Strengthening Individuals & Communities

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.

Offering community education and developing alternative rites of passage to discourage Female Genital Cutting

The NGO PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, Kenya's largest women's organization, have collaborated to offer alternatives to Female Genital Mutilation. They combine community education for young girls and parents with alternative rites of passage that preserve many traditional aspects of the coming-of-age ritual, while prohibiting physical harm to girls.

Filing a civil tort action against a multi-national organization to seek redress of human rights abuses that occurred as a result of a business

A group of Burmese laborers who were forced to work on a pipeline project in Myanmar successfully filed suit against two co-venturers in the pipeline project, Unocal and Total.  They claim that the two transnational corporations knew and profited from the fact that the military of Myanmar was using violence and intimidation to relocate villages, enslave farmers, commit rape and other torture, steal land and force persons to work on the pipeline.

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.

Using popular culture to sensitize and mobilize youth around human rights issues

Rassemblement Action-Jeunesse (RAJ) used pop culture to involve Algerian youth in human rights issues. Although youth in Algeria represented 75% of the population, a history of government repression had led to a lack of youth participation in political life. RAJ hoped to change this by combining something youth already were involved in, pop culture, with human rights organizing.

Using sports to build engagement and life skills

Reclaim Childhood, based in Amman, runs a sports program called “Goals for Girls” in cities and towns in Jordan with significant Iraqi and Syrian refugee populations. They recruit young women and girls, ages 8 to 18, from these refugee communities to play with young women and girls from the local communities in Jordan. Their goal is to empower Iraqi and Syrian young refugee women and girls by fostering engagement and critical life skills through sports. Reclaim Childhood has impacted the lives of more than 800 young women and girls since 2008.

Using street theater to inform the public about social issues

The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) stages informance plays—performances meant to inform—on social issues ranging from women’s rights to children’s rights across the Philippines. With its mobile theater, PETA uses informance plays as tools to engage the public to confront important social issues that remain unaddressed. In doing so, PETA indirectly forces individuals to seek solutions to their own problems.

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