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Community Development and Human Rights

Marginalized groups are often not aware that they have rights, and lack knowledge of what these rights are and how to ask for them. This prevents them from being active participants in the process of developing their communities and in improving their living circumstances. Recognizing the importance of raising community awareness of rights and the importance played by local civil society organizations in these efforts, BLACD provides training to 16 civil society organizations and 4 Local Popular Councils in Minya and surrounding villages on the Rights Based Approach in Development. 

BLACD furthermore uses art to raise community awareness of rights and has for this purpose provided training to a local theatre group as well as established a children’s theatre group and a choir with children who work in the dangerous quarries. The project commenced in 2006 and is supported by the Ford Foundation.
   
  

Civil Society Organizations learn about the Rights Based Approach


 


Developing the first Arabic Language Training Manual on Rights


An initial study on the approaches local civil society organizations use to develop their communities led to the identification of gaps related to the Rights Based Approach. 20 NGOs answered questions about their concept of rights, their knowledge about international agreements and documents, how they list community needs, how they work to raise awareness and organize target groups. The knowledge gained through the study was used to develop a manual to help trainers in the field of development give training to NGO workers on how to adapt the Rights Based Approach in their work. The manual is the first Arabic language manual in Egypt on this topic.     

  

The first Arabic Language Training Manual available in Egypt on the Rights Based Approach to Development




 










Training members of Civil Society Organizations and Local Popular Councils

BLACD holds training sessions for close to 200 staff members of 18 local civil society organizations to increase their knowledge of how to work according to the Rights Based Approach. Through trainings, organizations gain knowledge on social, economic, and civil human rights, how to define violations of rights and carry out needs assessment in their communities as well as how to develop action plans to work to solve these issues. More importantly, organizations learn how to raise people’s awareness of their rights in order to empower them to ask for these rights.  

BLACD also provides training on the Rights Based Approach to four Local Popular Councils as well as addition capacity building training to increase the readiness of local councils to work with the civil society to realize rights for the communities.        

Using Art to Raise Awareness about Rights

Recognizing the importance of using different methods to raise community awareness of rights, BLACD holds special training sessions for a local theatre group on how to express rights through plays. The 20 men and women who make up “The Theatre of the Deprived” write and act a plays which deal with various rights such as women’s rights and housing rights. 

BLACD has also established a choir with children who work in the hazardous quarries. Children use songs to convey violations of their rights as a method to affect decision makers. To further promote children’s rights and to engage children in this process, BLACD trains a group of children from the local villages on theatre.

 

  

“Theatre of the Deprived” during a training session about rights


 

Establishing Social Movements

Many poor villagers face problems with authorities due to building their houses on land owned by the Government. These people live in constant fear of being evicted or having their homes destroyed and are subject to continuous increase in the rent demanded by the Government. BLACD has established a movement for such poor people deprived of housing rights. Meetings are arranged with lawyers and concerned governmental agencies to search for solutions. Already six households have been assisted to obtain ownership of their house and the land they built it on. 
 

Words of Beneficiaries

“Now I have a ceiling that protects me from the sun and the dust” A woman who took a small loan to improve her house/

Improving Housing

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