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close this bookCommunity Involvements (FAO Population Education Leaders Guides) (FAO, 1990)
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View the documentActivist no. 1 - Let's share what we have learned

Activist no. 1 - Let's share what we have learned

Let's share what we have learned

A series of improvised dramas performed by the members of the youth group for the village or community.



  • The group leader explains to the group that this activity will share some of the population education concepts the group has discussed with the community.
  • The leader then describes each of the dramas in turn and group members choose the characters they will play.
  • The group members act out the dramas among themselves to practice.
  • The leader gets the chief/village leader's permission to organize a community or village meeting where the group members will perform their dramas.
  • Posters are prepared to inform the community of the event and the group members inform their parents and neighbours.
  • The leader introduces the group to the community and explains that they have been learning about agriculture, employment, health and nutrition and how population growth affects all these subjects. He/she explains that the group are going to perform short dramas on some of the subjects they have covered and would then like to hear comments from the community.
  • After each drama is performed, the leader explains the basic concept or conclusion to be drawn.
  • The leader encourages the community members to discuss the issues raised in the dramas.

Note: The leader may wish to invite one or more resource persons to help with the discussions such as a health worker or population advisor.


So that group members will:

  • Reinforce the concepts they have learned in the activities of the previous modules.
  • Share basic concepts of population education with a wider audience.
  • Gain community support for and confidence in population education activities.



  • The outlines for the dramas on the following pages.
  • Organization of a community meeting by the group leader.
  • Preparation of posters to publicize the event by the group and group members assistance in informing their parents and neighbours.
  • Group participation and enthusiasm.

Some background information for the group leader

Preparing a drama

In this type of improvised drama or role play, the group members act the characters they choose from the outline stories given on the next pages. No special costumes or scenery or make-up are needed but if some small items such as masks or hats can he provided by the group, they make the play acting more fun and it is easier to pretend to he another character for people who are not used to acting.

No scripts are given - it is up to the group members to make up their own dialogue by pretending to be in the real situation described by the drama outlines. The group leader should act as the director and give suggestions to the subgroups as they practice their dramas. Other group members may also have suggestions and ideas to make the dramas sound more realistic.

After the groups have practiced their dramas, the group leader should discuss the organization of the event with the group:

  • when to perform the plays,
  • who will make posters,
  • who can provide any props (masks, hats, clothes, any othr equipment you might like to use).

All the group should help with the publicity by telling their parents, friends and neighbours about the drama and encouraging them to come.

The characters, basic story and important points for the dramas

Drama No. 1
Good-bye and good luck.

Six young people.

Basic Story:
Three friends go to say good-bye to three other friends who have decided to leave the rural area for the city The three who are leaving give their reasons for migrating. One is going because he has an uncle in the city who has agreed to train him to be a mechanic. The second is going because he is one of eight brothers and he cannot foresee any chance of work on the family farm. The third is going because he is attracted by the bright lights of the city.

Of the three who are staying in the rural area, one says he is planning to have a large family so that he will have plenty of help on his farm. The second says that he is planning to have a small family and to increase production on the farm by using improved inputs. The third says he doesn't know what he will do yet but that he is staying in the rural area because that is the life he is used to and it is where his family and friends are.

The friends discuss each other's opinions and then say good-bye.

After a period of about four years, the one who went to the city to become a mechanic comes back to the village for a visit. He stops at the house of the first friend and asks him how he is doing (but he notices that the friend has four children, and lives in difficult circumstances). The friend complains that there is never enough to eat, that he has to work very hard to make ends meet, and that the children are much too young to help on the farm.

The city man then goes to see the second friend, who he finds with only one young child, even though he has been married for four years. The country friend explains that he and his wife decided to wait until they were really ready to have children.

He also visits the third friend, who is now making furniture. The third friend explains how he was able to develop an income-making idea without leaving the rural area.

The three friends ask the city friend how he is and how their other two friends are. The visiting friend says that he is doing fine as far as work goes hut that the city is rather noisy and dirty and he misses his friends from home. He explains that of the other two friends, one is struggling along, sometimes getting temporary work and sometimes not. The other one has fallen in with a had group and is drinking a lot and some people say he is even stealing.

Note: Although this drama has been written for four young men, the leader should adapt it as necessary to suit the youth group members and their situation.

The three friends with the city friend

Concepts or conclusions to be drawn from Drama No. 1

Rural-to-urban migration is a major life change and should be carefully considered before a decision is made. There may be better alternatives.

When productive agricultural land is limited, large families tend to have a poorer standard of living than small families.

Other types of employment can be found in rural areas. Not everyone can or needs to be a farmer.

With appropriate use of improved inputs and technologies, agricultural output can be increased without using more land.

Drama No. 2
Let's wait.

The husband with his wife

A young man and wife who have just gotten married.
He is 20 and she is 18.

Basic Story:
The husband suggests to his wife that it might be better if they wait for a while before having their first child. The wife responds, "But how will I explain to my mother? She says that without children a woman is nothing!" The husband replies that his friends will make fun of him as well, saying things like, "I guess you're not man enough. That's why you have no children." But, the husband says he doesn't care what people say. What matters to him is happiness for himself and his wife, and that there are advantages of waiting. He gives some of the advantages; for example, by waiting there will be less chance of complications in pregnancy. Taking courage from him, his wife also gives some of the advantages of waiting; for example, they will have more time to save money and improve their house, and also spend time together. The two agree to wait and plan to visit the local health clinic for advice and assistance.

Concepts or conclusions to be drawn from Drama No. 2

By waiting to have their first child, a couple has more time to develop a stable relationship and to prepare for the economic responsibilities of family life.

Information and assistance in controlling pregnancy are available through the family planning services.

In teenage pregnancies, the health risks to both mother and child are much higher than in pregnancies when the mother is between 20 and 35 years of age.

Decisions about family size and family spacing should be made by a couple together and should not be influenced by social stereotypes.

Drama No. 3
How many children?


Five young people.

Basic Story:
The young people are talking about what life will be like when they have families of their own. One says, "I'm going to have a big family because I love children. And besides, it doesn't cost much extra for each extra child." The second says, "I'd rather not have so many children, but you have to accept as many as come along."

The third says, "I'm going to have three children. I will get the advice and assistance I need from the family planning clinic. The fourth says, "I'll keep having children until we have at least two boys." The fifth says, "I'm going to decide how many children to have by discussing it with my wife/husband. We'll have as many as we think is appropriate for our circumstances."

The five get into a discussion, each developing his or her own opinion and listening to the reasoning of the others.

Concepts or conclusions to be drawn from Drama No. 3

Family size has a major impact on family and community standard of living.

Information about ways and means of controlling family size should be available to rural youth.

Decisions about family size should be based on reliable information.

Drama No. 4
Let's learn to share.

Man with the children

A young husband, his wife and the husband's married sister.

Basic Story:
The wife is telling her husband that she would like to take a course in health and nutrition being offered in the next village by the Ministry of Health, but she would need her husband's help in looking after the children once a week. The husband is angry at her suggestion that he do "woman's work" and says, "Besides, what could you learn there anyway?"

The wife explains some of the things that she could learn that would improve their life but the husband refuses to listen so the wife goes to fetch the husband's sister who has already taken the course and confirms its value. For example, she says that she learned how to make oral rehydration treatment solution and so when her baby was sick with diarrhoea she was able to cure it. Gradually, the husband begins to see the potential benefits of the course and agrees to look after the children, with help from his sister.

Concepts or conclusions to be drawn from Drama No. 4

Health is vital in reaching all development objectives and production goals.

Different types of foods supply different nutrients. For proper nutrition, people need to eat a balanced diet.

Everyone needs to know about good nutrition and health if they are to stay fit and well.

Diarrhoea-related dehydration, a major cause of infant death, can be I controlled.

Family roles and responsibilities should be shared and not divided into sexual stereotypes. There is no such thing as "man's work" or "woman's work."

Drama No. 5
How fast does the community grow?


A census organizer, two census officials, some villagers (all group members).

Basic Story:
The census organizer (group leader or one of the older group members) is talking to his officers telling them to go and collect information from the villagers on their names, ages, family size and so on.

The two officers go and ask questions to the 'villagers' but they refuse to answer saying the officers only want to find out information to make them pay more taxes and control what they do.

Some do not know their age or details about their families size and relationships.

The officers return to the census organizer and tell him/her what happened.

The organizer decides to call a group meeting of the villagers and explains why the census is needed (to find out how fast the village is growing to plan services - schools, health centres, roads, water supplies, etc.).

On difficulties in finding out information such as ages of villagers or family relationships, the organizer demonstrates how to estimate ages by when a person was married, how many children he/she has and any big events in the past which will give an idea, e.g., if a person was married two seasons after a big storm and was 18 years old when the storm came, his age can be found. Family relationships can be worked out by asking who is the mother and father of each person instead of just whether they are brothers and sisters, cousins or other relatives.

The real community joins in the discussion with the youth group.

Concepts or conclusions to be drawn from Drama No. 5

It is important to know how many people live in a community to plan for the future.

Planning the family is good for the health of the mother, the life of the family and the good of the community.

If a population grows too fast it is difficult to provide enough food and services for everyone.

Drama No. 6
Keeping fit and healthy.

Keeping fit and healthy

Characters: A young married couple, two other young friends of the couple.

Basic Story: The four young people are discussing the health clinic which recently opened in the next village. The wife of the married couple wants to go and visit for a checkup and to see what they do there. She would also like to ask about family planning.

The husband does not want to go, he says you only go to a health centre when you are sick.

The other two young people join in the discussion. One is also curious to know what services they have at the health centre, the other does not want to have anything to do with them as he/she says they always want to put needles in you and they hurt too much.

The group discuss together and eventually agree that it is better to check if anything is wrong before it becomes serious. They go off to visit the health centre to see what they have to offer.

Concepts or conclusions to be drawn from Drama No. 6

Preventing illness is much better than curing it when it happens.

Health centres can give advice on illness, nutrition, family planning and general health for the community.

Health centres are a service for the community -everyone should know what they can do for them.

Booklets in this Leaders Guide Series:

Population and Agriculture
Population, Employment and Income
Population and the Environment
Population and Nutrition
Population and Health
The Family and Family Size
Human Growth and Development
Responsible Parenthood
How the Population Changes
Community Involvement

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Integration of Population Education into Programmes for Rural Youth INT/88/P9