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Pick the right session format


Pick the right session format

Girls Not Brides Global Meeting

There are plenty of ways to make your session at the Global Meeting interesting and interactive. Here are some ideas.


Workshops are 90 minute sessions during which organizers are asked to use creative approaches (interactive dialogue techniques, simulations and gaming, etc.) to engage participants to share their knowledge. Professional facilitators are highly recommended and should therefore be involved in the planning and ideally also staging of the workshop.

Fish bowl

The "Fish bowl" session is a very dynamic and efficient format used to structure debates or discuss controversial topics (90 min). There are different possible set-ups: the model is to create an inner circle with chairs occupied by contributors (fishbowl) and various outer circles of chairs occupied by observers. The moderator will introduce the topics and facilitation is limited to the core group.

 Cartoon credit: Visual Friends, accessed  here

Cartoon credit: Visual Friends, accessed here

The variations include (not limited to):

  • Open fishbowl: one seat in the inner circle is always available for an observer to enter the discussion. A contributor must voluntarily become an observer when this happens.
  • Closed fishbowl: all the seats in the inner circle are occupied. The moderator decides when time is out and the circles are changed.
  • Homogeneous fishbowl: the inner circle share the same opinion.
  • Heterogeneous fishbowl: the inner circle shares different perspectives.

Think tank

A think tank is a 90 min session focusing on a single topic. A moderator/leader will orient participants to the issue and divide the audience into smaller groups for further in-depth discussions. As the session winds down, the audience is reunited and refocuses on what has been learned or/and the next steps in an action-based development.

Campfire – in the “village”

Campfire sessions (60 min) are set in a relaxed environment where a speaker introduces (max 15 min) a topic to a group of people and then becomes a facilitator, inviting responses to comments and questions from those attending. Campfires allow attendees to listen to multiple perspectives on the same issue and learn directly from their peers. Experience with group facilitation is highly recommended.


Storytelling is more than a way of sharing information and extending ideas. If you’d like to organise a session sharing lessons / success stories / challenges on a certain topic, consider using story-telling. Stories can reveal universal truths and enhance multicultural understanding.

Stories should be consistent with the conference topics and they should also reflect the genuine and authentic experience of an individual, or a community. For example, a story session could involve a story of a successful or less than successful attempt to respond to religious extremism.

A story could also describe the challenges faced and overcome – in full or partially – when addressing the needs of married girls. Individual stories of 15 min each.

Do you have a powerful story to tell? Why not tell it as if you were on stage? Have a look at Memory Banda's own TED talk. 

Other formats

There are opportunities to showcase your organisation’s work, or discuss specific issues, in parallel to the official programme. More information on submission of alternative formats will be shared once your application has been accepted. 

Posters, open space sessions, “walk & talk”, but also arts-based formats, including film, poetry, photo-voice, video and other expressive forms will be encouraged.

Social media

Consider how you can incorporate social media into your session, such as welcoming online questions before or during your session. If you’re active on Twitter, include your handle or that of your organisation on a screen behind you.

We look forward to receiving your sessions! If you have any questions, consult our guidance for session organisers or get in touch: