Using the Opportunities Chart as a Discussion Tool with Children in Ebola Affected Communities

Using the Opportunities Chart as a Discussion Tool with Children in Ebola Affected Communities


In groups of five, children discuss the problems that Ebola is causing in their families and communities. Give or draw out a chart that looks like this (but do not write the examples).

What problems is Ebola causing for children in our families and communities?



How Serious

How Common

How much can children do + examples

Importance to us

Children are not going to school

Children hear adults talking about Ebola and they are afraid and confused

Children whose relatives are sick are being avoided by their friends

Children don’t know what to do to protect themselves

Some children are orphans





  1. Together, children decide on the top 3-5 of problems and write these in the first column.
  2. Children discuss how serious each problem is and how common. They decide on a points system e.g 5/5 = most serious/most common and 1/1 =least serious/least common)
  3. Children discuss how much children themselves can do about each of these problems and talk about examples.
  4. The children total the points in the last columns and discuss the outcome:
    • What have you chosen as the most important problems?
    • Are these easy problems for children to do something about? Why/Why not?
    • What support do you need from adults to do these actions?

This chart can help inform adults and child focussed programmes what children are thinking and feeling and some ideas from the children themselves about ways they can get involved and can help.

Here is a picture of children from Sierra Leone using the Opportunities Chart discussing the question, "What problems do children face with other children at school?". This was part of a child protection programme that Children's For Health's director, Clare Hanbury was involved with some time ago.
Her are three girls using the chart as part of a consultation about the key problems around nutrition in families and what children can help to do in Tete Province, Mozambique.
Children writing a poster as part of the PCAAN programme
Children can also draw their ideas as pictures in response to questions. In this photo children are being consulted about the causes of under-nutrition and they are discussing and recording the common foods they eat as a starting point to understand their diet and what can be done to improve it using local foods.

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