Session 4:
Understanding and assessing challenges and threats in context


  • Presentation on threats
  • Threat assessment exercise

Session objectives:

  • to give participants space to discuss the challenges and threats they are facing;
  • to ground conceptually concepts such as ‘capacities’, ‘challenges’, ‘obstacles’, ‘risks’, ‘threats’, ‘thresholds of acceptable risk’ and ‘vulnerabilities’; and
  • to help participants assess challenges and threats in a structured way.

Adaptation notes:

Challenges and obstacles versus threats: some group members, particularly those who have experienced very extreme levels of threat, will understand immediately the concept of ‘threats’. For others, the terms ‘challenges’ or ‘obstacles’ may be easier to work with than ‘threats’. This is because the threats they may face are more subtle – or so ‘normalised’ that they do not perceive them as ‘threats’. Instead, they may consider an attack or arrest as real ‘threats’ but the threat of violence against them (as women) as part of normal life. In such cases, substitute the words ‘challenges or obstacles’ for threats, and keep in mind that the group may need additional support in analysing these challenges/obstacles – in which case, Session 5: Contextual Analysis is particularly important for setting these challenges/obstacles into a clear context.