Conflict Role-Playing

  • Objective: To consider situations which provoke violence at the household level or other issues, to discuss what happens and why, and how women try and avoid or resolve such violent conflict. This exercise has also been adapted to explore similar issues in the lives of children.
  • Materials/Preparation: Props, markers, flipchart paper. Based on local knowledge from individual interviews, the research team selected four scenarios in advance. However, each scenario should be tailored for a specific context and age-group.
    • Food: The husband arrives home and the food is not ready because the wife is late back from an NGO meeting
    • Mobility: A woman goes out to visit other women and her husband comes home to find her absent
    • Dowry: The dowry, which was agreed, is not paid in full. The husband wants to send his wife back to her father until the full amount is paid. She tries to persuade him not to do this.
    • NGO loan: The woman’s loan has been used to buy a rickshaw van which her husband operates. Repayment time arrives and she has to get the money from him.However, each scenario should be tailored for a specific context and age-group.
  • Participants: Women or children from the poorest two well-being categories in the community under study who have participated in CARE activities and have permission from their husbands to attend the workshop.


Following introductions and the objective, researchers/field coordinators introduce the four selected scenarios to the women in the workshop, and women split into smaller groups to develop role-plays for two of the scenarios presented.

Women script the role-plays as a group, and only after they finish are male facilitators able to join groups as actors only. Each group then chooses one of the two scenarios to present. Following role-plays, the entire group reflects on the scenarios, causes of and trends in violence against women and strategies to avoid or address violence.


Variation: Story Completion

Working with children or adults, another approach, may be to use pictures or drawings to start a story based on the picture and then ask children or adults to tell the rest of the story. For example, the Basic and Girls' Education Team has used pictures of a happy class and then an illustration of a child that appears to be misbehaving.

During this story-telling, researchers should look for key themes and events in responses, in terms of references of abuse or violence, or strategies that the narrator shares for resolving a conflict and avoiding violence.