Accessing Sensitive Information

© UNICEF/NYHQ2006-1114/Kate Brooks
Three-year-old Aya recovers at the Rafiq Hariri Hospital in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. She and all other members of her seven-person family were wounded when a bomb hit their building on 19 July, in the southern town of Bleeds where they were vacationing for the summer.

Due to limitations of time you may not achieve doing this module in the 4-day training but would be a valuable module to consider for the follow-up training.


  • To give consideration to the difficulties for gathering sensitive information in some contexts.
  • To identify ways in which information can be obtained safely and not increase risks to staff, victims or witnesses.
Participants MRM Staff
Session Groupwork & Plenary
Time required 90 minutes
Venue requirements Main training room and breakout rooms
Equipment Flipchart paper and markers
Resource person(s) The facilitator for this session must have the capacity to sense tensions and be able to appropriately manage what can potentially be challenging views expressed. (Experience has shown this can produce some surprising outcomes).
Training materials Group work - questions for the exercise printed out for each group or put onto power point slide or flip chart.
Documents for participants
Access to materials

Pre-session Preparation

In some contexts participants may not feel safe discussing this subject in relation to their own country contexts. Hence the Sargasso Scenario has been used here but participants' own experience and in-country contexts will be valuable if participants feel comfortable to use these. And if the facilitator considers appropriate the exercise can be changed to focus on that of the country in which the participants work rather than Sargasso.

Print out or display the exercise questions for the group work.

Session Sequence

In the plenary ask the participants which of the six grave violations they consider to be the most difficult to access information in the Sargasso context. Identify the two most challenging.

  1. Groupwork (45 minutes)

    Explain that all the groups will consider one of the two below violations (note that you may need to change this if the plenary identifies different violations as being the most challenging in your country context):

    1. Children used by armed forces or armed groups
    2. Grave sexual violation

    Divide into small groups. Ask participants to choose which violation group they wish to be in (note there can be more than one group discussing each violation).

    Provide the group with the below instructions.

    Chose ONE of the following questions to discuss and answer:

    In Sargasso...

    • 1. What prevents children from speaking to an adult about a violation committed against them?
    • 2. What prevents adults from reporting about such violations against children?
    • 3. What are the barriers to staff taking reports on serious violations committed by armed forces or armed groups?

      Note: the facilitator should if possible try to ensure that at least one group discusses each question.

      ALL groups answer question 4:

    • 4. How could we improve information we get on children being used by armed forces or armed groups?
  2. Plenary (45 minutes)

    Ask each group to present on questions 1- 3 in turn, with other groups who have answered the same question adding to that.

    Ask participants if any groups came up with practical ideas in response to question 4. Share ideas and ask participants if any of these ideas would work in the context in which they work.

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