In this section, you will find some tips that could support you in the preparation and implementation of the activities. We have collected these tips thanks to the contribution of READ teams who organised and implemented project activities.
Below, you will find some essential pieces of advice:
- Be aware of the people you are targeting and plan the activities accordingly.
- Set clear goals for your activities: what objectives would you like to achieve?
- Try to implement the activities with a co-facilitator: it will help you manage the group!
- Take short breaks: it is important to let people relax for a few minutes!
- Be prepared to manage: conflicts, misunderstandings, lack of participation, etc.
It is important to prepare the activities in advance. First, be sure that you have understood the activity: we suggest you read the sheet twice to check you have everything you need. Participants might ask you some questions during your introduction to the activity: be ready to answer.
Make a list of all the material you need and check if you have everything. Bring always some extra material: you will never know.
> Time management
Plan carefully and estimate the time you would need for carrying out each activity. When it seems you have spent too much time on one activity, try to speed it up so that you can finalise it.
During group activities, remind participants how much time they have to complete the activity. It will allow them to finish on time.
If you have some “extra” minutes, be prepared with a list of energizers and fun activities to entertain participants.
Have a look at this guide, if you need some inspiration:
- 100 Ways to Energise Groups, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, 2003, retrieved at https://www.aidsalliance.org/assets/000/001/052/ene0502_Energiser_guide_eng_original.pdf?1413808298
> Agreeing on rules
Be sure that all participants are aware of the rules they should follow during the workshops.
Allow participants to agree on the main rules and write them down on a flipchart paper (e.g., do not make loud noises after 11 p.m., do not talk when someone else is speaking, etc.)
Put the flipchart paper at the centre of the room so that everyone can see it.
Discuss and agree with participant on the rules to be adopted. Consider revising the rules or remind them to participants, if the activities last for a couple of days.
> Safe environment
It is crucial that each participant feels safe and free to express him/herself and to share ideas and experiences with the rest of the group.
In plenary activities, put chairs in circle: it will give participants a sense of community and foster their sharing abilities.
Use a simple language that they can understand and tell them that they are free to ask questions anytime.
> Team Building
Before starting the educational activities, organise a team building activity so that participants can get to know each other as they will work together and collaborate during the workshop. Therefore, it is important to give them as many opportunities as possible to enhance cooperation.
> Expectations, motivations, concerns and contributions
Before starting any educational activity related to the topic of your course/project, it is important to explore expectations, motivation, concerns and possible contributions of partners. In this way, it will be easy for you to compare objectives and results at the end of the workshop.
Tree of Expectations, motivations, concerns and contribution
Target group: Youth workers, Young people
Group Size: 2-30+
Duration: 20 minutes
Material: Flipchart paper; Post-its (4 different colours); Pens
- Reflecting about participants’ expectations, motivations, concerns and contributions.
- Identifying participants’ mind-sets at the beginning of the course/workshop.
- Draw a tree on a flipchart paper.
- Use a different coloured post-it for each element. For instance, participants should write their motivations on green post-it, their concerns on red post-it, etc.
- Introduce the activity-telling participants they will have to write their expectations, motivations, concerns, and contribution on the post-its according to your colour code.
- Once they have finished, ask them to put the post-it on the tree.
- Give participants the opportunity to share their reflections and to identify similarities and differences between their own thoughts and those of their peers.
- Put the flipchart paper in a prominent place so that everyone can see it and tell participants that their poster will be reused at the end of the activities. In this way, participants will monitor their progresses.
> Clear instructions
Make sure that everyone understands your instructions and knows what they have to do.
Introduce the activity along with the methodology that will be used (e.g., discussion, role-play, art-based activity, etc.)
Explain participants each activity outlining all its different steps.
Be clear about how much time they have to complete the activity.
> Mixed group
Try to create mixed groups. Friends, people who know each other or participants from the same country tend to sit next to each other: mix them up!
Here you can find some suggestions on how to create mixed groups:
- Use post-its of different colours and hand them out to participants. Group participants according to the post-it they have received.
- According to the number of groups that you would like to create, ask participants to count. For instance, if you need 5 groups, ask participants to count from 1 to 5. Each participants will have a number representing the group he/she will work with.
You can use also letters, e.g. from A to E.
- Tornado game: before starting the activity, say “Tornado”. All participants will have to change their seat. You can repeat this process as many times as you want. After that, you can group participants.
The de-briefing moment is important as it will allow participants to put the activity in a wider context, understand what they have learnt and reflect on their learning process.
Remember that experiences do not have any impact, unless they are followed by a reflective moment.
To facilitate this process, prepare some questions that you could ask at the end of the activity. Questions could be related to:
- how participants felt during the activity;
- how participants can use the activity in their work or voluntary service;
- what participants have learnt from the activity;
- how they have cooperated in groups.
You should always allow some time for evaluating the activity. Thus, you will understand if participants enjoyed the activities and identify elements that need to be improved.
Use Non-formal Evaluation methods that will allow participants to discuss their learning process in groups. Exchanging experiences, opinions and ideas will encourage participants to analyse their achievements.