Mothers x Mothers: Prepare

Get Ready

Don’t know what to say during the meetup? This Facilitation Guide breaks down every activity in the Meetup Presentation, complete with facilitation tips, downloads, and other resources.

The following activities correspond to this set of slides you can use while facilitating a meetup. We suggest you get familiar with the activities ahead of time, and include instructions and tips here on how to run each activity."

Download a version of this webpage in Google Slides for easy customizing and sharing.

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Match the facilitation guide with the slides to best prepare for your Meetup.

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You don't need all the answers.

The workshop is about creating space for people to share their perspectives and opinions. We provide some facts you can share about the COVID-19 vaccine in the Concern Cards, but if you don’t know an answer, you can simply say you don’t know. You can always follow up on questions via chat after the workshop. Above all, don’t pretend to know. 

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Model the behavior you want to see.

You are setting the tone for this conversation. If you want to encourage mothers to share vulnerably, you can set that expectation by being vulnerable in your own introduction. Moreover, you can respond with respect, empathy, and curiosity, when someone expresses an opinion different from your own.

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Give respect and ask for respect

Just as you treat participants with respect, you too should be treated with respect. The COVID-19 vaccine is a sensitive topic, and if a participant is acting disrespectfully, you can and should ask them to not interrupt. If the disruption persists, you can ask individuals to leave.

The facilitator is the person speaking and guiding the conversation.

Notetakers are jotting down observations and questions. They jump in to help facilitators if they get stuck. 

Decide between you and any co-facilitators who will be leading each activity. We recommend alternating so everyone has the chance to facilitate and notetake during a meetup.

How it Works
Preview of Moms x Moms introductory PowerPoint slide

During the first part of the meetup, you will welcome people, introduce yourself and your organization, and let people know what to expect. You'll also talk to people about privacy and consent.

The goal of this moment is to invite people to make the shift from stranger in a new setting to members of a community in formation. We want to avoid the traditional sharing of names and titles and instead create activities that celebrate the work mothers are doing to care for their families in a new country.

About consent

Consent is when one person voluntarily agrees to the proposal of another. Receiving consent is essential to building a safe space.

It’s important that participants in the workshop know:

  • That you won’t record or share any private information or personally identifying details outside of the facilitation room.
  • If you plan on taking photos, recording quotes, etc., please let all participants know and give them the ability to opt out. 

Get written/verbal agreement from all participants. We need to make sure everyone understands and is comfortable participating in the meetup. 

Example Consent Language

📝 For the purpose of this gathering, we won’t need any personal or private information from you unless you wish to share it. 

🗣 What you share during sessions is entirely up to you. This experience is voluntary and you can opt out at any time. 

📷  If any pictures and audio/video recordings are captured, they’ll be used to promote your ideas or tell the story of the project. You decide if it’s okay for us to use these pictures and audio/video recordings.

Please ask each participant to say “Yes” to confirm that they give consent. Sometimes, people feel uncomfortable raising their hands or “opting out.” Let mothers know that they can reach out to you individually during the break and that any photos/notes/recording with them will be deleted. 

How it works
Preview of This or That game presenting two options: coffee and tea

The purpose of this activity is to get people comfortable expressing their opinions, agreeing and disagreeing with each other, and getting to know each other's preferences.

  • Make sure there is enough space to walk around a room.
  • Show participants a PowerPoint slide with two opposites. Identify what side of the room represents each opposite. 
  • Ask participants to physically stand up and move to the side of the room of the option that represents their opinion. People who agree with both options can stand somewhere in the middle according to their preference. 
  • After each tension, ask 1-2 people to share why they are standing where they are standing. 
  • You will see many possible “This or That” exercises in the slide deck. Choose 2-4 to run that speak to you and your community. 
  • If people ask you to define what terms mean, don’t. Invite people to create their own definitions and share how they defined the terms while deciding where to stand. 
  • When you raise the health-related slides, acknowledge that these may be more sensitive for people and that it’s ok if no one wants to share. Today is about learning and sharing, not about convincing or about being right or wrong.

How it works
Preview of Agreements slide from MxM presentation

The goal of this moment is to create safe and brave spaces for participants to be able to share their own experiences and raise genuine questions. This is an essential trust building moment.

Agreements will help ensure everyone feels safe expressing their true opinions and can trust each other.

Introduce the suggested agreements and share why you are using agreements. Ask women to re-write, add agreements, and leave behind agreements that don’t speak to them. 

  • You should aim to have a maximum of 5 agreements.
  • Let participants know that agreements can change at any time.
  • The group can revisit agreements at the beginning of every session to create a safe space.

How it works
Preview of Moms x Moms video stories PowerPoint slide

This activity uses both videos and storytelling to introduce mothers to your health topic. First, you'll show a video in an appropriate language that explains the health topic from the perspective of experts and health professionals. Then, you can show videos that address the health topic from the perspective of everyday people in the community. If you do not have videos from the community, you can ask mothers about their personal experiences with the health topic.

  • If your session is about COVID-19, you can  use the “How Vaccines Work” slide and video included (slide 26).
  • For other options, look for a video that explains how vaccines work in the language of your community. Avoid videos created by influencers or individuals or news sites. Instead, look for videos that are published by government and public health agencies. The CDC, WHO, NRC-RIM, and GAVI are all good places to go for videos.  
  • Play videos from women in the community sharing their experience with the health topic. If you haven’t prepared videos ahead of time, ask the mothers to talk about their own experiences. By talking honestly about their fears and doubts, they invite others to do the same. 
  • After all the videos or shares are done, go around and ask women to share one thing that surprised them and one question they still have about the vaccine.
  • Consider using the NRC-RIM video booth service if you are interested in creating a video but need a little help.

How it works
Preview of Moms x Moms break discussion PowerPoint slide

The goal of this moment is to create some informal, unstructured time for mothers to build deeper connections.

Let mothers know there will be a 15 minute break. If food will be shared, remind participants of social distancing and hygiene measures to observe during the break. 

Optional Activity
  • Use this activity if participants are quiet and are not engaging in conversation during the break to help spark conversation. 
  • During the break, pair mothers into groups of 2 or 3. 
  • The “Let’s Discuss” slide contains an image and discussion questions mom can use to get to know each other better (slide 30).
  • After the break invite moms to share a summary of what came up in their discussion.

How it works
Preview of Moms x Moms concern card including facts and discussion questions about COVID-19 vaccines

This is the core of the meetup. The goal is to create a space for mothers to share their experiences, address genuine concerns, and gain valuable information to make health decisions.

In this activity, you will repeat the This or That activity with prompts related to the health topic. Be sure to pause to ask moms to share their reasonings for why they stand for “this” or “that.”

Then, you will lay out Concern Cards in the center of the space. Ask women to select the cards they are most curious about. On the back of the cards, you will find facts to read and 1-2 discussion questions to ask moms to discuss. Try to cover anywhere between 3 and 5 concern cards during the discussion.

Concern cards are a tool to spark discussion about health topics. Concern cards help surface questions some might be afraid to ask, and help you facilitate by including responses and facts you can share. 

  • Remind moms of the agreements about this being a judgment free space. We respect every mom’s right to make a choice for herself and her family.
  • If moms ask you questions and you don’t know the answer, it’s ok to say you don’t know. Write down the question and tell them you will get back to them later via chat. Your organization might help you get answers you need to send to moms via chat after the gathering.
  • If someone expresses an opinion or view that is different from your own, respond with curiosity and respect. Remember, the goal is not to force people to change their minds, but to share valuable information and ensure everyone feels heard. 
Preview of Moms x Moms concern card including facts and discussion questions about COVID-19 vaccines

Concern Cards

Use Concern Cards when:

  • You want to discuss health topics that you are not an expert in: the cards contain the facts you need!
  • You discuss sensitive topics where people might be afraid to speak about their true concerns. 
  • You don’t know what to say about an important topic. The cards contain information you can readily share. 

How it works
Preview of Moms x Moms closing PowerPoint slide

You will thank mothers for joining the meetup and for sharing openly and honestly. You will also invite them to join future meetups and suggest other topics you can discuss as a group. 

You will also ask mothers to share one piece of advice for other mothers navigating this health topic. This could be shared aloud, written on a piece of paper, or written on the PowerPoint. This is a way to acknowledge and celebrate the collective wisdom already in the room. 

  • Consider playing music while the mothers think about the advice they would give others
  • Consider taking a group photo to help you promote a future meetup.