International links and partners
The centre developed a rights education programme in 2001 for local schools which was intensively researched. It was this work which inspired many others. The centre offers curriculum materials, advice, research and other publications. Still a great source of inspiration.
A key partner of ours – some great resources and work in schools. The initiative arose out of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Lift Off has been developed by teachers in partnership with Amnesty International UK and Irish Sections, the Ulster Teachers’ Union and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. The partnership is advised by a committee including the Human Rights Commissions, the Departments of Education and curriculum bodies of both the Republic and Northern Ireland.
Lift Off promotes human rights education (HRE) in schools in three main ways:
- the development of curriculum support materials,
- support for schools in developing a whole school approach to HRE and the
- fostering of links between schools engaged in HRE.
It has recently undergone an evaluation after its third year.
Building Human Rights Communities in Education (BHRCE)
A key partner of ours. Like Lift Off, one of its key accomplishments has been to build a coalition of non governmental organisations (NGO) and governmental agencies, in its case, five:
- Amnesty International New Zealand,
- New Zealand Human Rights Commission
- Office of the Children’s Commissioner
- Development Resource Centre
- Peace Foundation.
BHRCE defines human rights communities as places where children and young people know their rights, acknowledge their responsibilities and respect the rights of others. There is a strong focus on attitude, behaviour and values. The main values of such communities are the right to education, learning, individuality, diversity, and freedom from violence, discrimination, bullying and harassment.
Case studies of best practices in New Zealand showed that human rights communities address communal as well as:
- individual rights
- create choices for students, staff and management
- are self-critical and solution-focused
- are internationally aware
- encourage dialogue with students
- address real life issues
- debate differences in world view and clashes of human rights, rather than avoiding conflicts
- are safe places.
Aflatoun is an international organization, founded in 2005 and its driving idea was that all children have a right to social and financial education, which can equip children with the skills and mindset to break out of the cycle of poverty. The Aflatoun concept aligns with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and embodies the belief that children are powerful agents of social and economic change. Aflatoun’s two-pronged learning approach relates children’s rights and responsibilities as global citizens to the theory and application of practical financial and entrepreneurial skills. The five core elements of its child social and financial education are:
- personal understanding and exploration
- rights and responsibilities
- saving and spending
- planning and budgeting
- child enterprise (social and financial).
Teaching occurs through a series of eight modules using fun and educational games, songs and plays. It is integrated into the school environment in different ways, depending on context – in subjects from mathematics to art, and also in the extra-curricular area, through Aflatoun clubs.
A brilliant, successful and inspirational project now operating in 16 Latin American countries. Its purpose is to strengthen educational processes and achievements in low income rural and urban communities. It does not use explicit human rights language, though it can be argued that in practice, it incorporates the imperative not only of rights in education but of the right to education, as in many of the communities in which it works, the right to education cannot be taken for granted.
Escuela Nueva describes itself as “one of the largest, longest-running bottom-up innovations from the developing world for the developing world. It provides active, participatory, and cooperative learning. It strengthens the relationship between the school and the community, and offers a flexible schedule and evaluation system customised for the needs of a child. Its dynamic promotion system allows students to advance from one level to the next and conduct their learning at their own pace, in a way that is relevant to their lives.”
MelJol operates in Mumbai and in six districts of the state of Maharashtra. The UNCRC serves as its conceptual framework and its mission is to create a civil society based on the spirit of co-existence and achievement. It does this by fostering healthy attitudes among children and building the spirit of entrepreneurship and developing children’s citizenship skills by focusing on children’s rights and responsibilities. It works on creating awareness of the different needs of children from different backgrounds. Initiated in 1991, MelJol worked in schools of Mumbai through a twinning programme. Focusing mainly on children aged 10 to 15, it currently works in primary and upper-primary schools run by the government and with teacher training colleges. It has pioneered a program in child savings in rural Maharashtra whereby children are encouraged to save in the school setting. Its various programmes cover 238,750 children, 5,467 teachers and 1,730 schools.