Share your resources for advancing children’s right to education!

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Share your resources for advancing children’s right to education!

Share any guides, articles, toolkits, videos and stories that might be helpful to practitioners working to advance children’s right to education.  Add your comments below!


Resources for teachers

Hi All, 

The subject of teacher motivation came up in a few of your comments - it reminded me of a conversation I had with a fellow teacher in Malawi many years ago. I asked her why she became a teacher and she replied, shrugging her shoulders, "Our choices are limited here. It was either become a nurse or a teacher. I hate the sight of blood, so here I am." When the options are so limited, motivation can be nard to come by. A low salary, sometimes months without pay, outdated textbooks (in 1995 I taught from a 1930s textbook), and many other conditions mentioned in past posts from Libby, Ana and others make motivation a significant challenge. 

Providing in-service training for teachers on methods to better their practice is an essential contributing factor to improving the quality of education. The challenge is being able to offer teachers resources and teaching practices which enable them to recognize the added value of integrating them into their work without making them seem like a burden or an extra workload.

So let me get this started with a few resources for teachers, please add on to this list:

General resources:

Global education and global issues:

Human rights in the classroom:


More resources on incorporating human rights into the classroom

Great list, Paul!  Thanks for sharing these. Educating students on human rights is an important step in realizing the right to education. 

A few more resources on incorporating human rights into the classroom:

Educating the Next Generation: Incorporating Human Rights Education in the Public School System - A Tactical Notebook (a case study) published by New Tactics that describes how the Albanian Center for Human Rights (ACHR) successfully collaborated with the Albanian Ministry of Education to bring human rights education into all public schools in the country. They took advantage of the post-communist transition period, negotiating with the new democratic government officials to launch a long-term process in which they would prepare Albanian citizens to participate fully in a democracy. They focused on the next generation – the children – and on ensuring they learned about human rights. Coming out of a political context in which all policies were decided and enacted on a national level, they were able to create a vision to affect the entire education system and have a nationwide impact.

The Human Rights Education Program for Women in Turkey - Another Tactical Notebook that provides an overview of HREP’s success in promoting women’s human rights on the grassroots level and in serving as a catalyst for social change, and explores as well the tactic of utilizing state resources for human rights education.

Human Rights in Higher Education: Incorporating practical experience - A tactical dialogue hosted by New Tactics that features ideas, experiences and methods from human rights higher education programs for incorporating practical experience into human rights curriculums to better prepare human rights advocates for doing “on the ground” and “in the trenches” human rights work.

The latter is focused more on older students, but the ideas can be adapted to many different ages!

Teacher training

Thanks for this Paul.  We are currently reviewing our teacher training activities as part of the work we do so this is really helpful! 



A resource for working with 12 to 18 year-olds

As mentioned in an earlier post, the barriers in Canada that prevent young people from exercising their right to education include bullying, intimidation, exclusion, racism, homophobia, alienation, violence and discrimination. One tactic that can be used to ensure that children and youth are able to access and persevere in their education is to make schools more welcoming environments, where young people want to be and are proud to be; where they feel they belong and want to engage.

 Equitas’ Speaking Rights project addresses these issues from a rights-based perspective and offers practical training for youth workers so they are equipped with tools to discuss these issues with their youth, and can be supportive as their youth develop skills that shape their futures. Activities in the Speaking Rights Toolkit provide concrete opportunities for youth to express their opinions, feel like they belong, and receive support to be leaders in making change. Participatory activities reinforce self-esteem and respect for diversity by challenging youth to look at their own attitudes and beliefs and work together to make their schools and their communities a better place to be.

 The objectives of Equitas’ Speaking Rights project for 12-18 year olds are to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations and municipalities to promote respect for diversity, active participation, leadership, human rights, and community engagement in their programs with youth
  • Equip staff working with youth with an educational tool for promoting positive intercultural relations, for dealing with discrimination and racism, and for preventing and resolving conflicts between youth and the communities in which they live
  • Build the capacity and confidence of youth to actively engage in their communities both in countering discriminatory attitudes and behavior and as leaders in the promotion of values such as inclusion, respect, responsibility, and collaboration
  • Increase youth participation and leadership in building community projects that promote respect for diversity and human rights.

 In the preliminar follow-up we have been doing with partners in the BC Lower Mainland (March 2011-February 2012), youth workers have been pointing to the fact that involvement in the project is changing the way they work with youth. Youth workers report that they are:

  • offering more diverse, informative, and participatory programming for their youth
  • more proactive in awareness raising among youth
  • better equipped to prevent conflicts and intervene when they do arise
  • better informed of youth rights and responsibilities and can share this knowledge with their youth
  • better equipped to prepare their youth for living in a diverse community and in preventing discrimination, violence and exclusion

 Here is what some of the youth workers have to say about how they hope to engage young people and make an impact on the environment in their school:

  • When we attended the [Speaking Rights] workshop we were both very inspired to bring what we learned back to our school. The toolkit was a very exciting gift to receive because it makes the whole process easier. Having this access makes us more inspired than ever to move forward and bring this back to our school because it is one less challenge that we have to face
  • Our goal is to create a graffiti wall in our school that people will want to stop and look at. It is through our peers stopping and looking at the wall that we plan to bring awareness. The content displayed is planned to be both inspirational and educational on our rights as humans.
  • We both think that it is very important that our peers see who we are and understand that [this project] is student-led. The Graffiti Wall is a project, one that will be remembered simply for what it is; a beautiful wall of rights. It will not ever have the chance to be forgotten because it is so prominently displayed before the eyes of everyone. It is our hope that our wall of rights will stay there throughout the ages to become a constant reminder to not only our own peers but possibly the next generation.

 Partners also report activities from the toolkit are having an impact on youth in the following very concrete ways:

  • there is a stronger group dynamic among the youth they work with
  • youth are more respectful of each other and their differences and backgrounds (cultural, socio-economic, gender, ability, etc.)
  • youth are more actively participating in the group and expressing themselves
  • youth have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities
  • youth have stronger self esteem and sense of belonging
  • youth are more engaged in talking about issues of discrimination, violence and exclusion in their neighbourhoods and thinking about ways to make change

The training, toolkit, and support have been a great resource to our programming. The Toolkit activities have increased group cohesion, and highlight a multitude of topics that affect youth – they open up conversation, isolate specific topics, and provide a platform for growth among staff and participants. With the successful integration of Speaking Rights in to our Youth Council group, we now want to use it also with our Youth Outreach Worker to empower newcomer youth (youth worker, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, Vancouver)

I had the chance to participate in some of the activities in the Speaking Rights Toolkit. I find the interacting environment, teamwork, role playing, and putting yourself in other’s shoes is so much more effective in promoting human rights, non-discrimination, and peace among youth than tedious lecturing. I’m really benefitting from the toolkit and I want other youth to have the chance. (youth, Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Centre Society)

The benefit of Speaking Rights is that it takes hard concepts like human rights and equality and translates them in to simpler workshops and activities. We want to keep being part of this project so we can educate our peers to be more inclusive and aware. Youth from certain ethnic groups are sometimes fearful to have a voice – but Canada is a multi-cultural environment and youth are the future and we think it is so important for youth to become aware of their rights, and to have a voice in making change. (youth, City of Surrey Welcoming and Inclusive Community Youth Program)

There is great interest across Canada for integrating Speaking Rights into the formal school system. If you would like to see a sample of the toolkit. it can be viewed on the Equitas website.

In my next post I will share information about Equitas’ Play it Fair! Program for children aged 6 to 12 which during the last year is starting to be used on after school programs across Canada,

Road to Peace: Transitional Justice curriuclum

Thank you for sharing the "Speaking Rights Toolkit". I wanted to share a curriculum that was created by The Advocates for Human Rights. This is a curriculum also for ages 12 and older - The Road to Peace: A Teaching Guide on Local and Global Transitional Justice

Transitional justice is the process through which nations address past human rights abuses and reform their societies. The goal of transitional justice is to transition from a former state of widespread human rights abuses toward a more open and democratic society committed to upholding international human rights standards. Due to conflict, a state may have experienced a breakdown in civil society, an increase in state authoritarianism, political chaos, or civil war. All of these circumstances present challenges that the state must overcome. For this transition to be successful, a society must confront the painful legacy of its past to achieve a holistic sense of justice for all citizens, to establish or to renew civic trust, to reconcile people and communities, and to prevent future abuses.

This curriculum provides a way for young people to learn to navigate difficult and complex issues, whether these young people have experienced war and conflict personally or through the experiences of other in their communities or the resource materials.

I hope people will find this resource helpful as we continute to help our young people build the language, understanding and ablity to act on their human rights together.

Resources on girls' education

Hi All,

The topic of girls’ education came up a few times in this dialogue so I thought I’d add some resources. A number of years ago I worked in Ghana on girls’ education in the “Girls’ Education Unit” part of the Ministry of Education. The Unit had a number of strategic objectives, broadly focusing on:

  • Increasing access for girls to primary schools
  • Increasing opportunities for girls to learn about science, math, and technology education
  • Providing scholarships to girls based on merit
  • Increasing the number of female teachers in rural areas, hopefully creating a greater number of role models for girls

That was a while ago – in retrospect, I think these objectives could have benefitted more from the dialogue we’ve been having. One of the successes of the Unit was to appoint a “Girls’ Education Officer” in each of the country’s 110 districts. They were tasked with the promotion of girls’ education (and did so quite vociferously at times). Having a government representative at the local level helped promote a healthy dialogue with communities, with parents openly talking about traditional barriers, gender stereotypes, and harmful practices such as female genital cutting. It also enabled the women from communities to express themselves. I was surprised that a toolkit for these officers is actually available (from 2001, a couple of years after I left. It’s dated and basic in terms of formatting but some of you may find useful things in it).

In terms of resources on girls’ education, the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative has a links page you can check out. 

Some other resources:


Additional Resources

Hello All,

Looking back over the dialogue these past few days I thought these additional links and resources might be of interest.

International Standards - Education Rights of Minorities:

The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities has developed recommendations for law and policy-makers and others which attempt to clarify in relatively straight-forward language the content of minority education rights. The ‘Hague Recommendations’ are structured to respond to the educational issues which arise in practice. They can be found, along with more information on the education-related work of the High Commissioner (including statements and speeches, etc.), at:

Education and Health:

The Child-to-Child Trust website has a range of resources for practitioners working on health education:

Early Childhood Development:

The Aga Kahn Foundation (AKF) and wider Aga Khan Developemnt Network (AKDN) have a wealth of experience in education generally and early childhood development, in particular, using a genuinely participatory and inclusive approach and featuring High Scope and other innovative teaching methodologies. I know they have developed a lot of useful resource materials, but am not sure if they are available on the web (I could not find them just now on the website: Anyone interested might try contacting the AKF offices in Geneva for more information.



Play it Fair! A program moving into schools


This post is a little late in coming but I committed to sharing information about Play it Fair! so here it is.

Equitas’ Play it Fair! Program has involved training educators, summer camp workers, and after school daycare workers in an approach and Toolkit of activities aimed at increasing children’s understanding of human rights, respect for diversity and peaceful conflict resolution. Play it Fair! has been implemented in day camps across Canada since 2005 and since 2011, is being adapted specifically for after-school programs. The approach is grounded in the interactive activities in the Play it Fair! Toolkit, which help children aged 6-12 to discuss issues such as discrimination and bullying as they learn about inclusion, respect, fairness, acceptance and cooperation. Data from a program review currently underway has shown that the approach is successful in Canadian summer programs, but that the people using the program recognize the benefits of regular activities and consistent reinforcement of the approach over the long term. For this reason, Equitas is piloting the program in the after school context in Montreal where Play it Fair! can effectively contribute to building those respectful relationships which are so important to making the child’s learning environment open, peaceful and harmonious.

Initially piloted in Montreal in 2005, the Play it Fair! Program is now being used in over 430 after-school programs and summer camps across Canada. In 2011 alone, 70 000 children were reached and approximately 5 000 childcare workers participated in training sessions. Internationally, the Toolkit has recently been introduced with partner organizations in Jordan, Haiti and Indonesia. Available in English and French, the Toolkit has also been translated into Spanish, Arabic and Bahasa Indonesian. Please visit the Equitas website and have a look at the Play It Fair!Toolkit.

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