame B (the “blind parts” of our personality) cannot be reduced by us, because we are “blind” to them.

The way to enlarge frame A (my free actions) towards frame B is through Feedback (shown by the arrow fin the picture).

Feedback means that we will not only learn to talk about ourselves in order to communicate, but also will learn to listen to what others say about us.

They might see, hear or feel things we don’t know about ourselves, and this will support our communication and our personal development, given that we ask others to give us this information.

Picture 4:

This is why we will try to

a) give sufficient information about ourselves


b) listen carefully to what others say about themselves


c) tell others our wishes, hopes and fears


d) tell others clearly and honestly what we like or dislike about their behaviour towards us


BUT: notice the difference!

- “You are arrogant!”
- “You only want to annoy me!”

This kind of feedback is not helpful to the recipient. The speaker tells the listener how (s)he thinks the other person is, but how can (s)he actually know!? We can’t judge the reasons for other people’s behaviour. This is not what is meant by feedback!

All we can do is tell him/her, how we see (perceive) him/her, how his/her behaviour affects us. So we must stick to our perception and not judge with our feedback:


- “You lifted your eye brows, when I was telling you about my opinion on this point. I saw you doing this often and it seems arrogant to me. This annoys me and makes it hard for me to keep talking...”

We want to give feedback, but not reasons to start a fight! Therefore we state reasons why we feel annoyed by the other person or, even better, we say more precisely, what it is that annoys us:

- “I feel annoyed, because you interrupt me all the time!”

And: it is also allowed and very helpful to give positive feedback!

- “I like the way you explained the book-keeping system to me in the last meeting. I really understood that!”

e) ask others for feedback on our behaviour

This is especially important for those working with other people as animators, facilitators and leaders of any kind!


- “Please tell me, how you see me right now!”
- “Did everybody understand the point I wanted to make?”


d) listen carefully to what others tell us about ourselves

Of course, in “real life” it is not as easy done as it is described here. Cultural hindrances can hinder us in being open or even make it impossible for us, if the other person is older than my self or has a far higher social status.

It is not the intention of this book to get into fights with all the other members of the group or the society, but we want to show you a way to a more open and helpful communication for the sake of all.

Exercise 6: More Exercises on Feedback

Some preliminary hints:

Person-centered feedback means telling the other person, how we perceive his/her behaviour and how it affects our own behaviour in this very situation at this very moment.


Very often it is not easy to give an open feedback in group situations at a seminar or at home.

Giving and receiving feedback is always voluntary. Its use in groups can lead the members to new experiences about themselves and their effects on other group-members and on the group as a whole.

Feedback can also sometimes be unpleasant and painful, so the climate in group needs to be already one of trust and friendliness. On the other hand, feedback can bring about such a climate, if it is not used to get revenge and unless certain members feel hurt or insulted. In groups that are not yet accustomed to feedback, it is therefore the task of the animator to enforce certain rules and procedures.

Feedback should be done as follows:

- the one who has received the feedback can answer first

- we talk with “I” not with “one” nor “it”

- we talk directly to the persons present, not about others

- we describe what we see or feel; what we think, interpretations or judgements are not asked for

- we talk about our perceptions of the behaviour of the others

- behaviour cant be justified


If these rules are followed, feedback will help the group and the individual members to create an open and trustful cooperation in the group.

Although the climate in the group will become more open, clearer and more understanding during the course, in the beginning there might be a lot of fear to talk about personal perceptions for to different reasons. Maybe we were told that it is not polite to tell others our opinion about their behaviour. Or we are afraid that the others will tell us things about ourselves which we wanted to hide from ourselves or from them. Also, it means standing in the center of the attention for some time.

The animator considers this and starts with easy exercises to get everyone used to giving and receiving feedback.

Exercise A:


source: VOPEL: Nr. 34


This is an easy exercise that helps the participants to find their place in a group. Through the questions the participants learn what they might have in common and where they are different. Again, it supports the process of getting to know each other.


Invite the participants to come together and to answer the questions you have prepared, depending on the group. The questions should be a good mixture of those asking for facts and of those asking for values or attitudes, like:

* Who had the longest journey to get here?
* Who has the most unusual name?
* Who has the longest nose?
* Who has the smallest fingers?
* Whose place of birth is the furthest from here?
* Who woke up earliest today?
* Whose group is the biggest?
* Who has the most brothers and sisters?
* Who did the last month’s “best deed”?
* Who learned to swim first?
* Who is the happiest now?
* Who has the most children?
* Who is left-handed?
* Who can eat the most food at one sitting?




The one who thinks (s)he is “the one”, will come forward and the group will have to decide together, whether they agree on him/her or not. Remember, it is a game, so the process of choosing should be done in a harmless and playful way.

When you are through with the questions, invite the participants to make a short evaluation, including the following questions:

* What was surprising to me?
* Who aroused my curiosity?
* Anything to add?

Time: about one hour

Exercise B:


source: Vopel: Nr. 13

This exercise introduces the participants in a harmless way into the giving and receiving of Feedback.


The animator explains:

When people meet in a new group, they watch each other very carefully. Everybody wants to know who the others are and what (s)he can expect from them.

I want to invite you to continue with this process you have already begun, in such a way as to allow us all to join in the results of your thoughts.

Please take one of the small cards and write down your name...

Now fold it twice and put it into this box...

(The animator collects the cards and then each participant will chose another card from the box.)

Each now takes a card out of the box.

If you have chosen your own name, put it back and take another card...

(If the group is still not familiar with the names, ask them to take some tape and write their names on it, so that the others can easily read it.)

The task is now to describe the person, whose name they took from the box on the papers. His/her outer appearance should be described and whatever is already known or thought about him/her.

As the others have to guess the person later, descriptions that will make it very easy for them should be avoided. People will have ten minutes to write...


Now one of the participants (or the animator, if (s)he joined in) should start to read his/her description of the person, (s)he had chosen. The others listen silently and write down their guess without telling it to the others, for example: Anne described Martha, Rita described Fungai etc.

When everyone has read out their descriptions, each tells whom (s)he described. Who had the most correct answers?

For the evaluation the following questions can be used:

* Did I recognize myself immediately?
* Did I find it hard to be described by another group member?
* Did something surprise me in the description the other person gave of me?
* What did I miss in the description of myself?
* How many of my guesses were right?
* Who aroused my suspicion?
* Anything to add?

Time: about 40 minutes without the evaluation

Material: a small card, tape, paper and a pencil for each participant

Exercise C:


source: Vopel: Nr. 27

This exercise is meant to encourage the participants to express friendly thoughts to each other and to create an atmosphere of trust.



The animator invites the participants:

We want to get to know each other better and to start to feel comfortable here.

Please come together in groups of 3, choosing people you don’t yet know well. This will be an unusual exercise to get to know them.

Phase One:

I want you to sit together in your group. Each of you should try to say two things about her/himself to the others that (s)he usually doesn’t tell strangers. Try to get familiar with each other. You will have 5 minutes.


Phase Two:

After this time, please imagine that you meet with your best friend and (s)he asks you what you like about these two people sitting together with you. Tell your friend silently, what you really like about each of them (1 minute).

Phase Three:

Now you can tell the others what you told your friend about them: they won’t interrupt you, but will listen carefully to what you are saying (4 minutes).

When they have finished, let the participants come back into the big group to evaluate the exercise.

* What was the most important impression for me?
* What kind of nice things did I hear about myself?
* Anything to add?

Time: one hour

Material: none

Exercise D:

One Look into the Mirror

source: Methodenset: 3C: 26

If there are two (or more) subgroups in one group, this exercise can help to bring them into contact and to make the unsaid judgements between them visible.


Phase One:

Each group gets 45 minutes to answer the following questions:

* How would you describe the other group(s)?
* What do the others think about us?
* How do we see ourselves?
* How do we want the others to see us?

Each group writes the answers on cards or newsprint. After the 45 minutes the groups meet and share their answers. There should be not much discussion in this phase.

Phase Two:

Now there is the chance to exchange, ask and discuss the mutual answers.

Phase Three:

Have the participants answer the question:

* What can we do to improve our cooperation?

With the use of the feed back and the results of the discussion it should be possible to agree on certain points and come to a common action.

The only way to enlarge the free action part in social relations is to give information about ourselves and to receive information about ourselves from others. This includes feedback on the messages we receive from others and asking for feedback on the messages we send.


Now the first floor of the group-work house has been reached. Here group-centered aspects, problems in and skills for dealing with groups, their members and the topics of these groups are introduced.

The steps of this floor are as follows:



This step first poses the question of what group means to each participant personally, before the essential needs of any group are discussed.

For an introduction into the topic it will be helpful to look at the images and impressions each participant has of “group”. Since the ideals or terrible visions which may arise could either support or hinder, it is a good idea to bring them up at the beginning of the topic.

Example: Exercise 7: A “Group is like...”

source: Methoden-Set: 3.D 16


Phase One:

Place 4-6 different pictures that express different images of a group such as an oasis, a chain, a gear, a family, mushrooms... on the walls of the room.

Now ask the participants to decide which of these pictures best fits their image of a group.

They should stand in front of the picture they have chosen. Those in front of the same picture talk about, why they have chosen it and write down their answers on newsprint.

After about ten minutes the whole group comes together and the different answers are read out to everyone.

Phase Two:

Now divide the group into small groups of four to discuss the following questions:

* What are the advantages of a group?
* Where and when do we have to be careful in groups?
* What kind of problems do we know arise in groups?

After 15 minutes the answers are collected in the big group and put on newsprint to make them visible for everyone.

Time: 1 hour

Material: pictures, paper and pencils, newsprint


When the exercise is finished, a short theory input on groups and their needs can follow:

Four Needs of a Group

source: TFT 2:6

Jack Gibb has developed what he called the “Four Needs of a Group”. They are essentials for all group-work and each person working with groups should know about and realize them in his/her work.

1. Acceptance
2. Sharing Information and Concerns
3. Setting Goals
4. Organising for Action


At the beginning people need assurance that they are truly accepted as they are - that it is safe in the group to say what they really think and feel. The uniqueness of each person, with his/her own experiences and insights, needs to be recognised. People, like plants, need the right kind of “climate” to grow, and the animator has a special role and responsibility in developing such a “climate” in the group. It is essential if the group is to grow into a real community.

Unless there is this spirit of respect and acceptance, people will not be free to learn, to rethink their old opinions, to change and grow, or to share fully their thoughts and feelings.


Sharing Information and Concerns

People working in groups also need information:

- about each other: their experience, their ideas, their values and opinions
- and about the issues which they consider to be important in their lives

They need to work out for themselves what they need to know. Information poured out randomly on a group is likely to bore them unless they see the relevance in their own lives. The animator also needs an opportunity to share his/her concerns and information, but this should be done after other members of the group have shared theirs, and should also be offered for discussion, not imposed on the group.

Very often the concern of the animator and those, who arranged the meeting, will be to help people deepen their awareness, to move away from the symptoms towards the causes of the problem.

Setting Goals

The third need of a group, recognised by Gibb, is to set clear goals. Unless the goals are set by the group itself, people will not be interested in or committed to carrying them out. Unless the goals are clear to everyone, people become frustrated. The way decisions are made is directly related to how committed people feel towards carrying them out.


Organising for Action

Once goals have been set, the group needs to make definite plans to reach these goals and to carry out decisions. Certain people need to take responsibility to do specific things, and the group should be able to rely on these persons for accomplishing these tasks. This is why they need to accept these responsibilities publicly where possible. This implies the need for a structure which is appropriate for the group and which will ensure that one person will not assume all the responsibilities or control all the actions.

It is essential to check how participants feel about a meeting and the plans made, and therefore an evaluation is needed straight after a group meeting, and again some time later to make sure that plans are working effectively and that all are carrying out their responsibilities. This second evaluation should be planned before the first meeting finishes.

These four needs should usually be met in this order in “daily” group-work or in a workshop, but Gibb points out that often they are not settled once and for all. Any one of these needs can occur again at any point in the meeting/workshop, and the best animators are those who are sensitive enough to recognise the need and find a way of meeting it.

Exercise 8: Our Group Needs


Phase One:

Divide the group in small groups of three and have them discuss the following questions:

* What do we think are essentials of any group-work?
* What are our essentials?
* How did we organise our group-work?
What did we do first, second, third...?
* Is there anything we miss in our group-work?

Phase Two:

Now tell them the four needs of a group, but do not give them the order of the needs.
In the following discussion the group should agree on an order for the needs.

When they have finished compare the groups’ order with the one in which Gibb has listed them.

Are their differences? If yes, talk about them!

Phase Three:

Now discuss Gibb’s guidelines in your group:

* Do we think this theory is a workable one? Why or why not?
* What can be done in our groups to follow these guidelines of Gibb?


This step talks about the beginning of either a group or a course (with a group). To build trust, ways and means of forming a group out of “strangers” are presented. These different actions are games and exercises to warm up, to get to know each other by name and to give the group-members/participants a chance to express their wishes and needs in the group.

The first few hours of a course or the first meeting of a new group play an important role in the success of the whole group.

When people meet other people they don’t know, in a situation where they also don’t know what is going on, like a short course, they feel very uneasy.

They expect something. They might be afraid. They don’t know how to behave or what is expected from them and whether they will be able to fulfill these expectations or not.

This insecurity might lead to more fear, silence from the group or opposition against everything coming from the group-worker.


Fear, a feeling of insecurity or opposition, is a normal reaction in situations such as a new group, new people, new topics...

Maybe even a change of way of life or thinking is expected. All this disturbs the human need for stability.


As a group-facilitator, one of the most important activities in this group situation is to enable the participants to see, express and overcome their fears. They have to be enabled to meet their needs of introducing themselves to the others and getting familiar with the program. They should also have the possibility to express the wishes and needs they want to have fulfilled in the group or course.

With all this, trainers in beginning situations should avoid behaving like “Mr./Mrs. Super(wo)man”, who knows everything and who is perfect.

Means to provide a climate of trust and safety are games, songs or special effects that help to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, where it is easier to get to know each other and to come together, without feeling forced to do so. This phase of the course is called “Warming-Up”.

Tips and Hints for “Warming-up”:

- Start altogether and make it clear that everybody belongs to the group and is important for the atmosphere of the group.


- The room can be arranged nicely to create a friendly atmosphere (e.g. no tables to hide behind; chairs arranged in a circle allow people to see each other; some sort of decoration like flowers, posters...).

- Always start with easy, non-committal games and exercises.

Other ones might frighten people too much in the beginning, and that is the opposite of what is intended to be accomplished.

The following “time-table” could be given as a well-proven example: (changes are at your disposition)


1) Start with easy games or exercises where the whole group is involved

2) Games or exercises for pairs to get in contact with one other person more closely should be next

3) Continue with games or exercises for small groups of three to five

4) Now you may come back to games or exercises for the whole group, they can be more intensive ones now. This is a good time to come to topics of the course.

- At the end of the warm-up, there should be time to express feelings about this phase.

- Warm-up games are also nice and helpful, if the group is already familiar with one another. Then it is possible to start sooner with more intensive exercises or use them for relaxation and fun.

- The (team of) facilitator(s) should be well prepared to meet the participants’ need for security.

- The participants should be given the opportunity to express their wishes and learning needs towards the program, the group and the facilitator(s). Keep in mind that they might not be used to this, since it is not common for participants to be asked as “trainees” what and how they want to learn!

Part One - Exercise 9: Warm-up Exercises


The following warm-ups can be used at the beginning of a course or session, but are also helpful in between, when starting up again (in the morning, in the afternoon...) or when the facilitator feels that the participants need some “waking-up”.

Some games are better suited for beginning, some for relaxation, some for waking-up and so on. The complete description of each game used will be given in the appendix.

- Prayer: if the meetings of the participants usually start with a prayer, let them do so as well.

- Easy games to warm-up the whole group:

such as:
“The wandering key”
“Fruit salad”
“Follow me!”


- Songs to loosen people up

such as:
“If you are happy...”
“I am going to the lion-land”....


- Dance together


- Group rituals

Communal activities at the beginning of each day, lesson or after each break that are always repeated are what is called a “group ritual”. Rituals contribute to “group-life” and help members to feel at home in the system of the group.

Warm-ups are rituals as well, others can be chosen to suit the needs of the special target group.

Examples are:

- A little lesson of the local language to English, where the most important words of the following lesson are explained in advance

- Doing something together in the evening

- Daily course evaluations

- Rotation of daily report writing or recapitulations of yesterday’s program by one of the participants


Exercise 10: “My Name”


The group sits in a circle. The trainer explains:

“My name is Stella Lekani. My first name was given to me, because my aunt’s name was Stella and my parents wanted to honour her by naming me after her.

I like this name, because it reminds me of my aunt, whom I love very much. When I was a child...” (think of a story or special event, to do with your name).

“Since my husband’s name is Lekani, it has also been mine since we got married a few years ago. At first this was very unusual for me, but now 1 have got used to this name. It means..... and comes from....” (again tell something that is linked together with this surname).

“In this course, I want to be called Stella. This expresses for me that I want to become friends with you here.”

Now (s)he asks her/his left neighbour to continue with her/his name.

After each participant has said her/his name and how (s)he wants to be called here, (s)he will write her/his name on tape and stick it on her/his chest so that the others can read it easily.

Then a game to memorize the names can follow such as:

- “Tipp-topp”
- “My name and my action”



This phase is now the first time the participants can (and are asked to) speak on their own behalf about their inner feelings, wishes and needs towards the proceedings. For the facilitator(s) this means, on the one hand, supporting those who might still feel unsafe or afraid to speak in front of the others and to find a way to stop those who might start to hold long speeches. On the other hand, (s)he has to listen carefully to what the group-members say, because they will express how they want this group to be as well as how they feel at the moment, both being helpful and necessary hints to continue.

The most approved way to go about this is to arrange this phase into an exercise with certain rules, so that all participants have the same chance to speak and to make it easier to speak out, because of the playful atmosphere. It is very important to insist that the reports of each group-member are not being commented on by the others as this could destroy the atmosphere of trust.


1: Looking back

Questions for looking back:

* What did I leave at home?
* What did I bring with me?

Exercise 11/12: Fruits

Exercise 11:



This exercise uses a symbol, something that compares reality to an image. This method makes it easier for those people who have difficulties in this phase of the group expressing themselves with words. Our symbol for the past and present experiences of the participants or group-members is a basket full of fruits, each of them representing a different feeling like mango (sweet = nice), lemon (sour = unpleasant), nuts (hard to open = difficult)....

Real fruits can be chosen and brought along, but you can also make drawings or just use your imagination.

The participants are invited to take part in the following procedure:

“We want to compare our past and present experiences with group-work to fruits like the ones I have here. You can use these or think of others to express the kind of feelings you left at home and those you brought with you.

Start with your feelings using the fruit symbols of the fruits, then ask your right-hand neighbour to continue with her/his feelings and fruit.”


2: Looking forward

The next step for the participants is to ask themselves:

* What do I want to take home from here?
* What do I expect from the facilitator(s)/from the group?

Exercise 12:


This round asks participants what they want to “pick up” in this group or course. Again this is done with the use of the fruit symbols.

For example:

“The fruit I want to take home from here is a banana. It is very nice and sweet and nutritious. My wishes are therefore to make a fruitful experience and have a real good time. I expect from the facilitator to support me in this effort. My wish to the group is to get to know you and to exchange ideas and learn with you.”

After this introduction each participant is asked to answer the two questions silently.

Then they come together, forming two circles with their chairs, one outside and another one inside. The people on the outer chairs face the inside, the ones on the inner chairs face the outside, so that each has got a direct partner. Now the two partners exchange their expectations for a few minutes until the inner-chair circle turns one partner to the left and continues the exercise with this new partner. This can be repeated until the inner circle reaches the first partner again but that is up to the group.


The results of this exercise can be written on newsprint and placed on the wall and in this way made public to the whole group.

Part Four - Introduction to the Following Program

When the participants feel a bit more at home in the group or in the course’s atmosphere, and when they have expressed their wishes, needs or expectations as far as is possible at the present, it is time to introduce them to the planned program.

This is the time to combine the prepared issues and methods with what the participants want to know or learn.

Of course, the facilitator or animator will have to prepare the program carefully beforehand, but dealing with learning adults always means including their learning needs as much as possible in the preparations. It need not go as far as changing the whole program, but should take the wishes of the participants seriously, and encourage them to feel responsible for the issues and occurrences in any group or course, as this helps a lot to create a good learning atmosphere.

The introduction to the program is another phase to show the participating learners that they are seen as mature individuals. The facilitator doesn’t hide behind his/her issues or methods: they are clearly explained as instruments and not hidden in a “box of tricks”.

This is especially important, when working with multipliers, because they will need to use these same instruments themselves afterwards and therefore will have to understand them clearly. So trainers always have to explain why they are doing this or that now or later and how they are going to do it.

Communal activities (songs, dances, games) might finish this whole phase of group-work.

Unless there is a climate in which the participants feel free to communicate without too much fear, in which they feel accepted and relaxed, they are not able to learn and be open to new experiences and other people.


This third step of the group-centered skill floor will provide some suggested guidelines for open and clear communication in groups. They are inspired by the model of the theme-centered interaction that considers the aspects of each individual member, the group as a system and the topic or the aims of this group.


Exercise 13: Different Codes About Communication - “Killers”

source: TFT 2:25

These codes are useful early in the group’s “life”. They establish the value of sending (talking) and receiving (listening) messages clearly. Again they show the need for quiet people to speak up, and the need for dominant people to be sensitive to the others. The following plays need to be practised once before they are used.


Invite the participants to take part in short plays, one for each guideline. The animator(s) should be well prepared to explain the intention of each play to the participants before it is shown to the audience. Some of the codes can be played by the animator(s) alone to work them out very clearly.


It is usually better to have either all women or all men in one play as this avoids saying, “men do this...”, or “women always do that...”.


One of the animators should stop each play when the point has been made. After each play the group is divided into threes to answer the following questions:

* What did you see happening in the scene?
* Do these things happen in real life? How?
* What can we do to make communication as good as possible in our group?

The whole group comes together to briefly share their answers to the first two questions. Then the answers to the last question are written on newsprint to show them to all participants.

In the end the animator summarizes the points made in response to the last question. They should be kept on newsprint on the wall to provide the group with its own “guidelines for communication”.

Suggested Guidelines:

source: Ruth Cohn: Theme-Centered-Interaction

Scene 1:

Some people are standing in a circle, holding each others hands. Two persons are standing beside this group. The group invites them to join. Those outside express their thoughts loudly so that the audience can hear what they “think”:

Person 1 says: “The people in the group seem to have fun together. But what will happen, if 1 join them? I am a bit afraid of all these new people at one time. I would prefer to meet one after the other to get to know them one by one instead of all at once. I prefer to stay aside for a while to watch them and later contact one or two of them. I will not blame them for leaving me standing outside at this moment, because it is my decision.”

Person 2 says: “The group seems to have fun, and I would like to be in the circle. I feel quite o.k., none of these people nor the situation frightens me, although I don’t know what will happen to me if I join. But I will take the risk every new situation contains. I want to join them now, this is my decision.”

1. Guideline:

I am my own chairperson.

I am responsible for myself and for my activities. I talk or I am silent when I want to do so. I can always say “no”, if I don’t want to join in on what is going on.

If I follow this rule, I can’t make anybody else responsible (group members, the facilitator) for the results of my behaviour, be it good or bad.

Scene 2:

Two people meet. Both of them start to talk and get so excited and involved in what they are saying that they pay no attention to each other (decide on a topic beforehand!).


2. Guideline:

Only one person talks at a time!

Talking to each other includes careful listening to each other!

Talking includes listening to each other. If I don’t listen to what the other person wants to express to me (by what (s)he says or through other means of communication like looking to the floor or shaking their head...), I might as well be talking to the wall or to a piece of wood. Communication is meant to be a dialogue: a two-way procedure where both partners send and receive messages, exchange their ideas and respond to each other.

Scene 3:

One of the animators stands in front of the group and expresses sadness through her/his face or body... (e.g. looks to the ground, speaks very silently, cries...). In contradiction to this “body-language”, (s)he says: “I am so happy to meet you all here today at our seminar. I am sure we will have a lot of fun together!”


Another animator says with a loud and angry voice to the audience: “I feel so pleased that you are here! If there are any problems arising during this workshop, you can come and see me and we will see how we can solve them. Please feel free to ask whatever questions you have got.”

3. Guideline:

I try to be as clear and honest to the others as possible!

What I say should always be in line with what I feel. If I say something nice and in reality feel angry, nobody will believe me. My message will have no strength, moreover it will irritate the listener, because (s)he will not understand me.

The more I try to be honest and therefore clear, in what I say, think and feel, the easier it is for others to follow my thinking, feeling and speech.

Scene 4:

The group meets. When Fungai arrives she looks around and immediately starts to talk to the others about members who are not yet present. As soon as the person she was talking about arrives, she talks about another absent member to the one who has just arrived.

When she comes home and meets Anna, her friend, who is not a member of the group, she starts to tell her about what has happened in the group-meeting.

4. Guideline:

What I say and hear in this group belongs to the group, not to outsiders!

I don’t tell non-members about the group’s secrets or about other group-members’ personal remarks and I don’t talk about people who are not present.

Scene 5:

One of the animators tells the story: “Everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody met. Everybody agreed that somebody should do something. Anybody could do it and nobody did it.”


5. Guideline:

I start my sentences with “I” not with “we”, “one” or “it”.

There is a big difference between saying “One should clean the fowl-runs”, “We should come in time to meetings” or “It is annoying, that...”, and saying: “I will come and clean the fowl-runs”, “I will start to come in time now” or “I am so annoyed by....”.

I make clear, that it is my wish, thought or problem I am talking about, not just anybody’s. I take responsibility for what I say and expect others to take my wishes seriously.

Scene 6:


Tinashe, one of the group-members, bought materials in an expensive shop. The chairperson asks her:

“Why did you do this? Why didn’t you buy the materials somewhere else? Why don’t you follow our rules? You must be a very stupid person! I want to hear your reasons now! Why don’t you answer me? Why don’t you look at me? Why, why, why....?”

Tinashe looks down at the floor and is very quiet.

6. Guideline:

My questions don’t start with “why”, but with “what”, “when”, “how” etc.

Before I ask, I explain my reason for asking!

A group’s discussion or meeting is not a trial and I should not inquire too much into the personal reasons of doing or saying this or that.

To avoid an offence behind the question (“why did you buy all these materials at the most expensive shop?”), I tell my reasons, why I want to know this (“I think it costs us too much money if we buy materials at this shop, so I’d like to know, what your reasons were for buying them there”.).

This doesn’t mean that I am just saying it more politely or putting it into nice words to please the other person.

It is an expression of taking the other person’s reasons for his/her behaviour seriously and therefore treating him/her like an adult and not like someone stupid and inferior.

Scene 7:

Rita is very tired of all the talks and she would rather have a break. She thinks, “I would feel much better, if I could have a little rest.” But what she does is to yawn constantly or whisper to Liz, who sits close to her.


Due to Rita’s behaviour the person talking becomes very irritated and thinks something is wrong with her talk or with herself. She explains more carefully and takes much more time than otherwise. Rita (and the others) have to stay half an hour more. All of the women feel very uneasy.


7. Guideline:

Disturbances come first!

Disturbances of any kind (whispering, yawning, anger, boredom...) distract individual members (and with them the whole group) trying to pay attention to the discussion or activity. Animators have to look at these disturbances, because they tell something about the group’s feelings at the moment.

For example: “Rita, you are yawning all the time. I think you are tired. Maybe you want a break or you have another proposal how we should carry on?”- Rita can now answer “Yes, I am very tired and can’t listen to what you are saying. I would love to have a little rest and then continue with this topic after that. What do the others think of this?”


The time spent clearing this disturbance (to express the uneasiness, to speak about the disturbance and then clear it, e.g. to have a break) is never wasted, because this procedure brings up hidden emotion, that might hinder the learning process of all group-members.

The guidelines given can be chosen or others added according to the group’s needs.

The participants should be given enough time to clearly understand them. Some will be well-known to them, some are new and might sound strange for the first time.

It is important that the guidelines are always present during the following sessions and can be used and reflected on by the whole group to exercise their use and to ease the group’s communication.

Time: about 2 hours

Material: newsprint, markers, tape


Open and Clear Communication is helpful in any kind of group-work and should be introduced early in a group’s “life”. Guidelines, exercised in role-plays, help to define the group’s own rules.


In this step different roles in groups and how they affect the group’s life and system will be looked at. After naming them, different types of roles and with them different tasks will be shown.

Everybody plays different roles in social life. These roles are influenced by the conditions (s)he lives in, by his/her life-story or behaviour.

Roles can be different and can change from time to time.

Part One - Roles in Life

a woman can be

15 years ago she was a girl

in 15 years time she might be

Some roles stay and some roles change with age (such as girl or woman) or changing circumstances (such as pupil, wife or mother). Some roles we can influence (owner of a shop, area trainer or friend), some we cant (woman or widow).


Like in “real” social life, in the social community of a group, roles exist as well. These roles influence the group’s life and the members’ behaviour a lot.

Therefore we have to consider them and work them out.

Exercise 14: The Animal Code

source: TFT 2:71

In this exercise we want to look at the characteristics of different roles in groups. Some roles support the learning process and some don’t. To work out the details animal codes tell about specific behaviour.


Phase One:

The facilitator has pictures of animals and asks the participants to describe with actions, gestures and humour each type of behaviour.

The exercise is both helpful to reflect the behaviour of the group members as well as of the future leader’s skills.

The Donkey:


is a very true and reliable friend, who follows the group’s rules and helps to carry out responsibilities.

(S)he can also be very stubborn and not willing to change his/her point of view.

The Lion:


is a strong and energetic leader, expecting the others to bring their best into the group’s activity just as (s)he does. But (s)he also gets into fights whenever others disagree with his/her plans or interfere with her or his desires.

The Rabbit:


is the one that always runs two steps in front of the others, making them work a bit faster. With her/him the group never sleeps. But (s)he can also be the one who runs away as soon as (s)he senses tension, conflict or an unpleasant job. This may mean quickly switching to another topic.

The Ostrich:


buries his/her head in the sand and refuses to face reality or admit there is any problem at all.

The Monkey:


is a funny friend, always ready for a joke to make the whole group laugh.

But (s)he can also fool around, chat a lot and therefore prevent the others from concentrating on any serious business.

The Elephant:


is the one who speaks with his/her loud and convincing voice as a representative of the whole group. The others can hide behind his/her large back.

This behaviour can hinder the group members in becoming self-reliant after a while.

The Giraffe:


is very ambitious in reaching the group’s and her/his personal aims and objectives. (S)he wants the group to be more effective and reach “higher”.

But (s)he can also look down on the others, and on the program in general, feeling, “I am above all this childish nonsense, I know much better.”

The Tortoise:


withdraws from the group, refusing to give his or her ideas or opinions. (S)he is very quiet, waiting anxiously to be called out of her/his house.

The Cat:


is always looking for sympathy. “I can’t do this, it is too difficult for me...”

Or (s)he sticks to her/his own lonesome ways, never getting too close to anybody else.

The Peacock:


is always showing off, competing for attention. “See what a fine fellow I am!”

The Snake:


hides in the grass and strikes unexpectedly.

The Rhino:


charges around upsetting people unnecessarily, although not always on purpose.

The Owl:


is always very interested, asks a lot of questions and has collected a lot of knowledge on the topics already. In this way her/his knowledge can support the group in the learning process.

But (s)he can also only pretend to be very wise, always talking in long and complicated sentences, knowing everything better than the facilitators/group leaders.

The Mouse:


is too timid to speak up on any subject, but is probably very capable of doing quiet work on his/her own.

The Frog:


croaks on and on about the same subject in a monotonous voice or disturbs the group with his/her comments.

The Hippo:


sleeps all the time, and never moves his/her head except for the purpose of yawning or critisising.

The Fish:


can only exist in a mass of people, where (s)he can follow the others and is not forced to think or act as an individual.

The Chameleon:


fits into every group, has no problem adopting different group objectives and is an easy-to-handle-member.

But (s)he can also change colour according to the people he/she is with. (S)he’ll say one thing to this group and something else to another.

- Can you think of more roles/animals...!

After each animal has been explained and the pictures hung up, let the participants sit together in groups of three and discuss the following questions: (20 minutes)

* Which roles are necessary in groups?

* Which roles are desirable?

* Which roles are inconvenient?

* Which role(s) did I play at this workshop already?
Can I say, how I felt in the role and how I came to behave like that?

* Was it difficult to change a role I had in the beginning?

* Did the group support or hinder me changing a role, if I wanted to do so?

Phase Two:

Now ask each group of three to come up with two wishes they have to the whole group concerning roles. (Roles they want to avoid, ways to enable people to change roles, ways to deal with inconvenient roles...., 10 minutes)

Come together in the big group and let the groups express their wishes.

How do the others feel about the wishes of the small groups?

The wishes should not be discussed, but the participants should have the opportunity to express their feelings.

Now the wishes can be written on newsprint to remind the participants what they were asked for.

Time: about 2 hours

Material: prepared codes, newsprint, crayons, tape

Part Three - Different Roles Require Different Tasks

Usually three different types of behaviour can be found:


These types may be typical for certain people, (a certain person tends very much to behaviour Nr. 1, 2 or 3) but it is also very common that one person shows the type Nr. 1 in the beginning of the course and after some time changes to one of the other two types. This change has to do with the atmosphere in the group and with the kind of leadership, e.g. whether the leader is free to give away some of her/his tasks to group-members or not.

It is recommended to give the members the chance to come from stage 1 to stage 2 or 3 during “group-life”, so that the people get the feeling of self-reliance and are not dependent on the leader for fulfilling their group-work.

What are the characteristics of the three behaviours?

1. Self-oriented Behaviour:

Members who are more interested in fulfilling their own needs than those of the group, show this by

- dominating the discussion
- interrupting others
- not listening to others
- sensitive reactions
- not listening to any other arguments
- rejecting responsibility


2. Task-oriented Behaviour:

Members who are interested in fulfilling the group’s task will show this by

- initiating a task by offering new suggestions, topics for discussion, plans etc.

- asking for information by identifying the group’s own resources or else finding out where more information can be provided from

- giving information or facts or sharing what they have got

- asking for opinions by finding out what each member thinks on the topic that should be decided on

- giving opinions (not too much and not too little)

- explaining by giving practical examples to make a point clear to all

- clarifying by asking a question or repeating in different words to clear the point

- summarizing the main points so far

- checking consensus, if everyone agrees on the point

- suggesting a process for decision-making


3. Maintenance-oriented Behaviour:

Members who are interested in the good spirit of the group will show this by

- encouraging others by being friendly, responding to and building on suggestions made by others, showing acceptance and appreciation of others and their ideas

- gatekeeping by giving quiet people a chance to join in the discussion

- setting standards or group-rules (“Let’s try to stick to the point” or “Let’s agree that everybody speaks once” etc.)

- diagnosing difficulties (“I think we cannot make this decision until we get more information”)

- expressing personal and group feelings (“I am becoming bored. We have been discussing this small point for more than half an hour”)

- harmonising by helping those in conflict to understand one anothers’ views

- evaluating by creating opportunities to express feelings and wishes towards the working of the group

- relieving tension by bringing it out into the open, putting a problem into a wider context or making a well-timed joke.


It is not the aim of group-work to bring all members onto one level of behaviour. What is to be achieved is a good mixture of all of these, especially of the task- and maintenance-orientated behaviours:

The fulfillment of personal needs is not always to be seen as negative for the group-life. But some personal needs, such as the need for power or high appreciation, can hinder the process of working together. The animator will therefore have to watch those people, whom (s)he feels might abuse the group for their own purposes.


The task-oriented behaviour, of course, is very helpful to create an effective and democratic way of working together.


The maintenance-oriented behaviour creates a climate in the group, in which people feel accepted for what they are. If the task-oriented behaviour can be compared to the “brain” of a group, this behaviour is the “heart”.


It is important for the climate to work together in a supportive way and to make people feel at home in this group.

Any group has people in different roles, some of them being helpful, some of them not. Nevertheless, different behaviours form the group’s special face, making sure that all aspects of a group are considered.


Now we come to talk about our style of leadership. The different tasks required when leading and working with groups is the first topic to be presented. Group-workers or trainers either act as animators, facilitators or as coordinators. Their style of leadership greatly influences the group and its ability to reach a certain goal, therefore we will discuss the three best-known styles of leadership and their effects on the group, the members and the goal. Finally the motivation to be a trainer or group-worker and the pros and cons of this role are discussed.


source: TFT 2:47 ff

The style of leadership is extremely important in any program aiming for full participation of the community in a liberating process and a self-reliant development.

The different roles in leading or working with groups are as follows:

The role of facilitator or moderator is to provide a process, in which the group is encouraged to discuss and work out their topics in the most satisfactory and productive way possible. The facilitator remains neutral about the content of the meeting, and has no stake in the decisions that are made. (S)he is completely concerned with the process, but not at all with the content. The facilitator’s responsibility is to ensure that there is good communication in the group and that all the members are satisfied with, and fully committed to the decisions made.

(S)he has to make sure that the goals set and the decisions made are not a product of the facilitator but of the group, so that they are really following their own ideas and not ideas from outside of the group.

The role of animators is to help a community or group discover and use all of its potential for creative and constructive team work.

An animator needs all of the skills of a facilitator, but (s)he also has a special responsibility to stimulate people:

- to think critically
- to identify problems
- to find new solutions

To do this (s)he may need codes to focus everyone’s attention immediately on the same problem, and a careful plan to help the group move progressively from one step to the next.

This is a process in which people can:

- share their concerns, informations and opinions
- set goals
- make decisions
- plan action

The animator needs to understand the different forces operating in a group. When the process gets stuck, (s)he needs to identify the problem. It may be a hidden conflict, a lack of information, a power struggle or some other group-related problem. The animator enables the group to understand this problem and deal with it constructively.

The differences between a teacher and an animator



the teacher talks passing on information

the animator poses questions

the pupils sit and listen quietly and passively

the participants are active they describe their experiences, share ideas, analyse and plan

The role of a coordinator is to draw people, actions and events together in such a way that they support and strengthen each other, and do not compete or clash.

Co-ordination within each program is needed and as well between different programs.

A group-leader, group-worker or trainer can be any one of these types. The word leader is a vague term when we see how many different types of leadership there are and what is needed in a group.

Exercise 15: Exercise on Leadership - Role Play on Different Leadership Styles

source: TFT 2:54

This exercise helps a group to see how the behaviour of the leader affects the group he or she is working with. It is a good exercise to use at the beginning of a workshop on leadership.


Phase One:

1. About six volunteers should be called on, for each of the two role-plays. Each should be asked to act out a meeting of some group with which they are familiar. They are given a task to make a decision on some matter of general interest to the whole group or their experiences at home.

2. The first leader is told to act the part of a very dictatorial chairperson: to call for ideas, but not listen to people, to squash their suggestions, to impose her/his own point of view on the group, to tell them that it is all their fault etc..

3. Other members of the group are each given specific roles:

A is asked to support whatever the chairperson suggests,
B suggests several different possibilities,
C supports speaker B,
D always interrupts and opposes the chairperson, etc.


These instructions can either be given orally to individuals before doing the play, or be written on slips of papers for each volunteer.

4. The chairs should be arranged in an open circle in front of the group, so that everyone can see and hear well. The actors should be reminded to speak clearly and make all their gestures clearly visible.

5. The chairperson starts the play and each person participates in the roles (s)he has been given.

6. Meanwhile the audience is asked to make notes on the following questions the animator has written down before the play:

* What does the leader do in the group?
* How does the group react?


7. When the situation has become clear to the audience, the animator stops the action and asks the second group of six to come to the chairs.

Phase Two:

8. This is a different committee in a different place, but their task is similar. Most of the members have been given similar instructions about their roles, but this time the chairperson has been asked to be very passive. This style of leadership is called Laissez-faire (= french: “let them do as they like”).

This leader shows little interest, makes no suggestions, does not respond to suggestions of the group, does not help to reach decisions or solve conflicts.

9. The audience is asked to take notes.

10. Again the animator stops the play when the situation has become clear.

11. If the group is fairly big it is best to let the participants buzz about these questions in three’s for a few minutes before gathering up all the answers in the whole group.

Phase Three:

12. After the mistakes and reactions have been thoroughly discussed the animator asks another question:

* What does a good facilitator do in a group? (Try to get specific answers-not just general statements!)

The answers are recorded on newsprint.

Phase Four:

13. Finally the role-play(s) can be re-acted with someone who volunteers to play the part of a democratic chairperson as effectively as possible;

The animator may wish to summarise all the points made by the group and also add points on the role of an animator and a facilitator.

Think and Discuss:

* What kind of structures are necessary to make our leadership a democratic and enabling one?

* Is one single “chairperson” really able to act democratically or does this structure not promote the dictatorial style of leadership somewhat?

- Can we think of other structures in our group or ways of adjusting the existing ones to make them more democratic?

Time: about 3 hours

Materials: chairs, newsprint, prepared papers, markers

Characteristics of the dictatorial style of leadership:

- order, directions and obedience
- the leader controls, sets the objectives and watches the realization
- the members have to follow and obey
- cooperation and creativity of the members are hindered
- there is no possibility for the members and for the group to develop


Characteristics of the laissez-faire style of leadership:

- minimized leadership
- the group can act just as it wants
- information or help is rarely given
- there is no development of the group or of its members


Characteristics of the democratic style of leadership:

- the leader gives the group and its members sufficient help and information to solve their conflicts or activities on their own

- the group learns to accept each other’s different abilities and to find them helpful

- after a while the group’s will to cooperate is not dependent on the leader’s presence

- the leader will act “as actively as necessary and as passively as possible”.


When looking critically at the topic of leading groups it is also necessary to decipher the motivation of a group-worker or trainer: - “Why am I doing this work at all?” -


Leading groups and people is sometimes connected with hard, often unpayed, voluntary labour. It can he very frustrating and exhausting, but, of course, it can also be very satisfying and fill us with confidence and pride. A democratic and enabling trainer needs to critically consider from time to time his/her own motivation for his/her work.


Being genuine in the group and creating an honest, open atmosphere requires honesty towards oneself as well.


That is why the following exercise takes a careful look at the pros and cons of leading groups.


Let Pictures Talk

Instructions for the facilitator:

Sometimes it is easier to think about a topic by using an image (a symbol) that expresses the whole thing better than a lot of talking. In this exercise the participants think about their motivation to be trainers, and this includes considering what it is that they like about being a trainer and where they might face problems.

The image or symbol of a rose is used, as it represents two different sides: a nice, beautiful one and a more difficult one, and the whole rose can only exist with both of them.

Such symbols are used when the participants should:

- “play” with an expression or think further with the help of comparison (“something is like a...”).

- connect an abstract topic with the world of images they have inside

- loosen ideas that are stuck in their heads and seem to hinder them in thinking and feeling without prejudices.

Exercise 16: Working as a trainer can be compared to a rose-bush: - there are “flowers” and there are “thorns”


Each participant receives little cards in the shapes of flowers and thorns and is given enough time to think about his/her special “flowers and thorns” in his/her daily work with other people (20 mm.).


Now they are asked to come together in groups of three and introduce each other to their personal “flowers and thorns”. The listeners are asked to listen carefully, ask only if they didn’t get the point and in this way compare their different answers.


Questions to think about could be:

* Are our images of working with people in groups similar or do we have very different ones?
* Do I understand the images of the others?
* Can we support each other in solving the “thorns”?

To sum up their discussion in small groups, the participants are asked to draft a “job description” of the job of group leader/facilitator/animator or adult educator, e.g.:

“Something for YOU?!

We are a group and are looking for a person to work with us.

What we offer is.... (the positive, nice and satisfying aspects of leadership)

What might happen, is”... (what is frustrating, not so nice or hinders work)

Now the small groups meet in the big group to show their “job descriptions”.

In the end the participants can be asked to give comments on:

* How they liked the exercise
* How it helped them to talk with each other in the small groups

or to say something else they want to say to all participants or to the facilitator(s) now.

Trainers can act in different roles which involve different tasks. Whatever role is chosen, bear in mind the learning and teaching needs of adults.


Following the topic of different styles of leadership the next points to be highlighted are cooperation in the group and the advantages of shared leadership. For all types of leadership activities, it is most helpful not to work on one’s own, but to get help from others. Either members of the group who take over some of the tasks of the animator or a team of animators can share the responsibilities and support the process of feedback to the actual animator(s). Phase one of this chapter will therefore concentrate on an exercise to show the effectiveness of teamwork, while phase two gives some hints on how to create a spirit of teamwork in meetings.


A team will make sure that different ideas come together from the leadership and ensure a democratic style of leadership by controlling “dictatorial” team-members. It also gives the animators a rest every now and then, allowing them to remain in the group as members and therefore get closer to the participants as well as having the opportunity to watch the actual animator in his/her work and give some feedback to him/her later.

Team work will give the team members the possibility to learn from each other by watching each other and giving and accepting feedback. And, as is mentioned above, 4 (6, 8...) eyes see more than 2, and 4 (6, 8...) hands can accomplish more than just 2.


A striking exercise to show participants the effectiveness of team-decisions is the following one:

Exercise 17: Stranded in the Bush:



The animator tells the following story to the group:

On a bus journey through a very remote area, your bus has a break down. The distance to the next place where you can get help is about a two-day’s walk. You are the only one who could make it to the village, the others cannot walk so far, but they have enough food and water to stay behind and wait for help. Your life and the lives of your fellows are now dependent on what you choose to take for the walk. You can only choose 16 things to take.


Phase One:

The task of the players is now to make a list of the 16 things listed below, in terms of their importance for a journey of two days through the bush. They should be put in order, the one that they consider the most important is put as number 1, the second important as number 2 and so on. The object that seems to be of least importance to them in this situation is put as number 16.

The animator first asks the participants to solve this problem on their own (10 minutes). Then s(he) asks them to form teams of 4 to 6 people and to do the exercise again as a team.

They have to find the right solution. Each team gets 30 minutes to find out the right order. The rules are that each member’s former decision should be considered, but the decisions should be made with the most possible agreement in the team.

List for the players:

my guess

our team-guess

my points

points of the team

a radio

a bible

a book on eatable plants in the bush

a 10 kg-bag of mealie-meal

a camera

a blanket

ten packets of dried meat


ten litres of water

a torch

first-aid case with the most important medicines

a watch

a rope

instant milk

a map

points alltogether


When the teams have finished, the results are compared with the solution.


a radio


tells you about rescue efforts from outside

a bible


has no direct use

a book on eatable plants in the bush



a 10 kg-bag of mealie meal


you need hot water and a pot

a camera


to show your trip



just in case

a blanket


it might get cold

ten packets of dried meat


light food



to start a fire

ten litres of water


drinking water

a torch


to give light in the dark

first-aid case with important medicine


in a case of an accident etc

a watch


can be used as a compass

a rope


can assist in difficult terrain

a map


for orientation

instant milk


a light food, if there is water

First, each player compares her/his own list with the one given. The difference between their guess and the right position is put in the column of the player. (For example: one team member gave “money” place number 6 and the “watch” place number 10. The difference between her/his guess and the solution is 7 for the “money” (13) and 1 for the “watch” (9), which together makes 8). The lower the sum of the differences the better the result of the individual team member. Now the same procedure is done with the results of each team.

Now group and animator compare the two results.

Was our idea right, that the result of the team is better than those of the individual members?

When the exercise is finished, let the participants answer the following questions in their teams:

* How do I feel now?
* What was most impressive for me during the exercise?
* What rules can we find for team-work?

Start your sentences like this:

- Working together in a team means...
- For team members, working together means...

Answers are collected on newsprint.

Time: 2 hours

Material: prepared sheets (you can make copies of the ones given), pencils

Part Two - Teamwork in Meetings

Of course each and every team must find out its own procedures for working together. The points given are meant as small helpers to “get things going”.

1. Find a special ritual to start your meetings with.

2. Allow time for personal reflection and talk:

- what has happened to team members since the last meeting that they’d like to tell the other team members?

3. Sharing responsibility:

- who will lead the discussions today?
- who will write down the most important points? (make sure that there is rotation each meeting!)

4. Short evaluation of the last meeting.

5. Collection of topics:

- what has to be discussed or planned today? (collect all answers given here!)

6. Now decide on the timetable:

Note: first discuss the thematical topics, then the organisational ones!

7. Time:

- when does the meeting end?

8. During the meeting the role of the discussion-leader is to make sure that team and the topics don’t get lost: the one who writes the minutes can assist by summing up the most important points, if necessary, from time to time.

9. Evaluation of this meeting:

- anything to add?
- how do we feel now?
- was this meeting fruitful for us?...
- did we get through our topics?

10. Agree on a date and time for the next meeting


In team work the following points have to be considered:

- each person should understand the problem as a whole

- each person needs to understand how to contribute towards the solution of the problem

- each person should also be aware of the potential of the contributions made by the other team members

- teams that work together cooperatively are likely to be more effective than those in which the members ignore each other

- different kinds of organisation greatly influence the way of working together

- working together consists of the actual work as well as interactions between the group members. By creating a good and relaxed atmosphere among the members the outcome of the goals is likely to be better than if members ignore each other.



The goal of the following step is to help all participants understand two things:

1. Conflicts exist in every group. There is nothing bad about conflicts. A conflict contains energy and this energy can be very helpful for a group.

2. It is important not to be afraid of the conflicts in a group. But it is absolutely essential for a group that conflicts are solved and cleared up. If this is not done, the planned development of any group or project will be hampered.


Exercise 18: Case Study on a Conflict


Read the following story out to the participants, making sure everybody gets it right.

In the club “Magamba” there are 15 female members working together on a small income-generating project. Altogether they started with gardening and have done quite well so far.

But recently 5 of the members bought three sewing machines which they want to start sewing together with in addition to gardening.

During the discussion in the next meeting the “machine owners” claim a bigger share of the common profit, because the machines are theirs and they want a small fee from the other members for the use of the machines. The other members disagree: “If the sewing machine owners want do sew on their conditions only, they should leave the project!” they say.

The first are astonished; now they want to start fighting for their “rights”. So do the non-owning members: Each group involves outsiders like district development workers or officials of NGO’s without the knowledge of the others to get their point across. The communication between the two groups has almost come to an end. Each group wants to win the “fight”.

Only some members who are not so much involved, see that there is obviously something wrong, and they want to change it.

What can they do?


Phase One:

Divide the group into small groups of 4 and have them discuss and find answers to the following questions:

* What has happened in this group?

- Describe the situation again in your own words!

* How did it come to this?

- Give the main figures that lead to the present situation

* Do you know situations like this from your own group-experience?


Phase Two:

In groups of five ask the participants to come up with ideas about how conflicts in general could be solved and how it could be done in the case we have studied:

* What would you recommend to those members who want to change the situation?

- Try to find more than one idea!


Phase Three:

When the ideas of the groups are collected on newsprint again in the large group, introduce the members to different conflict solving strategies (see Part Three - * Conflict-Solving Strategies) and compare them to the solutions they have given.

Make sure that the participants have understood the different conflict solving strategies. Maybe each strategy could be emphasized with an example of our case group.

Now have them go into small groups and discuss the different solutions and give comments on what they think is realistic in group-work.

As a rule for solving conflicts positively, give the group the three following “sentences, that help to solve conflicts”:

- “There is no peace without truth”
- “There is no peace without love”
- “There is no peace without openness”

Time: For all phases approximately four hours working time with the group is needed. Since this is a very sensitive subject, the time may be well extended.

Material: the story, background information, paper, pencils, newsprint

Part Two - Background Information on Conflicts

source: K. Johannsen

Now the participants should be introduced to some theory about conflicts:

Sociologists and psychologists have agreed on the following definition of conflicts:

There is a conflict, if two elements exist at one given time together and they oppose each other or are incompatible.

Conflicts belong to our daily life. If I have a special amount of money in my pocket and wanted to buy bread and on my way to the shop see a book I was looking for for a very long time, I have a conflict: Do I buy the bread in order not to starve in the morning or do I buy the book? Both is impossible, the bread is as important to me as the book is...

This is a conflict I have within myself. Other conflicts I may have with members of my family, at my work or with the group or project I am working in.

Conflicts are a disturbance of our routine. People who are involved in a conflict often feel that they don’t know what to do next.

Conflicts are depressing. When in the middle of a conflict, the people involved feel unhappy and uneasy. Sometimes it is not clear that it is actually a conflict which causes this feeling of unhappiness. Often conflicts with certain people are intentionally avoided, for example with loved ones such as ones wife or husband etc., out of fear that they might damage our relationship.

Conflicts have a tendency to become worse the longer they exist. What started as a small thing between two people suddenly involves the whole community they live in and a lot of different subjects, without anybody knowing where it really came from.

That is why conflicts need to be solved. As long as they go on, nobody can return to his/her normal daily routine. Sometimes such unresolved conflicts can affect the life of a family for dozens of years or disturb the work of an organisation for a long time.

Conflicts can have more than one solution. That is why we have to consider and hear all people involved and find the solution that fits to most, or even better, to all of them.

And nevertheless there remain conflicts that can’t be solved!

Part Three - Conflict-Solving Strategies

There are different ways of handling a conflict. They depend on the type of conflict and on the atmosphere in the group. But in general, the conflict solving strategies listed below from 1 to 7 provide a constructive way of finding solutions.

The first and most important step is that every group member becomes involved in the solving of the group’s conflicts.

The following strategies are listed in an order of becoming increasingly recommendable - although the goal is actually very difficult to reach!

1. Avoiding the conflict

Groups that avoid conflicts remain on the surface of their relationships: they don’t allow opposition or submit themselves to any arising opposition. Their conflicts are denied, kept hidden or suppressed.


2. Elimination of the conflict party/parties

Members that oppose or disrupt the group’s aims and objectives are driven out of the group. This can happen through punishment, bad talk or just ignoring their wishes. This means for the opponents that they have to go. Their thoughts are: “We give up” “We are insulted” or “We are going to make a group of our own.”

3. Suppression of the minority

The group suppresses those with other opinions by any means they have. The minority is expected to listen and obey to what the majority wants and thinks is best for the group (e.g. for them). For some time this strategy will work, because the minority is afraid, but sooner or later tensions and hostility will become so strong, that the group will break apart.

Voting is actually a smoother form of suppression as well, because there will always be a winning majority and a losing minority.


4. Agreement

The majority rules and decides, but the minority does not feel oppressed by that and agrees to what is proposed.

5. Alliance

The different parties do not give up their different opinions, but they agree on a common point to reach a step both think it is good for them. The conflict is still there, it is just sleeping for a while, until the step or the short-term goal is reached.

If that is done and the conflict is still there, it will arise again.


6. Compromise

When the parties involved in a conflict have about the same amount of power and cannot oppress each other, they will look for a compromise: Each group gives in as much as it thinks it can stand to in order to reach a better solution in the end.

Conflicts are very often solved like this. The parties think “better to give in a little bit to reach some sort of solution than none at all”. But they are not fully happy about the final solution, as it is often less than they expected.

7. Integration of the different wishes into a new one


This form of solving a conflict is the best, but also the rarest. The different opinions are discussed, weighed against each other and measured against the common aim. The whole group is involved in the conflict solving process and each member takes care that his/her wishes are recognized as much as possible. This solution can differ from the wishes of the conflicting parties, but the new-found common solution could be an even better one than the ones that existed before: something new was created by involving everyone.


Conflicts belong to our daily life, be it private or in groups. They should be solved in order to keep an atmosphere which enables the group to continue working together. Different conflict solving strategies support the process of solving a conflict and influence its outcome.


Now the second floor of the house has been reached which contains the so-called action-centered skills which help groups realize their ideas in a participatory and enabling way.

Built on communication as a strong and reliable foundation and with the use of group-centered skills as the ground floor, the action-centered skills finish the building. None of these floors can exist on its own, since they all belong together and need each other to form the project house. Or As P. Freire, the famous adult educator, stated in his book “Pedagogics of the Oppressed”:

Reflection without action is mere verbalism.
Action without reflection is mere activism.

In this step the following exercises and examples concentrate on assisting groups or projects in fullfilling their action-centered plans.

Look at the steps of this floor:


the steps are based on: RAPA: “Taking Hold of Rural Life”


The first step of this floor asks for two major skills concerning group-workers and trainers:

First there is the need to assist the group to bring people together and enable them to speak out about their problems, their wishes, hopes and needs towards the future and their living conditions.

When their needs and wishes have been collected, they have to be presented to the group itself or to a broader audience (community, development agency...). This means to know about several ways of collecting information and of presenting it in a participative and supportive way.

Several participative methods such as traditional media like theater, storytelling, songs or new media like movies, videos or photographs are therefore represented. It depends on the group and on the topic of research chosen, but it should never be forgotten to conclude any method of raising ideas by giving people the chance to talk about these ideas afterwards. Here the skill of the group-worker is necessary to enable a discussion, where different opinions can be voiced freely and the dynamic process of the dialogue is used to create more ideas.


Active Learning

Working with adults needs to combine the elements of learning that are very often kept apart from each other in “traditional” schools:

These elements are a topic, often far away from the “pupils” reality of life. This part can be called the “reflection” or “theory”. The other element is use of personal experiences adults have with the topic, with others and with themselves. This part is the “action” or “practice”, because people know very well about it.

“Action” and “reflection” can be combined to aide the processes of learning and acting and make learning an experience.

Different Methods Support “Active Learning”:

1. - Changing Forms of Communication:

By expanding the forms of communication from pairs to small groups, then to larger groups and lastly all together in a large group discussion, the incentive to exchange one’s own ideas also increases.


2. - Combining Different Levels of Communication:

Almost every topic touches on personal feelings, on the perception of interaction with others and on the attitudes towards the topic.

For example, the question of forming a women’s club touches on the question of each individual member, whether she will be able and wants to join, i.e. whether she is in need of the advantages the club will offer her or whether she will have enough spare time to join. The next question to be answered is whether she wants to interact with the other members, i.e. whether she wants to go to regular meetings, work with others and look for certain structures to make this work possible. Finally the question of the usefulness of a club at all has to be looked at: will it really meet the member’s needs and how can it do so?

In group-work we tend to forget the first two points, thinking that they are obvious or will work out on their own. The reasons behind not questioning them could be fear, caution or resistance. Therefore precaution needs to be exercised in order not to hurt or insult the others. Means to do so are by creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding, and by giving security and stimulation, especially in the first meetings.

Stimulation can be given by using different means of communication like talking, moving, body-language, role-play, painting or pictures that involve the whole person with all his/her emotions and attitudes.



Different ways support the identification of problems of a special topic:

a. Prepared Statements or Questions

Prepared statements or questions to the topic ease the exchange of ideas, because the participants can take up the prepared aspects of the topic and add their own ideas. This method is helpful when there is not so much time or if the learning process has a clear direction toward which it should lead the participants.


For example:

- Complete the following sentences:

“A good facilitator will...”..
“A good facilitator will not...”

- What do you think about the sentence:

“A good facilitator is not the boss of the group.”

b. Open Stimulation


The more open stimulation is and the greater the possibilities of expressing oneself (painting, role-play, pictures...) the greater the creative potential of each participant will be to support the learning process. This method takes a bit of time, and the results are more difficult to predict.

For example:

- Think of as many characteristics of a group as you can in 5 minutes.
- Try to make a role-play with the following content: a group has a conflict with one of its members. What happens and how do they try to master the situation?

c. Visualization with Cards

source: DSE: 27

There are different possibilities of answering questions, from free discussion to written examination. Here, we must make sure that everybody can reveal his/her opinion, because this is the base for the future group result. In the participatory approach, the replies are written on cards by the participants or directly by the moderator on the chart. They serve as a basis for discussion among the participants.

1. The moderator reads the visualized question at least twice.

2. Each participant is given a number of cards (do not distribute too many cards if the group of participants is large).

3. Each participant (or in pairs) writes down his/her answers or ideas: “one idea = one card”

4. The moderator collects the cards after everybody has finished writing; (s)he can mix the cards in order to avoid individual sequences and preserve anonymity.

5. (S)he reads the cards to the group by holding them up, then grouping the cards while pinning them on the board according to the structure proposed by the participants (use double cards, if they belong to several groups!)

6. Thus the different groups of cards form “clusters”, to be surrounded with lines. They constitute a “map” of the group’s opinion

7. Titles for these clusters are to be found together with the group, and if necessary priorities for discussion.

8. The moderator asks whether anything important for the discussion is missing (“analysis of gaps”).

9. The group finally discusses and analyses the cluster, and adds further written cards.


During the discussion, the cards fixed by pins permit a mobile visualization, making necessary changes of arrangements easier. When the discussion is finished, the boards are completed and the cards hen glued onto brown paper in order to transport and to preserve the visualized comments.

The advantage over the blackboard is that charts may be kept until the end of the event and that one can always return to the preceding subject. Finally, one can copy the charts (by hand ore typewriter) or take a photograph of them and provide photocopies to the participants. Thus, at the same time a record of the event is provided.

Exercise 19: Exercises on the Collection of Data

source: Methodenset, translated


What the following exercises have in common is that they emphasize the exchange of ideas insofar as they bring up many different ideas and opinions. They are not yet looking at discussions and decisions, that will come later!


This is the easiest way to come up with a lot of ideas from the group concerning the topic.

The animator writes the topic (i.e. group, women, development...) on newsprint so that all participants can see it. Then (s)he invites them to write down all their ideas concerning this topic on the newsprint or on cards. The writing should be done silently and no comments given.

When nothing new comes from the group, questions of understanding can be answered by the writers, but there should be no discussion. The ideas on the paper can be used for further cooperation.


Time: 10-30 minutes

Material: newsprint, pencils



This variation is a form of discussion that doesn’t expose the “speaker” to the whole group and therefore helps quiet people to present their own ideas as well.

The procedure is the same as above, but in the “second round” it is allowed to comment on what is written on the newsprint. This can be done by placing question marks (“?”), writing full sentences or adding own ideas to what someone else wrote down. A third round can follow to allow answers to the questions or ideas of the second round.

With remaining time, an oral discussion for those whose ideas have not yet been fully formulated on paper can follow.

Time: 30 - 60 minutes

Material: newsprint, pencils


Different posters concerning the topic are placed in the room and the participants are asked to go to the poster that best expresses their idea of the topic.


“A group is like....”

Posters expressing different aspects or images of “group” are hung up along the walls or in the comers of the room. (i.e. “family, island, chain, machine, mushrooms...”).

If the participants have decided on their poster, they tell each other in the small groups why they have chosen this poster. After that they come back to the big group and introduce the others to their image of a group.


Time: 30 - 60 minutes

Material: posters, newsprint, pencils (if the answers are given in written form)


The name of this methods comes from the image of a bee hive, where a lot of different busy bees are meeting and buzzing like the noise that comes up in the group when the participants are talking in small groups in one room.

The animator divides the participants into small groups of 3 to 5 people and has them discuss prepared questions concerning the topic, i.e.:

* How am I affected by this topic?
* What kind of expectations do I have towards the topic in this meeting?

The answers will be collected on cards afterwards and then used as a basis for the further cooperation.


Time: 30 minutes

Material: prepared questions, paper or small cards, pencils


This is another exercise for easy access to a new topic in the group.

The participants write down their positive (+) or negative (-) emotions or attitudes, or find questions concerning the topic on newsprint.

After writing them down they exchange their ideas in small groups (not more than four people in one group).


Time: 30 minutes

Material: newsprint, pencils


Role-play is always a useful exercise to bring a topic up into a group, work it out and deal with different results in a playful way.

The animator divides the group into small groups and asks them to prepare a little play concerning the topic.


After the plays have been presented, either the big group or the playing groups discuss the following questions:

* What kind of topics came out of the main topic?
* What kind of behaviour could we see?
* What was common in all the scenes?
* What kind of emotions came up concerning the topic?
* How do we want to continue our work?

- What is most important for us now?

The answers are kept on newsprint for further cooperation.

Time: about one hour

Material: prepared questions, newsprint, pencils


A prepared “case” - appropriate to the topic - invites the participants to come up with their own attitudes and to share them with the others.

Working out case-studies in small groups also stimulates those who don’t verbalise much in group discussions. Therefore the small groups should come up with their suggestions before the big group discusses the case and finds a possible solution.

The animator has prepared a “case”. This can be either a story with an open ending for which the groups have to make up an ending, or a case which is “finished” may be presented, and the groups have to evaluate the given solution.

Prepared questions concerning the given story will help to find solutions or evaluate what was going on.

The case should either be told to the whole group or handed out on papers to each small group. It is important that the case is understood by all and therefore it is recommendable to use a story from the group’s everyday-life.


Afterwards the different solutions or ideas are presented in the large group and discussed there.

Time: 1 to 2 hours

Material: a prepared case-study, papers


“Tasty and Easy to Digest”

After awareness has been raised and people are interested in whatever the current topic is, the time has come to present further information to the group members or course participants.

Basically it has to be considered that any kind of information can be seen as a good “meal”, that it should taste good for those for whom we “cooked” it. That means any presentation should, just like a good meal, be “tasty and easy to digest”.


1. “Tasty”

To present information “tastily” to others means to present it in such a way that they will like it.

This can be done by using various sides of the topic that are easy to imagine, which match with possible experiences of the participants.

If we show our own interest in the topic this also helps the participants to find their interest in it. If the presenter of the information is not interested in what (s)he is saying, how can the listeners be?

By choosing ways and means of presentation that fit to our personality and match with the group we keep in contact with the participants. It is not recommended to “hide” behind too many papers, words or multi-media shows: the closer the presentation is to the participants using their experiences, their views or ideas, the closer they will be to the topic.

2. “Easy to Digest”:

Material presented in small and palatable portions with relaxing breaks in between will be easier to digest than heavy “dry” pieces that are exhausting after a while. With enough time to work on the topic, to exchange their thoughts and ideas as well as to develop independent working habits, the participants maintain a closer contact with the topic, themselves and the other participants.

Combining information with the actual experiences and the here-and-now of the daily life of the participants helps them to understand and, therefore, makes it easier for them to digest the information presented.


Watch for the following contradictions:

Examples of so-called “Killer” or “Dead” information:

- posters with too much and too small printed text
- handouts with too much text
- too much information in too little time
- information criticizing the listeners too much
- information which makes the listeners feel helpless
- information which is not appropriate to the group
- too much information altogether
- information that has nothing to do with the group


Information of this kind will not only not reach the participants, but it will furthermore have the effect of “killing” any interest in the topic.

In giving lively information there are different steps to consider:

1. the people have to be motivated to pay attention

- this can be done by awakening their interest and letting it grow

2. the presentation should be easy to understand

3. the participants have to be given a chance to interact

- this can be done by working and shaping the topic together

4. the information given has to be repeated and summarized from time to time and at the end


Easy and Understandable Presentation

The following tips for the presentation of material stimulate openness for and interest in the topic for the addressed group. Of course, you are free to use the direct writing or the use of cards.


When collecting results of work from groups or individuals, the animator should bundle ideas together that match with one another. By reducing numerous themes to a few subtopics, the group can better understand the main points and their goals.

Another aid in “focusing” is to label cards with main ideas and then underline similar ideas with the same color headlines to group similar ideas together.



The ideas of the participants and of the animator are evaluated and lined up in order of their importance. This makes it easier to concentrate on what is important for the topic now. To make lists with numbers or letters is useful here.


Showing Correlations

Using connecting lines and/or arrows that point in certain directions from one idea or pictures to another on newsprint or board helps to visualize and understand correlations between certain aspects of the topic.


Using Pictures

The use of pictures or symbols show the more emotional aspects of a topic. Since they go right to the heart they express difficult topics in an easy way.


Exercise 20: Exercises for Presenting Information or Collected Data:

source: Methodenset, translated


If several different materials like books, findings, equipment etc. are presented, the following method can be applied. Here all participants have a better chance to get acquainted with the material than in the big group.

As many tables as are needed are set up with the materials (one each) and the big group is divided up into small groups according to the number of tables. Now let the merry-go-round roll...


Those explaining at the tables will have more work, because they will have to explain the same thing more often, but the participants, looking at one presentation at a time, will be more concentrated. When one stand is finished the groups walk to the next table.

Time: up to one hour

Material: tables, the material to be presented


To introduce a new topic it can be very helpful to invite one or more persons that are directly affected (i.e. members of a project that has already started work, a field-worker, other group-workers...). These people can tell about their experiences, the hopes and fears that they felt during what they did. Because they are real-life experiences, these reports will be very lively and therefore interesting to listen to.

Time: not more than one hour

Material: according to the people invited


source: K. Johannsen

It does happen from time to time that a talk in a group or even in front of a big assembly has to be given.

Talks are not like statements made during discussions. Talks are carefully prepared and therefore can at least try to make a point which has to be made much more clearly than is possible in a short discussion with mere statements.

Usually a talk is-in part or completely - written down before it is given. We talk of “presenting a paper”. But it is well known how horrible talks can be, when a speaker reads directly from his/her paper, with his/her eyes focused down on the sheets in front of him/her and with a monotonous voice, not looking up again until (s)he has finally read the last sentence 90 minutes later.

This is the moment when the audience wakes up again.

To avoid such a disaster keep in mind that:

A talk is a text not made for reading but for talking/telling!

Giving a Talk

In the following two paragraphs we want to deal with the aspects of a good talk and then with the “construction” of such a talk.


1. The Aspects of a Good Talk





- makes contact with the audience

- explains or describes the facts

- condenses and intensifies the important points

- creates acceptance and interest in the audience

- explains the history

- explains the use in everyday life

- says why this talk is being given

- says who or what is responsible for the situation

- invites practical work

- leads straight into the subject of the talk

- gives evidence and arguments

- speaker starts to feel safe

- gives answers to possible criticism

- compares two opposing options

- describes strategies or ways to achieve the goals

Possible Contents:

- the audience is greeted in a suitable way (formally or informally)

- experience, something the speaker has studied, heard or done

- call for action

- make contact

- from the special case to the overall situation or from the overall situation to the special case

- possible kinds of action for individuals or groups

- name common experiences or interests

- language used is suitable to the situation

- what follows from what has been said in the main part for personal thought or work or that of others

- interesting point leading to theme

- examples, short reports

2. The Construction of a Talk:

We have now seen something about the possible contents and structure of a speech. This alone does not yet make us good speakers.

As a good speaker I will pay attention to the following points:

* make clear why I am talking and about what

* take the listeners from one step to the next and involve them as much as possible with examples, rhetoric questions...

* use the blackboard or newsprint to show the most important points

* talk in a simple, interesting and stimulating manner

* the speech should not exceed 30 minutes

To involve the passive listeners after a talk, some sort of self-activating methods can follow.

There is no doubt that there are many different types of speeches. But since most of the talks given in development-work want to teach something or influence people, we want to concentrate here on this specific type of talk.

A talk needs to be constructed. The construction of the talk will be the opposite of the construction of a usual building insofar as it starts with the roof, proceeding downwards to the floors below.

The talk is presented when the building is finished, so that the order then follows from bottom to top.

This has a simple reason: As the builders, we should know where we want to go to, before we start to build. But our listeners must have the chance to follow our ideas from the bottom to the top, or else they might get lost.

Here is a possible plan for the construction:


What do I want the listeners to know or understand?
What do I want them to do?
Or: What is my final goal?

This must first be clear!

The answers to these questions should be formulated in one sentence!

Once the general goal of the talk is clear, it is quite easy to build the underlying floors below.


What has to be done to reach the goal?
What is realistic?

Here the listeners are invited to practical action, and in some cases further advice is necessary to determine that action.

The detailed planning should, in most cases, remain the task of the listeners, since the trainer cannot think for other people.


What do I want?
What should be different from the present situation?

We could call this the “vision” floor. Here the goal and the situation to be achieved are described: it’s like looking out of the window and seeing what will be:


What is the present situation like?
How was it created?
Who or what is responsible for it?

Here the present situation is analysed and described. It is important now to describe - and not accuse! The facts will have to speak for themselves.


Why am I talking - and what about?

This is the time (and in your final speech you will start with it) to explain why this talk is being held and what the role of the development worker will be in the coming process. Is (s)he the architect, a work(wo)man, a neighbour or someone else?...

How far is (s)he personally going to be involved in the whole process, or in the issue s(he) is talking about?

Exercise 21: Five Steps

Giving a talk is one of those things that nobody can learn in theory. This is something we must practice.

Since the five-step system can also be used for short statements in discussions the exercises are based on this system:



Give one topic for discussion to the group, e.g.:

“Should self-help organisations and community-based organisations make all their decisions as a group or should they allow certain people to “reign” over them?”

Step One:

For a few minutes everybody should think about this topic in silence and collect their own ideas about it. It is recommended that some of these ideas be written down.

Step Two:

The group is divided into two’s, and these pairs now develop little statements of a maximum length of two minutes on the topic.

The statement should include the five floors:

1. * Why am I talking?
2. * What situation am I talking about?
3. * What could - in my opinion - be the “right situation/solution”?
4. * What action do I propose?
5. * What will be the result of this action?

The pairs decide which one of them will present the little prepared talk. After the first speaker has finished, the next begins with his/her first point (“Why cm I talking?”) by stating what interested or annoyed him/her so much in the former statement that (s)he wants to talk now.

Of course, such a discussion will take a long time, and there will be breaks between the statements, since people will have to think again before they talk, and they will have to answer the last speaker’s contribution.

The exercise is quite exhausting, because it requires a lot of concentration. But the facilitator has to be strict with the group to ensure the proper use of the system.

After the discussion, an evaluation has to follow

* What did we learn from this exercise about giving a talk?

Time: one hour for the discussion, about 30 minutes for the evaluation



When the information is presented to the participants and they have had the chance to come up with their own conclusions and recommendations, it is time for planning how certain steps of action can be taken to reach certain aims and objectives. The content of any planning process will be shown as well as how each single step can be reached with the group by assisting exercises. Crucial in this phase for the group is the process of decision-making, which is looked at in detail.



“Planning is deciding on the best way to reach a goal. Participatory planning is a process of collective decision-making by partners in a certain project, about how to use resources and for planning activities to reach a specific objective.”

source: THRL: 40

Planning for Change

People’s Fears

source: K. Johannsen

Development always means change.

It is obvious that change can happen in two ways. Things can change for the better and things can change and become worse than they were before.

In working with people and assisting them to develop themselves, it is necessary to be aware of the fact that development always deals with some fears in people’s hearts. People have fears when they think about changing something. And - the poorer people are, the harder it is for them to change something. This may sound silly, but it is the truth!

Poor people have usually developed some strategies that have allowed them to survive. Most of these strategies are low-risk strategies and if we look at the things they are doing we will find out that they work in a way which will even allow them to survive if one of their usual strategies fails.


It is clear that these people cannot do anything that would imply taking a big risk. If they take a risk and they fail, this could even mean death for them.

The fears people have to cope with are very often not clear in their minds. They often cannot speak about them. There are several reasons for this silence:

One is that poor people even among other poor people would not like to admit that their situation is that bad. Everybody has a tendency to hide as many problems as possible from the surroundings.

Another reason is that people very often are not able to speak about their problems. They have never learned to analyze their situation and therefore just don’t have the words to describe their bad situation.

A third reason is that if “development activists” meet such poor people, this means for the latter to be confronted with new ideas they have never thought about.


This idea of changing one’s life is for many people a big problem since it is connected with breaking the chains in one’s mind that hold tight. These chains are very strong. They are called TRADITION, EXPERIENCE, BAD EDUCATION, LACK OF POWER, ILLNESS, POVERTY, NON-PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNAL DECISION-MAKING and can have so many other names.

If you are bound by such heavy chains, it is hard to move.

What is listed above may help to give a vague idea of why sometimes apparently good plans or good projects do not succeed or never really get off the ground. People’s fears make them go at an extremely low pace or even stop.

The funny thing about it is that people will hardly ever say that they are afraid of the change.

They will do other things:

There may be aggressions against the development worker who brought a new idea. There may be a complete lack of interest. Or, and this happens pretty often, the people in a village may be very happy and seemingly accept all new ideas very willingly. But after some time the development worker comes back to find out that nothing has changed. There can be other reasons for this inactivity, but the fact is that the people knew how to live in the past and might not know how to live with the proposed changes. This means they were not really ready “for the project”: nobody had considered their fears in the process of change.

That is why these fears have to be regarded! BUT: It is not possible for any development worker or trainer to overcome the fears of the people for them. This can only be done by they themselves!!




A traditional farmer in a West African country will know at least twenty varieties of rice - it is his/her staple food. He knows exactly when and where to plant the rice and will usually do this in a way that (s)he will plant a high-yield variety beside another variety which is less affected by disease or drought. (S)he will plant upland rice and some swamp rice, too. Doing so, (s)he knows, that (s)he must harvest something at least and will hardly ever experience a complete crop failure.


Agricultural development projects often try to introduce new crop varieties to these farmers. These varieties are often high yield varieties, and it is said that they are also resistant against pests and illnesses.

But what the promoters of these new varieties often experience is:

The farmers listen to them and seem to believe what they are told about the new rice, but they ask for very little seeds to try it out. They just plant it somewhere and see what will happen. But they don’t trust this new variety and therefore very often will not take as much care of those parts of their fields with it as they do with their old ones.

And then they say: “Look, the new rice did not do well! I do not want to have it!”


That is what they say, but the reason for their behaviour could be that they don’t want to be hungry and that they are afraid of doing something which has not been proven efficient to them.


A group of women decided to do something to improve their living standard. A foreign development worker had promised to help them. So they agreed to bake little cakes and sell them in town as a snack for children and the people working in the offices. The development worker gave them a loan to get started and they bought flour and sugar and all the other ingredients. It was quite a large amount of money that came together in the end, when they had sold the cakes at a good price.


Although they ate some of the cakes themselves or gave them to friends - to try - there was still some profit left, which they shared. All of them were convinced that this was a nice project and that it would help them a lot.

The money which was left after profit-sharing was just enough to buy the new ingredients for another set of cakes. Unfortunately the treasurer of the women’s project got very ill and she used some of the money to buy medicine for herself. The prices for flour went up a lot, and the foreign development worker had left. The result of all this was that the women never made cakes again.

Although they knew that they could expect some profit out of it, they were not ready to take the risk and invest their own little money for the project. That was just too much for them!


Think and Discuss:

* What makes us afraid when we think about change?
* What are our experiences with other people’s fears?
* What can we do about these fears?

This short introduction about people’s fears has not given any answer to the problem posed, since there is no single answer to it. But when working with people it is important to know about this problem. Maybe the most important part about it is to be aware of our own fears about development. If we admit to ourselves that we are also afraid of changing things in our lives, this will help us to understand why others don’t talk about their fears a lot.

But in any case:

Through training it can become easier to overcome fears of changing something!

Exercise 22: Our Fears

This exercise helps to understand, that fears often hinder progress and that it is difficult for poor people to take big risks.


Take a piece of chalk and draw a river on the floor in the middle of the room. To illustrate that the river is not very deep, put some sheets of paper into the river, so that people can step on them to get across.

Now introduce two participants to play the roles in the following sketch:

On one side of the river somebody is kneeling and doing some weeding in the field. This person is badly dressed and looks very poor. On the other side of the river there is somebody else also working in the fields, but this person is much better dressed and uses better tools.

The rich one calls over the river: “Hey, come over to me! I will show you my new tools and the new things I am doing. Come and see!” But the poor person refuses: “I cannot come over the river.” - “But it is not deep. You can step on those stones,” says the rich one.- “No, I can’t, I will fall into the water and drown.” - “Oh please, come over! I can show you so many interesting things. With a little additional work you can have them, too.” - “No, I cannot come over, I don’t like your ideas,” the poor replies, while (s)he expresses through her/his body that (s)he is, however, very interested in the other one’s work.

Finally the rich one goes away and the poor one remains in the fields, weeding. Then (s)he says: “All these people with their new ideas, they only want to confuse me!”


Ask the participants to discuss in small groups:

* What did we see?
* What did we hear?
* What was the problem we saw?
* Why was the poor person afraid of being confused?
* Are we sometimes afraid, too, when we are asked to change our lifestyle?
* What makes us afraid?
* What can help us to overcome fears?
* What can we do?

List the answers on the last four questions on newsprint or cards.

Time: about two hours

Material: code, chalk, sheets of paper, pencils, cards, newsprint

Part Two - The Content of Planning Processes

Any planning process consists of:

1) Defining the problem
2) Setting goals and objectives
3) Identifying resources
4) Preparing a plan of action
5) Stating a clear budget-plan


1) Define the Problem

This phase of the planning process looks at the whole topic in more detail and tries to sort out the problem behind it. Using the research material, the group might have developed a lot of different projects or problems they want to work on. Or the main problem consists of so many different factors, that it is not clear where to begin.


Or even the problem has got another one behind it that has suddenly become clear and has to be looked at first.

So with the means and methods of participatory research the group-worker might here assist the people in finding out their starting point:

“What do we want to change now?”

2) Set Goals and Objectives

When the main problem is identified, it is time to come up with clear ideas: “What needs to be done and what is to be achieved?”. Setting clear goals and objectives should be the basis of each following program and the criteria against which progress, success and failures of the project will be measured.

Before dealing with the following expressions everybody should understand the difference between:

- a vision
- a goal
- an objective
- a program (or plan of action)

A vision is an ultimate aim, a dream we are after. “Equal pay for equal work”, “Equal share of land for all”, “A society where women are seen as full members” could be such visions.


A goal specifies this vision of the group that is likely to be reached in a certain time. They are usually general statements of intent, expressed as long range, but achieveable destinations.


Goals give an indication of why this special group exists at all. “Two years from now this project will provide each member with a regular income on a sustainable basis.”

Objectives are the steps of the movement towards the achievement of the overall goal: “We have to find an adequate activity with which we will be able to generate income”, “Regular education for the members is to be integrated in our project”...

The program is a detailed plan of how the goal is to be achieved: “Some members will start with a feasibility study for our project.”, “Jane and Mary will attend a course on bookkeeping in order to be able to keep our records”, “We will invite members from other projects to share their experiences with us.”


For the entire following process of the group or project, the way in which its goals, objectives and program are decided on is crucial. Therefore a closer look at decision-making is inserted here, although, of course, it follows the group’s life and work constantly.


Every group has to make decisions, and the way in which these decisions are made will deeply affect the commitment of the members to the life and work of the group. Those who have shared in the process of decision-making are more likely to carry out the agreed actions. The members will get frustrated if decisions cannot be made in the group or are constantly deferred.

To achieve its goals, every group is constantly involved in making decisions. No matter how big, small, easy or difficult the decision seems to be, the decision-making process will show the relationship pattern among the group members.

The way each member feels about the other (or about his/her own status in the group) i.e. admiration, appreciation, hostility, inferiority or superiority, influences the pattern and the final decision.


So most groups need some skill practice in decision-making in order to train all the members in what helps and what hinders good decision-making.


Exercise 23: Exercises on Decision-Making


Give the group an experience of making a real decision, or use the actual decision-making process, if there is one. This can be deciding what to do on a free evening in a course or deciding what the next step of a project should be.

After the decision has been made, ask the group to identify what major problems they had in reaching the decision.

(Here an input on decision-making theory can be given).

In small groups the participants now discuss what kind of problems (or theory) they experienced.

Now the whole group is brought together, and the decision-making process is discussed.

Now ask the group to come up with ideas about how they could improve their decision-making. This way they will set their own norms and guidelines and be more likely to abide by them.


The “pool” is a method that is helpful if there are sub-groups with opposite ideas.

Representives of these sub-groups meet in the middle of the big group and discuss their options in front of all other eyes and ears.

Time: not more than 30 minutes

Variation 1:


Here a free chair is placed amongst the representatives, to give those from the “silent” majority the chance to come into the middle to join in the discussion. This makes it more interesting and allows a bit more of “direct” democracy.


Time: up to one hour

Variation 2:


Here again different options are discussed in the middle. But now those who agree on the same point sit behind “their” representative. The time of discussion is limited to 10 minutes. After this time the representative turns round to his/her group and they instruct him/her and express their thoughts on how to continue the discussion. It is also possible to change the representing person from round to round so that all have a turn at sitting in the middle. The rounds continue until the participants think the topic has been discussed satisfactorily or a decision is to be made.


Time: not more than one hour

Remember For All Decision-making Processes:

Clear Goals Are Vital

Unity, commitment and energy grow strikingly in a group when there is a clear goal which all believe in.

The most important part in working with groups is the process of searching for options. It is here that the members need the most assistance from the group-worker. Only if the options given have been brought up and discussed openly and thoroughly in the group can the final decision be a success and be supported by all. The decision should be based on consensus, meaning that the members strive for a solution that satisfies nearly all of them to avoid “losers”.

Participatory decision-making is likely to be fulfilled, if:

- the matters that need decisions are known and understood by all those involved

- good means of stimulating and sharing ideas (like codes, films or others) are offered

- many possibilities and choices are considered

- the pros and cons of each option are analysed thoroughly

- effective leadership and structures to deal with the size of the group (like pool, podium) is given

- an effective way of testing different suggestions is offered (like use of newsprint, walls for information, podium)

- the choice of solutions from the given alternatives is clear

- there is an agreement beforehand on what procedures will be most appropriate (consensus, majority vote, secret ballot)

- the final decision involves all

- deciding who will do what, when, where and how is agreed by all

3) Identify the Resources

After the decision has been made it is time for the group or project to identify its available resources. This could be either materials, money, natural resources like water, climate etc. or human resources like knowledge, skills or ideas.


4) Draw a Plan of Action

Planning is a process that everyone is acquainted with in everyday life when answering the question: “What am I going to do next?” Here all members of a group or project are involved in the planning process. In fact, being involved in the planning of the coming action strengthens the ability and confidence to move ahead.

Points of consideration are:

- to state clearly what the group wants to achieve
- to decide and select the activities and materials needed
- to share jobs and tasks as well as responsibilities
- to give a time frame to each activity
- to develop a work plan including all these points

Exercise 24: Exercises for Planning


source: TFT 2:103



The group is divided into teams that work together in real situations.

Then every team is asked to draw a “map” of their situation on a piece of newsprint. This includes every group, organisation and category of people in their environment that they relate to, try to influence, work with etc. They should also draw their own team in the picture.

When they have finished, the animator asks the following questions:

* Which of these groups or units are you really trying to influence?
* How successfully are you doing this?
* How good is the relationship within each unit?
* What areas do you have problems in?
* How can you improve things?

One way to share this information between teams is to ask each team to put their map on the wall and have participants walk around looking at them. Anyone with questions can ask them after they have seen all the maps.


source: TFT 2:111

The purpose of using visual methods for planning is to help people see what is needed to start and complete a practical project.

The planning process of a project includes the following steps:

- Choosing a specific project.
- Planning each step of the project.
- Deciding how much money will be needed for each step.
- Deciding how much time will be needed for each step.
- Deciding what other resources will be necessary for the project.
- Discovering, before a project begins, whether profit is likely to be realised.
- Deciding, before a project begins, how the group’s profits will be used.


A women’s group has decided to begin a sewing cooperative to make school uniforms for the local school. The planning kit is very useful at this point.

Before the meeting the animator (with the help of 1 or 2 people experienced in marketing, dressmaking, etc.) should list all the steps they can think of that will be necessary in the project. They should make simple, clear sketches of each of these steps on separate sheets of paper. There should be several additional sheets of paper ready for quick sketches, symbols or key words showing steps which the group may mention that were not thought of in the preparation.

The animator should also have plenty of slips of paper marked clearly as 5, 10 or 100$ notes.

1. Order of Work

The animator asks the group to discuss in pairs or threes all the steps they will need to take to start and complete their sewing project.

The task can even be to plan a whole coming production year for the project.

When the small groups have finished they are asked to come back to the big group and share their results.

Ask them what they will have to do first. Find the picture of the first thing they suggest and put it up on the wall or blackboard near to the left. Ask if everyone agrees that this is the first step.

If something is suggested for which there is no picture, quickly draw a picture or a symbol for it.

If there are pictures left over showing steps that no-one has mentioned, show them to the group, and discuss with them whether these steps are really necessary in their project. If so, they should be put in the correct place, moving other pictures along to the right.

In this way the group builds up a line of pictures showing each step that needs to be taken in the correct order on the wall.


2. Time for Work

The animator now asks the participants to discuss in pairs or threes about how long each step will take. (S)he then puts the number of days, weeks or months on the wall or writes them on the blackboard under each picture.

If there is a deadline for one part of the activity (i.e. first day of school to have the uniforms ready), starting from this date and moving backwards and forwards the group works out when each step must be started and finished.

Together the group now sees clearly when they must start, when they can expect to finish and what they expect to accomplish each week

3. Money for Work

The animator gives the group another opportunity to talk in small groups about how much money will be needed for each step.

Once again the whole group goes through each step systematically and puts the amount of money needed under each picture. They add up how much money they need in total.

Finally they work out how much they will probably produce and how much they will make as a group, after deducting the costs (and depreciation!).

4. Help For Work

Once again the group goes through each step discussing whether they will need help from a resource person or from other members of the community. The sheet with “Help” can be put on the place where and when the person will be needed.


5. Use of Profit

As this is a communal project it is important for the group to decide before the project starts, how the profit will be used once the project is completed. If this is not done now, there may be serious disagreements at the end of the project.

The animator can prepare a further series of pictures of all possible ways in which money might be used.

This would include

- paying back any loans
- dividing profits equally among group members
- starting new projects
- getting water pipes
- building a community school


This is also a good opportunity to stimulate the imagination of the group about the different alternatives and to help them imagine how they could improve their lives in the future.

5) Budgeting

A clear budget plan finishes this planning phase.


The goal to be achieved by planning is the change of the existing situation - brought up by the research work - so that any problem experienced is likely to be solved. As group-workers we can assist very well in participatory planning using ways and means of leadership that allow the combination of indigenous knowledge with modern and technological solutions. Group decisions are to be made on the basis of finding the “best” solution, which is the most appropriate one for the whole group and the project.


Now the third step of this phase has been reached: research has been completed and, based on the results, the plan of action is drawn. So this is the time for implementing and maintaining the plan. Enabling management as a means of shared responsibility and leadership, monitoring and solving problems when they arise, are the steps to be taken.

Part One - Enabling Management Supports the Implementation Process

“Management is the wise use of what we have, to get what we want.” (THRL: 56)


* Enabling Management

The purpose of self-help management is to enable people (either in groups or as individuals) to become self-reliant, creative and self-motivated. In this process the group-worker is recognized as the one to assist people in

- reaching their goals
- changing their existing situations
- taking control of situations that affect their lives

Therefore management has to consider the needs, the dignity and the voice of the people.

The underlying beliefs are:

- Management can be organised in such a way that decisions can be done participatorily, involving those who have the necessary knowledge, skill and ability.

- People must participate in decision-making.

- People have the motivation, ability and readiness to take responsibility to work towards change.

- People are not by nature passive or resistant to their needs and goals. But they can become so as a result of previous experience.

These beliefs are based on a different understanding than is usually found in any managing structure:

Institutions are mostly organised in such a way that the main managing tasks are in the hand of a few people only (the so-called “management”). They do the planning, the decision-making, solve problems which arise and supervise the going-on of the institution or organisation.


As these few people have most of the responsibility for the effectiveness of the whole organisation, they are also the ones who get more status and earn a higher salary than the other members. The structure of such bureaucratic organisations represents a pyramid with a small top and a broad base. There is a clear difference between those who have the “responsibility” and those who are meant to do the “work”.

Communication between the different levels consists of orders (from the top) and obedience (from the bottom)

It is obvious that enabling management has a different understanding of how organisations or projects can be managed. The alternative model to the one in the above picture is one in which all members are involved in the crucial steps of the group, project or organisation, which are

- planning
- goal-setting
- decision-making
- implementing
- problem-solving and
- evaluating

This method commits people to what they do and engages them in their own affairs.

It does not mean, however, that there is no task-sharing between members or within a project. When everybody does everything the whole project soon ends up in chaos. But if tasks are shared and special work groups are built, these groups are not responsible to only one “boss” or the committee, but to the whole group, and all members are to be included in on the steps that affect the group’s future life.

The model of enabling management is shown below.


It is the opposite of the pyramid from the model of bureaucracy. At the “top” we have the largest possible number of people. However, investigations or decisions of minor importance can be delegated to special workgroups or single persons, who have a clear vote to do so (i.e. keeping the records, representing the group outside, going to a course...). Communication in this model is meant as a mutual process, where everyone learns from one another and accepts ideas and wishes from the others. Team work is a serious matter and is seen as a way to share ideas and work. Problems are solved as they arise by those involved in the conflict and not by “law and order”.

In this way it is more likely for the group to avoid autocratic and frustrating leadership by one or a few people at the “top” oppressing those at the “bottom”. Also the members become more self-reliant and participate in their own affairs!


Part Two - Implementation: Points of Consideration

Now the particular points of consideration in management and implementation are highlighted:

1. To study the plan and make a commitment to action
2. To carry out the action
3. To monitor and review
4. To solve problems as they arise
5. To market products and share benefits (if it is an income-generating project)


1. and 2.: Implementation of Planned Actions

Enabling management is based on team work with close contact of the teams to each other and open communication throughout the whole project.


Open Communication

Everyone is well informed about:

- the decisions made
- the responsibility given
- the time frame


As far as possible, the work team chooses the area of work on the basis of their own strengths and weaknesses

Everyone feels that her/his voice is heard

The work team decides its own procedures guided by planned goals and objectives

No one issues “orders”. Work is seen as a learning process for village groups and for advisers.

Regular participation by all persons at group meetings provides an opportunity to share concerns, information and contributions

There should be flexible working hours in relation to other teams and for the project as a whole

When an individual chooses to work, family responsibilities are taken into account.

3. and 4.: Monitoring. Reviewing and Problem-Solving on the Spot

Here the project members look at how the project is going: “Are our plans appropriate? Do our expenditures meet the estimated costs? How is the cooperation of the several teams and how is the mutual trust in the whole group?” are questions to be answered and, if necessary, plans have to be revised and adjusted to reality.

Self- and mutual criticism, feedback and group trust exercises are means of allowing satisfactory monitoring. Problems can be solved as they arise, not when it might be too late.



5. Marketing Products and Sharing of Benefits

Viable projects, especially those with the goal of income-generating will have had done a feasibility study and market research before they started to produce.

They will also have to agree on clear procedures of sharing the benefits of any action undertaken among all members. Even if there is nothing to share one year (most probably in the beginning), this has to be discussed and made clear to all members.



In the Implementation of our plans it is, like in all other steps, of great importance to involve all people in the action. Enabling management is a way of working together with most of the people involved in each step of the process. It states that people are able to take up responsibility on their own and don’t need anybody to do that for them


As proclaimed for all the other steps in getting a group or project started and working, each and every step of a group’s activity and progress should be evaluated carefully with and by the participants. Therefore the “why?, when?, what? and how?” of evaluation, each explained by evaluation exercises are now presented.

Part One - What is Evaluation?

Evaluation is often done without us consciously knowing it:

“Oh Mary, this meal was delicious! I’ve never had such good chicken curry before!”

This little remark by one of Mary’s guests, who was invited by Mary for a meal, is actually an evaluation. The speaker says something about the meal and how (s)he liked it.


Although this evaluation is not very professional, it can serve as an example:

To evaluate means to assess something, to find out how good or valuable or worthwhile something is or was.

Evaluation - Why?

Marie-Therese Feuerstein (“Partners in Evaluation”) gives ten reasons why projects should be evaluated:

1. to see what has been achieved
2. to measure progress
3. to improve the monitoring of a project
4. to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a program
5. to find out if an effort was effective (what the impact was)
6. to measure cost-benefit relations
7. to collect information to improve planning and management
8. to share experience in order to help others
9. to improve the effectiveness of a program
10. to improve the planning for new work phases


Evaluation - When?

Anne Hope and Sally Timmel (TFT) summarize it as follows:

Evaluation is necessary and should be done

- at the end of learning events
(but not by giving marks like in an exam at schools!)

- at key points in groups
(when there is a conflict to be solved, when cooperation becomes a problem in reaching a common goal..)

- at regular times in a project
(when a special point is reached, when decisions have to be made, when changes of the procedures are in sight...)

Evaluation - What?

Participatory evaluation or self evaluation is a process of getting participants to reflect critically on their own project, programs, aims and leadership. It is participant-centered, expressing the value and learning process it has for the participants themselves (although the animator will gain through evaluation as well!).

Topics of evaluation are therefore:


Evaluation - How?

It is recommended to use different methods of evaluation, because some people deal better with written questionnaires, others better orally. The method also depends on the topic of the evaluation:

If we want the people to express their feelings towards the other participants, it is better to do this orally so that they can say directly what they think or feel to the other person. If a whole course or a large project is to be evaluated and answering a lot of different questions has to be done, the written form might be more suitable.

Suggested methods are:

- written questionnaires
- oral interviews
- group discussion
- observation
- survey
- case studies
- slides, photos or drawings
- a combination of the above methods



source: PME 1:77

1. Identification of evaluation areas
2. Development of appropriate indicators
3. Development of your own evaluation materials
4. Collection of data, analysis; provide feedback
5. Report and dissemination of the results

1. Identification of Areas

This first step is mainly concerned with the establishing of the special interests and areas to be analysed and evaluated. Here the topics of our evaluation are agreed on.

2. Developing Indicators

Indicators are the standards against which the real change that took place in the project or group is measured. They are determined by the former objectives and goals that were set up. There are several indicators to measure a certain change in a certain area. The following list shows indicators for different areas of change:

measurement of


a) social change:

for example:

- standard of living:

access to water supplies; transport; housing; access and dissemination of sanitation facilities...

- gender equality:

how many working hours for men and for women; proportion of women in decision-making and management committees; income percentage of male/female project members...

b) economic change:

- financial status:

amount of debts; amount of cash savings; share of profits...

- production:

productivity per unit; yield per hectar...

c) environmental change:

- environmental awareness and practices:

conservation behaviour like taking material recycling into consideration, saving of scarce resources...

d) political change:

- control over means of production:

representation in political decision-making bodies; control over land or machines; access to special credit forms or other forms of state subsidies for small-scale producers...

and here the most important indicators for trainers and group-workers:

e) in-group change:


structures of decision-making; treatment of minorities; dealing with conflicts; problem-solving; team work...

-group process:

satisfaction in the group; communication between members and between leaders and members; grade of exchange of ideas...

-learning aspects

learning progress; programs; use and effectiveness of topics and methods...

3. Development of appropriate evaluation materials:

Each indicator and each group or project, in fact, requires specially developed measurement material.

Appropriate evaluation material should be developed so that all people involved are able to use it, furthermore it should be clear and simple and also easy to be analysed.

The following exercises are given as examples for monitoring and evaluating in-group processes, programs and courses.

It is important to keep in mind that charts and questionnaires can never replace talks or discussions. Therefore, if means are used to make people think, people also have to be invited to speak, if they have anything to say.


In time and with experience in using different methods of evaluation, the group will get used to them and won’t have to stick to them as they are written down here. Evaluation exercises undergo the same rule as all of our methods: They are instruments, which can be altered and revised to meet needs, not the other way around!

Example: Exercise 25: Exercises on Different Methods of Evaluation

1) Evaluating Goals:



The fact is that the energy in a group and the ability to achieve a goal and to work effectively increases immensely, if all members of a group agree on the same goal Therefore, in project-planning, we have to make sure that all participants of a project agree completely on the goal and understand it.

For evaluation purposes we turn this process around:


Ask the group members to write down silently for themselves what they perceive as the goal of the group (the course, the project, the organisation...).

After that has been done, the answers are read out loud and the group discusses:

* Did we all agree on the same goal for our group-work?


Make sure, that there is enough time to talk about different outcomes arising and to solve them in a helpful way.

Time: about one hour, depending on the size of the group

Material: paper or cards, pencils, newsprint

2) Evaluating the Group Process



My perception of the outcome of the group may be very different from the perception other group members may have. I might feel that the group is very good and everybody is very happy, while others see it differently.

This exercise can help to bring up different perceptions of the same thing. (It is necessary to have reached a certain point of mutual trust in the group to make this exercise a success!)


The facilitator asks:

* How did you feel in the group today?

Use your chairs to express your feelings:

If you sit down on your chair, it means:
“I am fully satisfied with today”


If you stand beside your chair, it means:
“I was a bit out of the topic/the group today”


If you sit on the floor beside your chair, it means:
“I was out of the topic/not with the group today”.


If you stand up on your chair, it means:
“Nothing new for me today concerning the topic”.


When everybody has found her/his position, the people are asked to look around, but not to comment.

After that the exercise is followed by the discussion:

* What did we learn from this exercise right now?

Time: 20 minutes

Material: chairs




This is a short oral evaluation of emotions, opinions, wishes etc., where each group member is asked to comment.


The animator asks each person to say in one or two sentences what (s)he wants to say to the group, what her/his opinions or wishes are. This method is also useful, when a decision needs to be made and the group’s will is not yet very clear.

Time: depending on the size of the group

Material: none

3) Evaluating Programs or Courses





Each participant gets a flip-chart to draw her/his way through the seminar. First, the way is drawn as a line with curves and straight sections, then a small picture can be added to each section, then sentences or symbols are written in to make the drawing clear.

After about 30 minutes, the participants introduce their drawings in small groups and talk.


Time: about one hour

Material: crayons, flip-chart or newsprint




The facilitator has drawn a picture with different faces to express different answers on a special question on the board or on a big flip-chart. The participants are now asked to make a cross in the column, that best expresses their answer. The questions can be:

* How are my feelings now?
* How did I like the methods used?
* How did I get along with the group?
* How satisfied am I with the outcome? etc.

It is only possible to ask one question at a time in this method of evaluation.

For example: How did I get along with the methods used in this course?

very well



not so well




*discussion in small groups

The group fills in the columns, each member on her/his own. The facilitator can invite them to give comments on their choice, but they don’t have to do so.



source: TFT


The animator hands out questions concerning the topics and methods of the course.

In groups of three, the participants take one question at a time. One of them is asked the first question by the other two. (S)he must try to explain the answer to the satisfaction of the others, then they move on to another person and another question. The procedure is finished when all questions have been discussed. The small groups should then come together and read aloud their answers to compare them with those of the others.

Make sure that this exercise is not like an examination, but rather clarifies or supports and reflects the understanding of what has been done in the workshop.

Examples of Questions:

* Why do we have introductions at the beginning of a workshop?
* Why do we write our names on tape?
* Why do we ask participants what they expect of the workshop?
* Why do we ask people to discuss in small groups rather than in the big group?
* Why do we put the chairs in a circle?
* Why do we use newsprint? When is it helpful and when is it not helpful to use it?
* Why do we use codes or role-play?
* Why do we have participants evaluate the workshops every day and at the end?
* Why do we ask the small groups to share their ideas in the big group?
* Why......?


Time: about one hour

Material: prepared questions



Questionnaires are most helpful for the facilitator(s) of a course to get feed back on the topics, the methods and farther wishes of the participants. The questions will differ, depending on the topics to be evaluated.


A list of the program so far is written on newsprint. The participants are now asked to comment on the most important elements.

For example:

Simple and Reliable:

* What has been most helpful so far?
* What has not been helpful so far?
* What do I want to say to the participants now?
* What do I want to say to the facilitator(s) now?
* What did I miss in this program?
* What are my wishes for the next course? etc.


The results of this exercise can be either collected anonymously by the facilitator or they can be shared afterwards in the big group.

Time: depending on the questionnaire

Material: prepared questionnaires, pencils

4) Evaluating Leadership

Like the program of a workshop or the outcome of a project, the facilitator or group-worker should ask the participants for feed back on her/his performance afterwards. The same can be said for any leader from time to time.




Each participant gets a piece of paper on which (s)he is asked to comment on the facilitator’s/animator’s/leader’s performance so far.

The results can either be shared in the big group with the facilitator/animator/leader or collected anonymously and read by her/him alone.


For example:

1. (s)he supported my learning process


2. (s)he kept the pace with the participants


3. (s)he gave the required support


4. (s)he gave me enough opportunities to find the answers myself


Time: depending on the size of the group and the number of questions

Material: prepared questions

4. and 5.: Analysing the Data, Reporting and Disseminating the Results

It depends on the aim of the evaluation, where and by whom the data is analysed. Usually it is done by all project members or by a special team delegated to do so.

The presentation of the findings is important to make the project evaluation clear and to ask for further feedback, based on the results of the evaluation. A common way to make good use of the findings is to use them as basic information on how to continue with the group or project for the next planning phase. Now that the strengths and weaknesses of the group/project/course are known, the goals for the coming time can be much more appropriately adjusted to the reality.

The same goes for facilitators and group-workers evaluating the results of a course or program. The answers given will be most helpful to adjust the next program or course to what participants expected.

If a program, course, project or group was successful in the way it worked, why not spread the news to others going the same way? Exchanging ideas and results, giving examples and motivating others to go on in a similar way is another way of using evaluation data. This can be done orally by members, participants or group-workers, it can also be done in the form of a written report, if the group addressed is literate, or it can be done in the form of a drama, a film or any other medium.

Creativity is necessary, not only here!

Always remember:

For all types of evaluations the same basic truth applies:

We will learn from our mistakes and get familiar with our strengths.


This final step towards “action” consists of situations where the facilitator/group-worker eases or enables learning events or meetings for groups.: The preparation of a session, the moderation of a session and finally the preparation of a whole workshop or course will be shown. Again there are a lot of helpful exercises presented to make it work.

Part One - The Preparation of Sessions

The best support for a relaxed and satisfying moderation of a session is to be well prepared. Irene KLEIN (1989) gives us in her “Berliner-Modell” a guideline on preparing learning events from a single session up to a two-week workshop.

The model explains 6 factors that have to be considered in pre-planning:

There are the 2 “framing” factors

1. the local frame of the meeting

like place, (easy to reach?), time (convenient for all?), other circumstances...


2. the participants

age, sex, interests, opinions, educational background, experiences, number...


b) in this frame the four “decisional” factors are to be determined:

3. the goals of the session

- what is to be achieved?

- are the goals relevant to the frame of participants and local conditions (concerns, experience, time, place)?

- are they limited to one session or are they part of a series of sessions to be held?

- are they clear to all (staff and participants)?

- is the staff able to carry them out or are further resource persons needed?


4. the topics to achieve the goals

- what are the topics?
- do they fit to aims and objectives and vice versa
- do they fit the participants?

5. the methods to make it work

- are the methods used useful to work out the topics to reach the aim?

For example methods of learning are films drawings, discussions, role-play, group-work, singing....

- am I as the trainer prepared to explain and use the methods?


6. the means to carry out the decided methods


- what is needed to follow the path?

Example of means are: film-projector and films, paper, crayons, chairs, books, musical-instruments, tape...

- are these specific means available?

- do the methods have to be adjusted to the the means?

- do the means fit the participants, the goals, the topics...?


It is very important to know that all 6 factors are closely related to each other. If one of them is neglected, the others will be affected and the success of the session or course is questionable.

For example, in a session where we want to make our introduction (topic) with drawings (method), we have to make sure that enough paper and crayons to draw with (means) are at hand.

Or if we have a large group of more than twenty people (number of participants), we have to consider that it is helpful to divide them up in small groups of four or five (method), because then the more silent participants will also have chance to come up with their ideas (aim).


The following picture shows the relation and interdependence of each of the 6 factors:


Of course, this model is a means itself for planning. It is neither a guarantee for success nor something that has to be followed strictly. Like any other means, its use is limited to the frame we are working in and it is the user who decides where and how it is to be used most effectively.



To guide or facilitate group sessions is one of the most essential skills of any group leader or development worker.

a) The Role of a Moderator

If we want to lead discussions, it is important to understand the role of a leader of groups discussions. As a leader or chairperson we are in an almost natural position of power. This is helpful, but it can be also extremely dangerous.

(Some people like the taste of power too much...)

To be a chairperson or a moderator does not mean to talk most of the time!

It does not mean that our opinion is the only correct one!

It by no means implies that I am the “boss”!

The “bosses” are still the people around me!

The role of the moderator is the role of a servant. It is his/her job to enable the group to learn as much as possible from the session.

There are several things the facilitator must do before the session starts and there are others (s)he can do:

(S)he must:

1. Clarify for her/himself what (s)he wants to achieve in this session

For example:

- “In this session, I want to make sure that all participants can relax and learn something about each other. Everybody should be able to introduce her/himself with her/his name, profession and reason why (s)he came here.”

- “In this session, all participants shall learn to design a planning kit according to their special situations at home.”

2. Clarify for her/himself what should not happen

For example:

- “In this session Paula will not dominate the others by talking all the time.”

3. Inform her/himself about the topic

If, after a resource person has given a talk, a discussion has to be guided, it is necessary that the moderator informs her/himself as much as possible about the topic ahead of the meeting. The more (s)he already knows, the easier it will be to talk in a simple language and to guide the discussion in a way that enables everybody to gain from it.

If (s)he had no chance to inform her/himself sufficiently before the meeting, it can be helpful to say that the topic is new for her/him, too, and that (s)he wants to join the group in learning more.

In any case, we should never use our knowledge to oppress the group! Our task is to help the group to understand. This is not done by talking a lot, but by allowing the group to make their own experiences, by asking questions and by contributing.

b) The BIDEE - A Pattern For Preparation

Another helpful model besides the “Berlin-model” to prepare and hold a session or course is the so-called BIDEE. BIDEE is the short version of the model’s content, the parts of every learning event or group meeting:

Beginning, Introduction or Information, Discussion, End and Evaluation.

When the main structures of the session are checked against the above Berlin Model they can be further shaped with this pattern.

The BIDEE states that any session, no matter what topics it deals with, consists of the following different phases:

1. The Beginning

Any beginning of a session or course, even if the group members know each other already, is a time for getting together, for getting in touch and for an introduction. When the participants (as in a course) don’t know each other, it is essential to give them the opportunity to get to know one another. Otherwise the climate of trust and understanding which is necessary to receive contributions from everyone, will be very difficult to achieve.


Therefore any beginning will have to give an opportunity to get familiar with the others, with the place and the facilitator(s). This can be done as a welcome to everybody, and/or warm-up like communal games, songs and dances, if the participants know each other already. If not, they must have a chance to get to know the names of the others and their most relevant background (where they come from..., their age,...) by the use of games, etc.

Another important point of the beginning, especially in a course, is to provide the opportunity to share concerns, hopes, wishes and expectations toward the coming event. The more the participants’ concerns are taken up in the session or course the more they will feel satisfied and engage in what is going on.


2. Introduction or Information

This part of the session introduces the participants to what is going to be worked on. This can be a common experience, practised in an introduction exercise, drawing, case-study or a code to pose questions or point out the problems, or an input could be given to the topic by the use of a film or drama.

Stimulation and motivation for learning are key words in this part. As already mentioned this is best done by using the participants’ experiences and self-activating methods.


3. Discussing and Analysing the Topic

Now is the opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss them and analyse the issue raised. The participants need to link their own experiences to what has been done in the introduction, and to share them with the others. The opportunity to analyse the issue that has been raised, can be now done by the use of questions from the group-workers to look deeper into the topic.

This is done mainly by small-group discussions of any kind (pairs, 3’s, 4’s..), with the results being collected in the big group afterwards and kept for further use. As this is the main point of the session, the most time should be spent on this phase.



4. The End of the Session

When the results are collected, they should be pointed out clearly and their further use should be made obvious. This can either be done by creating a future plan (“How are we going to deal with this problem in the future?”, “What can we do about this now?”) or by summing up what has been learned so far and practising it once more, or a decision, based on the discussions above can be made now.

The actual end depends on the session or course, but mainly it involves summarizing and looking ahead to the use of the new skill or plan that has been achieved or decided on.

Some groups will also feel like finishing their sessions with a communal activity like in the beginning (a game, a song...).


5. Evaluation

An opportunity to evaluate the event and to express feelings about it is usually a very helpful part of a session. Especially if there have been phases of frustration or if interactional problems have come up amongst some participants, evaluation can become a learning event for all involved.

The form of the evaluation will vary from session to session. If the group meets regularly, it could be done very quickly orally or by the use of charts.


Evaluating in a course should be done more carefully and at certain times in between as well as at the end of the course.


For all these phases assistance is found in the above chapters where they are introduced, including methods of presentation.

With the help of the following sheet, especially when working together in a team, it is easier to prepare, stick to the decided goals, topics and methods and to divide work and time.

The needed information can just be written into the pattern and help to structurize the session. Also it can be given to all those involved in the session as moderators or facilitators.

The Pattern of the BIDEE

The goal of the session (what should be done/learned?):

The topic of the session:

Place and Time:

Participants (age, number, sex...):

What will be done?
(topic, methods, means)

Who will do it?
(to introduce, to moderate...)

What is the estimated time?






Example of a Session planned with the BIDEE:

The goal of the session (what is to be done/learned?):

to raise awareness of what can hinder people to become engaged in “development”

The topic of the session:

“People’s Fears”

Place and Time:

Training Center, 8.30 to 10 o’clock (90 minutes)

Participants (age, number, sex...):

Trainers of the Association of Women’s Clubs, 16 participants, all women between 24 and 46

What will be done?
(topic, methods, means)

Who will do it?
(to introduce, to moderate...)

What is the estimated time?


Welcome and “Good morning” warm-up: a song


5 min


Code on “People’s Fears” short role-play by two staff members

Jennifer and Mable

10 min


a) small groups of 5 the division is done by the use of sweets


5 min

b) posing questions:

- questions of understanding
- questions concerning people’s fears like those shown in the role-play


20 min

c) asking for ideas: Plans for a change:

“How can we overcome these fears” participants write their answers on cards


10 min

pencils, cards

d) collection of results in the big group, cards are hung on the wall


10 min

e) same small groups come up with an idea on how to change the role-play from the beginning to a more fruitful scene


15 min


Presentation of the different plays


10 - 20 min


“Taking a Stance” with short oral comments if wished


10 min

90 min

Example: Exercise 26: Moderation Exercises



As often as possible, one or two group members or course participants should be involved in the preparation of the next group session and - if possible - moderate it. In such cases the trainers still assist and make sure that the aims are achieved.

This might be a bit risky as an exercise, but it helps people a lot to gain confidence since they feel that they are entrusted with something really serious and important.


When the group is divided into two’s or small sub-groups, these small groups should always choose a discussion leader/moderator. The trainer should just make sure, that everybody is the leader from time to time.



Planning a workshop is not very much different from planning and preparing a single session in a way. Since a workshop consists of several single sessions, one after the other, they can be planned one after the other with progressing and supplementing learning opportunities. Additionally, the food and housing of the participants, the social needs of working and living together need to be provided for.

It is therefore highly recommended to prepare and hold workshops or courses as a team. Team members not only divide the work among themselves, but they can also assist and evaluate each other during the sessions and so, if necessary boost each other’s feelings of confidence.

For the planning, the PLANNING KIT, which has already been introduced earlier as a tool for the planning of projects can be used.

This method makes the path to a chosen goal visual and therefore easier to attain.

Its advantages again are:

- to show how simple or complex a plan is
- to lead to realistic planning
- to organise activities in a way that ensures the attainment of the goal
- to motivate and hold the team to deadlines
- to provide immediate information for self-evaluation


Another example is as follows:

Exercise 27: Planning a Workshop

source: TFT 2:109


The “Organising a Workshop” form is given to all participants. Each person is asked to complete the form by doing two tasks:

1. Placing the tasks in order

2. Making a time-table of events (which tasks have to be done at the same time, which have to be completed before others can follow...?)

The animator can fix a deadline for the workshop (i.e. July 1-5).

After the participants have completed the form, they are asked to form small groups and compare their results. Each group can then draw a list of pictures in the order they have agreed on a piece of newsprint.

These results are collected and discussed in the big group in the end.

Organising a Workshop:

You are a member of a team planning a workshop for group workers on district level. Your team is responsible for planning, managing and staffing the workshop. Below you will find a list of things that need to be done to make sure the workshop will take place.

Your task now is to place them in order according to what you think needs to be done first, second... and which things need to be done at the same time. When you have finished, put dates when each task needs to be completed.

A - hold a planning meeting of the staff for the workshop going into detailed planning
(for example with the BIDEE)

B - send letters of invitations to participants and ask them for their expectations

C - book the training center

D - evaluate with the team details and changes you would have made in the whole workshop

E - pick up material needed (films, books, newsprint, crayons...)

F - team meets to plan the purpose of the workshop, dates, participants...
(i.e. with the Berlin-model)

G - pay training center and other invoices

H - workshop begins

I - reminders are sent to all participants who have replied to the invitation to come to the workshop with time, place and further information (what to bring, sharing transport...)

J - return borrowed materials

K - book materials (films, projectors, tape-recorders...)

L - reconfirm booking at the training center giving exact number of people expected

M - duplicate handouts needed

N - send letters of invitation to other resource persons needed


One solution for this exercise is as follows. It helps the participants to develop another suitable plan of their own:

The arrows show direct linkages between tasks directly following each other. Therefore some of the lines stop, while others continue throughout the planning process.


Time: about 2 hours

Materials: newsprint, crayons, tape, one copy of the form for each participant


Moderating and planning of learning events can be done with the help of certain methods. It can be learned by using and practising them each time there is the opportunity to do so.


This chapter introduces the importance of games in group-work. After a short look at the aims and different possibilities for the use of games, a list of certain games for certain reasons in group-work is given.

First a few words concerning games:

Usually adults think of playing as something that they have grown out of, something that is not serious enough for a grown-up.

But is laughing, running around, dancing, singing or acting really something anyone is “too old” for? Are these not just ways of breaking out of old structures to find new and livelier ways of communicating and getting in touch with each other?

And don’t we often see children playing “seriously”, when they imitate adult behaviour in their games?


Games, songs and role-play can be seen as very helpful in any kind of group-work. In fact, they are a crucial method in working with groups:

- They help to bring people together in the beginning: communal activities, laughing and singing provide the necessary communication so that strangers can begin in a relaxed atmosphere.

- After sessions, games liven up worn out participants after they have sat and listened to a session.

- Role-play helps a lot by making a special topic visible to the audience and by finding solutions by “playing” with different ideas.

- Exercises are a way of introducing a topic or work on it in a playful way.

To make a good use of games, it is necessary that the animator

- likes playing her/himself

- is prepared and able to explain the game to the group

- cares for outsiders and tries to integrate all players into the game

- but also tries to play with the group as much as possible and not just stands outside and watches them play

- knows what (s)he wants to achieve with this game or exercise and can explain this to the group



A - Games for Introducing Each Other

B - Songs

C - Lively Games in a Circle

D - Games for Trust-Building in Groups

A - Games for Introducing/Games with Names:


The players sit in a circle except for the trainer, who has no chair, (s)he stands in the middle holding a bunch of keys (or something similar). (S)he greets one of the seated players: “Hallo, my name is...” and offers him/her a hand.


This player now introduces him/herself by name and follows the trainer, keeping one hand on the trainers shoulder. These two now greet a third person, each saying his/her name, then a fourth and so on.

After a while the trainer drops the keys and all players, sitting or standing, have to change seats. The one that doesn’t manage to get a chair, takes up the keys and starts again.


The players sit or stand in a circle, so that they can see each other.

The trainer starts to move into the circle and says: “My name is.. and this is my action.” Then (s)he makes a gesture or move that is typical for her/him. When (s)he moved back into the circle, the others follow her/his move saying: “This is... and this is her/his action”.

The game is finished, when all have said their names and shown their actions.


A variation is that everybody has to repeat all the actions of the others beforehand, and then can show his/her action.


The players sit in a circle, the trainer stands in the middle; (s)he has got no chair to sit on. (S)he is now asking the players for the names of their right-hand and left-hand neighbours. When (s)he says “tipp” to one player the name of the left neighbour has to be said, at “topp” that of the right neighbour, at “tipp-topp” the whole group has to change seats. If the name is wrong, or if the player takes too much time to remember the name (s)he has to go into the middle to ask. If the one in the middle is fed up with her/his role, (s)he can call “tipp-topp” and everybody has to change chairs. The one without a chair starts again.

This game is only funny, if the players didn’t know each other by name before.


The players sit in a circle. The trainer holds something (newspaper, key, ball...) in his/her hands and starts the game by saying to his/her right neighbour: “My name is.... anal say that this is a crocodile.” The neighbour takes the thing and says to his/her right neighbour: “This is... ‘s crocodile..., my name is... and I give this crocodile to you.” This goes on until all participants have repeated the names of the predecessors and had the “crocodile” in their hands.


The thing doesn’t stay a crocodile but changes from player to player: “This comes from Jane, who said it is a crocodile, Jennifer said it is an umbrella, Anna said it is a glass, my name is Mavis and I say that it is a cake.”


The players stand or sit in a circle. The trainer walks around in this circle imitating a train with loud “choo-choo”, then (s)he stops in front of another player with a “too-too and says: “My name is...(e.g. Joanne) and what is your name?”


The person asked stands up and says her/his name.:

“My name is Silas.” Now both are forming the train with Silas in front looking for the next to join them after the same procedure.

B - Songs:

B1: HA - HA - HA - HA

The players stand in a circle. They can join in immediately by imitating the trainer’s movements:

Count aloud:

“1,2,3,4” and stomp your feet with every number
“1,2,3,4” slap your thighs
“1,2,3,4” clap your hands
“1,2,3,4” laugh: “ha-ha-ha-ha”


When the players have exercised a bit as one group, they can be divided up into four small groups, which sing the canon. This means that they start one after the other and keep their rhythm. The trainer can help the groups to come in. Try to do it faster and faster!


“Jack was in the kitchen with Tina (3x)” and they were playing on the old banjo, and that was:

Fli - Fla - Fideliao (3x)

and they were playing on the old banjo, and that was:

“Jack was in the kitchen with Tina....”


The players sit in a close circle, their thighs almost touching. When the song starts, everybody has his/her hands on his/her thighs. In the rhythm of the song they now move their hands to the right, one thigh after the other:

“Jack (slap own thighs) was (left hand touches own right thigh, right hand touches left thigh of right neighbour) in (left hand touches right thigh of right neighbour, right hand touches left thigh of self) the (going back, thigh by thigh) kit - chen (now the same to the left) with Ti - na. Jack (back to own thigh now and start again)...... (3x)

(same movements:) and they were playing on the old banjo, and that was:

(change movements:)

Fli (move as if you are playing a flute),
Fla (like a recorder)
Fideliao (like playing a banjo/guitar) (3x)
and they were playing on the old banjo, and that was:
now start from the very beginning:
Jack was in the kitchen........


Start very slowly and get faster after a while.


“Aramsamsam aramsamsam, gulli gulli gulli gulli ramsamsam (2x)
Aravi aravi, gulli gulli gulli gulli gulli ramsamsam (2x)
Aramsamsam aramsamsam.......”

The players are sitting an a circle, the trainer shows the movements to the song:


slap your thighs


clap your hands


snip your fingers


twist your hands


bow down with arms crossed in front of the breast


Start slowly and get faster with time.


The players sit in a circle so that they can see the trainer. (S)he sings each line first and shows the movements that go with the singing, then the group follows.


“I am going to the lion land, gonna get a big one”

(slap your thighs)

“I’m not scared”

(point to oneself and shake the head)

“nice day”

(show the day to the others)


“look at all these flowers!”

(look for them)


there is a:

1. high, high grass

(show how high the grass is)


you can’t get over it, you can’t get under it, you can’t get around it

(again show with big movements)


you have to walk through

it (rub your hands against each other)

2. long, long bridge
walk over it

(fists against the breast)

3. deep, deep mud
walk through it

(make the noise according to mud with your lips)

4. long, long river
swim across it

(movements of swimming)


5. high, high mountain
climb up it

(fists on top of each other)

6. dark, dark cave
go into it

(rub hands on thighs)

Aaaaah....... - what’s that? Mmmmmmmmh - something smooth, something soft -....................?

... Oooooh - the lion!...-you have to run back!!!!!

(all movements fastly backwards)



1. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
(clap 2x)
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
(clap 2x)
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
(clap 2x)

2. If you’re happy and you know it, slap your sides
(slap sides 2x)


3.... stamp your feet
4.... snap your fingers
5.... sniff your nose
6.... shout: “we are!”
7.... all of the above movements, one after the other

Song and Dance:


The dancers stand in pairs and hold each other’s right hands, forming two circles, an outer one and an inner one.

Now they start singing as they walk (slow or fast) in one direction:


There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name (2x)

B-I-N-G-O (3x)

and Bingo was his name.


Now the pairs stop and face each other:



bow to the partner


the inner circle moves to the partner on the right and bows to him/her







but now they don’t bow but fall into each others arms,
happy to have found another partner for the next round


Pairs hold each other and start once more.

C - Games in a Circle



This game represents a horse-race on turf. The players sit in a circle, so that they can all face the trainer and watch his/her movements, which express those of running horses.

The first lap is for warming up, the animator shows the movements once slowly.

before the start:
the horses are restless (slapping thighs with the hands)

getting ready for
the start: (become quiet)

start and race: “Go!” (fast slapping of thighs)


The Race:

single jump: the horses have to jump (stand up and jump once with both feet)

double jump: (jump twice)

water jump: (make the noise with your fingers moving your lips)

tunnel: (hold hands in front of eyes)

greeting the audience: (wave to them)

greeting the judges: (take off a hat)

wooden bridge: (fists against the breast)

curve to the left: (lean to the left)

curve to the right: (lean to the right)

finish: (become faster again, shout: “hurrah”!)


After the warm-up, the race can start. Use the movements in different variations and repeat them as often as wished.



The group sits in a circle, the trainer stands in the middle, (s)he has got no chair. According to the size of the group, the group is divided up into small groups of the same size e.g. (16 people = 4 groups of 4).

Each group is now named after a fruit (e.g. bananas, apples, mangos, lemons). The one in the middle now calls the bananas only for example, bananas and apples... or all fruits (= fruit-salad) at the same time which means, that the ones called have to stand up and change seats. Now the one in the middle has a chance to get a chair as well.

The one without a chair goes into the middle to call again.




Half of the players sit in a circle. Behind each chair stands another player. Only one player has got an empty chair in front of him/her, which (s)he wants to have occupied by one of the sitting players.

Therefore (s)he must blink to one of the seated persons inviting him/her to the empty chair.

But blinking has to be done quite discreetly so that the person standing behind the one who is blinked at doesn’t notice it, because (s)he can hold the sitting person back at the shoulders. If (s)he succeeds in running to the free chair, the one who now has an empty chair in front of her/him tries to find another player by blinking at him/her.

After some time the sitting and standing players change places, those sitting are now supposed to blink and vice versa.




The players stand, holding each other by the hands. Two volunteers are asked to come into the circle, where their eyes are blindfolded, so that they cannot see each other. Both get an instrument to make little noise (keys, rattle...).

Now they are told that they are two cobras, one hunting the other. As they cannot see they have to rely on their ears. If the hunter gives a noise, the hunted one has to respond. This can be done three times. The game is over when the hunter caught the “victim” or was unsuccessful after three times of asking for a noise.

The group meanwhile has to be very quiet to assist the two players, to locate one another better.



The players sit in the circle, except for one who has no chair. This one has to ask three of the others to form an animal together

Examples are:

1. Elephant.

- middle one brings left hand to nose, right arm hanging down through left (forming elephant’s trunk)

- right neighbour holds left hand to left ear (forming elephant’s right ear)

- left neighbour does same with right hand (left ear)


2. Rabbit:

- middle one holds hands at height of chin (rabbit’s paws)
- right-hand person holds left arm up (right ear)
- left-hand person holds right hand up (left ear)


3. Kangaroo:

- middle one forms a ring in front of belly (kangaroo’s ponch)
- right-hand and left-hand people jump up and down


4. Duck:

- middle person squats and waggles bottom
- right- and left-hand person flap arms like duck’s wings


5. Turkey:

All players bow into the circle with their arms hanging loose and shout: “guluh - guluh - guluh” (turkey’s cry...)

If one player of the “team” fails (s)he has to go into the circle and the former center takes over her/his position.

D - Games for Trust-building in Groups


The players form pairs. One of them is the robot, the other the robot’s controller. The robot can only move when the controller helps him/her by tapping on his back.

But this only allows the robot to walk straight. If there are obstacles in the way or walls, the robot has to be moved to the side - by tapping on the right shoulder to go right, on the left shoulder for left -.

To stop the robot, touch it gently on the head.

Now try to move your robots through the room without touching the others.

After some time robots and controllers change roles.


1. Try to move the robot to a special place in the room and back to the start.
2. One controller has to move two robots.
3. The robot is blind (closes the eyes) and therefore has to be moved very carefully.



Small groups of up to eight form a close circle. One of the players (only if (s)he wants to!) goes into the center, and stiffens her/his pelvis, with the rest of the body loose, hands at sides.

The others hold their hands in front of their bodies. When all are ready, the one in the center lets him/herself fall in one direction (eyes open or closed as preferred). The standing people catch him/her and try to move him/her gently along the circle and across, when they get more experienced.


When the center one has had enough, they stop, discuss briefly how (s)he liked it and then the next one can try.


An even number of players form a circle, holding each other by the hands. Now they count “1-2-1-...” to divide the group into two sub-groups.


At a special command the 1’s lean into the circle while the 2’s lean to the outside. Feet are placed firmly on the floor, arms help to balance. When the circle is stable, at another command they change directions, the 1’s lean slowly outwards and the 2’s lean towards the center. Don’t let go your neighbours’ hands! When the players are tired, the circle is finished on a mutual command.



The players stand in a close circle, stretching their arms to the center. On a certain command they close their eyes and try to find two other hands they can hold. When each hand is linked to another one, the players open their eyes.

Now try to unravel this human knot! It is not allowed to let hands go, the players have to move up and down, just as needed.

The game is finished, when the players are standing in a circle, holding their neighbours by the hand.





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Handbuch fppenleiter, Hamburg 1976

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Anwspiele, Hamburg 1981


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Theme-centered Interaction 1989

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Partners in Evaluation, London 1986

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