The educator helps learners to contribute to changes that will support sustainable development.

Learning Outcomes

The educator helps learners to:

Underpinning Components for the educator

In order to achieve the above Learning Outcomes the educator should be able to:

Example activities for teaching Participation

1 Ali’s funeral
  • Technique used: Group work
  • Materials required: Handout (see below), flipchart paper, marker pens
  • Aim of activity: To encourage students to consider different ways in which people might particpate
  • Underpinning components: UC 9.1
  • Connection with other competences: Empathy

Short description

Each group is given the following and are asked to show the participation of those involved in some way on a flipchart.

"Ali Wandaha had been very ill for a number of weeks so it was not a great surprise when he passed away late one Thursday evening. Nevertheless, the loss of her son was a devastating blow to Ali’s mother, the widow Mariamu. Her cries were heard throughout the night and a number of neighbours came to join her in the lament.

The next day, according to custom, Ali would be buried in the family compound and a feast would be provided for the mourners. At first light a neighbour’s boy was sent to Wafula, the coffin-maker who had already prepared the casket for Ali’s burial. A few of the neighbouring women assisted her in preparing the food while boys and girls were sent to spread the news to family and friends throughout the parish and outlying villages. By mid-day one or two of the women had taken on the role of comforting Mariamu who was almost incapable with grief.

A large number of people gathered for the funeral, an old Sheikh was called in to officiate while many of the village men, young and old, took a hand in bearing the coffin to the grave site.

Three of Ali’s relations sent messages that they were unable to attend the funeral but sent money to help cover the expenses, one uncle did not send anything but a message. Some people arrived late and left as soon as the food had been served and eaten while others remained to assist in the clearing up. Many of the women who had cooked helped to clean up after the guests had gone home.

Two women remained with Mariamu throughout the following night."

Groups share and discuss their representations of participation.

In the discussion be sure to draw out different qualities (and purposes) of participation as well differing quantities or degrees of participation.

2 Fox, sheep and lettuce
  • Technique used: Role play
  • Materials required: None
  • Aim of activity: To encouage students to think about leadership styles
  • Underpinning components: UC 9.4
  • Connection with other competences: 

Short description

In groups, students are given the following activity or similar. You are the leader. Within your group, someone needs to be a wolf, be a rabbit, represent a cabbage. The other two are the boat. The task is to get the wolf, rabbit and cabbage to the other end of the room without them getting wet, but you can only take one thing in the boat at a time.

Note: if the wolf and the rabbit are together without you, the wolf will eat the rabbit. If the rabbit and the cabbage are together without you, the rabbit will eat the cabbage. Remember, only one thing can go in the boat at a time.

In plenary discuss ways that the leaders approached the task e.g. top down, or bottom up, collaboratively?

3 Problem tree
  • Technique used: Visualisation technique, i.e. clarification of causes and effects using cards (A4 divided into 3) to facilitate particpation in the discussion. 
  • Materials required: Cards (A4 sheet cut into three) tape or similar to fix cards to wall
  • Aim of activity: To build a group consensus of key probelms and possible actions required in which everyone in the group can participate.
  • Underpinning components: UC 9.2; UC 9.3
  • Connection with other competences: Decisiveness

Short description

Select a situation known to the group and decide on the core problem. What are the effects of this problem? What are the other problems which contribute to the core problem? (NB Avoid writing down a lack of solutions as problems, rather state the problem itself that needs to be solved, e.g. rather than writing “Lack of awareness on effects of dumping”, say, “Townspeople dump waste in street.”) Build up the ‘tree’ from the core problem in the middle with causes below and effects above:

Add more cards to extend the tree as the discussion develops. Draw a line around a certain part of the tree in order to define a manageable project.

Rules of engagement

  • Participants write their own cards unless they are unable to write in which case take care to ensure that their ideas are being recorded faithfully
  • Only one idea to be written on each card so ideas can be moved around
  • Ask participants to write legibly
  • Write a maximum of three lines per card so that it can be read easily
  • Use key words that have been shared by the group
  • The facilitator is not normally a stakeholder

This technique enables all stakeholders to participate in a sophisticated discussion of causes and effects.

NB To turn this into a hierarchy of project objectives, simply turn each card around and write a positive version of the ‘problem’ that was written there.

Example activities for teaching Participation Sustainable Development Goals

Participation SDG1 No poverty

Contribute to changes that will support the end of poverty in all its forms.

Participation SDG2 Zero hunger

Contribute to action that will ease hunger.

Participation SDG3 Good health and well-being

Understand the importance of agency when others are in need of help and participate in actions that promote health and wellbeing for all.

Participation SDG4 Quality education

Participate actively in order to improve educational contexts and sustainable opportunities for all students and teachers.

Participation SDG5 Gender equality

Propose and facilitate action that will trigger transformations in gender relations. Understand the central importance of agency for improving gender equality and collaborate in order to improve gender relations and gender equality.

Participation SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

Collectively identify possible steps and mechanisms to make a current water management and sanitation situation evolve towards a more sustainable situation.

Participation SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

Participate to find ways to share clean and affordable energy.

Participation SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

Collaborate in order to improve working conditions and sustainable employment opportunities.

Participation SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Contribute to changes that will support building a resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Participation SDG10 Reduced inequalities

Participate in actions that reduce inequality.

Participation SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

Propose and participate in decisions and actions that can shift their community to more sustainable models of living.

Participation SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

Participate actively in implementing strategies and practices of sustainable production and consumption.

Participation SDG13 Climate action

Participate actively in global and local actions and campaigns on climate change, as well as in high level political forums and summits organised by International Organizations as UN and EU where civil society, the private sector, academia and other stakeholders can attend. Provide inputs and propose solutions while enabling other stakeholders to be heard.

Participation SDG14 Life below water

Collectively identify possible steps and mechanisms to make problems related to life below water evolve towards a more sustainable situation.

Participation SDG15 Life on land

Identify collective practices that can be adopted to improve the sustainability of life on land.

Participation SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

Identify ways to contribute to justice, representation and a fairer distribution of resource and opportunity.

Useful reading for Participation

  • Arnstein S 1969 A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planners. Vol 35/Issue 4 - A seminal text on different levels of community participation.
  • Belbin 2018 The Nine Belbin Team Roles
  • Gibson T 1991 Planning for real: the approach of the neighbourhood initiatives foundation in the UK. RRA Notes (1991), Issue 11, pp.29–30, IIED London – A method of urban planning with the full participation of the community.
  • Wilcox D 1994 Community Participation and Empowerment: Putting Theory into Practice. Chapter 12 in International Institute for Environment and Development 1994 Special Issue on Participatory Tools and Methods in Urban Areas. RRA notes, November 1994, Number 21.