River of Life

Brief Description:riveroflife.jpg

Individuals can use this method to introduce themselves in a fun and descriptive way; a group can use it to understand the past and imagine the future of a project, and to reflect on all of these. River of Life focuses on drawing rather than text, making it useful in groups that do not share a language. When used in a group, it is an active method, good for engaging people.

Example Applications:

  • Personal introductions.
  • Project review and reflection.
  • Planning for the future.

Full Description:

For individual introductions:
  • Introduce the method if participants are not yet familiar with it.
  • Form small groups of four to six people.
  • Ask participants to draw rivers at the two-thirds point of the page. Ask them to use the bigger part of the river to represent where they come from and what led them to attend this event.
  • Participants share and explain their drawings.
  • Participants return to their drawings and use the smaller part of the page to represent what they expect to gain out of the event and what they will use from it back in their normal work environment.
  • A chair keeps time during the drawing and explanations, announcing when to start drawing, sharing, drawing again, sharing again and when to stop.

For groups:
  • Break into small groups and ask people to think about the past, present and future of the project or issue you are addressing.
  • Ask them to draw images, or find images in magazines that represent key milestones from the past, present and those they would envision for the future.
  • On a large piece of paper on the wall (several meters long) ask a volunteer to draw the river flowing through the paper.
  • Ask the groups to come up and place their images (with glue sticks, tape, etc.) on the paper. Encourage discussion while participants are working at the wall.
  • After the group has finished putting up images, initiate a discussion about what they see; reflect on past lessons, current situations and visions for the future.

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