Peace, justice and strong institutions

Present the students with dilemmas related to social justice, peace and conflict or institution building. For example, to address homelessness: Should we provide a shelter away from the city which hides the problem, or do we allow people to sleep rough in shop doorways? This raises awareness of the issue. The students should identify the course of action they would take in the given dilemmas and provide a rationale explaining their decision in each case.

Ask each student to think about their own social or peer group and identify one positive situation (e.g. where the group worked together effectively or supported the wider institution such as the school) and one negative situation (e.g. when there was conflict, bullying or exclusion of individuals). Ask them to write a reflective account in which they consider their own role in each situation and consider whether they could have done anything differently to achieve a more positive outcome.

Students are presented with – or select – a current conflict situation (this could be local or international). They should research the background to the conflict, how it came about and look for different perspectives or positions in relation to the issue using contrasting sources (e.g. newspapers, social media, journal articles, political statements).They should make a presentation (e.g. poster, slides, article) that highlights the different views in relation to the conflict and explains their own conclusions.

Working in groups, students select a local social justice-related issue (it may be related to the organisation that is mentioned under Innovation for SDG 16). They should consider how they might bring about positive change, choose an action to help make this happen and then implement the action, possibly with the support of other stakeholders. They should reflect critically on what change occurred as a result of this action; this could be changes within themselves as well as in relation to their chosen issue.

Students select a group or organisation of which they are a member (e.g. school, youth group, sports club). Consider the demographic make up of the group and identify people who are under-represented. Brainstorm ways in which such people could be encouraged to join the group and feel supported within it.

Students identify a social justice issue (e.g. gender, ethnic or LGBT+ discrimination, homelessness, destruction of valued environments). Identify actors/stakeholders involved in this issue from different backgrounds or areas of expertise (e.g. sociologists, ecologists, economists) as well as the people who are subject to discrimination. Develop a role-play exercise, for a specified age range, in which these actors come together to discuss and attempt to resolve a particular scenario caused by this social justice issue. Create role cards for the different actors in the role-play.
Conduct the role-play (either with fellow students or a group of a given age range) and report on the outcome.

Identify an example of disadvantage or injustice for your students to debate. Ask them to take sides that they wish to support. Try, as far as possible, to have two similar sized groups. Ask each group to investigate and support the opposing view to the one that they initially wished to support. Run the debate with speakers and conclusions as normal. Ask the group how it felt to support the opposing view. Did they change their own opinions in any way?

In small groups students create a short video, role-playing an interview with a person who suffers disadvantage (possibly drawing on research conducted under Attentiveness for SDG 16). Be sure to express how it feels to be the disadvantaged person (e.g. impact on health, wellbeing, relationships, self-esteem, living conditions, economic and social opportunities).

Students identify one example of disadvantage from (a) a local context and (b) a global/ international context. For each example, investigate the reasons behind this disadvantage and the effects that it has on those people and on others. Explore ways to overcome such disadvantages.

Either individually or in small groups students identify a social justice issue or ‘cause’ (possibly one discussed earlier, see Attentiveness). Investigate as many ways as possible to promote, support, engage with or fight for this cause, e.g. campaigning (How?), writing (Who to? Why?), voting (What level of representation?), pressure groups (Which ones?) and other political structures.