Enter Dignityland!

Type of tool: 
60-90 min
Topics addressed: 
Human rights

This is a card game in which players, as Members of Parliament in an imaginary country called Dignityland, are asked to decide on the social policies concerning social rights within a development plan for the next years.


- Cooperative learning
- Simulation
- Peer learning

Step by step process: 

1. Explain that this activity is a card game and show the cards to the players (do not distribute them yet)
2. Start treating the participants as members of the parliament in Dignityland and welcome them. Create an atmosphere so that they can get their role as Members of Parliament (MPs).
3. Hand out the card with description of Dignityland to participants, and wait until each participant has read through it.
4. Hand out the social rights cards immediately afterwards. Each participant gets a set of 21 cards that have the same colour on the back of the cards.
5. Explain what is on the cards.
There are seven different social rights in each set of 21 cards. For each social right there are three different policy options. In total, every participant will each have 21 cards with the same colour on the back.
Moreover, each card includes:
- the social right (e.g. right to work)
- respective policies (e.g. same salary for the work of equal value, irrespective of age and gender)
- and two arguments which participants can use when making their choice (an argument in favour is marked with the + sign; an argument against is marked with the - sign).
6. Explain to the players the steps of the game.
- First step - Individual choice
In the first step, participants will decide individually on a set of seven cards that they think are the best for the country. They have 10 minutes to decide. After all participants have decided individually, they will present to the others what policies they have chosen. The facilitator will take notes regarding thier choices on the scoreboard.
- Second step - Group decision
As a group of players, participants will decide on a common set of seven cards that they think are the best for the country. Allow about 30 minutes for this stage.
7. Let players make their choices on the policy areas first.
8. Move to the second step.
During the two steps of the game, the facilitator should keep the time and should take notes on order to use them during the debriefing. Players have to decide themselves which system they will use for the group decision (for example, debating and argumentation, voting etc.).
The facilitator should write down the group decision at the bottom of the scoreboard. Each policy option has a score of 1 to 3 in terms of cost to the country. The Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament has decided the scores mainly on the basis of economic criteria. Dignityland has a total resource of 14 points; this means that the policies cannot cost, in total, more than 14 because the country does not have enough resources. (The participants are not told about the scoring system and total country resources before the game finishes.)
9. Give players the results of their policy choices.
10. Move to the next step of the game: debriefing and evaluation.

Debriefing and Evaluation

Start debriefing immediately after having played the game; it is an inseparable part of the game! Questions and reflections should be based on both the dialogues during the game and the situation emerging at the end.
Participants can recall what happened during the game, describing it again for illustrating the ideas, tensions or findings (What happened? How was it to play this game?). However, the debriefing should not be used to repeat the discussion that took place during the game. the game is over and the debriefing should serve to build the "learning and action bridge" to reality. Therefore, you may want to de-role in order to help participants to come back to their reality. It is enough to say: "The game is over; we are back to the place we are here and now."
During this phase, you will discuss with the participants and prioritize the findings and lessons learnt in line with the objectives of the game. This means deepening their understanding of human rights, the links between social rights and social policies, similarities with the reality of participants and possibilities of taking action for social rights.

Materials and resources: 

For each participant:
- One set of 21 game cards
- One card with the description of Dignityland
- Scoreboard including the scoring of each card

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