The main aim of the Key Action 2 project “Communicating Human Rights in Diversity” is to develop sustainable strategies to assist youth and volunteering NGOs to infuse a culture of human rights in diverse local contexts and communities. This involves making volunteers active and responsible citizens, who value diversity and human rights, and it means building the capacity of volunteer organisations and creating multipliers of change in the field of volunteering. In working towards a culture of human rights, the project challenges preconceived notions, customs, practices and behaviour based on stereotypes and prejudices. It simultaneously seeks to explore new ways of engaging with the blind spots of our consciousness, with precarious spaces and people at risk. The project commenced with a training for Human Rights Education Multipliers in Copenhagen, Denmark in March 2015. It was followed by local Human Rights Education trainings for the EVS volunteers in this project.
The different components of this project include:
- European Voluntary Service for 13 young volunteers who are engaged in projects addressing human rights issues from April – December 2015 in Austria, Poland, the UK, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria and Mozambique.
- Local Human Rights Education trainings that aim at facilitating the EVS volunteers’ engagement in their host projects in ways that generate awareness and ensure respectful engagement with vulnerable groups, i.e. the project beneficiaries, and thus breaking down the social hierarchy oftentimes found between provider and receiver of social work.
- A qualitative study examining the impact of the Human Rights Education on the socio-cultural and personal developments of the volunteers in this project.
- The Gauging Impact Seminar that will take place in Bogotá, Colombia in April 2016, bringing together once again the Human Rights Education Multipliers from the four world regions to assess the project and its outcomes.
Volunteers’ Quotes from the ICYE Impact study:
“I feel like I’ve helped them a little bit but I’ve gained much more for myself really.”
“It did make me reflect a lot on my culture, it did make me reflect on “Why”. At the beginning, my question for myself will be “Why it is like this” then during the time, it would change to “Why do I think it’s weird, why it is so difficult to me, like why it is important for me to be on time. I will question my own culture.”
“Communicating with people from different backgrounds and with different lives from you, and being able to find something in common, in a place where you wouldn’t necessarily think you have something in common with someone, being able break the barriers about language and culture, and all of that to get to the core and get lovely human interaction.”
“…I have gained the skill to be a leader in a group of young people for more than 20 people as a volunteer and to deal with the cultural shock between them, and to be in the middle and try to manage these things. I think these skills could never have happened in my life if I am not in this kind of project.”
Publications of the project: