Tuesday, 7 December 2010

facilitating human rights

well, i've got an interesting opportunity coming up next year. i'm going to be doing a human rights facilitators course, which will take 7 days. i'm actually really looking forward to this, not only because i get to meet some interesting people, but because i'm really looking forward to developing some skills to become a human rights facilitator.

i see the need for advocacy in various ways. there's the aspect relating to religion, and the need to work on increasing understanding & reducing discrimination, particularly for muslim women & particularly in the area of employment. but also in terms of their ability to go about their day-to-day lives, and the normal interactions they have with the health system, the education system, the local shopping centre staff & so on.

there are the gender aspects as well. the need to teach young women the skills to negotiate better outcomes for themselves from within the family and within the community, especially when they face barriers that prevent them from taking up opportunities. it's a difficult situation, because on the one hand she doesn't want to be alienated from her family but on the other hand she shouldn't have to give up on her dreams. so much activism happens at the personal level, in the every day battles we face in the home. things like negotiating the sharing of unpaid work & child-rearing, or ensuring that there is enough support at home so that she can take up a promotion. i'm hoping that the course will give me something in that area which i can pass on to others.

then there is the whole area of institutional power structures, and how to negotiate to ensure women have access to those and have the ability to effectively participate in making decisions that effect the whole community. this is the toughest battle ground, where people with entrenched views resist any attempt at change and have the power to ensure their resistance is pretty effective. i'm not sure that the course will help in this area, but i'm definitely hoping.

it's only 7 days, so can only cover so much. and as for me, i hate studying & assignments and the like. i somehow managed to complete a masters degree but hated every single minute of it. even the fourth year of my bachelor's degree was a struggle. so, even though i know the answer is to take some longer-term training to really gain the skills i need. i'm just not ready for that. i can, however, cope with 7 days and whatever i learn won't go to waste. i totally want to thank those who have given me the opportunity to do this.

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