A woman running for office is an uncommon sight in rural Cambodia. Above vision had been produced by the group of BBC TV makers that I was facilitating. This would be one of the outcomes of their ambitious project to increase youth participation in civic life.
The shots of the future
More pictures of the future had been created. Some were about youth participating, some about increased levels of knowledge and understanding democratic processes, some about the interaction between young and older generation. But all had in common that they were in the form of a picture. Drawn by hand, but clearly with the aim that such a picture could be shot by a TV-crew or photographer at the end of the project.
It’s a simple method. Give every participant 3 blank cards and ask them to draw 3 different pictures of the desired future of the project. Then, let them present their cards in small groups of 4-5 persons. Thus a first shifting occurs as group members will cluster cards with the same topic.
With a final plenary session, all the different visions of the future are being discussed and put on a big board. Some visions of the future will be discarded others will remain. This will lead to a shared understanding of the future by all participants. The board, with the chosen pictures, will remain visible throughout the whole session and hopefully even afterwards.
The beauty of the method lies in the concreteness of the drawings. Because participants are being asked to picture what they concretely see in the future, the future becomes tangible and real. The stepwise approach (from individual to the group via small groups) creates a process that helps choosing the most desirable pictures, the future that the group really wants to achieve.