Building Human Rights Cities

130 posts / 0 new
Last post
Building Human Rights Cities

This dialogue took place from April 22 to 28, 2009.  New Tactics was pleased to partner on this dialogue with the PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, which serves as facilitators of developing human rights cities around the world. The dialogue below shares how local civil society leaders, members of PDHRE network, facilitate the learning about human rights as a way of life for communities to generate innovative and exciting actions towards social and economic transformation. Below is a brief summary of the dialogue that can assist you in navigating the rich exchange.

Please see the additional biographical information on the following Featured Resource Practitioners for this dialogue:

  • Raymond Atuguba, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Ghana
  • Wolfgang Benedek, Chairman of the Human Rights Advisory Council of Graz and Director of the Institute of International Law and International Relations of the University of Graz, Austria
  • Satya Brata Das, Senior Policy Advisor, Edmonton, Canada
  • Emiliano Casal, Institute of Gender, Law and Development, Rosario, Argentina 
  • Susana Chiarotti, Director,  Institute of Gender, Law and Development, Rosario, Argentina
  • Viviana Della Siega, Institute of Gender, Law and Development and Coordinator, Steering Committee of Program Rosario, Human Rights City, Argentina
  • Joy Fraser, Associate Professor, Health Administration Centre for State and Legal Studies, Athabasca University, Canada
  • Fabien Kanyangusho Karamira, Musha Human Rights City, Rwanda
  • Shulamith Koenig, Founder, PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, and Human Right Cities, New York, USA
  • Julia Veronica Matus Madrid, Director of the Extension Program at UNIACC University, Santiago, Chile
  • Kathleen Modrowski, Director of Global Studies at the Global College, Long Island University, and Board Member of PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, USA
  • Jean-Louis Peta Ikambana, Area Director of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Washington, DC Human Rights City Program, a PDHRE initiative, USA
  • Carlos Alberto S N Soares, Brazilian psychologist, Coordinator, Steering Committee of Porto Alegre Human Rights City, Brazil
  • Renee Vaugeois, Executive Director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, and Human Rights City, Edmonton, Canada

[Photo credit: Photo taken from the Human Rights Cities Book]

Summary of the Dialogue

The New Tactics Dialogue “Building Human Rights Cities” began with discussion about the role of the media in building human rights cities.  Participants discussed the importance of engaging and informing journalists about their role in human rights learning and providing them with tools to better understand, inform and promote human rights learning. A number of other ways in which media has been utilized for human rights learning and promoting the establishment of Human Rights Cities included:

The participants shared the importance and benefits of establishing a Human Rights City and provided insights on the intial steps they have found useful.  Contributors considered the first phase, the Needs Assessment, to be extremely important. This phase includes engaging the local communities and reaching out to other Non-governmental organizations in the area and to best achieve a thorough needs assessement along with building community investment. 

The dialogue also shared how several human rights cities are using participatory budgeting as a tool to move their objectives forward. The participants laid out obstacles, such as convincing the government to engage, and opportunities, such as empowering women in new ways, along with other experiences highlighting the significant benefits of using this tactic. 

Dialogue participants shared their personal stories of being involved in creating space for human rights learning. A participant told the story of coordinating the Human Rights City of Edmonton, Canada and a toolkit they will be making available to those interested in building a human rights city based on their model. There were a number of other excellent resources highlighted during the dialogue including the following:  Human Rights Cities: Civic Engagement for Societal Developmentthe Human Rights City Needs Assesment, Journalists for Human Rights website, as well as the NewTactics' Resource for Practitioners.

Finally, the dialogue concluded with a wide variety of possible practices to encourage other cities to build a Human Rights City. Human Rights cities can have many benefits such as engaging in such actions as election monitoring, theater and human rights prizes.  Participants discussed the need to overcome short-term setbacks and keep focused on long term goals when advancing human rights learning and building a Human Rights City. Finally, PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning reached out at the end of the dialogue and asked for partners who would be interested in working together to advance human rights learning through the building of Human Rights Cities throughout the world.

STORIES OF PRACTICE - Indicators of Learning and Success

Please share your stories including:

  1. What kind of human rights learning is promoted by your human rights city?
  2. What indicators of success can you share? (e.g., in what ways has your human rights city advanced human rights?)
  3. How has this work of building a human rights city changed YOUR life and perspective (personally)?
  4. What stories can you share about how your human rights city has changed the lives of others? 
Story from Swat Valley, Pakistan

As we know those Human Rights are inherent in our nature and without
which we can not live as human beings. Human Rights are based on
humankind’s increasing demand for a life whereby the inherent dignity
and worth of each human being is respected and protected. These rights
allow us to develop to our fullest potential as world citizens.

But in District Swat people are deprived of human rights and
fundamental freedom and hence this vacuum creates condition that give
rise to social and political unrest in the shape of militancy,
talibanization militancy, terrorism, military operation/armed conflict,
long –run curfews and check posts, extensive violence and loss of
lives, massive displacement of people, wide spread damage to the
society and political instability have deteriorated the economy of the
area on the one hand but also have a negative impact on the
recreational activities like sports, tourism and other relevant
activities.In district swat, NWFP Pakistan no one is allowed to enjoy
the basic human rights. People have no rights to expression, choice and
life style. Even the barbers and saloons shops owners are threatened to
stop sheaving and cutting hair in English/ European style. If they do
not accede to the orders there shops will be blown out via timed bomb.
Girls’ schools and college’s administration also received such letters
warning them to use a special type of veil “Burqa shuttle cock “.Public
schools and colleges students. The Medical representatives and other
officials who wear shirt and jeans as a uniform are not allowed to wear
it and thus shun them from their routine activities. The Taliban hold
considerable sway over the conservative population of the district and
led a campaign denouncing television, music, polio drops and education
for girls and women’s empowerment through speeches on illegal FM
stations.This new 'Jihad' against female education, which is a
reminiscence of the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan in 1990s, has spread
fear through the community, and girls' schools now have a deserted
look. The local militants viewed that girls' education would lead to
anti- Islamic trends in the society. They consider it something Western
and suspect that women once educated will not stay at homes and will
not care for “Purdah” (veil). Even after the military operation   the
Taliban launched a campaign against female education on clandestine
radio station and warned in broadcasts that educating girls would
deviate our generation from the right path. They would become Western
in their attitudes and habits. Muslim women should observe strict
Purdah (veil) and they must restrict to their homesThere are at least
558 government girls’ schools in Swat. About 90,000 girls in the
district study in four higher secondary schools, 20 high schools, 45
middle and nearly 489 primary schools excluded   school in private
sector. But the bombing and blazing  of schools and colleges 
especially girls schools and colleges  and a deluge of threatening
letters issued to numerous other girls schools by militants in Swat
district have forced girls and their teachers to stay away from school
premisesAccording to the up to date report, 199Government, semi
government and private  schools & colleges are ravaged up by the

To address the above situation and aware the masses about
their basic rights which are inherent in their nature SYF is working on
different projects and hence facilitating and supporting civil society
organizations, journalists, students and people belonging to other
walks of life. In this connection, SYF is working on the translation of
Under the proposed project 500 copies of the translated version will be
distributed disseminated in the targeted areas among Human Rights
activists & defenders, institutions   and civil society
organizations. The work book in national language (Urdu) can be a great
source of information to enhance analytical skills of institutions,
Civil Society organizations, human rights activists and defenders. Swat
Youth Front is also working on the open minds Pakistan project funded
by Institute of War and Peace Reporting UK. Under the proposed project
the organization is working in five schools and colleges to impart
training to students about journalism, human rights and other co
related activates. 

Moreover, SYF is also working on the peace
journalism training program to promote human rights in the area. Under
the proposed training program, two hundred working journalists from the
seven districts of the Malakand Region will be selected as trainees in
journalism professionalism with thematic focus on standard rising in
the field of war and conflict journalism and peace journalism with the
main objective to use the Media for Peace and journalism
professionalism for making the people sympathetic, altruistic,
fearless, powerful and create consciousness , defend, promote and
protect human rights among the affected reader and people. The
journalists will be sensitized about the fact that they have
extraordinary power and opportunity to shape  the public opinion and
exercise a strong and direct impact on public should cover the regional
events and trends more than they are doing now  but with that power,
however, comes the responsibility to use it wisely with the obligation
to report accurately and fairly to the best of their ability because
the journalist can support the promotion and protection of basic human
rights as well as can foster peaceful dispute resolution in the
communities because in the tense situation where misunderstandings can
grow into conflict and terror  therefore, there is the added need for
responsible reporting that calms tensions and fosters peaceful problem
solving. The trainees will be trained that unnecessary and boastful
visual depiction of violence, mutilated and slaughtered bodies and
wounded individuals    in the newspaper detrimental and a factor that
can create and increased enmity , hatred, fear, tear , powerlessness
and traumatisation among  the people and hence promulgate the terror
and aims of the Taliban within the heart of the people. Hence,
professionalism among journalists, editors and publishers and acquiring
a credible level of professionalism in writing skills, technology
advances, investigative journalism as well as well in research
methodology are vital to the defense of human rights for all.Fifty
journalists from the district swat while 25 each from the remaining six
districts will be selected for the training. Total of eight training
program, with eight follow up workshops as well, will be carried out
under the proposed project. Two training program will be conducted at
swat district press club while one each at each district press clubs.
Each training program will be of two days while the follow up training
workshop will be covered in a period of one day.the training program
will enhance the capacity of the local journalist and will aware them
about their profession to play a key role in promotion of human rights,
protection of human rights and annihilating the causes of terror and
sowing the seeds of the peace by shunning reports and visual depiction,
which create awe and fear because the issue of peace, security, and
human rights are interdependent and the media has a key role in all of

The organization is working on these projects to build human rights in
the area and enable the inhabitants of the district to create their own
human rights communities, where people at all levels of the society
learn about human rights and dedicate themselves to building and
sustaining a human rights culture for their communities and sow the
seeds of peace and prosperity not only in their own respective areas
but for the whole world and humanity. 

Human Rights Community Building in Pakistan

New Tactics is very excited to be partnering with the Swat Youth Front through our Partner Grant program that has been supported this year by the NED. We are really looking forward to having the opportunity to share the Urdu translation of the book NEW TACTICS IN HUMAN RIGHTS, A RESOURCE FOR PRACTITIONERS
that the Swat Youth Front is currently undertaking.

It's great that you joined the dialogue to share how the Swat Youth Front is working to build human rights learning your community. I hope this dialogue will spark additional ideas for you! We look forward to hearing your ideas about the relevance of building a Human Rights "City" or "Villages". The main point about the Human Rights Cities concept is for the community of people who are living together to have a "more concrete sense of how they could have a hand in making their community [a "city" or "village"] one in which they have a stake and in which they take pride." (quoted from another dialogue participant)

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

journalism and critical analysis

I enjoyed very much this perspective of publishing a limited edition of a work book as a "source of information to enhance analytical skills". It is an excellent idea and we might replicate it here. Also, in the same line, it is very wise to focus on journalists to get their help - their writtings are daily building the way people look at themselves and their reality.

Otherwise I would suggest that we all think about enhancing every community journalistics skills instead! Writting and printing workshops, as much as blogging workshops, are a powerfull lesson.  A community bulletin can be stronger than bullets. It is a strong tool and such tactics has been thought of long ago but we still have to think about what is to be done.

Journalism and community building

I completely agree with both Swat Youth Front and Carluxo about the importance of journalism in enhancing community opinion and the important role that journalists play.  As a student who took many classes in the field of journalism, I feel that so often the training of journalists is based too much on the logistical aspects of journalism and not enough on the enormous potential that journalists have to influence the community but also to act as human rights activists or practitioners in their own right.  It's important to know how to write an article in a journalistic style, but it's also important to understand the power of the content of that article, and I feel that sometimes the second part is missing in the education of journalists. 

For any journalists (or aspiring journalists) out there, or even for those who want to build stronger connections with journalists  who are working for the realization of human rights for everyone, there is a really great site called jhr (Journalists for Human Rights).  The organization's goal is to make everyone throughout the world aware of their rights. The organization believes that the first step towards realizing human rights for everyone and stopping rights abuses is creating rights awareness.  The organization aims to mobilize the media to build human rights awareness.  Interestingly, jhr actually has chapters that are operating in 20 universities in Canada and even a couple in Ghana and the Middle East.  It also has a high school program that aims to engage youth and in spreading human rights awareness in their communities.

On its site, jhr stresses the importance of rights media.  They define rights media as the process of writing, collecting, editing, producing and distributing media that creates societal dialogue on human rights issues.  I think this conception of media is similar to what the Swat Youth Front is trying to accomplish in their region (at least in part), and also what Carluxo is talking about in regards to his writing, printing, and blogging workshops. The idea of rights media is to mainstream human rights content in journalism.  Something that I think is really important and must always be remembered when employing journalism as a tool for activism is that it has to be ethical and objective.

Part of jhr's initiative involves incorporating media development into international development.  The organization argues that journalism represents an important medium for communication between citizens and their government.  Without this means of communication, an important link between the government and the citizens is missing. I think this is really true, and illuminates the importance of journalists within the sphere of human rights activism. I think this also ties into the concept of building a human rights city, in which every sector or person in the city is working towards the realization of human rights.  I would think that having a newspaper, radio station, etc. that integrates human rights content into their work would be a necessary step in buidling a human rights city.

If anyone has any stories about how they've used journalism as a tool for activism, or other great sites or organizations that use journalism as a tool, I think that would be really great to hear.  Thanks for your comments both Swat Youth Front and Carluxo.


I always felt very strongly that, radio being the most popular in the world (95% of the world listens to it) should be utilized for people learning about human rights as relevant to their lives. In Mali as an example, for a while they had created a dialogue between listeners and broadcasters. Tape recorders were distributed in the community to ask questions from radio host. They were aired on the program as the host or others invited answered and discussed the issue that was brought up in the taped question. I think it will be very important if all of us involved in promoting the learning about human rights as a way of life, and specifically in the Human Rights Cities, the daily or at least weekly programs should be created be it the way its described above as reporters and go out into the streets and ask people to give their questions or people invited to the studio to discuss how human rights are relevant to their lives. It is only through the media that we can overcome the narrow understanding of human rights as a litany of violation. If anyone has some ideas or experience want to volunteer to take the discussion between these few days, please be in touch. We may put together a think tank to divise approaches and processes to use the radio and other media outlets to reach as many people as possible. It will also be very important if we identify civil society organizations that have radio or TV programs for them to initiate discussions about human rights as relevant to the issue that they are promoting and advocating for. Of course, it is our goal to see that issues are not just compartamentalized, but any entry point, be it what it may, needs always to emphasize the holisitic vision and practical mission of human rights as being indivisble, interconnected and interrelated. And last but not least, not to speak of rights, but always of human rights, such as the human right to education, the human right to water, or poverty as a human right violation. From my experience of 20 years, language creates an aggregate consciousness that human rights is the right to be human, and all that it entails.

Media - Radio to inform and engage the public


Your thoughts here are very important. In the last couple of years the New Tactics project  has been able to partner with organizations through small partner grants provided by  the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and a number of the partner organizations prioritized radio components that shared the innovative tactics, collected by New Tactics, from have been applied by organizations around the world that have acheived tremendous success. In 2006-07, two of our partners, LEADS in Nigeria and LINLEA in Liberia created radio programs to reach their target audiences and communities. Here is a link to an interview with Rebecca Sako-John sharing the way they utilized the radio. In 2007-08, Forum Solidaridade Buka Hatene (FORSANE) in Timor Leste conducted weekly radio programs to spark interest and awareness in human rights issues but to also create hope that these challenges can be faced and overcome.

New Tactics has some great examples in our searchable tactics database of how radio can and does play a large role in human rights learning and action. Here are a few examples:

I am sure that the human rights cities have been using media in very creative ways - please share how you are using radio and other forms of media in your efforts. 

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

new media and getting out the HR message

Beyond radio and not appropriate in all places is the use of mass message texting to a subscriber list. I was impressed during the last US presidential campaign by the use of text messages , some sent dailyt, on critical issues and actions. My university students and young people were really into this kind of energized communication. Now I've read that the messaging is being used for HIV/AIDS information ,e tc. I believe that this is a method that is worth trying in urban  communities. It can unite people, inform them and create a community. The downside is that the massages need to be supported by additional structures  - meetings, action projects, etc.

new media

With our head office in the capital and two of the cities 800kms away, facilitation and backstopping of city activities, including the provision of legal counselling, is often done by cellphone-voice and text. Even with the city in Accra and in an emergency, (eg when the youth were harrassed by police to refrain from drawing attention to sanitation, health and housing concerns in the city by embarking on a human rights demonstration on a national public ceremonial holiday) its easier to be put on cellphone speaker to make an input to a meeting than battle through traffic to get to the meeting.
This should not replace in person contact though. Real issues of human rights, of being, of belonging, etc cannot be 'mediated'-through radio, phones, etc.


Text Messaging

In Sierra Leone, young girls have been publishing a newspaper on human rights through the use of text messaging!  The paper is called Pikin News and it has been extremely successful in getting out to youth using this new technology.  We are excited to be bringing some of these youth here to Edmonton this summer to share their experiences with this and how they do it - they'll be at our GLobal Youth Assembly (

With the use of text messaging - I wonder - how does one even start this? is it a matter of creating some sort of online database of phone numbers? Does anyone know how this works??

The use of text messaging

I think that text or SMS messaging represents a new way of communicating that has a lot of potential for human rights practitioners.  Here at New Tactics, we actually have several resources regarding the use of text messaging or mobile phones that I encourage people to check out.  The first is a tactical notebook called "Sending Out an SMS: A rapid-response mobile phone network engages a youth constituency to stop torture fast", and is about how a Amnesty International-Netherlands group was able to use text-messaging to attract new members, draw awareness to their campaign against torture, and engage new people to respond quickly to cases of torture through their Urgent Action appeals.  Another really helpful resource people might want to check out is the New Tactics dialogue called "Using Mobile Phones for Action" which examines lots of uses for mobile phones, including using mobile phones to document human rights abuses, mobiles in mass organizing, use of mobiles in election monitoring, mobiles and emergencies, and many other uses as well.  These resources represent a a great way to check out new and innovative uses for mobile phones and SMS messaging in the human rights field.

Videojournalism in vulnerable communities

I agree with you on the note that journalistic skills must be enhanced in every community and, on that matter, I would like to share a project my organization, freeDimensional, is beginning to develop in partnership with Cultural Association Casa das Caldeiras in São Paulo, Brazil, and Video Volunteers, India.

We are developing a program called, a multi-media laboratory for young adults living in vulnerable communities and/or risk zones in São Paulo that have some experience in producing video reports. The program will identify people interested in acquiring more knowledge in video reporting and documentaries, as a tool for communication, expression and sustenance. recognizes the potential in these young adults as leading actors in constructing individual and collective realities inside the territories in which they are living. This project expects to awaken critical views and thoughts, to stimulate creativity and give new opportunities. will follow, during 8 months, a group of 12 young adults, providing all the technical and professional infrastructure necessary for the performance of all activities proposed by the project. The students will have classes on theoretical activities, exposition and practice in a multi-media laboratory environment, including the introduction to concepts about video reporting, exchanging experience and knowledge with invited professionals, visiting communities, technical lectures about equipments, production, assembling and editing the video reports.  

Videojournalism and engaging young adults


Thanks for sharing this exciting new program with us. Will you also be introducing human rights foundations for the young adults as well?

Here's a great tool for grounding human rights in everyday life - it is the Plain Language version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For example - these are a few that might be of interest to young adults from vulnerable communites and risk zones who are interested in videojournalism and how they can use that new skill to highlight human rights and their impact on their own and their communities' daily lives:

Article 3: You have the right to live, and to live in freedom and safety.

Article 19: You have the right to think what you want, to say what you like, and nobody should forbid you from doing so. You should be able to share your ideas also—with people from any other country. 

Article 23: You have the right to work, to be free to choose your work, to get a salary which allows you to support your family. If a man and a woman do the same work, they should get the same pay. All people who work have the right to join together to defend their interests.

Article 25: You have the right to have whatever you need so that you and your family: do not fall ill or go hungry; have clothes and a house; and are helped if you are out of work, if you are ill, if you are old, if your wife or husband is dead, or if you do not earn a living for any other reason you cannot help. Mothers and their children are entitled to special care. All children have the same rights to be protected, whether or not their mother was married when they were born.

It's great to learn about freeDimentional's work!  

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Videojournalism - Using Radio in Ghana

In Ghana, radio stations grew exponentially with the institution of
the 1992 constitution and the guarantee of freedom of expression. From
a handful we now have close to 130 nationwide serving only 22million
people-great feat in Africa.
So most of our “democracy“ is on radio. Yet virtually all the stations are commercial radio stations.

There are less than 10 community radio stations.  We are working on two things:

To establish a community radio station in two of the cities soon and in
another from next year in order to capture for human rights the reach
and power of radio.

2. To reform the national broadcast laws so
that they provide a more equitable playing field for all types of
radio_commercial, community, state, campus.
The national level action, due to weak national institutions wreaking havoc on local communities, comes up here again.

We are doing the same national and local simultaneous action in healthcare and natural resource management.

problem is that the communities often get frustrated with the time it
takes to sort out the institutional mess that constrain local action.



It s excellent news, Atuguba. We follow simmilar thinking lines. Communication is in the center of all human processes. Here in Brazil is al lot more difficult to get a radio license and community radios have been suffering police repression (prosecuted by comercial radios - owned by large midia corporations). We do not have a geografical community where we could stablish more easily.

I am glad to know that you have a project supported by Brazilian organizations. I think Brazil has a debt with África and even more should be done. I myself sometimes have thought of project that could reach Portuguese speaking countries in África, but these are third generation projects and we're still struggling to have our first generatin alive...

We ought to think - from this dialogue - some means to share these actions permanently. Maybe we can add to each other movements and things can happen before we imagine.

Using Radio in the North

I love the discussions on the use of radio and I knowthat with my work in uganda, the radio can be such an incredible outreach tool.

 Here in Canada however, radio is a tough venue to break into. Most popular radio stations have no interest in engaging aspects of human rights into the stations broadcasting - perhaps it is just a matter of getting the funding to pay for a load of advertisements that provoke discussions on human rights. As non-profit organizations leading this however, this is a difficult venture when often we are just struggling to survive.  Then there are more offline radio stations that are more focused on preaching to the converted however. 

I am just wondering if any of you have had successes with radio or even TV in North America in partnership and getting thoughts out about human rights?

Using Radio in the North


Thanks for raising this issue. There are certainly plenty of challenges facing organizations in the global south regarding the use of radio. I think one great advantage is that radio is still the most afordable kind of communication mechanism. Here in the north we tend to focus on TV as our primary medium.

I would like to provide a great example of community radio that we have here in Minneapolis and St. Paul (the Twin cities) in Minnesota. KFAI is a volunteer-based community radio station that exists to broadcast information, arts and entertainment programming for an audience of diverse racial, social and economic backgrounds. By providing a voice for people ignored or misrepresented by mainstream media, KFAI increases understanding between peoples and communities, while fostering the values of democracy and social justice.

The radio station welcomes organizations to produce their own programs and has quite a diverse following - as the quote above implies. Recently, the New Tactics project produced a program along with over 20 other organizations in honor of International Women's Day on March 8.

Perhaps finding other organizations to launch programs that tie into such human rights events might be of interest to your radio stations as well. The International Women's Day radio events were also promoted in print media to "get the word out" to a broader audience.

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Building a human rights city in Rwanda

The city of the human rights is a very important initiative for our countries in post conflict situation, where the respect of fundamental rights is  an immense challenge. In Rwanda, more particularly, the project of Human Rights City is an approriate answer to the problems of social cohesion, local governance and the poverty, problems exacerbated by the genocide of tutsi in 1994.

By initiating the project the Musha Human Rights City, with the support of the PDHRE INTERNATIONAL, we wanted to transform  dream in reality of life: to create a space where citzens meet, learn about their rights and claim them, reflect together on the solutions which enable them to leave the situation of  extrem poverty....

The challenge is immense, but all together we will transform the dream.

Many thanks to PDHRE  INTERNATIONAL, espacially to Shula, the  founder to have awaked our conscience on the need for acting to transform our society.


the future of Human Rights Cities

Thank you, Fabien. It is encouraging to read your comments and mostly for others to understand that human rights is the right to be human. We call the attention of people to our book on human rights found on our homepage ( to read more about your work, which is fabulous. I call on everyone that is reading this to look at the recent resolution at the UN (also found on our homepage) for which we now have to collaborate to start a process, that in 10 to 15 years we will have all people in the world know human rights as a way of life, including the development of 100 Human Rights Cities, that will be both a magnet and radiating point for all to learn the specificities of learning about human rights as a way of life, having people use as a powerful tool for action. Anyone reading this comment, interested to get both the resolution and an initial plan to start this plan, please write


Can we build a Human Rights City in the middle of a crisis?

The actual global crises does not scare us in Latin America. This is not due to the fact that the crisis will not have negative effects on our lives but because we live in constant and permanent crisis. Besides, Latin America is the most unfair region of the world and the crisis are always heavier for poor people. 

It happened to us that when we ask for the discussion of the human rights agenda, some people says: this is not the time, we are in a global crisis.

Nevertheless, the global crisis is an opportunity for  building human rights cities. In fact, it could be the only way to survive to the crisis. Financial impunity and lack of transparency; the exclusion of thousands of persons from the sharing of resources; discrimination and violence could only be addressed with a human rights framework. Other responses that denied human rights (like building closed neighbourghoods, sending children to jail, hardening penal codes, etc,.) will lead to more violence and insecurity. 


Susana Chiarotti

Human Rights Cities - addressing the global crisis


Your comment is particularly powerful at this time of global recession/depression. What better time to re-think the way our governments (international, national and local level) have been operating. It hasn't been working for addressing the rights and needs of the majority of the people on our planet. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, insanity if doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. The idea of building a human rights city where the community itself has the opportunity and power to creatively address the rights and needs of its people. 

People may say this "one at a time" process is slow, but the beauty is in the daily rights and needs being addressed while this "slow" progress is building. Your example of how the empowerment process for women in Rosario grew with the Human Rights City you are all building. That is powerful change taking place!

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Promotion of human rights in conditions of extreme poverty

The promotion of human rights is confronted with a serious problem
our society where populations live in conditions of extreme poverty.
Indeed, how to talk about HR with a community unable to ensure its
survival? This is why the training sessions in HR are transformed
into meetings of recriminations against ''authorities'' (the
Government), incompetent to provide the necessary for the fundamental
needs for its citizens.

Here, Human Rights City seems an original approach, because it puts
the citizens liable their responsibilities: to learn and to act for
living in dignity.


HR City in Rwanda

How have you been able to maintain  interest in the HR City initiative while the needs of daily life survival are so great? We who are "converts" to the idea of human rights as social and ethical compass for daily life can see the value and the necessity, but how do you convince the inhabitants of Musha that this initiative is worth the sacrifice of their time?

I am now on with the

I am now on with the dialogue.

After a major power line in Ghana tripped and left virtually the whole country without power for some time, i was diagnosed with chicken pox. I still have it (two weeks to clear), but will try to engage.

Challenges from Ghana


We wish you a very speedy recovery from the chickent pox! I deeply sympathize with your power outage problem. I remember from my years living in Manila, Philippines - especially in the period between 1993 and 1997 when the city suffered from chronic power failures.   

We look forward to having you share with us your great experiences and efforts of building Human Rights Cities in Ghana. I am especially keen to learn about your experiences of working in such contrasting locations and conditions within Ghana. You have been able to establish Human Rights "Cities" in the slum communities of Accra (Nima, Maamobi and Newtown) but also in the outer areas of the city (Bongo and Walewale).

I would also be very interested to learn more about your collaborations with two important Ghana institutional bodies - the National Commission on Civil Education (NCCE) and particularly, the Commission on Human Rights and the Administration of Justice (CHRAJ).  New Tactics has an excellent tactical notebook that has been written by CHRAJ Commissioner Emile Short, Powerful Persuasion, regarding a particular human rights concerning women and the eradication of a traditional practice called Trokosi

We look forward to hearing more from you when you can! In the meantime, I hope that our readers will explore "Chapter 3" of the wonderful resource from PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning and UN Habitat, Human Rights Cities: Civic Engagement for Societal Development (Please Note: it is a large document and might take some time to download - but it is well worth reading!)

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Our practice in Rosario

1. From the beginning we tried to promote human rights learning in a holistic way, including all human rights, intersecting a gender, class and cultural  perspective. This challenge obliged us to be flexible and ready to learn everyday from the others and requires interactive tools that let all the voices be heard. The presence in our coalition of the Paulo Freire Institute (University of Rosario) was meanigful in this sense. Their experience enrich the whole initiative.

We understand learning connected with action for change. Each issue we approach we tried to discuss how certain human rights are enjoyed, or denied; how you can solve this problem; which estrategies can be designed to change tha actual situation; to whom you can address this petition; how the community can be involved in the change.

At the beginning we had an interesting discussion, regarding to whom we shoud direct our efforts in the human rights learning process: victims of human rights violations? posible violators? people? the government?. Some people said that we shoul not spare our efforts teaching human rights to the police, per instance. After some debates, we concluded that everybody should learn human rights. This open the door for 7 years of training to the Police Academy. Now they introduced human rights in their curricula. That doesn't mean that all is nice now, or that everything is right with the police. It mainly means that we opened a door.

2. One indicator was that the police opened itself to the human rights learning and introduced human rights in its academic curricula.

Another indicator for a different set of actions (regarding cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment ot women in sexual and reproductive health facilities) was the creation of a Subject: Health and Human Rights in the Faculty of Medicine, National University of Rosario, which is functioning since 2004 till now.

Hundreds of children and adolescents learned about human rights trough several annual contests. The contests asked students to re-write different human rights covenants, like the Convention on the Rights of the Child with their own words. That implied to understand the text, to appropiate it and to explain in a daily life language. The expression was not limited to written language, but also to art (sculptures, videos, paintings, poetry, theatre). As the contests forms and posters were sent to schools, hundreds of teachers should also read the texts in order to help studends with the contests. The same with parents at home. That was a very low cost and highly effective strategy.




Susana Chiarotti

Act Local, Dialogue Global, Dialogue Local and Act Global

After I was introduced to PDHRE in the World Social Forum 2005, I have found out that there still something that could be done to change life, when political tools and fragmentary activism appeared so ineffective. And to help to bring the International Program of Human Right Cities to Porto Alegre has had an interesting symbolic result: in spite of being an loose  activist representing a non-local organization among strong ngo with many members, we could bring them together to a new perspective when all their work was done in isolation - the only collective foruns were official and competitive foruns, not collaborative ones.

Now, with this possibility of opening a front in another city and making a regional event, we may be starting a new moment. This dialogue is part of this moment and I hope that we can systematize all questions and points talked of here - how?. I myself will print these pages and try to keep it going, try to dive deeper in some issues, to dialogue with each member that has expressed her/himself . 

It was wonderful to share these days with you.

Congratulations and a strong hug for all of you.

PROCESS & STEPS - Establishing a Human Rights City

Please share the key steps and processes to develop a human rights city including:

  • How do you share and present the idea and purpose of a human rights city?
  • How do you develop city support and engagement?
  • How do you engage diverse communities within your city to become involved?
  • What steps have you found most useful for building your human rights city?
  • What recommendations would give to others interested in building a human rights city?
Process and Steps

In order to establish a human rights city or community a group of interested persons is needed to start the process. There are top down (involving city officials, i,e, the mayor) and bottom up approaches (starting with civil society groups), but the objectives are the same: get the city or community to commit itself to base all its decisions and activities on human rights, which obviously cannot be achieved in a short term, but needs a longer-term perspective.

 The group to start the process should be as representative as possible, to make sure that everybody feels included and the undertaking is not seen as  move of some individuals pursuing personal interests, i.e. the public interest is crucial together with the inclusiveness to gain legitimacy.

 As there are many ways which may lead to the same objective the polar star is human dignity. Accordingly, a first needs assessment should show where human dignity is at risk, where human rights are not respected, which may serve as a basis for the development of a strategy how to address problems identified on a priority basis.

At a proper time the group should institutionalize itself and seek public recognition by authorities without compromising their objectives. The human rights city of Graz in Austria is an example for the possibility to undertake the whole process in cooperation with the city authorities, which is not always the case. Still, it is not easy to match the different interests of participants and then also agree with authorities on certain approaches and activities, which might put conventional policies into question. 

Therefore, a sometimes long process of sensibilization and persuasion is necessary, which needs to address the issues locally identified in the spirit of the universally applicable human rights.

 Wolfgang Benedek 

Needs assessment process

Wolfgang, thank you for this helpful initial overview. I'm wondering in the case of Gratz (and for others as well) how you went about conducting your needs assessment.

You wrote: "a first needs assessment should show where human dignity is at risk, where human rights are not respected, which may serve as a basis for the development of a strategy how to address problems identified on a priority basis."

In your case, did you work with another organization, a research group, a unversity, to conduct this needs assessment? Did you use any particular resources that you found especially helpful for your assessment process?

This first step appears to be quite critical and I would think this step could also provide an excellent opportunity to engage the community in identifying its own needs; as well as documenting information to report to city officials, media, etc to build understanding of the critical issues and needs facing the community.

I would like to offer two resources from the New Tactics project providing information on how organizations have conducted "needs assessments" that can provide ideas for organizations considering how they might go about gathering this information:

I'm very interested to learn what resources you and others have used in your needs assessment processes.

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Needs assessment process

Hi Nancy

You are right, the needs assessment is the critical start.

Please have a look at what we did:

From that starting point, we were able to progress with the development of HRC Edmonton


Satya Brata Das


Cambridge Strategies Inc.

Assessment in Edmonton

HI Nancy,

 You did seem to capture the process we went through in edmonton but I think it is important to highlight that Edmonton went through two phases of 'assessment'.  The first phase took place in 2003 and 2004 when I was not with the project, but at this time, a major research report was developed through consultations and various research methodologies in the community.  This assessment provided an analysis of the human rights gaps in the community, the opportunities for learning, a highlighting of good practices and recommendations moving forward.  This was a more formal 'academic' approach to assessment'.

 Within the second phase of assessment - it was a much more grassroots approach where we went out to all marginalized communities to have dialogues... we used this as an opportunity to engage deeper into the issues presented in the first phase of research so we could learn the unique circumstances and challenges facing communities.  So this provided a learning opportunity for the project but this was also a reciprical learning process of us providing almost a human rights introduction to the communities... the dialogue created an amazing learning space and were my favorite moments in the project to date.  They provided those AHA moments that make the struggles of this project worthwhile... and I believe it is only through more sustained dialogue after initial assessment that you really learn about an issue.  I recall one session with our LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, BIsexual, Transgendered, Transexual and Queer) - when an elderly gentleman remained quiet the entire time... until the end when people packed up and he said 'you know, I'm really scared to go to an old folks home' where he knew he was going to face hostile discrimination.  We wouldn't have heard this without taking the time for sustained dialogue and without taking the time to build a relationship.  To me this is what this project is all about.

 So this second phase moved us into the issues deeper and is a critical piece. And you are right that the planning happened in parallel to the assessment activities, it became a natural fit.


Re: Assessment in Edmonton - Community Sessions

Hi Renee,

It sounds like your assessment sessions in the community have been very rewarding!  These sessions are a great way to assess the 'human rights gaps' in the community. By creating these relationships with community members (like the great anecdote you shared above) people feel more empowered and willing to share and learn. What a great way to begin the project!

I am curious to learn more about these sessions - how many session did you carry out? how long did this community assessment take? did you partner with other organizations to reach all the participants? how long is each session? how many people usually attend each session? how do you go about promoting the session and inviting participants?


Kristin Antin, New Tactics Online Community Builder

Assessment and Community Assessments

HI Kristin,

In going about these community sessions, we did work with partner organizations.  We connected with organizations whose primary area of focus was say disabilities and then promoted this human rights consultation/dialogue through their networks.  Normally we just did one session per community - and I think we did about 13 in total - I am not sure if I can recall all but we did: LGBTTQ, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, Aboriginal/indigenous, immigrant, refugee, sex trade... and a number of others.  Each session ranged from 2-3 hours depending on the number of participants... they ranged from 5-16 participants. SO our partner did the networking to get the word out - through email, through newsletters, website as well as in local media event postings.  It is tough sometimes to get people to these things... but we weren't looking for a big crowd either. 

 One of the things that I think would have been valuable in reflection now would to have been to sustain these dialogues over 2 or 3 sessions to really build the relationships in the long term and develop more cohesive strategies with each community.  It was all a bit overwhelming at the time, but yes, very rewarding!


how we moved forward

Dear Friends

Nancy's excellent summary of our needs assessment is spot on. Essentially, we created a public space where different individuals, groups, agencies, institutions with a human rights aspect could find each other and connect.

Think of it as a village square or marketplace of ideas and practices, where all can meet. We launched it with a facilitated dialogue of more than 8o groups in City Hall.

Since then, we have run "training the trainers" programmes to spread human rights learning.

Here is a link to one of our reports emerging from this process:


Satya Brata Das


Cambridge Strategies Inc.

needs assessment

In several of the Human Rights Cities, I would suggest to speak about it as "mapping" simply because it has to be apart of teh learning process about human rights as a way of life. We suggest that the learning includes both assessing the realizations and violations of the needs in the community, as a result of the learning process. Even though the "mapping" identified issues, to be assessed, as to the realization versus violation, the "mapping" enables to understand the indivisibility, interconnectedness, and interrelatedness of human rights, as relevant to people's daily lives. Thus, learning is indeed the entry point to broaden the understanding of the holistic vision of human rights as a way of life. As we continue, it will be important to both demonstrate experiences in learning that lead to "mapping" (needs assessment). Please note: in the learning process, entering into expectations and hopes in the realization of human rights, provides a very positive and proactive way of thinking. 

Mapping and stakeholder analysis

Susan Atwood, Instructor, University of Minnesota’s Leadership : Leadership for Global Citizenship.

Shula advocates the use  of the term mapping in the context of Human Rights cities and another facilitator mentioned stakeholder analysis. This fits perfectly with the New Tactics tactical mapping process and the accompanying spectrum of allies tool. It seems to me that there is a whole new audience out there, in addition the traditional one of human rights activists, who could benefit from NT training on the use of these tools - city government officials and citizens in Human Rights cities, current and potential.


Some of us are very actively trying not to use the word
"training". Jokingly we say: Who am I to train you ? One
trains dogs..

 I realize that this is describing a method we all use for
many years – training of trainers etc.

However, I dropped is fully from my language as I do not speak of
education but of learning. There is a lovely Talmudic statement: more
than I have learned from my teachers I have learned from my students.
IN the human rights cities we all learn from one another , we
facilitate such learning sessions, we share , we discuss and
dialogue but we do not train.

It also speaks to the dignity of the learners. Enables people to
internalize , to analyze and to become a contributing member to the
process. And most important it keeps us humble with respect and
trust. Learning new ways of sharing what we know. .

beyond human rights advocates

Spontaneously, when you speak of human rights and civil society, one things of human rights advocates. I hope that the discussion we are having will bring us spontaneously to think of civil society organizations that work on economic and social justice, issues such as women, water, labor, religion, children, health, work, etc. For all of these groups to integrate human rights learning into their work, the idea of the Human Rights Cities came from a deep frustration that most people understand human rights only as a litany of violation, a confrontational issue with government, a legal issue, and not a tool when one is acquainted with and internalizes offers a new way of life and community action. Human rights advocates do an excellent job, but they work mostly on symptoms and we must learn to think of causes. The learning about human rights has the potential for all people, regardless of what the issue is, to develop critical thinking and systemic analysis within a human rights framework.

participatory investigation

Nancy, you offer. I accept. I will save and print your information.

As a compensation for such gift I would like to offer our usual tools which are linked to the local history (struggle) of the Participative Budget. Years of democratic city budget planning have spread around some techniques where grassroots collectives can raise their needs and stablish their priorities.These techniques have been studied - among other techniques even more interesting - by Prof. Thomas Villasante of Universidad Complutense de Madrid. To assess needs (participatively!) is a science and they offer a postgrad course on it - Methodology of Participative Research. I myself have translated one of works, had some classes with him and I have it for sure that he would be glad to work together with us in the future. 

We can assess needs, priorities and actions for change - participatively.



Participative research - budgeting and following the money

Carlos - thanks so much for raising this very important issue and aspect in building a human rights city. After all, where cities commit their resources makes all the difference regarding the quality of life for the members of the communities. I would like to know more about how you in Porto Alegre have involved the community in the city budgting process.

If you have resources on this available, let us know how people can get them. The New Tactics project has one wonderful tactical notebook from the IDASA - Children's Budgeting Unit in South Africa, Using Government Budgets as a Monitoring Tool, that provides steps for implementing this very important aspect of community participatory research and budget monitoring.

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager




If someone form Rosario is participating with us actively, Please
share your experience you had developing a budget in the

Also tis is a praticipatory budget wy do you call it participatory research?



Re: Budgets

Yes Shula, we are participating, but there are so interesting comments that we never reach the end of the thread.

participated in Rosario Participatory Budget as part of a big social
movement when the idea first came up from Porto Alegre, Brazil, more
than 10 years ago. The idea was finally taken by the local
administration, which implemented 6 local assemblies, each one
representing a city district, which decides the use of about 6% of the
overall budget. They are working OK.

But as a critical input (I
don't know how is this working in another cities), we think that since
the control of the process is done entirely by the local
administration, the participation of civil society organizations moved
to a client side role, pushing between them for the already assigned
amount of $30 million (around $8 million dollars) in a city with huge
needs (which are by no means close to what the problems of our African
fellows). Another thing about participatory budget is that doesn't put
the focus in the overall financial process. People decides about
spending, but not about getting x amount of money in order to fulfill
their needs (some human rights) or who must paid and how much.

political tool to achieve our human rights has yet to be invented. In
our society representation stands for what direct democracy is
impossible to do.
Voting doesn't mean deciding, and all of this tools help somehow the
popular organizations to have an input in the 'decition making'
process. The tramp is that political parties need votes they try to get
by everything they do. Participating in Rosario Human Rights city was
not something would make the government have votes (more indeed by the
fact we invited local and provincial authorities from different
political parties).

Then, we diceded to focus in Human Rights learning, assuming PDHRE principles. Human Rights learning in the city could be a process in which they
become people´s political common sense/ political awareness. A
political learning-together process through cases of public demands and struggle of
citizens groups, for society to learn and develop human rights. This
are, for me, the meaningful devices of HR learning and HR cities building. I would like to know how to involve universities and participatory research into this.

Kind regards,


Collaborative research between Universities and HR Cities


You raise challenges that I'm sure others have or certainly will face in their efforts to build a human rights city. With your experience of having some success with the budget process - and as you say, it is working OK given that the city district decides the use of just 6% of the overall budget. That's small but a good start and example that it is possible.

Do I understand correctly you are have shifted your focus OR are you moving toward this shift in your focus to - "Human Rights learning in the city could be a process in which they
become people´s political common sense/ political awareness. A
political learning-together process through cases of public demands and struggle of
citizens groups, for society to learn and develop human rights. This
are, for me, the meaningful devices of HR learning and HR cities building."

You raise an excellent point about University (higher education) and
community collaboration potential. Perhaps Kathleen and Veronica will
have some ideas about this with their connections into academic

Are you seeking collaboration with Universities to research cases where struggles of citizen groups has succeeded in raising their demands and these demands have been answered? Are you seeking to learn more about how they have been successful in their efforts?

If so, New Tactics would also be very interested to learn about these efforts. Our purpose is to help to share these kinds of stories to help others learn about these ideas and actions and to inspire others to adapt the ideas and action to their own contexts and issues. We hope people will then come back to share their own successes to keep that cycle of innovation, action, sharing, and inspiration going. 

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

Budgeting - Local and central government issues

Dear all,

Briefly, the local government in Ghana is to control 7.5% of all national revenue. This is to be distributed to all the 136 districts in the country. Given that about 50% of our revenue is used to service debts, foreign and domestic, this percentage is a huge proportion of what remains for government.

Local engagement with the budget in the cities is crucial. But even more crucial are the following in our experience in the cities:

  1. Ensuring that the correct amount is given to the local government by central government;
  2. That the formula for sharing is done without discrimination and with some 'affirmative action' for districts historically discriminated against or with special human rights problems.
  3. That the center releases the money and on time -sometimes it does not come at all and sometimes its very late;
  4. That the centre funds the process of building the capacities of the local to manage the money instead of setting them up for failure (including giving strict and unreasonable conditions) as an excuse for keeping the money. Etc etc.

In our experience, action at the local level is great, but with weak national institutions, action at the national level is crucial.


Re: Collaborative research between Universities and HR Cities

Dear Nancy,

We have not done this kind of research yet. Three university centres
participate from the Rosario Human Rights City meetings, having a role
in various activities. They are organizations with a lot of work in
human rights related issues long before they join HR City.

As this participation is always voluntary I think lack of founds
is the main problem to start such kind of collaborative research. Local
and provincial government offices which participated never make a
financial support, but contributed facilitating another kind of
as saloons for the activities, printing of materials, etc. I'm sure
other cities and organizations must have found interesting ways of
doing this. And in this dialogue came up many interesting ideas.

"Human Rights learning in the city could be a process in which they
become people´s political common sense/ political awareness. A
political learning-together process through cases of public demands and struggle of
citizens groups, for society to learn and develop human rights. This
are, for me, the meaningful devices of HR learning and HR cities building."

This I think is main PDHRE vision. Many years from now we are making
such change to human rights learning, as an holistic and social
participative process. Is always work in progress. We also use Paulo
Freyre educational methodology and Forum Theatre, two Brazilian

Emiliano Casal -  INSGENAR / PDHRE Latin America

Participatory Budgets

As Emiliano says, we are involved in the discussion of the city budget. During several years we also organized workshops (in cooperation with the Women's area of the Municipality) with women that belongs to the neighbourhood assemblies and were in a disadvantaged  position regarding men. That was evident in the assemblies were men don`t doubt to use the floor and ask for what they thought were the community needs. But women had different views about priorities. So we worked in a several steps learning process that included the way you feel, enjoy and experience your human rights; knowing the fact that when you ask for food, health services, house or water you are not asking for charity but asking for human rights; then moving from the more confortable position of eternal complaining to action; then the ability to fix priorities (what is more importan and urgent for your community: for most women, contraceptives in the health center and milk for the children were as urgent as remedies) and then the training to ask for the floor and saying what you think in a loud voice.This process was very positive and women now participate in a different way in the neighbourhood assemblies.

Of course, participatory budgets are still an imperfect tool that requires more involvement, less gobernmental intervention and more practice. But it is important. Now in Peru, by law, all municipal budgets should be participatory and this opens the door to thousands of popular organizations to discuss, for the first time in their life, at least a portion of the public budget. It is a step for building democracy



Susana Chiarotti

Rosario - Participatory budgets - 4 stage process

I wanted to point out that Susana provided a wonderful 4 stage process of how the Human Rights City of Rosario has been able to utilize the city budget to engage communities in identifying their own priority needs and taking action to get those needs met through the participatory budget process. A great example of communities using tools to expand their rights. 

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager

participatory processes

Here at Porto Alegre, participatory budget was stablished by a socialist administration in 1989 and for a decade it changed radically the city landscapes - urban services were spread to poor communities (light, pavement, sewage system, water supply, health care and child care, etc) It was a strong processes as it came in the wave ot the social turmoil of the 80's (dictatorships were being fought in Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc. Granada had been invaded by USA not long before...)

Afterwards with the neoliberal hegeminy, things became less political and most people started to believe management and technology could bring solutions for social needs. The process od PB became more institutionalized, best leaderships left the forum as they were incorporated by the state burocracy (socialists were elected to the State government in 1998). The PB fórum started to get 'empty' - if not empty of people, empty of a polically educated and experienced vanguard (yes, I will use this demonized word.) Two things happened - the city forum became poor and the leaderships became burocrats (after you have airconditioning and good wages, "people needs" sounds a word a bit more distant - old fashioned vocabulary they said).

 Now, it is a stablished process and it helps to manage the city, but it is not anylonger that innovative. Surelly it gives good quality, but it is an ordinary process. Political advancement are again needed.

 During this period, thought, participatory processes and techniques became respected because everybody could see they were effectiv. These techniques became usual knowledge to work in all groups - like in HR activism. There are techniques that are extremely helpful to have people understand - build-  links between specific stablished rights and live needs.

Keeping vigilance on participatory processes


You raise an incredibly important point here - the dangers of institutionalization, bureaucratization and complacency.  These three traits raise their heads in all areas of our human endeavors.

 As others work to implement the much needed participatory budget processes in their own cities - it is helpful to get your feedback on potential ways in which to ward off the encroachment of the three dangers you have identified. Do you have any thoughts about how Porto Alegre might have been able to maintain the early vibrancy of participation? Any ideas of how to revive it now - especially in the midst of the worldwide economic downturn?

Nancy Pearson, New Tactics in Human Rights Program Manager


Topic locked