Canadian National Program Training 2020 Activities

October 16, 2020

We have just started the final week of the Canadian National Program training 2020-2021! While normally this would be an in-person training with many physical and intellectual activities, this year it looks a little different - we've had to adapt activities to make them virtual. Here are some examples of our adapted activities used during our training and how you can try them out!

These activities, coupled with how we conclude them, create tools that participants can use to support children and youth through the process of identifying human rights issues in their communities and to create Community Action Projects to target these issues.

Activity #1 Creating Group Guidelines

Creating Group Guidelines is an activity we at Equitas like to do at the beginning of any of our trainings. These guidelines allow us to ensure that each training is done in a space that is built for safety, inclusivity and growth. These guidelines are also a living document, meaning that we continue to go back to them and add guidelines as the trainings go on, allowing our growth in mindset to lead to a growth in our shared group understanding.

We also hope that this activity is one that could be used during the Community Action Project to ensure that each youth team is also ensuring a space that is built for safety, inclusivity and growth.

While normally this activity would be done using pen on paper, we've adapted this activity for our virtual trainings by using collaborative applications and websites! Our group guidelines were created with the help of a website called Nearpod! This website allows to create collaborative boards very easily, with each person adding important elements. We highly recommend trying it out!

Activity #2 What are children's rights?

'What are children's rights?' is another activity that we at Equitas use a lot in our trainings! This activity consists of asking participants to create the outline of a young person, and then write down various things that young person needs to live a happy and healthy life inside their outline. They are then asked to identify which of these things are needs, and which are wants. This activity is therefore important in beginning to think about the kinds of issues that constitute human rights or children rights issues in ones community.

While normally this activity is done in person, it is also possible to easily recreate this activity in an online setting! The essential part of the activity is the discussion that leads to ideas of what kinds of environments and items a young person needs to live happy and healthy. As such, as long as this discussion is present, the outline can be created and filled in by just one person, such as the facilitator, who is doing this as discussion is happening.

Activity #3 Taking the Pulse

'Taking the Pulse' is an activity meant to take group polls on important topics. In the National Program training, we did this activity to begin to understand the different realities and issues present in the diverse communities that participated in the training. The activity is also good to begin to think about what issues are very important in ones community - an important part of the Community Action Project process.

Again, this activity is normally done using a large paper and participants showing where they stand by physically marking it on the paper. This too can be easily recreated in an online setting through collaborative apps and websites. For this activity we used the website SketchTogether! We highly recommend this virtual whiteboard, as it allows for easy collaboration!

Concluding These Activities

These activities are followed by a group discussion using the Equitas Feel, Think, Act method. This allows participants of these activities to make the connections between the activity they have just done and how it can have an impact on furthering their human rights work. This involves asking:

  • Feel: questions that help the group to talk about how they liked the activity and the feelings they experienced during the activity.
  • Think: questions that encourage the group to question their assumptions, reflect on their behaviour, and make connections between personal experiences and broader community issues.
  • Act: questions that surface suggestions for actions young people can take to build more inclusive and rights-respecting communities by incorporating positive values and behaviours into their daily lives or shifting practices within the group, the organisation, or the broader community.

Stay tuned for more information on the amazing initiatives that are sure to come from this year's Canadian program cohort following the National Program training 2020!