In this activity from Técnicas Participativas para la Educación Popular participants form a collective understanding of the most urgent problems they face today and the main strengths or positive factors on which they can draw. The goal is to get the group to form a common understanding of their strategic position at a given point in time. This can be helpful for groups of people involved in different projects, or working in different parts of a project.
The joker explains the activity with a chart that shows a center horizontal line with four numbered horizontal lines above it and four below. The center line represents where we are today. The upper lines are for writing down four items that are positive -- our strengths or the things that are most positive . The closer they are to the center, the more relevant they are in the current situation.
The lower lines are for negative forces, obstacles that have to be confronted. The items closest to the center line are the most urgent.
Participants each write down the four most negative forces they confront in their project, and the four most positive.
In small groups, they share their lists and form a common chart that represents the views of the group. The items should be in order of urgency. (Maybe easiest for people to vote and do rock scissors in cases of a tie.)
Groups present their charts and the joker takes notes, looking for overlap and significant differences. S/he then proposes a synthesized chart for the whole group based on the reports from each group.
What do you see?
Is the chart accurate? What needs to change? Are the priorities right? Is anything crucial missing?
How can we tackle the most urgent problems? How can we defend and strengthen the positive forces?
How does this sense of priorities compare to what we think or do in our activism?