One of our most successful approaches for understanding the children’s point of view and retrieving their ideas was the co-creation workshop. It is a practical method that allows deepening the understanding of the problems and even identifying preliminary solutions. The steps we followed for doing this workshop are summarized below, using the hand-washing facilities and latrine workshop as an example.
Aryna taking notes during the workshop. Photo by Elli
In the preparation phase, two concrete challenges were selected: 1) How to improve the smell in the latrines, and 2) How to increase the amount of children that wash their hands. These problems were written in a simple way, including a preamble for the problem and illustrations. The idea was to make a complicated problem easy to understand for the children, delivering it in a familiar style (i.e. school homework).
On the day of the workshop, four boys (two from P3 and two from P4) and four girls (two from P3 and two from P4) were randomly chosen between the volunteers. The facilitators (Nicolas and Elli) started the session with three rounds of energizers (games that intend to make the participants more relaxed and talkative). Afterwards, the participants were asked to work in pairs (same gender and same class) over one specific problem; team spirit was fomented by asking the children to pick their team names –Real Madrid, Man City, Liverpool and Lion. The given task was to write down five possible solutions for the assigned problem.
Team Lion workin! Photo by Elli
One hour later, recess started in the school so the participants left to play with their classmates. They were asked to return after the break for the second phase on the workshop. In the meanwhile, the facilitators read the ideas of the children and selected one per team for further development.
When the participants returned, the facilitators conducted another round of energizers. Then, the children were asked to draw the selected ideas; details and clarifications were encouraged during the drawing time. Finally, each of the teams was asked to present their ideas orally to the rest of the groups, while the facilitators stood with them and asked for clarifications when necessary.
Presenting the idea. Children seemed to like bright colors. Photo by Elli
It was surprising that the children of the other teams were actively participating during the presentations as they were usually shy during other activities. Thanks to their questions and commentaries, we were able to collect even more information and further comprehending the problems.
Taking a mixed group was a risk since girls could have been intimidated by the boys or the male facilitator, but we managed to overcome this issue by using two facilitators. This proved to be an outstanding solution as the girls were very shy when Nicolas addressed them but were rather talkative when Elli approached them.
At the end of the day, we returned to Gulu with lots of data, a big smile in our faces, and awesome drawings to share with the rest of the team.
Nicolás and the boys. Photo by Antti