1. Welcome the participants and explain that today you will work together on decision-making.
2. Start the activity by saying:
“We make decisions every day - when to get out of bed, have breakfast, brush our teeth, meet certain people, etc. Sometimes we face decisions that can be sensitive or challenging. Some decisions are very important and can have long-lasting effects on our lives. It is important to that we are careful when we make decisions, and think before we act. The aim of today’s session is to explore the processes we go through when we make decisions, and to become aware of the many different choices we have to consider in decision-making.”
3. Give the participants pens and paper and ask them to try to answer the question:
What is decision-making?
4. After a few minutes, ask for volunteers to share what they have written. Ask for clarification if there are things you do not understand as the facilitator, or you think would be valuable for the participants to understand more clearly.
5. When everyone has had the opportunity to share, summarise by using the following explanation:
“Decision-making is the outcome of mental processes where we choose a course of action from several alternatives. Our final choice is the decision. The outcome of the decision can be an action, or a chosen or formed opinion.“
6. Now ask the participants to form groups of four and ask them to think about the process of making a decision. Ask them to identify the different steps we go through when we make decisions. They can use pens and paper to make notes on the steps.
7. After about ten minutes, ask each group to share the steps they identified in the decision-making process.
8. List the responses on a flipchart or chalkboard. You can supplement this using the notes below, if needed:
1. Define the problem: Identify exactly what the problem is and define the situation which calls for a decision to be made.
2. Consider all alternatives: List all the possible ways there is to solve the problem. You may need to gather more facts or consult with others to be sure you have not left out any options.
3. Consider the consequences of each alternative: List all the possible outcomes, positive and negative, for each alternative or each course of action that could be taken. Make sure that you have correct and full information for each point.
4. Consider family and personal values. Values include beliefs about how we should act or behave. The personal and family rules we live by and believe in are important. These could be beliefs about honesty, loyalty, or whether it is right to smoke and drink alcohol. Most of our values come from the training we receive at home. Other values come from our friends and society. Consider whether each alternative fits with your personal and family values.
5. Choose one alternative. After carefully considering each alternative, choose the one that seems best based on your knowledge, values, morals, religious upbringing, present and future goals, and the effect of the decision on the people important to you.
6. Implement the decision. Do what is necessary for the decision to be carried out in the way you want it to be. You may have to develop a step-by-step programme with a timetable to make sure things are done.
9. Now ask for two volunteers to act out the following scenario, and ask them to verbalise (speak out loud as they are thinking) the decision-making that is needed to deal with the situation:
You can replace the two boys’ names with other names that are common in your language to make it easy for participants to identify with the story.
a. William has been let down by his friend, Ahmed. They were supposed to watch a movie together, but Ahmed did not come to the cinema as planned, and did not call or send a message. William went home, disappointed, but he was also worried that something had happened to his friend. How does he react when he sees him again four days later?
Examples of options in this scenario could be:
• by confronting his friend and asking him directly what happened
• by quietly letting it go and accepting it
• by talking about the friend behind his back.
10. After a few minutes of the role-play, ask them to stop and leave the story hanging (i.e. do not complete the whole story yet).
11. Ask for two new volunteers to come up and continue with the role-play, showing how the situation ends.
12. When they have finished the role-play, ask the audience whether they think there could be alternatives to the action they have seen. Ask for two new volunteers to come up and create a different ending to the story from where the first role-play ended.
13. When they have finished, discuss the story by asking the following questions:
• What happened in this story?
• Why did these things happen?
• How could the friend have kept his promise?
• Where were the decision points for William?
• Where were the decision points for Ahmed?
• Do you think Ahmed was being honest with William?
• How can you tell if someone is being honest with you, or if they are lying?
• When we make decisions, what makes us choose one option over another?
14. End the activity by thanking the participants for their contributions and reminding them about the six steps of decision-making:
1. Define the problem.
2. Consider all alternatives.
3. Consider the consequences of each alternative.
4. Consider family and personal values.
5. Choose one alternative.
6. Implement the decision.