Amnesty: W4R HRE material standardised

For more than 20 years Amnesty Internationals “Write 4 Rights” (W4R) campaign has engaged millions of students worldwide in taking action for human rights. W4R is carried out in schools and youth groups in November and December culminating at the International Human Rights Day the 10th of December.

Picture from Amnesty’s campaign site.

As part of the campaign Amnesty London develops human rights teaching materials for teachers and trainers which targets the selected case persons to be assisted during the annual campaign including the human rights violations that they face.

The materials are multinational and multicultural in order to be applicable to all countries and school systems where the national Amnesty organisation choose to apply it.

Amnesty London had for many years faced the challenge of having to develop the materials from scratch within a very short time frame as the materials must be ready to use worldwide just shortly after a complicated case person selection and case writing process addressing the situation in the country, opportunities for action, etc.

Amnesty London needed templates for the HRE material to take point of departure in each year. Templates that had the same uniform quality with a clear thematic reference.

During an exciting summer LEARN|RIGHT worked with Amnesty’s HRE office in London, to produce a Write 4 Rights teaching material compendium with all previous materials structured in relevant themes and with standard activities developed for each theme.

We started the assignment by collecting, structuring and the historic Write 4 Rights teaching materials from 2015-20 to get an overview of human rights themes and the teaching methodologies applied. We systematised all the activities and based on the recurrence of themes and a view to Amnestys focus areas and policies we identified nine major human rights themes: Human Rights Defenders; Freedom of Expression; Right to Protest, Freedom of Assembly & Association;  Torture; Equality & Non-discrimination; Fair Tial;  Law Enforcement; Adequate standard of living; Climate Justice.

Following defining the themes, LEARN|RIGHT developed a standard activity template by identifying the commonalities in the structure of the historic HRE activities and applying a didactic lens. The standard steps we identified was: Introducing human rights, Introduce the rights theme, Introduce the case person and case, Take Action: Write a letter – save a life, Take Action: Show solidarity, Background information & handouts.

Structured after the standard activity template and with point of departure in representative historic HRE activities, LEARN|RIGHT developed a standard activity for each of the nine themes.

All the historic HRE activities was then re-organised after the themes, placing them under the theme they are primarily addressing. In addition, Background Information sheets and Handouts from the historic activities which is addressing the theme in general, was identified, and placed in the beginning of each theme chapter. Background Information sheets and Handouts specific to an activity was placed in the end of each activity.

The structure and layout of all the historic HRE activities was then aligned to the standard activity template, but the original wording of the activities is kept.

In the end of the summer AI gradually selected case persons for 2021 campaign and developed case card for them with detailed information on their case, the country and possible actions. LEARN|RIGHT applied the standard activities to the case cards to and thereby tested their effectivity. The material worked very well to develop an outset for this year’s teaching materials. The only bump on the road was that some cases fell within the same theme which was solved by applying the model of another relevant historic activity within the same theme.

The drafts of the Write for Rights teaching material 2021 was handed over to AI London HRE department for the final tuning as the case card found their final form and the results can be found here.