Dwarzark in 2050 | Dreamtown & YMCA Sierra Leone

Out Of Office recently designed a capacity building program to trigger future thinking and to facilitate meaningful and inclusive dialogues between the youth groups and local authorities in Dwarzark, Sierra Leone.

Two workshops were designed to give the participants a clearer picture of what kind of future they want to shape and how. Participants will have challenged their own ideas about the future, imagined a desirable future and, finally, design actions toward it.

Dreamtown is an NGO with a vision to promote and create urban environments where young people can dream and act on their opportunities. They focus on urban communities and space making in cities. In the last year they have been running a project in Dwarzark community in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Together with their partner organization YMCA Sierra Leone they run the Urban Space Challenge, a competition for young people in Sierra Leone on innovative ideas for youth friendly public spaces in slums.

In the Urban Space Challenge, youth groups from Dwarzark in Freetown have joined the challenge of who can make the best of most youth friendly public spaces in their communities. Through various challenges, youth groups have been actualizing ideas on how to improve their own public spaces – which range from public toilet facilities, basketball field, public water point, training gym, learning facilitates and a counselling centre. Also, they developed their own advocacy campaigns in the community to engage with the local authorities and communicate what is important for them.

The youth participants mapped generational change over the past century since their grandparents’ generation and cast the net into the future through to their (potential) future grandchildren using a future method called the ‘Generations Chain’.

But what if young people could gain greater agency to anticipate, imagine and shape their future in the long term?
And with future, we mean to trigger ideas on the future of Dwarzark (and their role in it) in 30 years. To support young people’s capabilities and abilities to imagine different futures to understand their own actions to shape (their) future and develop more agency to have dialogues with authorities to discuss the future.

The participants were challenged to ask one or more “What if?” questions that would take them towards the future that they prefer. 

Out Of Office developed and designed these two playful future workshops to trigger future thinking and to facilitate meaningful and inclusive dialogues between the youth groups and local authorities in Dwarzark. Using tools and methodologies from Futures Thinking, participants got to experience ways to address the future, reveal biases about the future, and help to shape our image of the future. 

‘The workshops gave them a whole new perspective about the future and what they think about it.’  – Pious Mannah – Community Development Worker – YMCA

How we approach the future, will also define our answers and these workshops should be a catalyst for inspiration, imagination, and better dialogues between generations!

A future mindset helps asking the right questions. We played the ‘Polak Game’ to explore what their attitude is towards the future and how capable you feel of personally affecting the future.