What We Do: DiA UK Workshops

Development in Action’s  mission is to promote global citizenship by improving understanding of and engagement in development issues amongst young people in the UK. Our Global Citizenship Workshops are one of the key ways in which we achieve this. Some of our UK Workshop leaders – Pauline Niesseron and Oliver Deacock have written about their experiences running our Global Citizenship Workshops, and the important lessons they have learnt whilst working for DiA.

Pauline Niesseron has been a workshop leader with Development in Action since 2017. In this piece, she gives an account of her experiences and views working with the charity, and conducting the workshops.

In July, I gave my first Development in Action workshop at Hillsfest, an annual event organised by Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge. Given this year’s theme, Bringing People Together, I decided to prepare a workshop on Social Movements. For a very long time and around the world, citizens have occupied squares together to protest against oppressing governments or promote open and just societies. As an urban planner, I have a natural interest in how social movements form and contribute to shaping neighbourhoods, cities and the world we live in. In fact, it was in urban areas that social movements first appeared as industrialisation and urbanisation led to larger settlements, where social interaction between scores of people was facilitated and where people with similar goals and ideas could find each other.

Hillsfest – Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge

Being my first workshop, I followed eagerly DiA’s methodology to prepare the lesson plan. The methodology is structured around four ideas: connect – demonstrate – activate -consolidate. This helped me built a coherent and interactive session. For me, one of main challenge of the workshop was to estimate its length as this depends mostly on the class interaction.

The workshop’s objective was to introduce social movements (what they are, why do they exist, how can they change the world) but also to raise awareness on the risks, difficulties and limitations they face. I started by showing a couple of pictures of famous social movement and asked students to reflect about the context in which they were formed. Next, students came up with a short definition of social movements. Indeed the multiplicity of social movements make them somehow difficult to define. Yet, students came up with great definitions which included key concepts necessary to understand social movements: loosely organised group that acts collectively, and shares a common outlook of society, to support social goals.

In the Activate part of the lesson plan, students were asked to create their social movement, meaning agreeing on a cause to defend, in groups of four. They had to prepare a three minutes presentation explaining the cause they are defending and what actions they would take to create awareness about it. While a bit artificial exercise, it highlighted some of the issues that social movements can face such as agreeing on actions. Two groups decided to tackle islamophobia; one group campaigned for free access to university and one for inexpensive healthy food. The groups all mentioned social media as their main campaign tool.

I greatly appreciated giving the workshop: it was enjoyable to get insights on what young people think about social movements and what causes they deem important to defend today. It was also a valuable experience for me on how to engage young people, make a workshop interactive, find a balance between providing content and encourage independent thinking!

I would like to thank Hannah, Rosalie and Caroline for their help with the development of the workshop.

Students get involved in the UK DiA workshop at Hills Road Sixth Form College

Oliver Deacock is a 21 year old International Relations student at the University of Birmingham.

After my second year of study, I decided to take a year out to gain work experience. This is where I became a Youth Workshop Leader for Development in Action (DiA) along side other internships.

The three months I spent in India on a development placement was the key reason for my application to Development in Action. It was there where I witnessed the opportunity for sustainable development through education. It was this realisation, which seemed to fit like a glove on the idea of Global Citizenship. This topic is what I centred my first workshop on. I used interactive methods to portray how education, environmental awareness and treating others equally could improve the quality of life of others around the world.

I was aware that helping strangers in another country through simple actions at home was not an easy concept to grasp, so I continually tried to make topics relatable by making links between actions and results. A group of teachers I had a discussion with felt another way to make this concept easier to grasp would be to show how people may have similar ambitions/hobbies in life, even though the environments they live in could be very different.

With regards to results and feedback I found that the interactive nature of the workshops I have delivered has been key in terms of enjoyment and learning. It has been a pleasure to plan and deliver workshops for DiA and I’m looking forward to my next opportunity.   

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.


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