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


  1. In groups of 5 children discuss reasons the problems that Ebola is causes 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  2  5


Children can make informal groups and teach each other & learn together until the schools open again.

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.

Children discussing and filling in an Opportunities Chart in Sierra Leone

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.

Danida pic

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 discussing, drawing and working on a chart to collect their ideas for a Nutrition Programme in Mozambique

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.

Other Tools

These can be messages form the Children for Health 100 Collection or your own messages!

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