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This provides an introduction to and an explanation of the following group exercise.


Group exercise review

Required materials

Flipchart with definitions of ‘capacity’, ‘risk’, ‘threat’ and ‘vulnerability’ as well as the risk assessment formula.

Key explanation points

Facilitators select two key threats from the group (either raised in previous discussions or during the discussion after the threats presentation). These are the ‘what’. Write them up on the flipchart. Ensure that one threat is a traditional ‘public’ threat and that the other is a ‘private’ threat.

Then, as an example for the following exercise, facilitators should ask the group to analyse:

  • who are the sources of the threat; and
  • the ‘why’ – what is behind the threat.

Next, ask the group to list the:

  • capacities to address the threat; and
  • vulnerabilities to the threat.

Ask the group to assess the level of risk that these threats pose, given their list of capacities and vulnerabilities. They can refer to the Threshold of acceptable risk handout.1

Alternative options

In addition to these questions, ask the group to describe the potential impact/consequences of the threat – that is, if the threat is realised, what will happen in the ‘public’ sphere and the ‘private’ sphere?

Example structure

ThreatWho?Why?CapacitiesVulnerabilitiesRisk level
Graffiti on the wall next to the house of a woman human right defender, denouncing her as a western spy or saying she is richLocal criminal groups, probably encouraged and paid by the governmentTo decredit her, ruin her reputation in the communityAccess to media, international supportNeighbours already uncomfortable, family is nervousModerate
Harassment as a checkpoint that she has to cross every week to get to villagesSoldiersTo intimidate her, extort moneyGood reputation and support from villagersOften travelling alone, transport is unreliableHigh


Using the model adapted from Van Brabant, K. (2000) Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, Good Practice Review No. 8, Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN), Overseas Development Institute, London.