Compasito - Manual on Human Rights Education for Children
Download in PDF format
Tips from users
Activities on same themes
Summary of activities
Human Rights calendar

21. Picturing Ways Out of Violence

Now I see what I could do!

Themes Violence

Level of complexity Level 1

Age 7 – 13 years

Duration 60 minutes

Group size 4 – 20 children

Type of activity Creating human photos, discussion

Overview Children illustrate a conflict or violent situation with a ‘human photo’ and then illustrate how it could be resolved without violence.

Objectives • To raise awareness for keys to violence
• To develop non-violent ways of conflict resolution
• To start discussion on reasons for and behind violence

Preparation None

Materials None


  1. Discuss the topic of ‘violence’ with the group. What is it? What forms of violence can they think of that exist? Encourage the children to extend their understanding of violence beyond the physical to include verbal and psychological abuse and threats of abuse.
  2. Divide the children into groups of 4 – 6. Explain that each group should spend fifteen minutes discussing violent situations they have observed or experienced (e.g. in school, in the family, with friends). The group should choose one violent situation they have discussed and then they should create a ‘human photo’ to show this situation to the others. The ‘human photo’ should include all the people in the group and should be a ‘still’, without any sound or movement. Their pose and facial expression should express their role in the photo (e.g. as a victim, perpetrator or witness).
  3. Ask each group to present their ‘human photo’. The rest of the group should comment on what they think is going on in the photo. The group presenting, however, should not comment.
  4. After all the groups have presented their ‘photo’, explain that now they should return to their small groups and discuss how the situation or conflict in their presentation could be resolved without any violence. They should then create another human photo to show how the situation was resolved.
  5. Ask each group to present their ‘conflict resolution photo’ to the rest of the group. This time there should be a short discussion after each presentation during which the rest of the group can first comment on what they have seen, and then the presenting group can explain what the situation was and how it was solved. Invite suggestions for other possible resolutions. Ask the children to evaluate these resolutions in terms of their real-life experience, emphasizing that there is usually more than one way to resolve violence.

Debriefing and evaluation

  1. Debrief the activity by asking questions such as these:
    • Could you identify yourself with the ‘human photos’ of violence? Have you ever been in violent situations?
    • Was it difficult to find a non-violent solution for the situation/conflict? Why?
    • How did you find a solution?
    • How did it feel to be part of the human photo?
    • Did you feel better when presenting the photo with the resolved situation? Why or why not?
    • What reasons could there be for situations or people to turn violent?
    • What are some of the ways in which you can reduce or avoid violence in difficult situations?
    • What indicators are there for violent behaviour?
  2. Relate the activity to human rights by asking questions such as these:
    • Is there a human right to non-violence? Which human rights are related to non-violence?
    • Why are human rights related to non-violence so important?
    • How can these human rights be protected?

Suggestions for follow-up

  • This activity provides opportunities for discussing violence within the group. The activity ‘A Constitution for Our Group’, p. 56, invites children to set standards for behaviour within their group and to cooperate in their enforcement.
  • Training on violence-prevention or anti-aggression training.
  • Check if any campaigns or activities against violence are going on in your region.
  • Organise peer-education related to anti-violence in schools.
  • The activity ‘From Bystander to Helper’, p. 108, also addresses the many roles involved in abusive behaviour. ‘Words that Wound’, p. 202 deals with verbal violence.

Ideas for action

  • Draft posters related to violence and anti-violence and put them in public places. Indicate a number or address where people experiencing violence can turn to.
  • Do street theatre showing how conflicts can be solved non-violently.

Tips for the facilitator

  • Be very sensitive towards children who have already experienced violence.
  • The children can also choose a ‘typical’ situation; they do not have to talk about themselves if they do not want to.
  • When you introduce the activity, you may want to demonstrate a ‘human photo’ with one small group.
  • The children may have difficulty developing realistic solutions to violent situations, especially those involving adults. Be prepared to offer suggestions for sources of support and protection, including local child protection agencies.
  • Adaptations: The children could use a real camera and take pictures of the scenes. For this you would need to use a polaroid camera or have a camera with a photo printer available. You could then hang the pictures around the room with slogans or ideas attached as to how to prevent violence.