The ASSAR project; being a research project on climate change had to be innovative on how to feedback these complex and scientific findings to the community in a manner that was easy to understand and fun and this is how experiential learning came about.
Experiential learning is defined as a process whereby which students develop knowledge, skills and values from direct experiences outside the traditional learning environment. The experiential learning games were developed by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.
The fun began with the telephone game which was aimed at informing the participants just how easily information can be misinterpreted and breed all sorts of confusion. The message that was convened was as follows: “Onesi is expecting drought this year. Drought resistant seeds will be available at the Ministry of Agriculture office and all headman’s houses for N$ 20.00” the message was sent through the circle from one person to the next. When everyone else have received the message, the last person and the first person said out the message to the group. The first person heard the correct message, but the last person got a completely different and misinterpreted message saying, “All animals in Onesi died because of drought”.
Next, we tried our hand at trying to get the participants to act in a role that would normally never consider, and it was interesting to observe people being out of their skins through a role play on a community-expert exchange visit. It was fun seeing everyone imitating someone else, especially if that person was also in the audience!
During the disaster risk management board game and we could easily pinpoint who the strategic manipulators and plotters are, but one cannot blame them for being so cunning as we would also do anything to get out of a disaster! Who knew what wonders a board game and same dice could do……
The gender walk made a lot of people laugh as the cards they were dealt were “gender inappropriate” and at times participants were not sure of their next move, literally! But in the end, it was the village chief and the wife of the headmaster who made it ahead of the pack with a few unfortunate backbenchers such as single mother with four children left behind wondering “why am I not moving?”
The farming juggle brought out the kid in everyone and it has really been a while that I haven’t seen adults acting so excited about throwing around balls that Ester Nangolo (ASSAR's research assistant) even had to lay down some ground rules as some of the participants were already geared up and ready to aim at their targets: good opportunity to get rid of those hidden grutches, perhaps?
More information on these games can be found in these Namibia Climate Change Adaptation booklets which were specifically designed for this purpose. Download booklets on this link here.
This training was developed for the CDC members of Onesi Constituency, being the ASSAR research site and was facilitated by project partners from DRFN, UNAM, MET and RedCross Namibia.
CDC members trying their hands on the disaster risk management game.