Reality check
Tags: #participation #studentparticipation #involvement

The session is to be used with new activists, organisation who are struggling or in a setting where people lack information about participation and are unsure of what they are doing or could be doing. It is a good session to start a discussion around the topic.

To explore different levels and concepts of participation. Use own experience to see how can we improve our participation and where we are not actually participating.


90 minutes

Normal sized room

Not specified

Secondary school students

Flipchart papers, markers, pens, printed ladders, beamer if possible.

Print or prepare powerpoint to show the ladder. One for each participant and for the facilitator.

Link 1

Link 2

Activities step by step
Step 1: Take a step forward: personal experience with participation
25 Minutes

Facilitator explains the activity: Participants stand in an even line and after the facilitator reads a statement, they take a step forward if they would answer yes. The rest stays on the same spot. They repeat the same, but always from the spot they stayed at during the last statement.

Step 2: Statements
  • When I have a problem in my school i know who to talk to and i am listened to

  • When the government in my country makes decision about young people they make sure we are involved in the process

  • If i have any idea on how to improve something my ideas are taken seriously

  • An institution asked me to take a part in a conference/meeting and i didn't have any active role, I was not allowed to express myself

  • In my country people aged 16 can vote

  • In my country information about politics is provided in youth friendly way
Step 3: Debrief: ask participants following questions

How do we experience participation, is it the same? What is participation - make a kind of a definition.

Show and explain the ladder of participation (10 minutes): focus on individual steps and read examples.

Let participants think for themselves about each steps, write their own examples (10 minutes). They should think of their own experiences, things they saw or heard about.

Draw a really big ladder and after people think of it people can add their experience and just go around and read it (15 minutes)

Step 4: Plenary discussion
20 Minutes

Debrief the activity with participants. You can use some of the following questions. The aim is to reflect on different levels of participation and own experiences.

  • Are there more aspects to participation?
  • How can we move away from this
  • How can participation improve?
  • Discuss the outcomes, what can be done and is done in order to improve the situation in case it needs to be improved, is there something positive about tokenism and so on.
  • With what kind of groups can you use it and what issues can it solve
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  • posted 4 years ago by 1


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