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Human Rights Education and Training

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Human Rights Education and Training

Translating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into local languages 

In Malawi, Mr. Ali K. Phiri translated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, into Yao.  The Yao people are the third largest tribal grouping; they are outgoing and very active in the political life of their communities.  The recipient made 1,500 copies of the translated UDHR in booklet form as well as 500 copies of the Bill of Rights.  Then, he visited various villages to distribute the booklets and to talk to people about human rights.  Many of the people who received the booklets said that they hoped that they would help them to know their rights and which button to press when a violation has occurred.

Informing on children's rights

In Malawi, the Nkhomano Centre for Development was another recipient.  This recipient's aim was to mount an awareness campaign on the rights of women and children so as to change attitudes that reinforce violence against these groups in the Ndirande township, in the city of Blantyre.  This was achieved through the training of 6 community-based human rights educators and the production and distribution of leaflets.  Women responded by saying that they wished they had been made aware of their rights earlier, especially property rights.  The result has also been that the recipient organization is now receiving many phone calls from the community, especially children, who would like to know more.

 Still in Malawi, the Youth Watch Society was the third recipient.  The project involved  the translation of the Bill of Rights of the Republic of Malawi Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child into understandable Tumbuka language. A development brochure including highlights on children's rights was also completed.

Comment: the recipient said that Act projects, if carried out regularly, provide great positive change at the grass root level.  Also, ACT projects should be decentralized so that approval and funding could be done by local communities.

In Malawi, the Active Youth Initiative for Social Enhancement (AYISE) carried out a human rights programme in the Thyolo District by promoting human rights among youths and teachers in 13 schools in the Thyolo district and the establishment of 13 human rights clubs.  During the 2-day workshop, the following issues were discussed: human rights and responsibilities of citizens, national and international human rights instruments, children's and youth rights and responsibilities, women's rights and gender issues, rights of people with disabilities, democracy, the three branches of government and the roles of patrons. The participants were asked to fill in an evaluation form on completion of the workshop, in which they stated that they understood the above issues better but they felt that refresher courses were needed.

Phase 2

1. Mr. Linje Patrick Manyozo produced a television documentary in English on child labour in the Thyolo tea and coffee plantations. The project examined, during a sixteen-day research project in the field, the causes, effects and impact on the children themselves and on the economy and public health as a whole. The documentary stressed the children’s harsh working conditions and the difficulty of establishing their age owing to the lack of birth registration in the area. It established a connection between the AIDS pandemic and child labour: as many adults have died of AIDS, children are forced to find a job to earn a living. The documentary also proposed ways of eradicating such practices. The grant applicant is in contact with policy-makers and law-enforcers to observe progress in addressing the issue.

Allocated grant: US$ 3,000

2. The Women's Voice project was aimed at training trainers through forums, seminars and workshops on human rights issues such as gender inequality, property grabbing, sexual harassment and domestic violence, but also more general issues such as principles of democracy. During the training sessions, reading and sensitization materials and the Constitution of Malawi were distributed. The trained trainers were in turn able to train more than 550 women by the end of August 2000. The activities took place in Mchinji and Mzuzu, rural areas in which women are usually unaware of their basic rights.

Allocated grant: US$ 3,000

3. Youth Net and Counselling trained teachers and pupils, adopting a “peer education” approach, in workshops in the Namiwawa Zone (rural district of Zomba), during which human rights education materials were distributed. The following issues were addressed: general children's rights, relevant provisions of the national Constitution, sexual relations between teachers and pupils, punishment in schools, cultural rites and reproductive rights (given the AIDS pandemic in the region). Schools were then asked to set up human rights youth committees to discuss the problems addressed and to designate a focal point to deal with any allegation/issue.

Allocated grant: US$ 2,600

4. The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) developed activities aimed at improving knowledge about human rights in the Karonga and Salima Districts (remote areas of the country): establishment of human rights clubs and organization of an awareness campaign on human rights violation reporting mechanisms. Members of the applicant NGO formed part of the clubs and trained each participant on how to integrate human rights education into social life in rural areas of the country.

Allocated grant: US$ 3,000

5. The Association of Progressive Women designed and implemented two workshops in Waluma and Kasongo (Phalombe District). Forty participants attended the workshops: they included the District Officer for Agriculture, the Group Village Head, agricultural field advisors, women leaders and members of the grant recipient. The main issues addressed were: the right to food, the right to life, the right to education, children's rights, women's rights. The main achievement of the activity is the training of female trainers, who will pass on the lessons they have learned in their villages and communities. Allocated grant: US$ 3,000

Phase 3

Women’s rights, Violence Against Women and Reproductive Rights

Women’s Voice trained 100 volunteers from the Mchinji and Mzuzu districts in Malawi on women’s and girls’ rights and in particular on the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The volunteers conducted 18 raising awareness campaigns in their respective villages, which reached 810 men and 650 women; such campaigns are on-going.

Human Rights, Health and Ethics

The Kanengo AIDS Support Organization in Malawi conducted an awareness raising campaign on the rights of people living and working with HIV/AIDS. Approximately 602 people, adults and teenagers, HIV positive or negative, mostly from remote villages, benefited from discussions, experience-sharing presentations and distribution of information materials.

Human Rights Education in the School System

Active Youth Initiative for Social Enhancement undertook a series of raising awareness activities in twenty schools of the Blantyre region in Malawi, from August to November 2002. Teachers and students received a training workshop on general human rights and democracy issues with a focus on children’s rights. They were encouraged to establish human rights clubs in their school and distribute promotional materials. 20 clubs have been created, which organized at least one 1-day human rights event in their school, and distributed as many as 2000 leaflets. The grant recipient reported on the decrease of violence, as well as on growing interest among students to learn more about human rights, especially in the context of HIV/AIDS.