The Citizenship's River
To initiate a reflection on the important citizenship moments in ones life and to share with others experiences.To become aware of what and how one participates in their community and to plan further ideas of involvement.
Participants are introduced to the objectives of the exercise and get a big piece of paper (DIN A3) and access to colour pens, pencils and paints.
They are asked to look back over their lives and think about times or events when they really felt they participated in their communities, or developed as citizens.
Time is allocated for individual reflection. The result of this reflection should end up on the paper using the metaphor of a river. Participants should try to get at least 6 key moments in their pathways.
In small groups, share as much (or as little) as they want their river with each other. Ask them to find out if there are any similarities as well as the major differences about what they shared.
Debrief the exercise in plenary, these questions could be asked:
How was it to use the metaphor?
What was challenging in finding your most important moments? Was there anything surprising in your personal reflection? Are there new elements that you could add as well in your river? What were similarities and what were differences when you shared your river?
Depending on your group you might have to address the topic of drawing something on a paper and sharing that with others. People might feel like that they cannot draw at all and might feel uncomfortable with the exercise. Or others would see themselves as not creative enough to turn their thinking into a metaphor in a drawing. It’s important to take those fears away. Sometimes it might help to show one or two examples.
To identify these “developing citizenship” key points may be not easy, start the exercise with a general introduction. After a time of reflection a brainstorm may be proposed before starting the individual drawing.
At the end of the exercise you can propose hanging the drawings on the wall so that people can look at each others rivers and continue their talks.
Propose participants to identify elements that could support their engagement in diverse dimensions of citizenship in their communities (politically, economically, social, culturally and environmentally).
A plan of action can be proposed to engage and participate in the community.