It is important for the Ambassadors to become a team; developing their skills and learning together as well as supporting each other as a group.

This builds rapport, trust and connection which is integral to them being effective and achieving all they can together. These suggestions are activities that could be used in Ambassador meetings or sessions to progress and support the group.

If you need more understanding between the Ambassadors and want them to know more about each other why not try this activity called ‘Passport’. View video

Culture Party30Invite participants to organise a cultural party in the evening. Food, song, dance, poetry and games are all welcome. This works especially well when participants have different backgrounds.
Culture Events20Visit artistic shows, singing, dancing and theatre. All of these have the potential for a fantastic opportunity to reflect on and experience different cultures. Look for events that touch on specific historical or cultural moments.
Cook Up Culture40Ask participants to represent their cultures through cooking. Participants who can cook choose an appropriate dish that represents one of their cultures and work with others to cook for those members of the group who want to join them.
Images of identities and cultures.20Find photographs or images of different identities or cultures in the media that reflect strongly held cultural assumptions or which break from them. Discuss the impact of the assumptions on individuals and cultures
Local Community Speakers20What shaped them? How do they perceive themselves and how do others perceive them? What is their story?
Baseline targets10Participants indicate how much they know about key subjects by placing dots on a target that represents degrees of understanding. The closer to the centre, the greater the knowledge. It allows participants to note their starting point and monitor their progress during the workshop.1. Identify the three summary outcomes that participants wrote most in the branches section, for example ‘Understand the Active Citizens programme and my role’.
2. Write one of these expectations above each target.
3. Ask the group to each take a blue marker pen and place a dot on the target. Tell them that placing the dot towards the centre indicates they are already close to achieving this expectation, whereas placing the dot towards the outside indicates they still have a long way to go.
4. Keep these targets throughout the workshop. On the last day of the local workshop return to these targets and ask participants to mark a dot again using a different-coloured marker. This will tell you how successful the workshop has been in fulfilling participants’ expectations.
Me and My Identity30An opportunity for participants to get to know one another and identify what they care about. Explore concepts of identity and community. Participants draw a picture representing themselves with a heart in the centre. Around the heart they post words representing the things that are important to them. The closer to the heart, the more important it is. Participants share in pairs and in the wider group before debriefing.1. Ask participants to each take half a sheet of flipchart paper and draw a basic outline of a person or another image that they feel represents them (e.g. star or butterfly) on the paper. At the centre of the image they should draw a small heart.
2. Participants then take sticky notes and write the things that are important to them as individuals on each note (at least five), for example ‘family’, ‘religion’, ‘sport’ or a personal principle or opinion or a place.
3. They should then place the sticky notes onto the sheet – closer to the heart if it is important and further away from the heart if they feel it is less important.
4. Ask the group to get into pairs, ideally with people they don’t know well, and share with the other person about themselves. Participants should share only what they are comfortable with sharing.
5. Now ask the group to place all of their images together (on a wall, tables or the floor). Invite participants to walk around all the images, noticing similarities, differences and things that make them curious.
Identity Lenses75Participants learn to consider a person’s identity from different perspectives. Participants draw a circle with a cross in the middle. In each corner of the circle they write one of their identities. Participants then reflect on how their perspective on an issue might change if they emphasised one of their identities more than the others. Participants are encouraged to try to look with different lenses to understand more about the issues they face in their lives and society.1. Ask participants to identify some of their important social identities (the social groups they belong to). For example, their national identity (e.g. Jordanian, British or Indian), regional identity, gender identity (as a woman or a man), ethnic identity and identities related to personal interests or career (e.g. hip-hop fan, football fan or doctor).
2. Ask the group to consider their own, and then share in pairs, a time when a particular identity felt very strong. Why did this happen? What did we feel? Example responses: ‘When I encountered people from another country I felt my national identity more than before’, ‘I felt proud because of what we had achieved’, ‘I was judged by someone else just because of my identity, and I felt angry’.
3. Ask the group to share examples in plenary. Ask them what they have learned: – how we emphasise particular identities and how this influences the way we see things – by looking with different lenses we can see a bigger picture – how and when we think looking with different identity ‘lenses’ could help us as Active Citizens – when we engage in dialogue, building trust and understanding with others, and planning social action.
Visual and Hidden30Participants explore the idea that all of us have hidden and visible parts of our identities and cultures. Participants brainstorm visible and hidden parts and consider how this has an impact on our lives.Share the idea that we all have hidden and visible parts of our identity. Brainstorm with the group some of the visible and hidden parts of our identities in a triangle
What do you think the impact is of having most of our identities hidden on :
- new relationships
- cultural encounters (think about curiosity and misunderstanding)
Can anyone give any examples?
Share the idea that the same thing applies to our cultures. Our cultures also have visible and hidden parts. Share the idea that as cultures come together, the hidden parts (those beneath the surface) increase the possibility for unexpected collisions. Consider how issues, problems and/or conflict that you are familiar with relate to the hidden parts of culture.
Share the idea that because a lot is hidden we often rely on our assumptions about other people and cultures and that these assumptions can have negative and positive meanings. By holding our assumptions lightly, asking questions and revealing the things that are beneath the surface, we can build trust and understanding.
The Wall of Greatness60Participants reflect on what makes them proud of their communities and cultures. They write, draw and present what makes them proud of their community and culture followed by a gallery walkParticipants are asked in advance to bring a small memento, magazine cutting or article to depict what they are proud of in their communities.
1. Ask participants what the word ‘community’ means to them. Capture their words on a flipchart, for instance geographic locality (local, regional, national, international) or a community of interest (women, youth, Islam, business, arts) that interact around shared interests and values.
2. This activity can be carried out either as individuals or in small groups (where the members of the group are from the same community). Tell the group to reflect on the question ‘What makes me proud of my community?
3. They should do this by preparing their mementos and writing/illustrating their answer on sheets of paper. They can do this on their own, or, if there are distinct communities in the room, in small groups.
4. Individuals or groups will be given a space on a wall or table to post words, pictures and items that reflect what they are proud of. Put the text and images for each person or group together on the wall and the mementos on the tables below. (30 minutes)
5. Participants should now, in mixed groups of three or four, visit their images and mementos and share what makes them proud of their community. What do these items and images signify? Give ample time for participants to inquire, explore and mix.
Gender or Sex45Encourages participants to consider how culture can influence assumptions and the consequences this can have in society.1. Ask the group if they understand the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’.
2. Share the following statement: ‘Sex is a biological construct, gender is a social construct’. Make sure participants can see this statement at all times during the activity. Invite participants to take four sticky notes: two should be one colour (representing men) and two should be another colour (representing women). Participants should write two things on the men’s sticky notes that they believe to be true about men and two things on the women’s sticky notes that they believe to be true about women.
3. Place two flipcharts side by side. At the top of one flipchart should be the word ‘Gender’, and at the top of the other, ‘Sex’. Invite participants to place their sticky notes onto the appropriate flipchart.
4. As participants place them onto the flipcharts, group them (if they say the same thing) but do not move them from one flipchart to another.
5. Start with the flipchart marked ‘Sex’. Read out eight or nine statements (where statements are repeated, ignore them) and ask the group: ‘Is this biological or cultural?’
6. In the ‘Sex’ section you would expect to find biological facts, for example ‘men do not give birth’, ‘women can breastfeed babies’, but there are also usually statements that are cultural, for example ‘men are tough’, ‘women prefer being at home’ and so on. Discuss them with the group and, if appropriate, move them onto a different flipchart. Where it is not clear, place them between the flipcharts.
7. Do the same with the ‘Gender’ sticky notes. You will usually find that most of the statements are now on the ‘Gender’ flipchart.
• Ask the group: ‘What do we think this tells us about how we see women and men?’ That is, they are mainly based on cultural assumptions. • Ask the participants whether they think the colour of the sticky notes chosen for men and women were appropriate. Note that cultural assumptions even include identifying particular colours with gender. • What do we think the impact of these assumptions is on women and men? That is, they help to reinforce social roles; they make it hard when you do not fit into this category; they undermine the opportunities we have, especially for women; they encourage unequal distributions of power.
Exploring cultural baggage45Participants draw representations of the cultural baggage that they carry (the things we carry from our cultures that influence our outlook). These are shared in the group and reflected on1. Reflect on the points raised by the group about how to work effectively with difference. Introduce the idea that acknowledging ‘cultural baggage’ can help us to have effective conversations with difference.
2. Introduce the idea of cultural baggage: the things we carry with us from our cultures that influences our outlook. Perhaps it’s from history, religion, occupation, politics, national character – they can be both positive and negative influences. The facilitator can share an example from their own lives, for example ‘In my culture we value the wisdom of older people’, ‘in my culture it is not good to be too proud of your achievements’.
3. Invite participants to leave the room taking paper and pens. They have ten minutes to draw a suitcase bearing three or four words that represent their own cultural baggage.
4. On re-entering the room, the participants leave their baggage by the door, face down. The facilitators select at random a number of ‘cases’ (or run a gallery walk) and explore: – what they have written – why they have identified it as cultural baggage – where it comes from. For example, a particular cultural dimension, history, religion, colonial expansionism, occupation, politics, revolution, evolution, national character, gender stereotypes and assumptions – whether it is broadly positive or negative – whether it ever gets in the way, clouds judgement, affects decisions or leads to exclusion. 5. The facilitator invites the group to reflect on how acknowledging our cultural baggage could help us to communicate with difference (people who are different from us).
Understanding conflict25Participants reflect on and discuss with others their understanding of the words ‘conflict’, ‘violence’ and ‘peace’.Three flipchart pages with the words ‘conflict’, ‘peace’ and ‘violence’ written large in the centre.
1. Ask the participants to break into groups of between four and eight. Give each group a flipchart with one of the words (‘conflict’, ‘peace’ and ‘violence’). Ask them to discuss in the group: ‘What do these words mean to you? Is it always a good thing or always a bad thing?’ Ask them to write their thoughts onto the flipchart so that they can present back in plenary. Give the groups 15 minutes to discuss the questions in their groups.
Shoe Story25A simple but potentially powerful activity that uses storytelling to support people to share some of who they are and the experiences they’ve had. This exercise is especially useful with groups that may not know each other very well or may feel uncomfortable talking directly about their personal lives, such as survivors of violence.1. Get the group into pairs and ask them to find their own space in the room.
2. Each person is going to have five minutes to tell their partner the story of their shoes in as much detail as they can. This may sound like an impossible task but encourage the storyteller to go into as much detail as they can. Where did the shoes come from? Who bought them? Where did they buy them? Have the shoes been anywhere interesting? Are you fond of them? What’s the most exciting thing they have done or the furthest they’ve been?
3. Encourage the storyteller to not block anything, to go where the story goes and to enjoy the telling of the story. Be detailed, be creative, be curious and don’t be afraid of silences if they happen.
4. The listener should just listen, without interruption or any comments – ideally they should remain silent for the duration of the story. This can be difficult: our natural instinct is to ask questions, or want to know more information, but as much as possible, the listener should do just that – listen. 5. Once the five minutes are over, the pair should swap roles and repeat the process.
These are questions to ask the group: – did you learn anything about your partner? – did anything surprise you about the direction the story went? – does the story of our shoes tell us anything about our communities, culture or identity? – what did we learn from the differences in the stories? – how did it feel when you were just listening? – was it frustrating not being able to respond or comment? – why might it be useful skill to practise listening? • How could storytelling help us and our communities at different stages of the Active Citizens learning journey? For example, stories could support dialogue within and between communities. They can also help us to learn more about the needs, opportunities and challenges within the community.
Four Words60Illustrates challenges and opportunities of learning and sharing with other people. Using a think, pair, share approach, participants think on their own about the four major characteristics of an Active Citizen before engaging in dialogue and negotiation to agree the four words as a whole group. You might want to use a different statement to open up discussion about an issue, one that is more relevant to the specific group or context. For example: ‘The biggest barriers to social inclusion are…1. Tell the group that we are going to explore the key characteristics of an Active Citizen. It is going to challenge us as individuals and as a group. We will reflect on these challenges after the exercise.
2. Ask the participants to, on their own, think of four words that are ‘the four most important characteristics of an Active Citizen’. It is very important that the group do not use sentences or phrases. Each word should be a possible ending to the sentence: ‘A real Active Citizen should be…’
3. After the group have four words each, put the group into pairs and ask each pair to agree on just four words for ‘A real Active Citizen should be…’
4. After the pairs have done this, ask them to find another pair to form a group of four; again they must agree just four words between them.
5. Repeat this process until there are just two large groups in the room and each has just four words.
6. Now give these two large groups ten minutes to agree on the final four words that will represent the whole group’s judgement of the key characteristics of an Active Citizen. If the group can’t reach an agreement in ten minutes, stop the exercise.
Let us reflect on the challenges and opportunities of working with others. (Ask participants to help write up and record the answers to these questions.) – How did you feel? Pleased with the discussion, frustrated, proud, excluded. – Why do you think you felt like that? We needed a facilitator, the full process wasn’t explained at the beginning, we worked as a team, there wasn’t enough time, some people were speaking all the time, we made sure that everyone had an opportunity to speak, not everyone was able to participate equally. – What were you doing in this activity?
Negotiating, reflecting, making decisions, discovering different interpretations, coming to a consensus.
– Were there things about this process or about the way you acted that supported dialogue? In this process, at the beginning everyone has the chance to think for themselves and speak. By appointing a group facilitator we managed the conversation so all voices were heard. I focused on listening and trying to understand.
– Were there things about this process and the way you acted that did not support dialogue? Time was too short, we had to reach a consensus, there was too much shouting.
– What could you do to make this process more effective for a dialogue? Were there things in the process that did not support dialogue? We did not know or agree the process in advance. The process needs more time. Make sure women and men are able to participate equally (in a mixed group). A facilitator could help to make sure quieter voices are heard. Arranging seats in a circle is better than sitting opposite each other in separate groups. We don’t have to achieve consensus; by focusing on learning from one another we could have a better dialogue. We should listen and respect one another’s opinion. We should avoid splitting the group into opposition groups, as this creates tension.
• Emphasise that this activity also shows how conflict arises at the individual, interpersonal and group level. Note that conflict is part of human interaction and can have creative and destructive potential.
– When and where can you use dialogue in your work? How can you apply the principles of dialogue in your work?
The power of Questions30Introduces the skill of questioning as a tool for identifying a need for change. Encourage people to be curious and apply questioning skills in their work.1. Ask participants to think of a question that will make another person smile. Ask participants to move around the room and ask people this question.
2. After three minutes, ask participants to change the question to a question that will make the people they ask feel proud. Repeat the process two or three times; each time, participants should think of a question to trigger a particular emotion or reaction: make the other person think or feel motivated to take action.
3. Now ask the group if there were any powerful questions expressed. You might want to write them down.
4. Ask participants what they understand by the term ‘powerful question’. For example, a question that makes me think deeply or differently or which triggers an emotional response.
5. Give the participants one or two minutes to think individually about a powerful question they’ve been asked and which they’re willing to share. 6. Ask participants to work in pairs to share this powerful question and what they think made it powerful.
The power of Body Language30Three activities exploring body language as a method of communication.The second approach requires chopsticks or similar thin sticks. Share with the group that they are going to reflect on one aspect of communication: body language. Choose one or more of the following activities depending on the group and the time available.
1. Ask everyone to walk around the room hunched up, bent back, head lowered, scrunched face, closed shoulder. After one minute, tell them to have a conversation with someone.
2. Ask people to walk around the room standing straight, walking on the balls of their feet, head held high, shoulders open. After one minute, tell them to have a conversation.
Who decides?120In this activity participants explore the idea of power and empowerment and reflect on who has power locally and globally, how those powers are connected and their influence on the group’s social action projects.1. Share with the group: ‘Thinking about power can help us to think about who we need to work with and influence and what we need to be careful about when planning social action.’
2. Open a discussion: ‘What is power?’ Power is everywhere, knowledge, choice, influence, the ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.
3. Share with the group: Power is seen as productive and positive, and not only as restrictive and negative. For example, ‘empowering’ people to help themselves
4. Ask the group to think, pair, share about a time when they felt empowered. What happened? What was the setting? Who were the characters? What feelings and emotions did you or other people experience?
5. How was the empowerment achieved? What does this tell us about power?
6. Do Active Citizens have power? In what way? In the choices we make, in the principles we hold, as part of a larger network, the tools, resources and access we have.
7. What do we need to be careful about in holding power? The facilitator can explore more deeply some of the following ideas: seeing power as the purpose, abusing power, acting for others.
8. What learning can we take from this activity that will help us as Active Citizens?
Power Walk60A simple but powerful activity to provoke thinking about power and inequalityAdapted role cards, enough for one per person. Roles could include the following, in each case specify whether the role is male or female: • a young child m/f • a university student m/f • a newly arrived asylum seeker m/f • a local councillor m/f • a member of parliament m/f • a street vendor m/f • a successful local business person m/f • a married mother with children m/f • a wheelchair user m/f • a wheelchair user m/f. Adapted list of statements (see the following).
1. Introduce the activity but do not say too much about it. Share with the participants: ‘This game requires you to use your imagination.’
2. Give each participant a role card. Explain that you want them to imagine what it would be like to be that person. Be clear about whether the role is male or female. Whether you’re working with a single-sex group or not, it’s good experience for participants to put themselves in the shoes of someone from the opposite sex. For example, a male Active Citizens participant could play the role of an adolescent woman, and a female participant could play the role of a male wheelchair user.
3. Ask the participants to stand in a line, side by side and facing you.
4. Tell participants, to stand in a line, side by side and facing you. If you think your character displayed on the card would answer yes to the statement, take a step forward; if you think they would answer no, stay where you are.’
5. Read out the following statements to the group (adapt according to your group and context): – I feel safe in my community. – I have spare time to watch films and spend with my friends. – I can vote. – I can afford a foreign holiday. – I never go hungry. – I believe my children will be better off than I am.– I am confident I can get a job.
– I get to see and talk to my parents.
– I am satisfied with my life.
– I get a say in local decisions.
– I can pay for hospital treatment.
– I can express my opinions in public.
– I am not in danger of being beaten up.
– When I go to the doctor I can speak
for myself.
– I can provide a child with what they need.
– I have a good income.
– I will be consulted on issues that affect
my life.
6. After you have finished ask the group to put their character sheet on the floor and step away so that they can see the position of all the role cards.
7. Explain to the participants that this exercise was designed to give them an idea of the different powers different people have in their lives and how they participate in their communities