Task: “You are in the role of participants in peacebuilding training. Your task is to decide where the next stage of the training will be held. The training team will not facilitate the process.”
The training team offers three concrete (existing) places/hotels and introduces the participants to the specificities of each of them. There is some difficulty associated with each location, e.g. inter- ethnic tensions with sporadic physical violence, or there is some bad previous experience with the locals due to the mixed composition of the participants, or the hotel served as a detention camp during the war, but is not marked as such today, etc. Select the locations so that they are in different parts of the former Yugoslavia and that there is at least one person in the group from one of the location regions.
Time to decide: one hour. This is followed by evaluation and discussion in plenary (facilitated by the training team).
Suggested questions to evaluate the exercise: What was it like? What did you decide? How satisfied are you with the outcome of working together? How satisfied are you with the process?
Alternative version of the exercise
Before evaluating the exercise, a short barometer without comments can be done in order to focus and inform the evaluation. The barometer without comments is like the classic barometer (see beginning of section, p. 63), except that participants simply take up their positions without commenting on them. Statements:
- The views of others made me change my opinion.
- I noted down important information for the decision.
- I tracked how much time had passed.
- I made sure to let other people have their say.
- I understand the causes of my frustration.
This exercise was designed for training that consists of at least two phases, when it is certain that the same group will be meeting again. That makes the whole situation more real, providing added weight to the exercise, because the participants are aware that it is not “just an exercise” and that their decision will have consequences, so they are less likely to opt for the tactic of avoiding conflict by staying away from difficult subjects. The exercise is demanding and emotions in the group can run high, because it often makes people face their fears and feel a responsibility towards the others to explain why they do not want to go to a particular place. We have mostly done this exercise as part of Teamwork and Cooperation at more advanced training with a view to opening up questions relevant to dealing with the past soon after the start of training. However, it can also be implemented with the aim of getting to know the context we live in and as part of Peacebuilding and Dealing with the Past, but in that case the evaluation of the exercise would not focus so much on the decision-making process. In any case, it is important to facilitate an emotional evaluation after the exercise, giving people an opportunity to talk about what it was like for them, what resonated with them, or what was distressing. The evaluation discussion should take place right after the exercise, even if only for a short time, without giving in to the sometimes expressed need for a break (especially by the smokers).