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Exploring International Aid

In t his a c t iv it y, the participants discover some ways that an international organization such as World Vision works. time required 50-60 minutes INT E ND E D F O R G R A D E S 6 - 8

M at er ial s N eed ed

» copies of the handout titled “Flower Template,” found on page 5. One for each participant » pencils or pens, one for each participant » sheets of blank paper, several for each participant » scissors, enough for all but eight participants » rolled-up newspapers, one for each small group of three or four » hardboiled eggs, one for each small group of three or four » rolls of clear tape, one for each small group of three or four » two sheets of newsprint » three markers, each a different color

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Activity Steps Di v ide t he l a r ge gr o up into small groups of three or four. Distribute a copy of the

handout found on page 5, a pen or pencil, and several sheets of blank paper to each participant. Also distribute a pair of scissors to all but two groups. E xp l a i n t hat t h e pa rt ic ipa nt s’ task is to cut out as many perfect flowers as they can

in 10 minutes, using the template on the handout and working only in their small groups. Groups may not share or steal resources from other groups. Be sure to note that tearing out flowers is not allowed; they must be neatly cut.

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T h e s m a l l gr o u ps that don’t have scissors will soon realize that they are at a disadvantage

and will protest. Tell them they may use a pair of scissors for one minute of every five. They will have to legally “borrow” the scissors from one of the other small groups. If they request the scissors from another group, that group must comply (but only for the given minute). By the end of the 10 minutes, you will have three different experiences: some groups who have had scissors all the time; some who have had scissors for most of the time; and two groups who have had scissors for a very limited time. After 10 minutes, conclude the game. R e o r ga n i z e t h e pa rt ic ipa nt s into small groups of five or six. Be sure each group has

some members who are wearing shoes with shoelaces. Ask those wearing shoes with laces to untie them. Then ask half the members of each small group to place their right hands behind their backs, and ask the other half to place their left hands behind their backs. Explain that each group’s task now is to tie the untied shoelaces using only their free hands. Allow enough time for everyone to complete the task. R e o r ga n i z e t h e pa rt ic ipa nt s again, this time into small groups of three or four. Give each small group a rolled-up newspaper, a hardboiled egg, and a roll of tape. Explain that their task is to make a tower that will support the egg at the top. Allow 10 minutes for the groups to complete this task. N o w gat h e r e v ery o ne together as a large group to get some feedback on the experience

of each game. Initiate a conversation by using the following questions: » How did you feel about each of these tasks? » How did you go about completing each one? » What were your frustrations, if any, in completing these tasks?


Tell the participants that you’ll explain the significance of these tasks later on. Di s c us s a c ha l l enge that the participants needs to address. It may be a task that they need to do together, such as getting more people to join in addressing an issue, tackling vandalism in their neighborhood, or fundraising. Invite them to form pairs to discuss the following questions: » How can you address this challenge?

» What resources do you need? » What barriers or difficulties do you need to overcome?


Allow a few minutes for the pairs to discuss, and then invite a few participants to share their answers as you record their thoughts on a sheet of newsprint. Int r o d uc e t he idea of getting help from outside, if this hasn’t come up already. Ask:

» What kind of help are you looking for? » How do you want these “outsiders” to relate to you? » What would you not want the “helpers” to do?

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Again record the participants’ responses on the newsprint. Most groups will want the outside help to provide resources, the power to influence or make decisions, and skills to help them in their task. If appropriate, use three different colors to circle on the newsprint the responses that fit into these categories. E xp l a i n t hat t h e a im of this activity is to explore how global poverty issues can be

tackled—how people in poor communities can gain assistance, and how development agencies like World Vision work and why. Draw on the participants’ learning from the games they played earlier. Ask them what they might learn from these about the best ways to help poor communities. Be sure the discussion includes the following key points: » In the flower game, the groups without the scissors were at a great disadvantage. But just giving them scissors for a short time didn’t really address the problem. They needed rights and justice—access to the same resources as the other groups. Giving aid to people in poor countries is very important. But if aid is the only thing that is given, people will remain poor. The structures that keep people poor need to be addressed. » In the shoelace game, the group members needed to work together to accomplish the task they couldn’t do individually. Each person brought a different skill (or hand) that complemented someone else. What restrictions do poor communities have that make it difficult for them to find solutions to poverty completely on their own? What restrictions might a development agency like World Vision put on itself when working in partnership with people who are poor (e.g., the restriction of working at the community’s pace, of not imposing solutions from outside, of not taking over and doing everything)? » In the tower building game, each group attempted to tackle the task in different ways, according to its collective skills and talents. Some towers were taller than others, some were stronger, some were more attractive, but as long as they supported the egg, they were all successful. » Organizations like World Vision work in different ways with different communities according to their needs. Some might need clean water first, others might need agricultural training, and others might want to find better ways of organizing themselves. The community and World Vision will be working toward the same result—tackling poverty and creating a selfsustaining community—but how they get there will be different.


» World Vision provides resources (aid and expertise), access to power (campaigning), and skills (training). Inv i t e t h e pa rt ic ipa nt s to brainstorm ways young people can take action to help people

living in poverty. Record these on a sheet of newsprint. They might consider the following: » supporting an organization like World Vision, which is experienced in working with poor communities. » fundraising for an organization like World Vision, who will use the money where it is most needed. » participating in campaigns that tackle the unfair structures that keep people poor.

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» buying fair-trade goods that ensure a fair price for farmers in poor countries. » evaluating personal lifestyle choices to ensure fair consumption of resources. » taking part in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine as a way of understanding more about what it’s like to be hungry. » finding out more about what it’s like to live in a poor country and why people are poor (see the World Vision Web site at


» talking to people about the issues and encouraging them to take action too. Di s c us s w h e t he r there is any action the whole group could take together. Encourage the participants to think about what they can do as individuals also.

Copyright © 2008 by World Vision Resources, Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716 All rights reserved.

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Handout | Flower Template

Handout: Permission to reproduce is granted. Š 2008 by World Vision Resources.

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About World Vision W o rld Vis i o n i s a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to helping children and their families break free from poverty. Our work is motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ. We see a world where each child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we know this can be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World Vision is unique: We bring nearly sixty years of experience in three key areas needed to help children and families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development, and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across many areas of expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. W o rld Vis i o n R es o u r c e s educates Christians about global poverty, inspires them to social justice, and equips them with innovative resources to make a difference in the world. By developing biblically-based materials for educators and ministry leaders on the causes and consequences of global poverty, World Vision Resources supports the organizational mandate to move the church in the United States to more fully embrace its biblical responsibility to serve the poor.

For more information about our resources, contact: World Vision Resources

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Exploring International Aid - A Teaching Activity  

In this activity, the participants discover some ways that an international organization such as World Vision works.

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