Topic 2: Method requirements

  • 8 – 20 people
  1. Ladder of participation handouts;
  2. Flip chart or large sheet of paper;
  3. Markers and pens;
  4. Sticky notes;
  5. A wall or any other suitable vertical surface.
  • 60 minutes 
  • Print copies of the handouts so that each group has one. Prepare 2 sets of charts one referring to obstacles and one referring to enabling factor of youth participation then prepare 2 additional sheet per category, one titled “control” and the other one “no control”. Attach these on the wall so that participants will be able to attach there their idea on sticky notes, later on during the activity.
  • Welcome participants and take a few minutes to brainstorm with them on the concept of youth participation. Focus on achieving a shared definition among the group. Depending on the number of participants, divide them in 8 small groups. Then distribute one handout per group. Take a few minutes to go over each step with them, so to make clear the meaning of each step.
  • Each one of the 8 groups need to prepare a short (2/3 minutes) role play representing the rung assigned to them. For this part give 10 minutes.  Then, each group presents to the others they role play. Make sure there is time in between each performance for Q&A.
  • After all role plays have been presented, ask participants to individually think of as many examples as they can in 5 minutes, trying to cover all rungs of the ladder. All life situation are included here: school, sports, neighborhood, youth clubs/centers etc.  
  • Then  ask them  to join small (4/5 people) groups and discuss their ideas, trying to identify obstacles and enabling factors of participation. Ask them to write all these ideas down on sticky notes.
  • After the discussion took place, all groups come together and stick their idea on the sheet of paper you have prepared in the meantime on the wall. One sheet should read out “obstacles”, the other one “enabling factors”.  
  • Review with the participants the two groups of ideas and ask for more information, clarification to participants If needed.
  • Then, set up on the wall the two sheets “no control” and “control” and ask participants to list which of those factors they have control over and those that are beyond their control. This applies both to obstacles and enabling factors, which means you should have prepared 2 sheet for no control and 2 for control and hung all four of them up a set referring to the obstacles and another one referring to the enabling factors.  


  • Review the new lists with the group and proceed with the debriefing.
  • Here a list of question to help take out the best of the exercise:
    1. Did the exercise help you out in identifying your own way to participate in the areas of your life? What surprised you the most?
    2. Is youth participation high or low in your school, club or community? Why?
    3. Is it important whether young people participate actively or not? Why?
    4. Do you think low participation is mostly due to internal factors or external factors?
    5. How people feel when they are able to genuinely participate?
    6. Would you like to participate more as represented by the higher rungs of the ladder of participation? In which area of your life, if so? Are there reason for and reason against it?
    7. Would you like to participate as represented by the lower rungs of the ladder? In which area of your life? Reasons for and reasons against it?
    8. How many of you think they could participate more? (raise your hands). How many of you will actually do that?  (raise your hands). How and when?