Building Capacity

Promoting discussions on disability to generate a holistic and inclusive human rights dialogue

Currently many groups working in the disability rights movement, and even the broader human rights movement, compete amongst each other in political debates and institutions in order to gain recognition, funding and policy changes.  Instead of recognizing their common goals and challenges, human rights groups often isolate themselves along victim hierarchies where, for example, someone living in poverty may be better off than someone who is physically disabled, experiences politically-motivated torture or lacks access to clean water.

Phasing out child labor in the garment industry and providing education for ex-workers

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, developed the Child Labor Project to eliminate child labor in the 2,500 member factories, and to provide an alternative to former child laborers in the form of an education program. In 1995, the BGMEA, ILO, and UNICEF entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to serve as a basis for the implementation of the Child Labor Project, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Operating a temporary restaurant to raise funds and awareness

In the spring of 2009, five students from Utrecht, the Netherlands, operated a temporary, volunteer run restaurant, The Cultural Cookery, to engage new people and raise money for three selected development projects. Using their own time and effort to create PR, attain donations for foods, other sponsorships, and gain access to free space, these students raised EUR 8,000 in just two weeks time.

Monitoring police conduct through personal observation

In response to the rising incidence of police abuse in Berkeley, COPWATCH was started in 1990 to observe and document police activities and interactions with the community.  The program also serves as a reminder to the police that the community will hold them accountable for their actions and provides a way for people to participate in their community.  COPWATCH organizes citizen patrols that cover the streets of Berkeley.  The patrols are comprised of pairs of volunteers who walk the streets for a shift (usually of a few hours), keeping an eye out for police activities.

Establishing village peace committees to build understanding between internally displaced people and host communities

The Community Trust Fund (CTF) involved youth volunteers as Peace Facilitators to reduce friction between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities (or residence of temporary settlement of IDPs) in Sri Lanka. The CTF was successful in introducing a non–violent conflict resolution program at the community level by mobilizing youth volunteers in an effort to bring IDPs and host communities together. The youth volunteers’ work contributed to the creation of village peace committees comprised of leaders in both communities.

Establishing and building capacity of community-based water users associations to monitor and operate small-scale development

Oxfam-GB responded to flawed water systems in Vietnam by forming and building capacity of community-based user groups as an effective way to ensure the quality and life of development infrastructure construction. Moreover, such community-based user groups help maximize the use of government investment and people’s contribution. In addition, the process helps people to be aware of their rights—including the right to form, join and participate in NGOs, associations or groups to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Engaging women for bike rides to raise awareness of violent conflict, and change perceptions

Women cycling together can create a powerful message. To date, over 1,075 women from over 30 countries have pedaled for peace in the Follow the Women for Peace (FTW) bike rides through Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and into Palestine to raise awareness for the urgent need for peace and human rights for all. Its core purpose is to empower women to take action for peace and an end to violence.

Engaging local level monitors to document cases of slavery to be used as legal documentation in courts

The National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedom (HOOD) trained local monitoring teams in communities to document cases of slavery in Yemen in order to be used by the victims as a legal document in the courts. Utilizing a documentation form that is signed by the interviewer and three additional witnesses who expressed their willingness to testify in the court at a later stage, HOOD was able to document more than 100 cases of slavery in three Yemeni governorates.

Engaging local leaders to become women’s rights and victim advocates

The Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW) in Kenya engages chiefs and other local leaders to become women’s rights advocates and resources for victims. The program was formed because of the lack of women’s rights advocates for women who have been subjected to violence. Women who have been abused usually turn either to local hospitals/clinics or to their chiefs. However, none of these groups were able to adequately meet the women’s needs and the Coalition on Violence Against Women wanted to change this.

Training migrant men and women farmworkers for family violence prevention in migrant farmworker communities

Migrant farmworkers experience more health problems, including family violence, than the general United States population. Yet healthcare workers have few culturally - and linguistically - appropriate educational materials and even less data on the prevalence of domestic violence among migrant farmworker women.

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