Tools And Methods

What would happen if ...?

What would happen if ...?

To explore what happens to individuals and communities when care for people or for the environment is not provided.  

Participants act out scenarios where care is not available – i.e. "What would happen to your belly if your caregiver cannot cook because s/he is sick today?" The scenarios start with unpaid care work only and move towards connecting unpaid care work with the more visible parts of the economy, paid work, and from micro (family) to macro (state) situations.


  • To analyse the centrality of care in the economy and how without care, the economy would collapse. 
  • To analyse how paid work and unpaid care work need each other to function.

Steps in the process

  1. Ask for two or three volunteers. Making sure the other participants can't hear, give them this sentence: "What would happen to your belly if your caregiver (i.e. mother, wife) cannot cook because she is sick today?"
  2. They now have to act out the sentence in silence. Tell the rest of participants only read this incomplete sentence written on a flipchart without the two words in bold: "What would happen to your ________ if your caregiver cannot _______ because s/he is sick today?" 
  3. The participants now have to guess the two words in bold that are missing out of the role play.
  4. Do the same for these other examples: 
    • What would happen to your grandmother if your caregiver cannot go to collect water because she is sick today?
    • What would happen to your livestock if your caregiver cannot collect water because she is sick today?
    • What would happen to your family member selling in the market if your caregiver cannot do the housework because she is sick today?
    • After the role plays have a little discussion connecting all the examples.
  5. Now ask:
    • What would happen to your community if all women in the community got sick the same day? 
    • What would happen to your country if all women in your country got sick the same day? 
    • Could we live without care for people? And without care for our environment?

Adding literacy and numeracy

Ask participants to collectively draw an image that has impacted on them from the sketch (i.e. a thirsty person). The facilitator then takes a key word (i.e. water) and develops literacy skills.

Power issues to consider

Use this tool to reiterate the power issues discussed in Activity mapping – ‘what did you do yesterday?’



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