IHL Bingo


International Humanitarian Law Bingo is an activity that educates participants about various aspects of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Cultural Property law. Participants will undergo a review session of the annual Youth Action Campaign (YAC) theme and IHL in general, then play a version of bingo where the called-out spaces will be in the format of a question, and the associated space on the individual’s bingo board will be the answer. Participants can also discuss whether they learned anything new from the game or the review session beforehand. 



Dissemination of International Humanitarian Law promotes respect for the rules of the law, but it also helps teach principles of humanity that limit violence and preserve peace. Knowledge and awareness of IHL can allow young people to become more engaged global citizens who understand humanitarian issues arising from armed conflict. This activity provides an outlet for both education and entertainment!  


How to Get Started

Step 1: Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Define your desired outcomes for the activity and create measurable goals and objectives to guide the planning process. We encourage you to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations into your activity and be creative with your approaches.  


Step 2: Plan the Details

Create a list of IHL or annual theme-related questions and put the answers to the questions on the bingo cards (see Additional Resources section). Here are some examples:

   • Upon whom does International Humanitarian Law focus? Civilians, combatants, and those who are no longer in the fight

   • What are the primary sources of international law? Treaties and rules of customary international law

   • Which two other organizations make up the “Global Network” that the American Red Cross is a part of as a National Society? The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross

   • What is one of the 7 roles of the ICRC and other impartial humanitarian organizations? CHOOSE ONE: Collect and care for wounded and sick; Central Information Agency; Tracing/Restoring Family Links; First Aid and other medical Training; Dissemination of IHL; Distribution of Relief Consignments

   • What instruments make up the bulk of international humanitarian law? The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977

   • What is the definition of feasible precautions? Practical measures and considering the circumstances to decrease unnecessary suffering

   • Which situations of violence does IHL not apply to? Riots, criminal activity, and sporadic acts of violence

   • What are the Seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement? Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, Universality

   • What is a convention in the context of international law? An international agreement between nations

   • What are the four principles of IHL? Military necessity, Distinction, Proportionality, and Limit Unnecessary Suffering. 


Step 3: Coordinate the Logistics

Set a date and time

   • This activity will take about two hours.


Secure a venue

   • If you plan to host this activity virtually, select a platform (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams) accessible to the participants.


Assign roles and responsibilities

   • This activity requires a volunteer as the bingo caller, to assist with checking the boards of those who yell “Bingo!” and to hand out prizes during the activity

   • Provide the bingo caller with the full list of questions/answers and ask them to keep track of the questions asked for validation purposes.


Gather supplies

   • Create a list of supplies needed and arrange to acquire them in advance if this will be an in-person activity: 

       • Print out enough copies of the bingo boards (see Sample Bingo Card section) or set up the online platform to create bingo boards

       • Pens

       • Prizes


Spread the Word

   • Advertise the activity through various channels such as social media, email, and school announcements.

   • Send a reminder with important details prior to the activity.

   • Tag @YouthVoices4IHL and @americanredcrossyouth on Instagram or use the hashtags #IHLYouthActionCampaign to be spotlighted!  


Step 4: Facilitate the Activity

   • Run through Step 2 and Step 3 in advance and engage the participants throughout the activity.

   • Arrive early to set up for the activity.

   • Log in early and from a location with a solid and stable Wi-Fi connection if this will be a virtual activity. Encourage participants to keep their cameras on and mute themselves during the activity.

       • You can randomize the answers or host this bingo game virtually via https://www.bonus.com/bingo


   • During the simulation:

       1. Introduce yourself and your fellow facilitators, and let the participants know that when they get a “Bingo!”, they can bring their board up to a volunteer to be verified and win a prize (if you will include prizes).

       2. Give a brief explanation of the rules of bingo. Also be sure to explain that this game of bingo will come with an extra challenge as they select answers, not simply matching.

       3. To begin playing, pick a question at random and call it out. Wait approximately a minute or until most people look finished to call the next question. Repeat this process until someone gets a “Bingo!”. After the first person wins, you can continue playing or end the game, depending on time.


Step 5: Debrief and Thank Your Volunteers

   • Invite participants to discuss their experiences and capture lessons learned.

   • Thank everyone who contributed and participated.

   • Remind volunteers to record their hours through Volunteer Connection.

   • Inform participants that they can contact IHLYouth@redcross.org and follow @YouthVoices4IHL on Instagram if they want to learn more or get more involved. 


Additional Resources

American Red Cross IHL Resources

ICRC IHL Resources

The Rules of War Blog

Geneva Academy Refugee Law Overview

IHL and Refugees/IDPs

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

UN High Commissioner for Refugees


Sample Bingo Card