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Exercise to assess actual threats participants are facing, using the risk assessment tool described here.


Group exercise

Required materials

Same as 'Threats brainstorm', the example structure table; and flipchart paper and markers for 4 or 5 groups.

Key explanation points

Divide participants into groups of four.

Within the groups, each participant lists two important threats they are facing—one ‘private’ and one ‘public’. It is important that they list current, pressing threats (we will use these again in a later exercise).

Next, participants should describe the source of the threat (the ‘who’) and the reasons/motivations (the ‘why’) behind the threats.

Then they should list their capacities and vulnerabilities vis-à-vis each threat (note that there could be repetition in the answers to both questions – this is fine).

Finally, they should assess the ‘level of risk’ posed by each threat. These should be listed on flipchart paper.

Small groups will report back on their threats.

Facilitation notes

This exercise provides a good to time to give participants a chance to move around and to lighten the atmosphere—you will have been talking about difficult topics for several hours now. Make the group selection process fun.

Facilitators should consider whether participants should choose their own groups randomly, or whether they should preselect them—this will depend on group dynamics (that is, if some participants clearly require support to be more active or less dominating). Group selection exercise options are as follows:

  • Preselected groups: put post-its on everyone’s back with an animal or a shape representing one of the four groups. Everyone finds each other without saying the name of the animal or shape – that is, they have to copy the moves and sounds of the animal or present the shape to each other in order to figure out what is on their back.
  • Randomly chosen groups: offer participants an item such as a stone (four or five colours) or toy animal (four or five types), with each stone colour or animal type forming a group.

It can be difficult for some to recognise ‘private’ threats (and for some to recognise any threats at all), so this is an exercise in which facilitators should be very active in supporting the groups as they work.

One alternative to the exercise is to list the challenges/threats (generally) and during the analysis process, ask participants to include the ‘private’ and ‘public’ consequences of each challenge/threat.

The purpose of doing this exercise as a group, even though the task requires outputs per individual (that is, their two threats), is to provide a supportive environment in which to discuss and draw out threats. This can be done in pairs or triads, but should not be done alone.

See ‘Defining the threshold of acceptable risk exercise as an option for individual written work—consider sequencing and accompaniment carefully here—this exercise works best after a group discussion of threats.