Facilitators all over the world have adapted the Active Citizens learning journey. By designing new approaches and activities, across different themes, taking a flexible approach supports them to better address the needs of their local communities.

As part of our ongoing commitment to support facilitators, we continue to listen to their experiences and feedback. This helps us to be responsive and to collate and develop further ways in which the programme can be delivered to different audiences. One of the ways we do this is through the introduction of thematic lenses, otherwise known as social development themes.

The approaches and activities linked to the social development themes will help you put the programme together in a way that works for you. Designed to be flexible, our training materials will help you support different audiences around the world.

For example, if you are working in a conflict-affected setting, you may want to focus on peacebuilding. Likewise, if you want to focus more on supporting people with disabilities, the social development themes provide ideas for you try.

The social development themes can also support you to expand your practice in new areas. For example, you may not have experience looking at issues around gender equality. However, if this is one of your organisation's strategic aims, the approaches could be a good development opportunity.

Below you will find an overview of each theme and guidance on how to use them as part of your workshop delivery. Please note, the inclusion of these in your workshops is optional.

For a full description of each theme, see section 6 of the toolkit.

Fragile and conflict-affected communities

This theme can help facilitators working with communities living in fragile or conflict-affected settings. Activities linked to this theme focus on peacebuilding, how to approach difficult conversations, problem analysis and the value of different perspectives.

Conflict is a fact of life that characterises all levels of human and social interaction, from the domestic to the global. A widely used definition of conflict is a relationship between two or more parties who have, or think they have, incompatible goals. People all over the world experience conflict regularly, often daily, in a variety of forms and places from the workplace to the family to the community.

Integrating the arts

This theme can help facilitators offer a safe place to explore and take risks. Activities linked to this theme are designed to help participants be more creative, courageous and ultimately more engaged in the world around them.

Many of us grow up believing that ‘art is what artists do.’ However, all of us have the ability to be artistic. Our arts based activities can be used for a mix of different audiences and by a wide range of facilitators — you don’t necessarily need an arts background. Using an arts-based approach is about fuelling creativity and giving people the confidence and clarity to stand up and make their voices heard.

Social enterprise

This theme can help facilitators explore enterprise-based solutions. Activities linked to this theme help participants think through an approach to social enterprise that may be appropriate for them, and identify the support and advice they may need over time.

In communities around the world social enterprise is being accepted as an effective and sustainable approach to addressing social and environmental issues. Using a social enterprise approach can help participants develop the mind-set and initial skills of social enterprise. It has been found to be particularly effective for communities where accessing resources is a major challenge.

Disability and inclusion and Gender equality and women's empowerment

All of the activities in the Active Citizens programme have been mainstreamed. This means that, rather than develop a set of activities to specifically address these two themes head on, each activity should already be a model of inclusivity and equality.

As a facilitator, it is your responsibility to keep up to date with the latest guidance on applying a disability and gender equality mainstreaming approach during your workshops. You should also remind Active Citizens to develop social action projects to be as inclusive as possible.

More information about applying both a disability and a gender lens to Active Citizens can be found in your toolkit.

Search for activities linked to the social development themes.

See also