Equitas > EquiTalks: Voices of Human Rights Education
In this 11th episode, we discuss with Aginatha Rutazaa, Managing Director, Tusonge Community Development Organization in Tanzania and Mercy Mukeni, Coordinator, Women’s Empowerment Link in Kenya, both partners of our Advancing Equality project. You will learn more about our common work to end gender-based violence and empower women to participate in decision-making spaces through gender budgeting for accessible human rights education training for all women.
“We need to avoid generalizing, not all women are deprived their rights. The gender analysis with an intersectionality eye will give more understanding of the individual groups we work with.”
– Aginatha Rutazaa
“For women to come up and address issues of gender-based violence, human rights practice must be backed up by policies and laws.”
– Mercy Mukeni
Mariano is President and founder of Derechos Humanos y Diversidad Asociación Civil in Argentina. He’s also Project Coordinator at Fundación AMAL Argentina and is an LGBTQI+ rights defender in his country. He participated in the 41st edition of Equitas’ International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) in 2023. In this episode, he talks about how human rights education helps protect the human rights of LBGTQI+ people and refugees in the Latin American context.
“There’s a gap between social change and legal change and I’m working to close that gap.”
Aly Sanou is the general secretary of the Mouvement Burkinabé des droits de l’Homme et des peuples, and Louna François is a regional project coordinator. Both work conjointly with Equitas as part of the Advancing Equality Through Human Rights Education project, which thrives for the empowerment of women, girls and the advancement of Gender Equality. In this episode, we discussed questions of marginalized people’s inclusion and participation in decision-making processes. For example, how can we make sure they are accessible to single mothers, low-income people, people living with a disability, people who have gone through trauma, etc.? What difference does it make to consider those questions?
“The key to change the world and making it safer is human rights education. I urge all human rights educators to persevere, even if things are not always easy, because it is through action that we can build a better world. ” – Aly Sanou
“We have to broaden our scope, reach more people and invest in the youth. They too can influence others. Young people can witness social models where there is no solidarity; if we do not show them other models, a way out, things will not improve.” – Louna François
Fatou Bintou Thioune is Project Coordinator and Sadikh Niass is the Executive Secretary at RADDHO. Both are collaborating with Equitas via the Advance Equality Through Human Rights Education project. In this episode, they speak about a few good practices to promote gender equality they have learned through their experience, notably on how to ensure trainings are inclusive and adapted to different contexts.
“We are here to provide a common understanding of human rights. We must give the opportunity to all members of society, with no distinction, to know about their rights and to appropriate them.” – Fatou Bintou Thioune
“It is important to have partners, like religious guides, who can intervene in environments that are less accessible to us to dissipate the most widespread stereotypes.” – Sadikh Niass
Nadjet Bouda is a Senior Program Officer at Equitas, covering the Middle East and North Africa area. In this episode, she talks about how to create healthy and efficient collaborations with local human rights organizations beyond cultural differences, all the while ensuring their independence and reinforcing their capacities.
”The communities we work with always have something to bring, and it is, I would say, more important than what we bring as an organization, who arrives with its own methodology. It was up to us to take our approach and adapt it with the strengths of the communities.”
”For us, an equitable partnership is based on a equal involvement in what we do. Our role is not to do things for them, or to take their hand, but to be there to provide guidance and accompaniment.”
Omaid is the President of ArtLords, an artistic movement founded in 2014 in Afghanistan involving artists and activists in the collective creation of public art, such as murals and street theater. Omaid aims to encourage critical thinking about social issues in the people who look at ArtLord’s works. In this episode, we discussed the importance of critical thinking and how it can be fostered through art, as well as how art can be a useful and liberating tool to heal from trauma.
“Our murals are inviting people to ask questions and promoting critical thinking. What do you really think of these issues that are happening, and why are they happening? What can you do about it?”
”People are starting to become agents of change, especially youth. They are challenged and passionate about becoming agents of change in their communities to defend human rights through concrete action.”
Libertad is a firm believer in social justice and gender equality. She applies these beliefs in her role as a Gender Advisor at Equitas, working towards to supporting Equitas in implementing gender mainstreaming and intersectional perspectives in not only our external projects but also within our internal structures. In this episode, we discussed her human rights journey which includes themes such as inclusive feminisms, recognizing power dynamics within social movements, and the role of her childhood in inspiring her to dismantle structural gender inequalities.
“Social injustices are always going to be there, and if you’re there for the long run, you need to take care of yourself.”
Elom is a strong advocate for justice and equality. Growing up in Togo in West Africa, Nelson Mandela’s story motivated his interest in human rights from a very young age. He studied development economics, always keeping in mind a link with human rights, because it was a way for him to participate in changing dynamics. In this episode, we learn more about his journey, the reasons and inspirations that led him to work for the promotion and defense of human rights as well as his conception of human rights.
“What human rights defenders do is simply natural and nothing extraordinary: it is simply the basis of life itself. ”
Amrita is passionate about anti-racist pedagogy and social justice education, she has pursued these interests through studying anthropology, teaching, and developing curriculum and workshops such as on culturally responsive teaching practices. During our conversation, we discussed themes such as inclusive education, respecting youth voices, teaching during the pandemic, and her involvement in the British Columbia Ministry of Education’s K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan.
“…The core of human rights education begins with empathy and really seeing, honouring, and accepting people.”