Building Capacity

Using interactive theatre and participatory video techniques to prompt community participation and social mobilization

The Interactive Resource Center (IRC) has created a strong network of grassroots theater groups as an alternate system of community participation and social dialogue. The essence of IRCs work is to use interactive theater to trigger community dialogue through direct community participation on human rights issues.

Using illustrated children’s literature to educate children and adults of their rights and to foster a culture of human rights

The Arab Penal Reform Organization (APRO) publishes a series of illustrated children’s books called Activist Ali’s Team to educate children and adults of their civil and legal rights as well as to foster a culture of human rights in Egypt. The book series follows a curious ten-year-old named Ali and his male and female companions. Each book – in the series of 36 – focuses on a specific civil or human rights topic.

Using participatory education to empower communities to exercise their human and civil rights

Education for Life (ELF) uses an accelerated learning system approach with grassroots educators and leaders to contribute to grassroots community empowerment throughout the Philippines. They want grassroots communities to have more power to decide their development, including control of their resources. This empowerment includes the organization of people in the community and access to lifelong education. The key component is an organic grassroots leadership that can be a partner to outside institutions such as NGOs and national government agencies.

Using a popular referendum to oppose impunity

The Comisión Nacional Pro-Referéndum (CNR) organized a referendum in Uruguay for the public to vote on the congressional decision to grant impunity to human rights abusers employed by the military.

Nearly every Uruguayan was affected by human rights abuses during the brutal dictatorship from 1973 to 1984. During that time many political dissidents were watched, tortured, and killed. The military and police detained 55,000 people (1 in 50 of the total population) and 300,000 people went into exile either out of fear or because of the rapidly deteriorating economy.

Reframing poverty as a human rights issue to maintain government assistance

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) reframes the welfare debate as part of a larger fight for human rights in order to advocate for the maintenance of welfare services.

In 1991, welfare cuts threatened the livelihoods of poor families and communities in the most impoverished district of Pennsylvania. A group of women from this area came together and organized KWRU in order to present welfare as a human rights issue, rather than an issue of personal responsibility for poverty or charity-based government responses.

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