Similar to a book club discussion, group participants will need to read through the Study Guide prior to gathering together. A necessary section to read and think about beforehand is Part I: Examining the Situation (pp. 11-17). As group leader, you will also want to look over the websites listed on page 12 of the Study Guide. These are links to important international programs on global food security.
The Study Guide in itself cannot provide all the details and aspects of poverty and hunger that are needed. Therefore, consider inviting a knowledgeable speaker to talk to the group. Just make sure that they review the Study Guide and address the points and perspective raised there.
Another option is to watch a video documentary or an online video. (See page 18 of the Study Guide for web-based video sources.) Depending on the length of the video, you might have to organize two sessions: the first for Examining the Situation and the second for Discerning and identifying Actions.
Recommended websites with online videos:
Interactive websites with educational information:
(Annual World Food Day Teleconference, on or near October 16)
The format for Examining the Situation might be:
• Overview of where hunger persists in the world and within the United States.
• Participants’ reactions to the Facts & Realities (page 13 of Study Guide).
• Discussion on Seeking the Right Course of Action.
How to grapple with Seeking the Right Course of Action
This part of the Study Guide (pages 14-17) may be a new way for some group members to think about hunger and food issues. The two courses of action – Current and Alternative – are very much debated by international groups and policymakers trying to ensure global food security. The study guide cannot get into all the details of these two courses of action, but the purpose here is to show that two major paradigms are presenting themselves as the way to “feed the world”.
How to engage the group in understanding the differences in the two courses of action:
1) Divide participants in half (or ask them to self-select)
2) One half to discuss Current course and identify key features
3) Other half to discuss Alternative course and identify key features
4) Come back together and inform each other of what they learned
As the group leader, you can help to identify the main differences in the two courses of action. Be prepared to write these on a blackboard or poster paper. Then engage the group in what they believe is the “right” course of action.
Insist on thoughtful responses. Don’t let people just share their feelings or opinions without providing reasonable arguments. Use the “pros and cons” model; argue for a position, and then argue against it.
Manage personalities. Specifically, ask the quieter members what they think of the topic. As kindly as possible, rein in the dominating members who don’t let others speak. Make sure every participant has an opportunity to be heard.
Discussion questions are listed on pages 18-19 of Study Guide. It is not necessary to address each of the seven questions. Choose the ones appropriate for your group or as time allows.
Approx. Time: 30-45 minutes
Helpful Hint: Break into small groups (3-4 people) to first discuss the questions, then come back to the full group and share responses.