May I Join In?

May I Join In?
Main Topic
Empowerment and Inclusion – Diversity
Additional Topic(s)
Empowerment and Inclusion – Cultural Identity
Empowerment and Inclusion – Ethnic Identity
Empowerment and Inclusion – Gender
Empowerment and Inclusion – Pride
Empowerment and Inclusion – Special Needs
30-60 minutes
Implementation Mode
Indoor F2F
● To be able to discuss the matters around integration, inclusion, or exclusion.

● To learn how to be more inclusive.

Expected Results

● Improved understanding of integration, inclusion, and exclusion.

● Development of skills to promote inclusivity.

● Improved relationships and teamwork.
Overview of Activity
How does it feel to make someone feel excluded? With “May I Join in?”, participants are invited to question the integration, inclusion, and exclusion of a person in a conversation.
Description of Activity
1. Before beginning the game, the facilitator selects 2-3 volunteers to leave the room until instructed to come back in (for a group of 12 people it is ideal to have 3 people leave for example). After the volunteers leave, the facilitator starts explaining the game.

2. Participants should sit on chairs in a circle in which they can comfortably have a conversation about a selected topic. Covid-19 for example.

3. In that conversation, the participants are not allowed to mention some words that are chosen collectively. For instance, to have a discussion about Covid-19, no one is allowed to say Covid-19, vaccine, mask, doctor, nurse, and hospital. Instead, they should choose words to say in place of these banned words. For instance, respectively: grape, banana, apple, tomato, cucumber, and watermelon.
(Of course, participants can opt for other words that can be used for hiding the explicit words and can choose topics other than Covid-19)

3. To give an example of how a conversation in the setup looks like, the facilitator can use the example below, which is about Covid-19 and vaccines:

“Once we started having grape in our lives, everything became more difficult for all of us. It was the first time that we had such a big health crisis in the world. After grape came up with danger in our life, cucumbers were afraid of having big strawberries (strawberry – death) and once tomatoes saw that cucumbers were struggling and having strawberries, they had the same fear. At the watermelon, apples are sold alongside bananas. However, some people are against eating apples and bananas although they are healthy. After the first bananas were sold, the second party of bananas were on their way to be sold up in other watermelon shops.”

4. Once every remaining participant understands the rules, the facilitator invites those who left the room one at a time.

5. When that person comes in, no one should have any sort of contact with them. That person is allowed to do anything they would like such as joining the conversation, grabbing a chair to sit beside participants, or just standing. The participants should continue to not include them in the conversation and should not even open up a space for that person to place their chair to sit.

6. After 3–4 minutes, the facilitator invites the second person and the same as above continues: no contact or communication with the participants entering the room.

7. Lastly, the third person is invited. The game finishes if a participant makes a mistake by using words that must not be used in the conversation such as “vaccine”, or if a volunteer understands the conversation and reveals the rule.

Sources & Additional Materials
Enough chairs to make everyone seated
Additional Notes
To debrief, the facilitator should ask how the volunteers felt when they first entered and were not included in the conversation. Then the question goes to the participants and the facilitator asks how they felt as well. The facilitator then asks how volunteers tried to be included in the group, which means they opted for, and whether these means worked out or not. Debriefing is concluded with the connection between being inclusive and exclusive, by focusing on the language the participants used and the behaviours they had towards the volunteers. Because sometimes it is the language used and behaviours that determine whom to include and whom to exclude.

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