Strengthening Individuals & Communities

Combining traditional and Western healing techniques to reintegrate child soldiers into their former communities

Reconstruindo a Esperança (Rebuilding Hope), in Mozambique, combined traditional healing and Western psychology to reintegrate former child soldiers. Thousands of children were used as soldiers by both sides in Mozambique’s devastating civil war. Lucrecia Wamba, a psychologist with Rebuilding Hope, states that “child sol­diers lived through unimaginable horrors and they processed these experiences through the lens of the culture and belief systems of their communities. Their healing necessarily had to be processed through the same lens, in order to achieve both individual rehabilitation and community reintegration.” The organization recognized that neither traditional healing methods nor individualized Western psychology alone would be sufficient to address the needs of the children or the community.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Data gathering to address child labor, sexual abuse and trafficking in the entertainment industry

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) conducted an undercover survey of all circuses in India to discover the magnitude of child labor and trafficking in the circus industry. There is a serious problem of trafficking of young girls between Nepal and India (both countries are on the Tier 2 Watch list in U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report). The girls are trafficked for the purposes of slavery, including sexual slavery and prostitution.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Action Theatre to mobilize communities for change

Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) in Bangladesh works to address numerous human rights problems, including gender equality and access to justice. Their approach is to form small local Action Theatre groups, or Manobadhikar Natya Parishad (MNP), by building collaborative relationships with local non-governmental or civil society organizations, as well as with local individuals.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Creating alternative mechanisms of dispute resolution to prevent the involvement of the police, who are potential abusers.

As an alternative to the criminal justice system, the Centre for Victims of Torture (CVICT) in Nepal has created a process of community mediation. This process keeps some people from being needlessly arrested and brought to police stations, where 60 percent of prisoners are tortured into giving confessions. CVICT conducted research on what types of disputes were occurring, then developed a training course for com­munity leaders, including women and Dalits (of the untouchable caste), on settling disputes with a rights-based community mediation method. Community mediation would be available for disputes other than violent crimes and to everyone, regardless of age, sex, class or social caste. To recruit trainers, CVICT held mass meetings in each community and asked for nominations. The trainers were then trained in human rights, local laws and methods of handling disputes. Many who were already involved in mediating disputes could build on their existing skills. These trainers then trained others at the local level.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Using online rural news to connect village society

Amader Gramer Khobor is a first-of-its-kind online rural news service that covers daily happenings in village society, as no online news service in Bangladesh practices rural journalism with the provisions of time-to-time updating in the same day.  Amader Gramer Khobor, part of Amader Gram which means “Our Village Development Project,” is unique and effective because through this tactic, village societies that are isolated can for the first time be connected.

Using Living Newspapers to bring world events into the classroom

The Living Newspaper Project is an innovative program to reinvigorate civic education through the dramatization of contemporary human rights issues. The current project builds on the United States Federal Theater project, created under the 1930s New Deal to put unemployed researchers, journalists and performers to work creating theater pieces about events of the day.

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 humor to put an oppressive government in a lose-lose situation

The nonviolent civil-resistance movement initiated by Otpor! In Serbia used satire and other unconventional ways of successfully spreading its message of resistance against the tyrannical regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

The Milosevic regime ruled over Serbia and Yugoslavia for about 13 years. To maintain control, the Milosevic regime was infamous for arbitrary arrests, beatings, imprisonment and even murder of avid opponents.

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