In preparing the training for the advocacy workshop in Doti, I developed a simulation game but we didn’t have a chance to try it out this time round. It’s basically a simulation of networking/awareness-raising/social mobilisation. The rules are here. I’ll get some help to work up a version in Nepali soon and try it out at our next training.
But if anyone gets a chance to use it before I do (or even after, really), let me know how it goes…
Get Your Message Across
a simulation activity about awareness-raising
Aim: to explore the dynamics of awareness-raising
Participants: 10–100 participants
Time required: 30–60 minutes
Complexity: Low. Little set-up is required, and the game mechanics are simple.
• 1 room
• large sheets of butcher’s paper
• stickers or post-it notes
Clear one room of all furniture and hang one or more large sheets of butcher’s paper on the wall. One sheet is enough if you have 10–40 participants. More may be required if there are more participants.
1) In a group of 10, divide the players into the following groups:
• 7 community members
• 2 awareness-raisers
• 1 observer
You can be flexible with these ratios in larger groups.
2) Briefings should be given to each group separately. The groups should not hear the briefing given to other groups. Community members and observers begin the simulation inside the room, while awareness-raisers are briefed outside and sent inside at the start of the simulation.
3) Community members’ briefing:
(Give each community-member a rule card. There are 8 different rules, so in a group of 8 community-members, everyone should have a different rule.)
• You are a community member. You are willing to listen to the message of the awareness-raisers if they present it to you in the right way. To present the message, an awareness-raiser will ask, “Will you accept this message?” If their presentation fits the rules on your card, then you say, “Yes” and take the message sticker and attach it to your clothing. If their presentation does not fit the rules on your card, then say “No,” and do not accept the message sticker.
• Most community members will only accept one message sticker for themselves. However, some community members will accept more than one message sticker if it is presented according to their rules. If this happens, that community member becomes an community-based awareness-raiser and should go to other community members and ask, “Will you accept this message?”
• During the simulation you can talk and move around, but you cannot disrupt the awareness-raisers as they go about their task.
4) Observer briefing:
• You are an observer. Your job is to observe the interactions between awareness-raisers and community members.
5) Awareness-raisers’ briefing:
• You are an awareness-raiser. You have a message that you want to share with the community members in the room. To present a message directly to a community member you simply ask, “Will you accept this message?” If the community member says “Yes,” then you may give them your message sticker. If the community member says “No,” you may not give them your sticker. You may not force a community member to accept your message, though there may be other ways to get your message across.
6) Give each awareness-raiser 4 message stickers. (Ensure that there are enough stickers for each community member.)
Allow 15–30 minutes for the simulation.
1) Ask the observers to describe what they observed during the simulation.
2) Ask the awareness-raisers to describe how they felt during the game. How easy or hard was it to get their message across to the community? What strategies did they use to get their message across?
3) Ask the community members to describe how they felt and what they observed during the simulation. Ask them to reveal their rules for accepting the message.
4) Do these specific rules reflect real life at all? In what ways? Who might each group represent?
5) What could the paper sheets represent? What are the sources of information the community relies on? How can they be used to raise awareness?
6) What different techniques can we use to reach different people? How can we identify and support people who will help spread our message? What are the strengths, weaknesses, and roles for insiders and outsiders as awareness-raisers?
Rules for community members
- You will accept the message the first time it is offered to you.
- You will accept the message when it is offered to you twice by the same person.
- You will accept the message when it is offered to you by two different people on separate occasions.
- You will accept the message when it is offered to you by three people at the same time.
- You will accept the message when it is offered to you by another community member, but not when it is offered to you by an awareness-raiser.
- You will take the message when it is placed on the butchers’ paper.
- You will take the message when it is placed on the butchers’ paper. If there is more than one message there you will take a second sticker and begin to ask other community members, “Will you accept this message?”
- You will accept the message whenever it is offered to you. When you have two message stickers you will keep one for yourself, and then begin to ask other community members, “Will you accept this message?”