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Icon objectives.jpg

By the end of the session the participants should be able to:

  • Explain the meanings of empathy and sympathy
  • Explore situations that call for empathy
  • Discuss ways of showing empathy
  • Explain the importance of expressing empathy
  • Analyse factors that enhance empathy



  1. Objectives Facilitator reads through the objectives 5 min
  2. Meaning of empathy and sympathy Participants brainstorm on the meaning of sympathy and empathy 5 min
  3. Situations that call for Empathy Participants explore situations that call for empathy

The facilitator harmonizes using a flip chart/LCD Projector 5 min

  1. Ways of expressing empathy Facilitator requests volunteers from participants to role play how to empathize with an internally displaced persons

Facilitator harmonizes. 20 min

  1. Factors that enhance or hinder empathy Facilitator uses a flip chart/LCD projector to highlight the factors that hinder enhance empathy 10 min
  2. Importance of empathy Participants brainstorm on the importance of empathy

Facilitator harmonizes their findings 10 min

  1. Summary The facilitator summarizes the session 5 min


It is the ability and willingness to put oneself into another person’s situation and be able to communicate this feeling in time. It can also be referred to as entering the perceptual world of the person and being sensitive to his/her feelings whether good or bad.

Importance of empathy

  • Those who are empathised with will feel respected
  • It helps in resolving conflicts through understanding of other people’s opinions and situations.
  • It helps in building strong interpersonal relationships
  • It enhances self esteem
  • Promotes self acceptance.

The teacher should therefore equip the learners with relevant values and skills that will enable then to empathise with others.

Situation that call for empathy

  • Poor academic performance
  • Gender roles,
  • Cultural diversities
  • Dealing with persons with special needs
  • Trauma survivors,
  • Abusing drugs and substances
  • People living with HIV and AIDS
  • Excelling in academics and co-curricula activities
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Loss of loved ones

Ways of expressing empathy

  • Providing emotional support
  • Providing materials support
  • Active listening
  • Offering guidance
  • Offering spiritual support
  • Referring survivors for further help

Factors that enhance empathy

  • Responsibility
  • Love
  • Humility
  • Simplicity
  • Tolerance
  • Respect

Factors that hinder empathy

  • Inability to listen effectively
  • Hypocrisy
  • Prejudices, biases, stereotyping
  • Discrimination based on social cultural background
  • Subjectivity
  • Mistrust
  • Lack of respect for human dignity

Importance of expressing empathy

  • Instills a sense of belonging and dignity
  • Builds strong interpersonal relationships
  • Enhances non-violent conflict resolution
  • Promotes mutual respect
  • Promotes mutual trust