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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
about the International Human Rights Training Program!

*Note that the following information is intended to provide a better idea of how to participate in the IHRTP. However, the training program cannot be held in Canada at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so no call for applications is currently open.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the program and its application process.

General Information

What is the IHRTP?

The International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) is a three-week training program which takes place every year, with around 100 participants coming from about 50 different countries. The IHRTP is the only training program in the world designed specifically for human rights educators. The training program focuses on international human rights norms, current human rights issues, and human rights education strategies. The IHRTP is a unique opportunity for human rights workers and educators to enhance their knowledge of human rights and to acquire practical skills to improve the efficiency and the impact of their work.

For whom is this program designed?

The program is designed for human rights workers and educators from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), regional and national institutions, and government agencies. To apply, the candidate must have worked or volunteered at their organization for a minimum of two years.

In which language does the program take place?

Participants will need to actively take part in group discussions and workshops, and to read a large quantity of program documentation. To this end, they must be fluent in either French or English. During conferences and guest lectures, simultaneous translation into English or French will be available.

What are the objectives of the IHRTP?

By the end of the IHRTP, participants should be able to:
• Use a framework founded on internationally recognized human rights norms and principles to analyse situations and problems that might emerge in their work and within their organizations;
• Identify the ways in which human rights education can increase the efficiency of their work on human rights;
• Integrate a participatory approach into their work in human rights education;
• Identify the best ways to apply their IHRTP training to their work with their respective organizations;
• Explore networking opportunities essential for collaborative human rights work;
• Employ strategies to promote gender equality in their work in human rights education;
• Use a basic evaluation process to assess the results of their activities in human rights education.

For more information about concrete results of the IHRTP, consult the program webpage.


Application Process

All relevant information required to complete an application is included in the 4-step Instruction Guide. Please note, however, that no call for applications is currently open. 

How can I apply?

What documents must I provide? You must complete the online Application Form and upload:
• The signed Memorandum of Agreement
• Two letters of recommendation from a national or international human rights organization (other than yours), familiar with your work and/or the work of your organization
• A brochure (and/or mission statement) describing the work of your organization
• If you own a valid passport, please also provide us with a copy of your passport ID page.

If you experience difficulties while creating your account and application form, you may watch this help video clip.

What is the deadline for applications?

Due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world that make it impossible for the IHRTP to be held in Canada at this time, Equitas is not currently receiving any applications to participate in the IHRTP. To be informed of the next call for applications, please send an email to pifdh-ihrtp@equitas.org 


Profiles of Candidates

May I apply if I am a volunteer with an organization but not actively employed?

A volunteer may apply for the IHRTP if they can demonstrate that they have been actively involved in their organization for at least two years. The volunteer candidate must also be:

  • Able to influence the human rights education activities carried out by their organization;
  • Familiar with international human rights principles and instruments;
  • Willing to transmit lessons acquired from the IHRTP to their colleagues and other concerned parties;
  • Aware of the obstacles presented by work in a multicultural context, and must respect diversity.


May I apply if I am not affiliated with an organization?

You may submit an application, although priority is given to candidates actively involved in an organization. You must therefore explain in your Application Form how you plan to use your IHRTP training. If you are unable to sign the Memorandum of Agreement, we require that you write a separate letter explaining how you plan to make use of your IHRTP training in an individual work plan.


May I apply if I have been working with an organization for less than two years?

Unfortunately, only candidates who have worked with their organization as employees or volunteers for a minimum of two years may apply to the IHRTP.



Can more than one person apply from a single organization?

There is no limit to the number of candidates who can apply from a single organization. However, Equitas recommends that each organization selects one or two candidates beforehand as being the most likely to benefit from the IHRTP training. Organizations must also bear in mind that there are a limited number of IHRTP spaces and scholarships.


May I apply if my previous application was unsuccessful?

You are welcome to apply to the IHRTP if your previous application was unsuccessful, or if you were unable to attend.

If you have applied to a previous IHRTP, please contact us at pifdh-ihrtp@equitas.org in order to get your former application form. It will contain some of the informations that you gave in the past and allow you to read what you wrote in it. However, please take into account that you have to write new answers to some of the questions and provide us with new versions of the required documents, like the letters of recommendation and the memorandum of agreement (make sure to use the 2022 version of the memorandum of agreement, provided by Equitas). Your application will be studied alongside all other applications received this year.


May I apply to the IHRTP if I have participated in another Equitas training program?

You may apply to the IHRTP if you have participated in another Equitas training program. However, individuals who have participated in Equitas’ regional human rights training sessions in East and West Africa are not eligible to apply to the IHRTP.


May I apply if my passport will expire before the IHRTP begins, or if I do not have a passport?

You may apply to the Program even if you do not currently hold a valid passport. If you are selected, you will be responsible for obtaining a valid passport. We recommend that you review processing times for new passports or passport renewals in your country, to ensure that you will be able to obtain both a valid passport and your Canadian visa before the beginning of the IHRTP in June.

Memorandum of Agreement

Who must sign the Memorandum of Agreement if I am the director of my organization?

If you are the director of your organization, your Memorandum of Agreement must be signed by the president of your organization’s Board of directors.


Who must sign the Memorandum of Agreement if I do not work for an organization?

If you do not work for an organization and thus are unable to complete the Memorandum of Agreement, we require that you write a separate letter explaining how you plan to make use of your IHRTP training in an individual work plan. The individual work plan is an exercise that invites you to think about how you will include knowledge and skills acquired during the IHRTP to your human rights education work.


Letters of Recommendation

What is a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is a personalized document written by an individual or an organization that is familiar with you and your work, and that explains for which reasons they recommend you for the IHRTP. Letters of recommendation should include a signature and a date and should be recent. Equitas does not provide templates of letters of recommendation.

If you have already applied for the IHRTP before this year, don’t forget to get a recent letter of recommendation to attach it to your new application.


Who can write my letters of recommendation?

The two required letters of recommendation must be written by national or international human rights organizations familiar with your work or the work of your organization. Neither of these letters of recommendation may be written by your own organization.


Selection Process

What are the selection criteria for the IHRTP?

Careful consideration is given to the selection process for organizations and participants for the IHRTP.

Organizations sponsoring a candidate’s application must:

  • Demonstrate an active engagement in the promotion and protection of human rights
  • Be recognized for the effectiveness of their work and activities
  • Be engaged in human rights education activities via training sessions, awareness campaigns and advocacy, and reporting human rights violations
  • Commit to facilitating the retransmission and incorporation of skills and strategies acquired by their candidate during the IHRTP


Candidates representing qualifying organizations must:

  • Have worked with their organization as employees or volunteers for a minimum of two years
  • Be able to influence the human rights education activities carried out by their organization
  • Be familiar with international human rights principles and instruments
  • Be willing to transmit lessons acquired from the IHRTP to their colleagues and other concerned parties
  • Be aware of the obstacles presented by work in a multicultural context, and must respect diversity


How does the selection process take place?

A selection committee examines all applications. Decisions are made based on the aforementioned criteria, with consideration given to a gender balance and to geographical diversity.


When will I know if I have been selected?

Usually, the selection process takes two months after the deadline for receipt of applications, and candidates receive a response after that time. Please note, however, that there is currently no call for applications to participate in the IHRTP.  

Fees, Financing and Scholarships

What is the cost of the IHRTP?

As an indication, the participation fee for the year 2020 was 6310$ CAD. This covers:

  • Training costs
  • Program materials
  • Emergency medical insurance
  • Accommodations and meals for the three weeks of the Program

Participants are responsible for all other fees and expenses, such as international transportation, visa fees, tourist activities, and meals outside the cafeteria.


Are scholarships available to cover expenses?

Equitas may be able to offer a limited number of full and partial scholarships to certain selected candidates through the financial support from Global Affairs Canada. A full scholarship includes program fees (including accommodation and meals) for the three-week training program, as well as travel expenses. Once eligibility is determined, the selection committee awards full or partial scholarships to the candidates whose profiles correspond the most to the selection criteria.

Due to the limited number of scholarships and to certain constraints of equitable geographical distribution, candidates selected for the IHRTP are not guaranteed to receive financial assistance through an Equitas scholarship. We therefore urge all candidates to begin looking for sources of funding, and to indicate the availability of funds in their application form.


How do I pay my participation fees?

If you are selected for the IHRTP and are required to pay a portion or all of your program fees, a bill will be sent to you containing all necessary payment information. Payment can be made by credit card or bank transfer and must be received before the beginning of the Program.


What is your refund policy if I am unable to obtain my Canadian visa in time?

If you are unable to obtain your Canadian visa in time for the IHRTP and have already paid your program fees, the Equitas team will contact you to proceed with the reimbursement process for funds received.

Visa Process

Do I need a visa, and do I need to submit biometric information?

Citizens of most countries will need to apply for a visa and submit their biometric information to visit Canada. The time required to apply for and receive a visa varies by country. Candidates are responsible for taking the necessary steps to submit their biometric information and obtain a visa. We encourage all selected candidates to do this as early as possible to avoid unforeseen delays and complications.

We recommend that candidates visit the Government of Canada’s visa information page and review visa procedures as well as the Government of Canada’s information page on biometric requirements.


When can I obtain a letter of invitation?

While we understand that looking for funds and obtaining a Canadian visa can oftentimes be lengthy and complex, letters of invitation can only be delivered once a candidate is selected to participate in the Program. All IHRTP applications must be evaluated by Equitas before official letters of invitation are sent to individual candidates. Candidates who are selected generally receive an invitation letter in March.




Logistical Information

Where does the IHRTP take place?

The IHRTP takes place at John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, a small community located approximately one hour away (by public transportation) from downtown Montreal. Participants will be provided with accommodations on site.


Where do the IHRTP participants stay?

Participants stay in the John Abbott College and McGill University student residences. Participants have their own bedroom and share a bathroom, living room, and kitchen.


May I stay somewhere else than on the site of the training?

IHRTP participants must stay in the residence halls for the duration of the IHRTP. They are welcome to stay elsewhere before and after the IHRTP, and during weekends.


Are meals included?

Meals are served at the campus cafeteria during the duration of the IHRTP. A per diem will be given to each participant at the end of each week to cover meal expenses during weekends.


What is the nearest airport?

The nearest airport is Pierre-Elliot Trudeau airport in Dorval, on the island of Montreal. Equitas will provide transportation for participants between the airport and the IHRTP campus.


Cultural and religious practices and celebrations during the Program

In the spirit of respect and openness towards cultural and religious diversity and practices, the Equitas team will try to accommodate all feasible requests made by participants regarding cultural and religious practices and celebrations. However, each participant will be responsible for bringing whatever is needed for such practices and celebrations, and will be expected to follow the training program agenda.