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Step 2

The dignity spectrum: dignity is in the detail

Suggested Timing: 20 minutes


In small groups, participants discuss how the ways in which people are treated might either enhance or undermine someone’s sense of dignity. This activity builds understanding about the Dignity Principles in Practice by encouraging participants to consider real-life scenarios from the perspective of someone who is experiencing food insecurity.

Note: This activity can also be adapted to reflect on the practice in other type of setting, for example, employability, the NHS, education, finance services, etc.


To gain a better understanding of the Dignity Principles in Practice through applying them to real-life scenarios, and to identify actions that can be taken to enhance dignity in specific contexts.


Dignity in Practice


Divide participants into groups of 4-6. Smaller groups allow for each participant to contribute to the conversation more fully. Make sure you have a trained facilitator for each small group who knows the ropes and can lead their group’s discussion effectively (click here for facilitators guidance).

Preparing the room

Move chairs into groups and place a Dignity in Practice spectrum in the middle of each group, ensuring that all participants can see it. Provide each group with a set of scenario cards, place these face down.


Step 1:

Each participant selects 2-3 scenarios from the pile.

Step 2:

Without speaking, each participant reads the cards to themselves and places them face-down on the Dignity in Practice board, its position on the board depending on:

  1. which principle they think it best relates to, and

  2. how much the scenario might enhance or undermine the dignity of someone experiencing food insecurity.

Step 3:

Once everyone has placed their card on the board, participants take turns flipping a card over, reading the scenario aloud, and sharing why they chose to place it where they did.

Step 4:

Group members discuss each scenario, considering the following:

Before you turn to discussing the next scenario, ask the group: What additional actions could be taken to ensure that the scenario enhances dignity? Make sure to tell them to make a note of the actions that they have identified.

This part of the discussion is important because it ensures that participants leave the session with concrete ideas for actions to put forward in their own contexts.

Step 5:

Once everyone had their turn, or all the cards have been turned over, start another round. Use as many scenario cards as you want and have time for. Using fewer cards or allowing more time for discussion will result in people having time to reflect on each scenario in more depth.

Notes for facilitators

There are no right answers: The aim of this exercise is to encourage participants to explore how these examples of practice affect someone’s feelings and the actions they could consider taking to enhance dignity.

Explain that the Dignity Principles overlap and that therefore it is quite possible that the scenarios relate to several principles at the same time.

Explain that everybody’s feelings are subjective. Invite participants to consider the scenarios in the spirit of how they appear most real to them, and to be open-minded about how others might feel (differently) about them.

Where there are different views, negotiate with group members to find compromised positions on the spectrum and allow for multiple positions, where necessary.

If you want to run this activity using online video-call, click here to access the PDF tool.