The democracy game
The aim of this democracy game is to let people think about the political process that goes behind the decision making in a democracy. And to let the participants defend or attack a proposal from a view that they in real life might totally disagree with.
-The government à The government introduces the proposal and in the end tries to get the proposal to pass. In the debate they are acting as the chairman and leading the debate.
This should be 1 or 2 people.
-The political parties; the political parties are defending the views from their parties and trying to shape the proposal to their needs or trying to change the views of the other parties in a way that is beneficiary to them.
How to play?
Divide the group into eight about equal smaller groups and assign them to be the political parties. Give every party their respected paper with the views of their party. ()
After the initial setup assemble everybody into the main group again and let the government explain the current setting of the world and the proposal. Give all the parties around 30 minutes to discuss the views of the parties and to arrange a plan of action and to think of questions to clarify the given proposal.
Let every party ask questions about the proposal to the government and let the government behave like politicians, so clarify everything that gets asked but answer really vaguely and don’t answer the questions that could come up in the main debate.
The main debate;
Gather everybody around a big table or in a big circle and let them start debating. Let the member(s) of government lead the debate. The debate can be as long as you think is necessary and is interesting.
Give every party about 10-15 more minutes to come up with changes and in their party’s eyes improvements. After this time start with the amendment of a party, let the other party’s debate about the amendment and hold a vote to see if the amendment and therefore the change gets implemented. Do this over and over again until there are no more amendments left.
The (end) vote;
Let all the party’s vote about the final proposal. If there still aren’t enough votes in favour let the government modify the plans to try to get a majority and form a coalition.
Do this again until the proposal passes.
Acting is a way to express your feelings. Did you ever think that it can be also a way to improve your knowledge about a more concrete subject, for example a political system?
“Acting Out” is a role play based activity through which the participants can better understand and share differences and similarities between political systems.
The participants have to be divided in 4 groups and be given 20 minutes to come up with a short play (max 3 min) related to the political system they received.
Each team is given paper that highlighted the characteristics of Democracy, Monarchy, Republic and Dictatorship. For a more realistic play they also have to include in their play some real objects such as follows:
Monarchy – a crown
Democracy – a voting box
Dictatorship – a few red flags
Republic – the Constitution.
The objects were designed to help the teams focus on the most important aspects of the given system.
- a political system that is based on the representational system
- citizens elect politicians to represents their rights and interests
- in a “pure democracy” the majority is not restrained in any way; it can overrule minority: there are no obligations to respect minority rights as they are not held to a Constitution (can become a dictatorship of majority)
- all citizens can get equal say in decisions
-freedom of religion is permitted but a majority factor can limit religion minority
- sovereignty is held by the people (individual)
- there are certain unchangeable rights that can not be taken away by the government as they are protected by the Constitution
- free elections
- human rights, based on the Constitution
- a person of royal descent has inherited the position of head of state in accordance with accepted practice or Constitution
- elites in Monarchies are typically members of the royal family
- impossible to change your social standing in life
- usually male succession
- no political party
- ruled by one person or political entity
- political propaganda
- censorship of the media is frequent
- military is a main focus
- no opposition for the leader: protestors are punished harshly
- human and civil rights are not recognized or protected
The activity is followed by a short debrief. The discussion is focused on the way each team perceives their system, what were the characters that they thought necessary and whether or not the object they received was helpful and inspiring. Another important aspect to point out during discussion is the similarities and the differences they have observed.
By doing this, youngsters non only that have the opportunity to experience some of the systems but also they can draw some conclusions on which system fits them best.
Name round and tape: Stand in circle and say your name, nationality, age and one thing that you like + put your name on a tape
Desert island: Leader ask everyone to choose ONE thing that they would like to take with them to desert island. Leader is a queen of the island and decide if they can take the item with them. Then we go around, and queen says yes or no (yes for items that starts with the same letter as participant, do not spoil it)
Blanket battle: Divide people in two groups (optional choice is to give them animals and they must find each other by not speaking). Then put groups behind the blanket and ask them to go front of it and then drop the blanket. They have to say they names, and the first one wins.
Exchange characters: Put characters in piece of paper and divide 3 paper per person. Participants must talk to others and find three characters that fit to them.
Portrait game: Make two circles with chairs. Inner circle is Picassos and they have 20 seconds time to draw certain part of portrait of outer circle. Then we change places in every 20 secs. Part of head are shape, hair, eyebrows, eyes, nose, ears, teeth and lips. Then we change inner circle to outer circle.
Team building, outdoors:
Rock-scissors-paper: We challenge each other to play rock-scissors-paper. The loser become a cheerleader and fan for the winner and cheers for the next challenge. Playing until there is the last one standing.
Number groups (ending 2): Leader ask participants to go on groups which have certain number of members until they are in two groups.
’kotkat and kottaraiset’: Two groups competing each other and go to their homeline. Other one is kotkat and the other is kottaraiset. Leader starts to say kotkotkotkotkot and participants start to move towards each other until the leader says either kotkat (then kotkat start to hunt kottaraiset) or kottaraiset (then kottaraiset starts to hunt kotkat). If they catch one that will become the other.
Lines: Divide group to four. Groups need to make lines like arranging them by age, length, hair length, shoe size, first letter etc. Fastest group wins.
1-2-3: Make pairs that stands face to face. First, they start to count to three so one says one, the other says two and the one says three, the others says one, the one says two, the other says three etc... Then we replace the number one by doing squat. Third level is to replace number two by doing curtsey. Last level is to replace number three by doing jump, and then there should not heard speaking anymore.
Reflection mirror line: Divide participants to two lines. Line 1 start movements that line 2 must reflect like mirror. Then change turns.
Legs together: Divide participants to group of three and tape their legs together. Then groups race together.
Singing swamp: Divide participants in two group. Leader says some letters and groups need to start singing a song which start with that letter. Losers must go on their one knee, then another knee, then on elbow, then another elbow and the last put their head on the floor.
Team building, indoors:
Stealing bride: Divide people in two groups sitting in the floor in inner and outer circle. Outer circle will shut their eyes except one who do not have pair. He will point someone from the inner circle, who must try to change position to the one who pointed so the other one could not catch him.
Formula: Stay in big circle and divide people in one – two. Number ones race towards number twos with handing pillows. Starting points are opposite sides and try to catch others pillow.
Viking ball: Stay in big circle legs together and open. Put ball in to the circle and try to throw it through someones legs. If ball will go through your legs, you must turn around. If it goes another time, you lose.
Counting numbers: Try to count numbers in not logically order from one to ten together one by one. If someone says the number at the same time you need to start all over again.
Pig race: Go around of people saying what kind of noise pig says. Then choose one sound and race with that by time. One will start, and others says it and it goes all through the whole circle. The clock stops to the last person in circle.
Pterodactyl: Stay in circle. Try to say word Pterodactyl so you do not show your teeth and put your hands like wings. If someones shows teeth, you lose.
One and only: Stay in circle. One goes around in circle and everyone sing this song: “There comes the one and only, riding with his fat little pony, there comes the one and only and they gonna have a party. (starts to dance in front of the person whom against he stopped) Front, front, front banana. Side, side, side banana. Back, back, back banana. They gonna have a party (going around by hands together).” Continue until there is no one left.
Ninja: Everybody is ninjas and try to touch someone else hand by making only one move toward (shouting HAA) and one move ahead (shouting HII). If you hit someones hand, he will lose it. And when the both hands are hit, you lose. Last one standing wins.
Wild wild west: Stay in circle. Leader is in the middle and shoot someone. The one must go down and neighbors shoot each other. The one who is last, will lose and the last man standing will win.
Sun shine to those who: Stay in circle sitting in chairs. Leader is in the middle and says: “The sun will shine to everyone… (some word like who has brown eyes)” And all who that word describes need to change chair and the person in the middle tries to get one seat.
The hole game: Everyone stand in a circle. With left hand you will make the hole. With right hand point your index finger. Person on your left side is "friend" and person on your right side is "the other". If the game leader says "Friends hole" you have to put your finger to your friends hole. If the leader says "the others hole" you have to put your finger to the others hole. If the leader says "own hole" you have to put your finger to your hole. When the leader says "close the hole" close your left hand and try to catch the finger which is in your hole. Even your own finger. You are out of game if you put finger to wrong hole or of someone catches your finger.
This explanation was written for a group of 24 people.
In the sessions before we talked about the political situations in the different countries. Each country was dealing with their own challenges to reach the perfect democratic situation.
For this simulation game we divided the group into three topics/challenges.
How to get three topics for the simulation game?
The 24 people that are joining the simulation game were given 5 minutes to shortly write down the challenges they are facing in their life or in their democracy.
After they write it down they have to find a person to form a couple with. This person should be someone that is facing a similar challenge in their life. Those two challenges should be combined into a new challenge.
With this combined challenge they have to find another pair. Also with this pair they write down a combined challenge that fits all of the group members issue. At the moment this group contains four members. There are six groups with four members. Those six groups will get into three groups in the same way we described above.
Now there are three groups that wrote down a common challenge on a A4 paper. Those papers will be put on the floor and explained by the groups that created it. All the people will come back to the circle. They get three seconds to think individually what topic suits their situation best. After the three seconds has passed, they should walk to their favourite topic. The people that are standing at the topic, form the group that will work on the challenge.
The groups get 24 hours to write a clear grass-rooted plan in which there will be clear how they will tackle the challenge that the group was assigned to.
Besides the three groups, there is a group that is calling themselves “the commission”. The members of the commission were chosen before. The task of the commission is to support the groups in their process. Besides that, the commission is also there to check on the group how they are doing, how they are working together, and creative and innovative the idea is, et cetera. The knowledge they gain during those observations will be used to help to pick a winner in the end.
There was a meeting arranged with some local politicians. In this meeting the groups could present their ideas and ask for feedback.
The schedule for the simulation game
Day 5 at 17.00h the presentations were being scheduled. The commission was asking the last questions and gave some (mostly) positive feedback.
The next morning the commission revealed the winner: Everyone! Because everyone learned how they can start a (small) change in their community.