Exercise on choice criteria

Mise en ligne: 27 mars 2006

Establish a set of criteria for the conception of an action


The exercise is based on development models. It can be used to introduce the presentation on the chart as well as to put it into practise. The exercise can also be very relevant to emphasize the actors and their point of view. It makes it possible to put into effect the compass. The exercise enables to :

  • Evaluate the achievements of the basic training Here or elsewhere, what can be done.
  • Practise applying development models chart to some concrete cases.
  • Establish a set of criteria for the conception of an action.
  • Introduce development models (the training ends by the presentation on models).

Group : from 16 to 24 participants.

Space : a big room + four rooms for sub-groups.

Duration : preferably one evening (or one afternoon) and one day. The part of the exercise on choice criteria can be done independently during half a day (4h30).

Unfolding of events

1) The folder containing a set of projects is distributed to participants. The orders are to choose three projects in which they could possibly invest themselves. A priority order between the three projects must be given. It should be mentioned that the choice can be taken freely (prioritise the content and not confine yourself for example exclusively to projects which would be more suitable professionally speaking. Determine also the project that one wouldn’t want to back up in any case (criterion of rejection).

2) The moderator establishes a chart with double entry mentioning the participant’s names and project’s numbers. He has written down the participant’s choices as in the following example :

Participants : Al, Pao, Phil, Math and Fab

Projects : Algeria, Mexico, Nicaragua, Senegal, Bolivia, Nepal, Iran and Burkina Faso

Algeria : Al-X ; Phil-X ; Math-X

Mexico : Al-1 ; Pao-2 ; Phil 3

Nicaragua : Al-2 ; Pao-1 ; Phil-2

Senegal : Fab-2

Bolivia : Al-3 ; Pao-3 ; Fab-1 ; Math-3

Nepal : Math 1 ; Fab-3

Iran : Pao-X ; Fab-X

Burkina Faso : Phil-1 ; Math-2

(X) Project rejected

(1, 2, 3) First, second and third choice

3) The participants who have chosen the same project (corresponding to their first priority) meet together and exchange point of view on criterion which have played a role in their choice and rejection. The persons who are alone because they have chosen a project that nobody else has taken, can meet together in a group in order to do the exercice. The following questions can be given to the sub-groups :

  • Which criterion have you used to choose (criterion +) and to reject (criterion -) the projects ?
  • Regarding the project you have chosen, what are the questions that you have asked ?

4) Sub-groups share the data and transfer criterions to large sheets.

5) Four reference persons are invited to take part to the continuation of the exercise. Preferably four women so as to speak about the relationship between men and women in the social action, and from different cultural background. Then, the four present invited reference persons share criterions in a big group.

6) The numbers of these sub-groups is reduced to four, each deals with a project. Preferably with people who have chosen a similar project among their three priority choices. The work in sub-groups take place in two stages.

7) During the first step, each sub-group work on the project of another group with the following instructions :

“Imagine a problematic situation that could arise during the implementation of the project. Choose one difficulty due to the very conception of the project, related to the actors involved or the context in which it takes place. Don’t take into account exteriors events like earthquakes, ebola virus or the landing of Martians. Note on a sheet the situation which was thought out with its description, context, actors involved.”

Each sub-group tells the other group its problematic situation.

8) The four sub-groups begin working with the following instructions :

“Discuss the problematic situation that you have received and imagine how you can solve the given problem. Prepare a small staging of the project, the problematic situation and the solution thought out.You will benefit from the presence of a reference person that we have invited not to give more information on the project or its context (country, inhabitants...) but above all to bring you his or her sensitivity and the vision he or she has acquired during his or her experience on the ground.You will be invited, after three hours of preparation, to present your performance in front of the group. Reactions will follow.”

9) When ready, each of the sub-groups present its work. Before the representation, they focus on the project in question (what is it about ? where does it take place, who are the actors ...?). After each representation, the public can put some questions to fully understand the project and then make comments on the form and the content. Then reference persons have the floor.

10) To end the exercise, moderators can systematize the set of criterion that have been identified by the group and by those who have participated to the discussions relating to representations by organizing them around a compass, like in the example below.