Rights-Based Approaches
Learning Project

Paper: 978 0 85598 607 0 / $29.95
Published: June 2008  

Publisher: Oxfam Publishing
134 pp., 8 1/2" x 11"
tables & photos
A Research Report by Oxfam America and CARE USA.

The failure to respect, protect, or fulfill human rights is a fundamental and leading obstacle to economic development and social justice. Practically speaking, however, we are still struggling to understand what this major organizational shift means. The term rights-based approaches (RBAs) has become so familiar that we tend to assume that it is well-understood and that it is a foregone conclusion that rights-based approaches offer more potential for sustainable impact.

This report presents the findings of a collaborative Learning Project between CARE USA and Oxfam America, who compared RBA projects with non-RBA projects and identified best practices and lessons that could be used to improve the application of rights-based approaches in programming. In doing this they confirmed that rights-based approaches strengthen development work.

This work will be invaluable for field-based staff, partners, and other development practitioners working on the design and implementation of rights-based projects.

Table of Contents:
FOREWORD; ACRONYMS & TERMS; BACKGROUND: Rights-based Approaches; The RBA Learning Project; THE CASE STUDIES; ELEMENTS OF RBA PROJECTS: Thorough Analysis of Underlying Causes of Poverty, including Explicit and Ongoing Analyses of Power, Gender and Risk; Community-centered Development, including Building Sustainable Capacity to Claim Rights and to Drive Decision-making Duty-bearers Engaged, Strengthened and Held Accountable; Advocacy for Sustainable Change in Policy and Practice; Alliance-building; Working at Multiple Levels; Focus on Groups that are Marginalized and Discriminated Against; Problems Framed as Rights Issues and Linked to International or National Standards; Conclusion; IMPACTS OF TRADITIONAL AND RBA PROJECTS: CATEGORIES OF RBA-ASSOCIATED IMPACTS: Effect Changes in Policy and Practice; Have Impacts at Multiple Levels; Affirm the Dignity of All Human Beings; Change Power Dynamics; Strengthen Civil Society to Claim Rights and to Hold Duty-bearers Accountable; Strengthen Peace and Personal Security; Open the Political Culture; Engender Greater Responsiveness, Responsibility and Accountability on the Part of Duty-bearers; Effect Fundamental and Sustainable Change; Conclusion; CHALLENGES AND NEXT STEPS IN THE JOINT LEARNING AGENDA; Adoption, Application and Learning; Monitoring and Evaluation; Conclusion; APPENDICES; A CASE STUDIES; A1 Ethiopia Make Trade Fair Coffee Campaign; A2 Guatemala Overcoming Racism and Discrimination through Active Participation by the Mayan People; A3 Bangladesh Locally Intensified Farming Enterprises and New Options for Pest Management; A4 Ethiopia Civil Society Capacity Strengthening; A5 Bangladesh Local Initiatives in Farmer Training; A6 Guatemala Economic, Political and Social Empowerment for Small Producers in Guatemala’s Central Highlands; A7 Ethiopia Rift Valley Irrigation; A8 Ethiopia Infrastructure Improvement/Urban Food-for-Work; B FACILITATOR’S GUIDE.

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