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and Mudslides

In t his a c t iv it y, the participants explore the roadblocks to change in rural communities in developing countries. t i m e r e q u i r e d : 2 0 to 3 0 m i n u t e s

Mat er ial s N eed ed

INT E ND E D F O R G R A D E S 6 - 8

» copies of the game board resource, found on page 4, one for every four participants (printed on cardstock, if possible) » dice, one die for every four participants » coins (or some other object that can be used as game pieces), one for each participant Note: This activity is based on a board game. Each game can have up to four players.


Activity Steps B e gin b y n o t ing that poverty happens when many factors—such as government policies,

droughts, war, and disease—limit people’s choices. Then share the following key points: » Sometimes it seems like global problems are so big that there is no way we can help change the lives of the world’s poorest people. » Just giving more money or resources isn’t the answer. Neither is just lobbying for political change. However, combining these strategies with community development can make a real difference in the lives of people in poor communities. » Community development is about change and partnership. It involves work or projects undertaken jointly among people in poor communities, local authorities, governments, and outside organizations (such as aid agencies) to bring about long-term improvements.

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» Community development is about communities moving step-by-step and others working side by side with them to improve living conditions and create lasting change. The existing knowledge and skills of the people are affirmed, and the community members are seen as active participants in the process of change. » The way community development works for one community can be very different from how it works for another community. In one community, the need for clean and safe drinking water may be a greater need than the building of a new school. In another community, a medical clinic may be the greatest need. In yet another community, the need for education on farming may be most essential.


Tell the participants they will be participating in a board game to help them get a better sense of the kinds of roadblocks many people in developing countries face. Div id e t he l a r ge gr o up into small groups of three or four. Provide each small group

with a copy of a game board, a die, and a coin for each member. Then tell the participants the following: » Imagine you work for an American agency that is located in a developing country. Your role is to help train local resource people in aspects of agriculture, nutrition, water use, sanitation, and community development. » The idea is that these resource people will then share their knowledge and training with others in the community. » The goal is to move about 4,000 people in a dozen villages from poverty to self-sustainability. » If you roll the die and land on a game board space with a ladder or steps, you get to “climb” to a higher location. If you land on a location with a mudslide, you must “slide” down.

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» The game ends when the first player reaches the finish line. B e s ur e e v e ry o ne understands the game rules. Answer any questions the participants might

have, and then invite the small groups to begin the game. W h e n a l l the small groups have completed the game, gather back the participants into the

large group and lead a discussion using these questions: » What did you learn from this game? » What did you find most frustrating about the game?


» What changes would make the game easier to win (and make life easier for people who are hungry and poor)? C o n c l ud e b y no t ing t he fo llo wing:

» Sometimes community development is seen only as the provision of tangible things, like water tanks, roads, or school buildings. This model views poor communities as passive recipients.

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» Community development is about more than providing tangible things. It is also about helping community members work through their problems and the causes, effects, and solutions. This way they learn to understand the issues that are contributing to their poverty, and the methods and resources that will help them to be self-reliant. The skills that remain will help them build a better future for their children. » The types of changes that might need to occur include the following: » behavioral changes, such as washing hands before eating or having health-workers wear disposable gloves to prevent HIV and AIDS transmission. » participation changes, such as including women in decision-making. » skills improvement, such as developing or learning techniques for irrigating crops, receiving training to run a small business, or learning to be a classroom teacher. » structural changes, such as local leadership’s becoming more accountable and consulting with all the groups it represents; increasing access, such as building bridges over gorges so women can get to health-care centers or clean water. » It takes time to bring about lasting change. The time it takes in one community may be different from the time it takes in another. World Vision might work on one project in a particular community for three years, but stay with a different community for 10 to 15 years, until that community has the skills, ability, and resources to manage independently. » Ultimately, community development is about teaching a community to respond to change and to develop in a way that is sustainable. At the end of the day, successful community development leaves a community with tools and skills to manage its future without relying on external support. » As we saw in the game, if none of the factors that create poverty are changed, people can’t do anything about the situation that keeps them poor. But changing just one of those factors can have a dramatic effect.

(This activity is adapted from a game produced by The Sharing Way, by the relief agency and development ministry of Canadian Baptist Ministries. Used with permission. 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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Teenage prostitution and AIDS rates increase along new truck route.



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40 39 Government raises prices for locally grown grain. Farmers’ incomes increase.

For the first time, women are elected to the community council.

Rains fail. Drought stunts crops. Lose a turn.





19 Start

Villagers suffer intestinal parasites from dirty water. Lose a turn.





76 63

Civil war disrupts crop production.

65 Bad roads and lack of fuel prevent arrival of surplus rice.


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36 35 Villagers move to the city when government takes their land away.



Banks go on strike. Go back 3 spaces.

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Women receive credit to buy tools and seeds.


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Local leaders and aid agency resolve dispute.

Government soldiers attack village land reformers. Lose a turn.

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Local leader embezzles project funds. Go back 3 spaces.

Government passes law to redistribute land more fairly.


32 Local nutrition habits improve after good harvest. Move ahead 4 spaces.


51 Clinic attendance by pregnant women doubles.



New hog project raises farmers’ incomes by 20%.


11 Local women become trained in nutrition and health.




Older girls develop tailoring skills. Take an extra turn.

13 Farmers use new diseaseresistant seeds.

Tool shipment arrives too late for harvest time. Lose a turn.

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Resource: Permission to reproduce is granted. © 2008 by World Vision Resources.

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About World Vision W o rld V i s 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 V i s 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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Steps and Mudslides -A Teaching Activity  
Steps and Mudslides -A Teaching Activity  

In this activity, the participates explore the roadblocks to change in rural communities in developing countries.