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This activity help participants understand how rumours (and at a larger scale fake news) are being created and the potential causes behind this.


  • to see how easy it is for a story to be altered when it is being passed from one person to another
  • to identify the elements that cause these alterations


  • Several handouts with the story
  • Time: 30 – 45 minutes


  1. During the break, prepare the setting by arranging 5 seats in from of the room, facing the group.
  2. In the beginning of the activity, ask 5 persons from the group to volunteer. (If doing this activity in a language in which not all the participants are very good at, ask for the ones with better skills in that language to volunteer. For the success of the activity it is important the 5 persons to be quite fluent in the working language)
  3. Invite 4 of the volunteers to leave the room, saying you will join them in a few minutes to explain the activity.
  4. Give the handout with the story to the remaining volunteer, and ask him/her to sit on the first of the 5 chairs. Give other similar handouts to participants that are still in the room.
  5. Explain to the volunteer that he/she will read the story and then will return the handout to you. Following this you will invite the people from outside to come one by one. The first volunteer will tell the story to the second by memory, the second to the third and so on until all 5 volunteers will retell the story. Instruct the rest of the participants to follow what changes appear in the story as it is passed along.
  6. Go out and explain the same rule to the 4 volunteers, instructing them that they need only to listen to the story and give it to the next person, without asking questions to the previous one.
  7. Invite the volunteers one by one, allowing them to listen to the story from the previous person. Do this until all five were part of the process. While this is going on, ask participants to write down the changes that appear, what has been transmitted accurately and what has been distorted.
  8. Once all have retold the story, ask one participant to read the original version.
  9. Facilitate the discussion topics


  • How different is the last version of the story, retold by the 5th volunteer, compared to the original one. What are the main differences?
  • What elements were removed from the story? (write each answer on the flipchart)
  • What elements were added in the story? (write each answer on the flipchart)
  • What elements were changed in the story? (write each answer on the flipchart)
  • Why do you think some elements were kept while others were removed? What is common about the ones that were kept?
  • Can we see such a process happening in real life? Could you give some examples? Why do you think this is happening?
  • Can you give some examples of such a process regarding the refugees in your country or in Europe?
  • What can we do to prevent the spread of such false rumours/news?

Tips for the facilitator: Typically, the events that are remembered relate to refugees, the potential theft, the fighting, the romantic story with the married man, the fire walk etc. These are also the typical stories presented by the media or rumour spreaders (ones related to unfamiliar or bombastic things, violence, scandals etc.). You can use this to make a parallel between how our mind works and how media or persons with bad intentions are exploiting this for various interests (getting more audience, supporting their hidden agenda, trying to influence politics etc.)



Inspired by the “Rumour Clinic” activity of “Tide~ global learning”




Have you heard about the things that happened in the teambuilding? Tim said that it was quite an adventure! It started with a lot of fun, they were doing canoeing, archery, horse riding, climbing wall and a lot of other things! People were really enjoying the games, participating with a lot of enthusiasm. You could often hear them halfway across camp. A fire professional created a fire walk and some learned how to walk barefoot over burning hot coals. There was all the usual fun, surprises and lots of laughter. The evenings were also quite animated, with a lot of parties and dancing. Romantic stories appeared between our colleagues, with one of them actually being married. Imagine this! Wonderful music was being played, the stage was flooded with dancers.

Still, in the crowd, there were some incidents, with two people claiming that they don’t have their wallets anymore. For the first time there were also some refugees working there. So, some suspected them to be involved in these incidents and there was even some fighting between one of our guys and one of theirs. Police had to come for things not to become even more violent.





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