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Poverty and Conflict

In t his a ct iv it y, the participants explore the

connection between poverty and conflict and then examine
ways to resolve conflict.
t i m e r e q u i r e d : 5 0 to 6 0 m i n u t e s
INT E ND E D F O R 6 - 8
Mat er ial s N eed ed

» newsprint, one sheet for each small group of four or five

» markers, one for each small group of four or five
» stories from the newspaper or Internet about war and conflict, one for each small group of four
or five (Try to find stories about small-scale conflict—for example, between neighbors—as well
as large-scale wars. Make sure one of the stories is about a conflict that is causing or exacerbat-
ing poverty.)
» copies of the handout titled “Cartoon Interpretation,” found on page 5, one for each participant
» pens or pencils, one for each participant

Activity Steps
1 Div id e t he l a r ge gr o up into small groups of four or five. Provide each group with a
sheet of newsprint and a marker. Ask half the groups to make a list of all the things the members
of their individual group have in common. Ask the remaining groups to make a list of all the ways
the members of their individual group are different. Allow about five minutes for the small groups

to complete this task.

GATHER BA C K e v ery o ne into the large group and ask for their feedback. You might have
each group name one or two items from its list. Ask if the participants were surprised about how
much they had in common or if they were shocked at how many differences they found. Continue
the discussion using the following questions:
» How do you feel about the other members of your group?

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» Are your feelings affected by the task you had to do?

» Do those who were finding differences feel differently about the members of their groups
than those who were finding similarities?

3 E xp l a in t he f o llo wing:
» Identifying differences between people is often a source of conflict that can escalate alarm-

» An ideal world would be one where humankind has learned positive ways of overcoming
opposing loyalties, social and religious divisions, competing territorial claims, and the clashes
of personal and political ambition. Facing conflict head-on and finding nonviolent ways
to resolve it is the only way this kind of world can become a reality. We cannot choose to
ignore conflict.

» At any level, conflict pulls on people’s fears, experiences, loyalties, and prejudices—the lens
through which they view the world.

» Conflict is a social justice issue, a human rights issue, a “love thy neighbor” issue, and a
“look at your inner-self” issue. Around the world, conflict is a “right in my back yard, right
now” issue for millions of people.

» War, genocide, refugees, displacement, anger, violence, intolerance, and hatred are all results
of conflict.

» Violent conflict—conflict at its most extreme—is not easily understood or contained within a
defined space. It is messy and painful, crossing communities and borders, stripping people of
personal choices and personal control. It affects the powerful and the powerless, the rich and
the poor.

» Ranging from the expression of localized grievances to the complicated maneuvers of geo-
political warfare, violent conflict makes the task of overcoming poverty and hunger all the
more difficult.

» For example, in Rwanda, there are three main groups of people—the Tutsi, the Hutu, and
the Twa. The Tutsi were the aristocratic minority landowners, the Hutu were the major-
ity subsistence farmers, and the Twa were the forest dwellers. They lived together relatively
peacefully for many years. The Hutus and Tutus shared a language, social structures, cus-
toms, and beliefs.

» In 1935, when Rwanda was a colony of Belgium, the Belgians divided people into two
groups—Tutsi and Hutu. They forced people to carry identity cards, which showed which
race they belonged to. They favored the Tutsi and gave them jobs, education, and other
privileges. In 1962, Rwanda gained independence and the Hutu came to power in govern-
ment. Tensions between the two groups grew over the years. In 1994, up to a million Tutsi
and Hutu moderates were killed by Hutu hardliners in the Rwandan genocide.

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» Conflict is always a complex issue, but the years of emphasizing the differences between the
Hutu and Tutsi was a key factor in the Rwandan genocide.

4 I nv it e t h e pa rt icipa nt s to gather with their small groups again. Provide each group
with one of the stories you have gathered from the newspaper or the Internet. Someone in each
group should read the story aloud, and then the group should discuss the following questions:
» How did the conflict start?

» Over what are the people fighting?

» Who is affected and how?

» Is there a link between this conflict and poverty? If so, how?

» How could this situation be resolved?

5 I nv it e o ne p e r s o n from each small group to summarize the story and discussion for the
larger group. Then ask the following:
» Are war and conflict inevitable in our world? Why or why not?

» Is conflict always a bad thing? Why or why not?

Allow for several responses and some good discussion before proceeding. Then note the following:
» In areas where there is violent conflict, the poor, the weak, the marginalized, and the vulner-
able suffer most.

» Cycles of poverty are made worse by war, and children are the most frequently affected.
Modern-day armed conflict kills and maims more children than soldiers because wars are
fought not on battlefields but in villages and towns.

» An increasingly alarming trend is the use of child soldiers in dozens of countries.

» Children in war zones are deprived of adequate food and basic schooling.

» Children experience the lasting emotional and psychological effects of witnessing violence
and, frequently, of separation from their families.

» Violent conflict poses one of the greatest threats to human development, destroying lives
and undermining efforts to eradicate poverty. Yet violence does not have to be the inevitable
consequence of all conflict.

» If dealt with thoughtfully and creatively, conflicts that arise between different groups in soci-
ety can lead to positive changes in structures and systems that cause injustice and, instead of
violence, build peace.

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6 P r o v id e e a c h pa rt icipa nt with a copy of the handout found on page 5 and a pen or
pencil. Note that the cartoon on the handout illustrates stages in conflict resolution. Invite the
participants to work in pairs to match up the titles with the panels of the cartoon. Ask them to

work through the questions and tasks noted on the handout.

I nv it e e a c h pa ir to join with another pair to form a small group of four. Ask the small
groups to each create a short drama that illustrates the development and then resolution of a
conflict using the stages in the cartoon. They can address a war situation or a conflict in their own

lives. Allow ample time for them to prepare the drama.

I nv it e t h e s m a ll gr o ups to perform their dramas. After all the dramas have been
performed, conduct a large-group discussion using the following questions:
» How realistic were the scenarios of conflict resolution?

» How could you use these stages in conflicts you face personally?

9 C o n c l ud e b y a s king the participants to think about what they are doing (or could do) to
contribute to a more peaceful world. Offer the following comments as a way to get them thinking
about possible action steps:
» Concerned individuals can play an important part in confronting and resolving conflict by
peaceful, rather than painful, means.

» We all have a personal part to play—whether by fundraising, by educating others about the
issues, or by speaking up for the vulnerable. We are the ones who can make all the differ-
ence. We can inform ourselves. We can lobby governments and individuals.

» We may not be able to protect all the innocent from suffering, but we can pray. We can
give generously to those whose lives are turned upside-down by violence. We can examine
our own actions and motives carefully. We can take responsibility for the internal conflict
between good and evil that takes place in all of us, on a daily basis.

Copyright © 2008 by World Vision Resources, Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

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Handout | Cartoon Interpretation
cartoon interpretation
make up the cartoon below. Match the six titles to the correct panels. Then give the
There are an appropriate
six panels title.
that make up the cartoon below. Match the six titles to the corrected panel. Then give the cartoon
an appropriate title.



different interests




– task two
When trying to understand a cartoon, it can be useful to follow the acronym IDA: Identify,
When trying to understand a cartoon it can be useful to follow the acronym ‘IDA’ – Identity, Describe and Analyse.
Describe, and Analyze. Write an interpretation of the cartoon. You may find it useful to first think
Write an interpretation
through the questionsof the cartoon. You may find it useful to first think through the questions below.
Ide nt if y
� Who are the characters in this cartoon?
» Who are the characters in this cartoon?
� Why do you think the cartoonist choose to use them?

� What takes place in the cartoon?
� What ideas are suggested by the sequence of events?
» Why do you think the cartoonist chose to use them?
� What is the main point or message of the cartoon?
� Do you agree or disagree with the cartoonist? Why/Why not?

www.worldvision.com.au/globaleducation World Vision Australia

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De s c r ib e
» What takes place in the cartoon?

» What ideas are suggested by the sequence of events?

A n a ly z e
» What is the main point or message of the cartoon?

» Do you agree or disagree with the cartoonist? Why or why not?

Handout 4: Permission to reproduce is granted. © 2008 by World Vision Resources.

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About World Vision
W o rld V i s i o n i s a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to helping
children and their families break free from poverty. Our work is motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ. We
see a world where each child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we know this can
be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World
Vision is unique: We bring nearly sixty years of experience in three key areas needed to help children and
families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development, and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across
many areas of expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for children’s physical, social,
emotional, and spiritual well-being.

W o rld V i s i o n R es o u r c e s educates Christians about global poverty, inspires them to social justice,
and equips them with innovative resources to make a difference in the world. By developing biblically-based
materials for educators and ministry leaders on the causes and consequences of global poverty, World Vision
Resources supports the organizational mandate to move the church in the United States to more fully embrace
its biblical responsibility to serve the poor.

For more information about

our resources, contact:

World Vision Resources


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