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We live in a world of painful economic realities and often confusing messages about how much money we personally need and what we should do with it. Beliefs about money that we pick up from family and wider cultural influences are often unspoken and contradictory and are then rarely explored.

Being invited by the DEAR learning and development programme to Brussels felt just like the perfect opportunity where I could explore our own relationship to #RealMoney.

I used something we call the YouthBank money game. There were around 35 participants from the DEAR programme who were each provided with an exact amount of money to use at their table - the amount of money on the tables was roughly equivalent to what some families in the world have to live on for a year!

So I began by asking, “Who likes spending money?”, but was also focused on equally important questions, such as “What items do you like spending money on”, or, “In what circumstances do you borrow money?” and, “Who likes giving money away?” but also “To whom and what for”. The heart of the YouthBank money game is applied to decision-making, sharing power, money and information with young people and it becomes intensely personal.

All participants quickly noticed that taking whatever amount of money from whomever was beside them at their table, or giving away whatever amount of money they had, raised many questions about their beliefs, assumptions about money and the kind of society they want to live in. It was evident that everyone had their own unique viewpoint.

Where was I going with this game, this activity?

Well, this experience was for participants to relate their money story to their own relationships, project realities and structures they operate within - which is no easy matter to resolve.

With an event theme of peer learning and engagement, this practical workshop was a contribution to changing the conversation about how and why money is used in their learning projects to support Global Citizenship Education.

I would like to think that 35 participants now have some deeper understanding of their relationship to money and how it is used within their own projects.

And I would like to challenge you to try the money game as well. You will not only learn about the people sitting at your table, but you might be really surprised by what you discover about yourself, your choices and your preferences.

Vernon Ringland

Photo credit: Bru-n0, Pixabay


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