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Self-organisation & W questions

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to encourage initiative; could be remedy against consumerism and passiveness

Description of the tool

In our consumer driven societies we are mostly expected to take things and absorb ideas instead of creating them ourselves. The real opportunities to take over, be active and create our reality ourselves become rather rare. The mainstream, driven in large extent by the interest of money making, want us to be calm, passive, cool, layed back and take, what we are given. Ideas. Values. Music. The standards of good living. Things as they are. Status quo with it's goods and bads. Such as inequality, injustice, exploitation, ecological disaster, etc.

If you don't want to take it all as it is and you do want some things to change, be active. But also leave space for the others to be active because your effort is not enough! Stay active in whatever you do - before you turn on the CD player, check if there is anyone, who wants to play the guitar, or sing? Before you go with your group to a cinema or a night club (to consume entertainment), do something crazy together! Instead of stressing with the programme filling in all the gaps, ask people about THEIR ideas for the programme. All in all - make sure you encourage self organisation in your projects and leave space for creativity and initiative!

“W” questions

The main point is your attitude. If you see a value in self-organisation and creative processes instead of consuming, you will be seeking for ways to encourage the initiative of people, whereas the practical form depends on concrete circumstances. One of the practical possibilities is offering people some kind of platform, such as a paper poster (or a website for your people in your town?) asking for proposals about various things. For example – offering activities for breaks or free time during the project. Introduce people a grid with “W” questions:


and most probably it will be soon filled with ideas like sharing pictures of the project, doing some Tai Chi after the lunch break, a night walk in the wood, dance session, etc.


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Tool overview

This tool is for

10 upwards

and addresses

Social Inclusion, Group Dynamics, Intercultural Learning, Peer education

Materials needed:

Flipchart paper, markers


few minutes to prepare

Behind the tool

The tool was created by


(If you can claim authorship of this tool, please contact !)

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

Evelina Taunyte (on 2 March 2006)

and last modified

17 December 2008

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