Documento - Hacer los derechos realidad. Taller de educación en derechos humanos para jóvenes

Making rights a reality

Human rights education workshop for youth

[Back cover text]

Violence against women is a worldwide human rights scandal. From birth to death, in times of peace as well as war, women face discrimination and violence at the hands of the state, the community and the family.

This pack is designed for human rights educators working with youth from the ages of 14-18 years. It includes detailed instructions on how to organize and run a two-day workshop on violence against women, with an optional third day creative workshop which focuses on campaigning skills and creating a drama-based presentation.

The material explores the causes and consequences of violence against women in the family and community and identifies some of the legal tools available to combat such violence. It explores the responsibility of the individual to protect women from violence, as well as introducing the responsibility of the state to protect women from non-state actors (due diligence).

The pack includes all necessary supporting materials for each session, such as case studies, facilitator’s tips and handouts, as well as a list of useful resources and background information.

AI Index: ACT 77/053/2005

ISBN: 0-86210-380-0

[end text]

[inside cover text]

Amnesty International Publications

First published in 2005 by

Amnesty International Publications

International Secretariat

Peter Benenson House

1 Easton Street

London WC1X 0DW

United Kingdom

© Amnesty International Publications 2005

ISBN: 0-86210-380-0

AI Index: ACT 77/053/2005

Original language: English

Printed by:

DS Print/Redesign, Enfield, United Kingdom

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publishers.

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected and protected. Amnesty International’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

In pursuit of this vision, Amnesty International’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.

Amnesty International is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.

Amnesty International is a democratic, self-governing movement with more than 1.8 million members and supporters in over 150 countries and territories in every region of the world. It is funded largely by its worldwide membership and public donations.

Cover photo: A group of women participates in a parade to celebrate International Women’s Day in Montevideo, Uruguay, 8 March 2002.

© AP Photo/Marcelo Hernandez

This is one of seven documents making up a toolkit for activists working to stop violence against women. The toolkit, prepared by Amnesty International, is a contribution to the worldwide struggle to stop violence against women. The elements of the toolkit are: a guide to advocacy and campaigning; a human rights education pack introducing the basic concepts of gender and women’s rights; three human rights education packs written for particular audiences; and two handbooks on international law and international legal standards relating to violence against women, one dealing with states’ obligation to exercise due diligence in making women’s right to freedom from violence a reality; the second covering violence against women in armed conflict. [end text]

[inside back cover text]

This activists’ toolkit consists of seven related publications designed to be used by all those working to challenge violence against women:

Making rights a reality: Gender awareness workshops (AI Index: ACT 77/035/2004), a general human rights education pack on the basic concepts of gender and women’s rights.

Making rights a reality: Campaigning to stop violence against women (AI Index: ACT 77/052/2004), a guide to advocacy. It provides information on practical methods of securing change such as lobbying, using the media and legal advocacy in criminal and civil courts.

Making rights a reality: The duty of states to address violence against women (AI Index: ACT 77/049/2004), a guide to human rights law and standards relating to states’ duties under international law to address violence against women.

Making rights a reality: Violence against women in armed conflict (AI Index: ACT 77/050/2004), a guide to international legal standards relating to violence against women in armed conflict. Access electronic copy under ACT 77/050/2005.

Making rights a reality: Human rights education workshop for youth (AI Index: ACT 77/053/2005*), a human rights education pack on women’s rights in international law aimed at young people.

Making rights a reality: Human rights education workshop for journalists (AI Index: ACT 77/054/2005*), a human rights education pack on women’s rights in international law aimed at people working in the news media.

Making rights a reality: Human rights education workshop for non-governmental organizations (AI Index: ACT 77/055/2005*), a human rights education pack on women’s rights in international law aimed at people working in non-governmental organizations.

* Please note updated index number

[end of text]

Making Rights a Reality

Human rights education workshop for youth



Human rights education material

How to use this pack


Tips for facilitators




Introduction to workshop series

Name game

Alternative name game

Expectations and ground rules

What are human rights?

Learning the UDHR articles

Rights categorizing


Cooler – Circle go round


Warmer: Sex and gender quiz


Role-reversal improvisation

Cooler – Circle go round



What is VAW?

Case studies


Cooler – Thought channel


Warmer: Meet, argue, make friends again – the cycle of violence

Wall of silence

How we personally respond to violence


Final summing-up



Warmer: VAW myths and facts

The case of Ndambo




Emotions and how they affect what we do

VAW and the community

Alternative extra: Advertising your community




Community role-play

Follow-up discussion

Community map revisit



Making a youth manifesto

What can be done to end VAW?

Alternative extra: Special Rapporteur role-play



Final summing up, evaluation and close





From incredible suffering come incredible women

Alternative extra: Interviewing activists

Effects wheel


Action campaigning


Creative campaigning: Making a banner/placard/ OR poster/ leaflets
Optional extra: VAW mural


Creating a drama-based presentation

Introduction and deciding the theme

Creating characters and stories

Non-character scenes

Final presentations




This Human Rights Education (HRE) youth pack is part of a larger activist toolkit developed for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence against Women (SVAW) campaign. The activist toolkit includes additional HRE packs as well as sections on international law and campaigning.

Each section of the toolkit is designed to complement the sister parts of the toolkit and together are envisaged as a resource to enable AI activists, women’s rights activists and others to be informed and take action to prevent Violence against Women (VAW).

Facilitators should consider reading the legal and campaigning components of the toolkit before running the sessions, as well as the SVAW campaign launch report, It’s in our hands: Stop violence against women (AI Index: ACT 77/001/2004).

HRE material

The material comprises a number of packs and falls into two stages:

Stage One – Gender awareness workshops: This part of the toolkit is designed to generate reflection and deeper understanding of the social construction of gender, gender discrimination and the link between these and VAW.

Stage Two – Specialist HRE workshops and resources: This second stage will provide specialised HRE materials for three specific target groups and deepen understanding of legal concepts and standards.

The three packs are:

  • Youth pack (this pack) – for human rights educators working with young people (14-18).

  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) pack – for human rights educators working with human rights NGOs not currently prioritising VAW.

  • Journalists’ pack – for human rights educators working with journalists.

How to use this pack

This pack has been designed for use by human rights educators working with young people aged 14-18. It can be used by and with people who have little or no knowledge of Amnesty International.

The material:

  • Introduces participants to human rights.

  • Examines VAW as a human rights violation.

  • Analyzes the effects of VAW at an individual, social and community level.

  • Looks at issues of responsibility for stopping VAW at an individual, national and international level.

  • Examines how the human rights framework and different legal mechanisms can be used to support bringing an end to violence against women.

The material in the pack is all learner-focused and uses a wide range of participatory education techniques including: group work, drama, role-plays, case studies, brainstorms, discussions and artwork.

The material has been designed to be used in a variety of ways:

Sessions 1-10

These sessions are detailed session plans. They contain the aims of the session and a step-by-step guide on how to carry out each activity. An estimate of time needed for each session and activity is indicated alongside the title. (NB. these are estimated timings and may vary according to each group. They are based on working with a group of 15 participants and can be adapted for larger or smaller groups. Timings should be modified according to the facilitator’s judgement.)

Examples of some of the brainstorming sessions are included among the session plans. Each session includes:


Facilitators’ tips

These are shown in clip notes and contain ideas which may be useful when conducting the sessions.

[end box]


Alternative extras:

These are contained in three-dimensional boxes. They are alternatives to the exercises outlined in the three-hour session plans and offer the facilitator another option to the exercise in the session. These should be substituted as they require extra time or could be used at a different time as follow-up activities.

[end box]


Scripted explanations:

These are shown in speech bubbles and contain scripted examples of how the facilitator can explain issues in greater detail with interesting background information.

[end box]


In addition to the detailed facilitator’s notes, all the materials necessary for each session are contained in the materials section at the back of the pack. They include:

  • Handouts – to be photocopied and given to participants to keep

  • Cut-outs – to be cut out and used during the session

Sessions 1 – 11 can be run as a self-contained workshop series or used as a springboard for participants to create a theatre presentation based on the issues explored and incorporating/extending some of the material generated.

The extent and scale of such a presentation are left for the facilitator to choose and should be decided before the start of the workshop series.

Session 12 has been designed to support a facilitator with little or no experience of running drama-based activities. By the end of the session participants should be able to make a short presentation on the material covered to inform their classmates, other young people, their community, etc.

Tips for facilitator

This pack has been produced as a generic resource for human rights educators within and outside Amnesty International. The pack was piloted in various different countries and as far as possible hopes to reflect a multicultural awareness and approach to the issues of gender and VAW.

We do, however, recommend that all facilitators consider the following tips:

  • The workshops should be facilitated and/or adapted where necessary to take account of the local cultural and political context, although without changing the objectives of each session.

  • Rape is mentioned within the context of VAW in this pack, and is featured in a case study in Session 3. Bearing in mind that these workshops are for children and young people, AI recommends that facilitators use their judgement and discretion in deciding whether to include this topic in discussion or when using the materials.

  • Facilitators should prepare in advance of the workshops in order to be familiar with all the sessions and activities and to develop a clear understanding of the issues being raised. The facilitator may want to consider co-facilitation with an external specialist on some of the more substantive issues.

  • To reinforce the fact that VAW is a global issue and not just confined to the participants’ country, the facilitator could consider including stories about VAW from around the world. Visit Amnesty International’s website for some useful material: and click on stories.

  • AI recommends that the facilitator writes up a glossary during the workshop of any terms featured in this pack which may be new or complex for the participants, e.g., state, convention, etc. A blank flip chart paper with the title “New words” can also be displayed, and participants can be invited to write down anything else that they would like explained during the course of the workshop.

  • Facilitators should prepare their own energizers (i.e., very short activities to slot into the workshop at various points to ensure that participants remain active and alert) and should also consider different techniques for dividing participants into groups – these are not included in the session plans (see Bibliography and useful websites at the end of this pack for suggested resources for these).

  • Although all sessions use techniques which encourage participants to engage actively with the subject, facilitators need to ensure equal participation by all.

  • Please take note of the checklist given at the beginning of each session to ensure you have all the materials required before the start of each session.

  • Finally we strongly recommend that facilitators are alert to the sensitive nature of the topics under discussion and:

    • explicitly raise this point at the beginning of the workshop in order to create a safe working environment and underline the importance of respect throughout the sessions – see Session 1 for guidelines.

    • are clear about their role as facilitator while conducting VAW-related workshops and outline this at the beginning of the workshops.

    • inform participants before attending the workshop about the content that will be explored and are clear in the aims of the workshop series.

    • are aware that participants should not be directly invited to share personal experiences of VAW. Such sharing should emerge from the exercises in this pack as volunteered information and need to be handled with great sensitivity. (See guidelines on Disclosure below.)

    • are aware that in the exercises that do invite participants to share personal stories (on gender and discrimination, not on explicit VAW-related incidents) some may not feel comfortable doing so and should not be forced.

    • allow adequate time for de-briefing in sessions where participants may have shared personal stories, or if disclosure takes place.

    • NB. Many of the activities in this pack are physical and may not be suitable for participants with physical disabilities.


It is internationally recognized that one in every three women will at some point be a victim of physical abuse.

Although participants should not be directly invited to share personal experiences of VAW, the facilitator should be prepared for a participant disclosing that they themselves have been a victim of abuse or from a participant brought up in an abusive household.

Disclosure in workshops where participants have not been directly asked to share personal experiences of violence is most often from women who are no longer being abused. However, the facilitator should also be sensitive to the fact that there may be women in the group who are currently being abused and it is possible that perpetrators of abuse may also be present.

If anyone discloses that they have experienced or witnessed VAW the following steps should be taken: 1

1. Respect the person and do not judge.

Take the disclosure seriously and provide a supportive environment to the individual making the disclosure, regardless of the nature or extent of the violence. It is not necessary or appropriate to judge whether what the person has experienced is violence. It should always be noted that violence against women and girls includes physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. Acknowledge the violence whoever the perpetrator is. Kind words and support from an understanding and compassionate individual at the moment of disclosure are crucial.

2. Have ready a list of addresses and phone numbers of individuals and groups who can help.

Facilitators are advised to always invite women’s and other groups which are specialised in providing direct services to victims/survivors of violence to share their work and specialist knowledge on the subject. There are certain aspects of support for victims and survivors of sexual violence that can only be provided by individuals or groups specially trained in these areas. These specially trained and experienced individuals or groups already exist in many countries and their services include: post-traumatic and legal counselling; provision of emergency refuge; advocacy for housing and other rights by victims/survivors and their dependants fleeing their violent homes and communities; medical treatment; advice, referral and direct support for economic livelihood; legal representation in court for property; and support and custodial rights over their children. These services were mostly pioneered by women’s groups in the country.

If a woman or girl is reaching out, she is looking for support – the right kind of support. Having phone numbers and contacts to appropriate resources is critical. Make sure that the names and phone numbers or web addresses of organizations that can support or provide assistance to women and girls who have experienced violence are always available during the workshop series. It is a good idea to leave these in a discreet place where participants can access them privately if they so wish. A blank page with a table for you to fill in with organizations relevant to the participants in your group is included in the materials section at the back of this pack.

It is important to negotiate and seek the explicit approval of organizations before referring individuals in need of their support. Groups or individuals involved in providing support and counselling to individuals traumatized by violence have standard guidelines which you need to be aware of and incorporate into your referral role.

3. Do not try to counsel the individual.

An HRE facilitator is not equipped to provide counselling to individuals who have experienced violence and should never present themselves as such. The facilitator should be clear about her role from the outset of the workshop so that participants are aware of the kind of support they will receive should they disclose personal information. An HRE facilitator is responsible for facilitating discussions on VAW and gender and creating an environment that enables learning around the topic and issues.

If confronted with a situation of disclosure, acknowledge the person’s experience and find the time and the space to speak to her in a safe and secure environment. Explain what you can and cannot provide and encourage them to contact the organizations that can offer support.

Facilitators should pay particular attention and consider very carefully any disclosure of violence experienced by a minor. Although there may not be a legal obligation to act upon the disclosure there may be a strong moral argument for following up in cases where a minor is at risk of abuse. In addition to the recommendation for any disclosure to provide contact information regarding specialist support agencies, the facilitator may wish to seek advice themselves on an appropriate course of action, depending on the nature of the disclosure.

[divider page]

Day One

Sessions 1 – 4

Making rights a reality

Human rights education workshop for youth

[end of divider]

Session 1



  • For participants to get to know each other.

  • To establish a secure and safe working environment.

  • To introduce participants to the concept of human rights and the UDHR.

  • To connect human rights issues to women’s rights.


  • Flip chart, paper and pens

  • UDHR cards (Appendix 1)

  • Triangle handout (Appendix 2)


  • 2 hours

Introduction to workshop series

Introduce yourself and highlight the aims of the workshop series which should be written up on flip chart before the session starts. (5 mins)

Name game

  • Each person thinks of a word to describe themselves. The word should start with the same letter as their name, e.g. Active Ana, Fantastic Fatima, Sensible Saul.

  • Go round the circle with each person saying their name.

  • Each person then thinks of an action to accompany their name.

  • One at a time participants step into the centre of the circle and say their name and do the action.

  • Once they have done this, all the participants jump into the circle and repeat the name and action three times getting more and more exaggerated.

  • Give round of applause. Participants return to their seats. (10 mins)


Name game alternative extra:

(Good for older participants):

Give everyone a name badge or sticky label.

Ask them to write their name on it and a picture which describes them or how they feel today.

When they have finished this, ask them to put the label/badge on.

Go around the room asking them to say their name and what the picture represents.

[end of box]

Expectations and ground rules

In a group of 15 to 20 participants, it is probable that at least one person will have experienced or witnessed an incident of VAW. The facilitator should, therefore, highlight the importance of confidentiality and sensitivity at some point during the course of the ground rules exercise.

  • As whole group, brainstorm on to a flip chart a list of what the participants would like to be able to do/hope for in the workshops in order to get as much as they can out of them.

  • Discuss:

    • Who has a responsibility to ensure all the hopes are met?

    • What are the responsibilities of the participants and the facilitator to ensure that all the hopes are met?

    • Write the participants’ and facilitator’s responsibilities in the column marked “Our responsibilities”? Try to write these next to the corresponding hopes.

A completed chart could include:


Facilitator’s tip

At least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to a study based on 50 surveys from around the world. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her.2

[end box]




To speak freely

Confidentiality – what is discussed in the room stays in the room

To learn

Ask questions when you don’t understand

Listen to the facilitator and each other

Active participation from all. Don’t let one person dominate

To have equal respect

Do not judge people on the way they look or on what they say

To be safe

Avoid physical contact

No running

Be safe with furniture

To be able to participate equally in the workshop

Allow one person to speak at a time. Do not interrupt.

To have breaks

Concentration throughout the sessions

Good timekeeping

To have fun

Do not judge or criticize people

[end of table]

Explain that the ground rules provide a common framework to ensure that the group works well together and that everyone’s needs are respected.

  • Highlight how each individual in the group is responsible for respecting the hopes of the group. By respecting them, they fulfil their individual duty to ensure that all members of the group are able to participate fully and have a positive learning experience.


  • What will happen if the agreed hopes are not respected?

1) by the participants

2) by the facilitator

  • Are all members of the group equally entitled to be able to achieve their hopes?

  • Does their age, gender, class, religion, political belief, or race change this?

    • Tell the group that you will keep them as a record of an agreed set of ground rules. If either you or the group feel that they are not being met you can refer back to them and find ways of resolving the difficulties. (20 mins)

What are human rights?

  • As a group briefly discuss what people understand by the term “human rights”.

  • Write answers on flip chart.

  • Explain:


Human rights belong to people simply because people are human. For this reason these rights are sometimes called “natural rights”. No one can have their rights taken away on the basis of the colour of their skin, where they are born, the religion they practise, or their sexuality.

[end of box]


Human rights do not have to be bought, earned or inherited – they are “inalienable”, which means that no one has the right to take them away from anyone else for any reason. [end of box]


People still have human rights even when the laws of their own countries do not recognize them. Just like the ground rules we did earlier, there are documents that define human rights standards. Just as we have said that we will take responsibility for these rules, governments and individuals also have to respect human rights and follow the standards set out in them information.

[end of box]

Introduce participants to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

The most widely accepted statement of human rights in the world is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration was adopted on 10 December 1948 by the UN (although eight nations abstained). It sets out a list of basic rights for everyone in the world whatever their race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It states that governments have promised to support certain rights, not only for their own citizens, but also for people in other countries. In other words, national borders are no barrier to helping others achieve their rights. Since 1948 the UDHR has been the international standard for human rights. It is like a measuring stick to see how individuals, communities and countries throughout the world respect human rights. In 1993, a world conference of 171 states representing 99% of the world’s population repeated its commitment to human rights.3

  • Highlight points on the ground rules list identified in the UDHR as rights.


To speak freely and to learn –

Article 19: Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information.

To have equal respect –

Article 2: Everyone is equal despite differences in skin colour, sex, religion, language, etc.

To be safe –

Article 5: No one has the right to hurt you or torture you.

To have breaks –

Article 24: Everyone has the right to rest and leisure. (15 mins)

Learning the UDHR articles

  • Explain that participants are to walk round the room.

  • You will call out a number between 2 and 5.

  • Participants are to form small groups made up of that number of participants.

  • You will then call out a word connected to the UDHR.

  • Participants are to discuss in their groups what that word means to them.

  • Once they have finished their discussion tell participants the right from the UDHR that it corresponds to.

Words to call out:

1) Freedom (Article 3)

2) Equality (Articles 1 & 2)

3) Travel (Article 13)

4) Faith (Article 18)

5) Culture (Article 27)

6) Participate in government (Article 21)

Extra words to call out:

7) Life (Article 3)

8) Privacy (Article 12)

9) Education (Article 26)

10) Express opinions (Article 19)

11) Leisure (Article 24)

12) Health (Article 22)

13) Fair trial (Article 10) (30 mins)

Rights categorizing


  • Divide participants into groups of four.

  • Give each group a pile of UDHR cards (Appendix 2) and a copy of the Triangle (Appendix 4).

  • Participants divide the cards into three piles and place them in the correct part of the triangle as follows:

  • To make you safe

  • To get what you need

  • To allow you to take part


  • Label three parts of the room as above.

  • Call out an article from the UDHR; participants run to the correct part of the room.

  • Once the exercise has been completed, highlight how there are many different ways of categorizing human rights. One common way is to use the following three categories. These should be written up on flip chart or OHP before the session.


Civil and political rights. These are “liberty-oriented” and include the rights to life, liberty and security of the individual; freedom from torture and slavery; political participation; freedom of opinion, expression, thought, conscience and religion; freedom of association and assembly.

[end box]


Economic and social rights. These are “security orientated” rights, for example the rights to work; education; a reasonable standard of living; food; shelter and health care.

[end box]


Economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR). These include the rights to live in an environment that is clean and protected from destruction, and rights to cultural, political and economic development.

[end box]

However you arrange human rights, they are a package and all are equally important as part of the whole. If one right is threatened, all rights are threatened.

Explain that human rights have developed throughout the course of time, becoming more specialized and detailed, for example for minority groups (refugees) and children, etc.

(15 mins)


  • Ask participants to look back at their piles of rights in the triangles and lead follow-up discussion around the following questions:

  • Does being a man or woman have an effect on your rights? If yes, how?

  • Is one category of rights affected more or less by being a woman?

  • Do you think women’s rights are being violated in your country? If yes, how?

  • What about the rest of the world?

  • Should there be a separate statement of rights for women?


Facilitator’s tip:

The issues brought up by these questions are explored in more depth in later sessions. These provide an initial entry point and frame for the workshop series.

[end box]

  • Highlight:

Although the UDHR is recognized as the international standard for human rights, it is not in itself a legally binding document.

Treaties (for example, covenants and conventions) are legally binding documents. But, to have legal responsibilities, states have to agree to be bound by a treaty. This formal agreement is made by states ratifying the treaty. In 1966 the UN General Assembly adopted two covenants to strengthen the UDHR:

- the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

- the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Although these are not as well known as the UDHR, they can be even more important because the countries which have signed them have agreed to be legally bound by them.

The UDHR, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are collectively known as the International Bill of Human Rights.

  • Highlight:

There is also a convention to protect the rights of women. This is called the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Explain that you will be looking at CEDAW and what states’ obligations are in relation to women’s rights in later sessions. (15 mins)

Cooler – Circle go round

  • Have the main words/learning points from the session written up on flip chart.

  • Go round circle with each participant saying a sentence using one of the words.


  • Go round circle with each participant saying one right they are going to assert today either in the workshop or at home. (10 mins)

Session 2


  • To recognize the difference between sex and gender.

  • To become aware of the gendered roles of women and men within culture.

  • To recognize the negative impact that stereotypes can have on the individual and society at large.

  • To become familiar with the term gender-based discrimination and its connection to gender-based violence.


  • Flip chart, paper and pens

  • Situation cards (Appendix 3)

  • Fairy tale for Cooler (optional)


  • 1 hour 30 mins

Warmer: Sex and gender quiz


Facilitator’s tip:

To begin this session, you could play a popular song which highlights how stereotypes are perpetuated through modern culture and are not just embedded in past culture.

[end of box]

Outline the terms Sex and Gender (which should be written on flip chart or OHP before the start of the session).

Gender – refers to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationship between women and men and girls and boys, as well as the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialization processes.

Sex – refers to the biological state of being female or male.

  • Ask participants to stand in a circle.

  • Explain that you will call out a series of statements. If they think it is describing “sex” they should jump in the air once, if they think it is describing “gender” they should crouch down.


Facilitator’s tip:

To prevent people from feeling embarrassed if they get the answer wrong, the facilitator could consider putting the participants into groups for this exercise.

[end of box]

  • Call out following statements.

    • Women give birth, men don’t. (S)

    • Little girls are gentle and timid; boys are tough and adventurous. (G)

    • In many countries, women earn 70% of what men earn. (G)

    • Women can breastfeed babies; men need a bottle for feeding babies. (S)

    • Women are in charge of raising children. (G)

    • Men are decision-makers. (G)

    • In Ancient Egypt, men stayed at home and did weaving. Women handled family business. (G)

    • Boys’ voices break at puberty; girls’ do not. (S)

    • According to UN statistics, women do 67% of the world’s work, yet their earnings amount to only 10% of the world’s income. (G)

    • Women are concerned about the standard of education for their children. (G)

    • Women are forbidden from working in dangerous jobs such as underground mining; men work at their own risk. (G)

    • The majority of police officers in most countries are men. (G)

    • There are fewer women Presidents, Members of Parliament and managers than men. (G)

      • Ask participants to sit down.

      • Discuss what they understand by the term “gender role”.

      • Facilitator sums up, highlighting the following point:


One of the key aspects of every culture is the way it defines gender roles. Almost without exception women are assigned to roles which are subservient to those of men.

[end of box]

(15 mins)


  • Divide participants into groups of four or five.

  • Give each group one of the situation cards.

  • Explain that in their group participants are to make a very short role-play that shows the typical or stereotyped gender roles given to men and women in those situations. They should try to include as many different examples in each picture as possible. For example, an advertisement on TV that portrays a woman in a stereotyped role.

  • Allow participants a short time to prepare their role-plays.

  • Once completed, invite comments from the other participants on what they have seen. Allow some reaction time from the groups on these comments.

  • Once all the role plays are finished, lead a follow-up discussion on the following points:

    • How do these stereotypes and gender roles contribute to discrimination?

    • How does the discrimination embedded in these stereotypes impact on the lives of the women? (30 mins)

Role-reversal improvisation

  • Divide participants into groups of four.

  • Quickly brainstorm some popular folklore tales and myths which have a central male and female character. Among the existing groups, ask each group to choose one that they would like to explore further.

  • Explain that participants will have 10 minutes to create a three-minute scene from the story BUT that the female characters are now male and the male characters are now female.


Facilitator’s tip:

If you do not have equal numbers of male/female participants you can use different coloured T-shirts, stickers or hats for male and female characters.

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  • Emphasize that only the genders have changed. The actions of the character in the story remain the same.

  • Highlight that participants are only going to show a three-minute scene and cannot show the whole story. They should choose one of the most important moments in the story that includes both the male and female characters.

  • Allow participants time to prepare their scenes.

  • Explain that you will invite each group to come to the front. They should introduce the story and explain who is playing which character.

  • As each group performs their scene, ask the others to form an audience.

  • Watch each scene and discuss the following questions:

    • Would society accept a man/woman behaving as they do in the story? Why/why not?

    • What changes would society have to make to accept men and women behaving in this way? (i.e. what stereotypes need to be challenged?)

    • What can we do at an individual level and at a social level to challenge these stereotypes?

      • To conclude:

(Facilitators should note that terms such as “deconstructing” and “impunity” may need to be explained to participants.)


Gender roles are constructed and change across time, culture, class, race, etc. We can all take responsibility for deconstructing gender roles and play an active role in constructing new perceptions of what it means to be male and female, and so help destroy discriminatory thought.

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The next session focuses on the causes of VAW. Amnesty International firmly believes that one of the underlying causes of violence against women lies in discrimination which denies women equality with men in all areas of life. Violence is both rooted in discrimination and serves to reinforce discrimination, preventing women from exercising their rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men.

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Amnesty International also believes that impunity is another root cause of violence against women, which is looked at in later sessions.

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(35 mins)

Cooler – Circle go round

Participants regroup in a circle and go round, each saying the title of a new story they would like to write about women that challenges a stereotype.

Alternatively, facilitator reads out a well-known fairy or folk tale where the roles have been reversed. (10 mins)


Additional information:

Often the gender discrimination that women face is combined with other forms of discrimination, leading to marginalization. Women from racial or ethnic minorities, indigenous women, dalit women, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, women from migrant communities or minority religions, or women with mental illness may face such multiple discrimination. The way gender discrimination intersects with other forms of discrimination to produce violence is illustrated by the findings of the Geledes Black Women’s Institute, a non-governmental organization based in São Paulo, Brazil. When the organization set up a hotline for women experiencing racial discrimination, most of the calls they received were about sexual abuse and violence against women.See also Amnesty International’s 2004 SVAW campaign launch report, It’s in our hands: Stop violence against women (AI Index: ACT 77/001/2004), p 39.

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Session 3


  • To define VAW and be able to name the different forms it takes in the home.

  • To introduce VAW in conflict.

  • To recognize that VAW is a human rights violation.

  • To become familiar with the names of human rights documents connected to VAW and the definitions contained within them.

  • To analyze how discrimination contributes to VAW.


  • Flip chart, paper and pens

  • Photocopies of the House handouts (Appendices 4 and 5)

  • Post-it notes

  • VAW definition cards (Appendix 6)

  • Case studies (Appendix 7)

  • List of phone numbers for each participant of help/advice organizations and helplines on the issue of domestic violence, sexual violence, etc. These can be placed in a discreet place somewhere in the room.


  • 1 hour 35 mins


Facilitator’s tip:

This session is the first to use specific examples of VAW to look in detail at violence against women. The facilitator should consider highlighting that the session may bring difficult emotions to the surface. These emotions are nothing to be ashamed of and other participants should be sensitive to the fact that people within the group may be finding the session difficult. Refer back to the ground rules exercise highlighting the importance of confidentiality, respect and support.

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Divide participants into small groups and ask them to share with each other any experiences they have had in challenging a gender-based stereotype.


In small groups, participants tell each other about any examples of stereotyping/gender-based discrimination they have witnessed.

  • Ask participants to think about the word “family”, and write down three words which come into their minds.

  • Invite participants to share these words in plenary. Some could include the following:

    • Safety

    • Protection

    • Home

    • Private

    • Trust

    • Nurture

    • Care

Explain that the concept of who constitutes a family may vary from culture to culture. It is important that we accept that the concept of family can go further than just the nuclear family and can relate to a variety of close relationships.

Reinforce the fact that whatever the make-up of the family, the common values are that a family should be a safe place, where people are protected from violence and abuse of any kind. We will see in the following case studies that a lot of VAW happens in the home. That is why it is a large feature of AI’s SVAW campaign.

Explain that another key context in which VAW happens is armed conflict. We will not focus on this in the current workshop, but will mention it briefly as it is part of the focus of AI’s SVAW campaign.

Instability and armed conflict lead to an increase in all forms of violence, including genocide, rape and sexual violence. During conflicts, violence against women is often used as a weapon of war, either to dehumanize the women themselves or to persecute the community to which they belong. Women also face increased levels of violence from within their families.4 We do not have time to look at this area in much detail, but examples will be given in some of the case studies. (5 mins)

What is VAW?

  • Do a quick brainstorm of what VAW means. Write key words on flip chart paper and then compose a group definition.

  • Divide participants into four groups of five. Give each group a copy of the blank House (Appendix 4).

  • In their groups participants should brainstorm different types of violence in the family and write them in the house.

  • Once completed, ask participants to regroup around the houses. Participants should read what is on the paper and add any more words that are not there. Give out the House handout with examples. (Appendix 5)

  • Once completed, participants brainstorm things that cause VAW and write them in the path leading to the houses.

  • Once completed, participants return to their original house.

  • Give each group a set of the definitions of VAW to read and discuss. (Appendix 6)

  • Come together as a group and discuss whether participants are still happy with their definition of VAW or if they want to add, remove or change anything.

  • The facilitator should check how participants are feeling at this stage. (30 mins)

Case studies

  • Divide participants into groups of four.

  • Give each group a copy of the case studies and invite them to spend 20 minutes discussing. We strongly recommend that the suitability of the case study be considered depending on the particular group. If not appropriate, alternative case studies should be found.

    • What are the forms of violence?

    • What are the human rights violations?

    • What are the embedded stereotypes?

    • How did discrimination contribute to this situation?

      • Invite each group to feed back on one of the cases (the facilitator should indicate which) to ensure that all the cases are covered. (30 mins)


  • Now return to the articles in the UDHR and find the articles which correspond to the violations in the case studies. Write the articles on to post-it notes and stick them over the violations, thus erasing them.

To conclude, explain that:


Violence against women happens every day in every part of the world and often in people’s homes by their own family members. Some studies have shown that one in four women have at some time in their lives been survivors of violence. The case studies we have looked at are very disturbing, and they are true stories and reflect the reality of 25 per cent of women in the whole world. Of course, the impact of this violence reaches further than just the women. It also reaches her family and the community. We will look at this in more detail later.

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You should explain that you will hand out a list of telephone numbers to everyone. These can be contacted if anyone feels they would like to speak to someone confidentially about any of the issues covered today. Although as the person running this workshop you cannot offer any professional advice, you can support participants in getting some help and advice.

End this session on a positive note by saying that we have seen that there are human rights standards which, if followed by individuals and governments, can help to put an end to VAW. By being here they are all gaining important knowledge and skills which will help them to protect the rights of those in their own families and communities as well as protect their own rights. They can use this knowledge to empower others to defend their rights. Once people know how to defend their rights, human rights violations can be stopped and violence against women can also be stopped.

Ask participants to close their eyes for a couple of minutes and imagine a world where violence against women does not exist. Pause, and when the time is over, remind participants to hold on to that positive feeling. (15 mins)

Cooler – Thought channel

  • Ask participants to stand in two rows facing each other.

  • Explain that the participants are survivors of violence and they are a channel of thought. You (female facilitator) are going to walk down the centre of the channel. Each participant is a positive thought they would like to give to the woman in the centre. If both facilitators are male, ask for a female participant to volunteer to walk down the centre. Each participant reminds the woman of one of her rights.

  • Give participants a moment to prepare their thoughts. Explain that they should start their sentence by saying:

“Remember your right to…” (tell participants they don’t have to give exact wording)

  • As you walk down the centre of the channel, stop in front of each participant and allow them to give you their thought. Continue until everyone has had the opportunity to do so.

  • Thank participants and remind them to hold on to this positive feeling. (15 mins)


VAW definitions exercise: Some background information

The development of women’s rights into international law can be broadly divided into three phases:

PHASE ONE: 1960s

  • Activism focused on women’s political and civil status by ensuring that women had equal political rights, e.g., the right to vote, the right to hold public office.

PHASE TWO: 1960s - 1980s

  • Activism focused on establishing equality and reducing discrimination against women. However, women’s rights remained marginalized from the UN system.


  • Activism focused more on integration of women’s rights into UN human rights treaties and establishing violence against women as a human rights violation.

The definitions used in the defining VAW exercise are all taken from key documents which locate women’s rights in the human rights framework.

CEDAW – This is the detailed mandate to secure equality between women and men and to prohibit discrimination against women. It finds its source in core human rights documents – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). While these human rights standards lay the foundation for women’s lives to be free from violence, this was crystallized in 1992 when the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women adopted General Recommendation 19 on “violence against women.” General recommendation 19 defines violence against women as a form of discrimination.

The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women – The UN Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993 provided the opportunity for a network of anti-violence and women’s rights activists to lobby governments and achieve policy change at UN level. The UN declared violence against women to be a human rights violation, requiring urgent and immediate attention, and proclaimed that women’s rights are human rights. Soon afterwards, in December 1993, the UN adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women which sets out the mandate for addressing violence against women as a human rights issue.

International Conference on Population, Cairo, 1994 – affirmed that reproductive and sexual health are part of fundamental human rights. The declarations from this conference linked reproductive and sexual health to the personal rights of bodily integrity and security of the person, as well as the social right to the highest attainable standard of healthcare and the information and the means to access it.

1995 Beijing Conference – The main document produced here was the Platform for Action, in which governments declared that violence against women constitutes a violation of basic human rights and is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace.

[end of box]

Session 4


  • To recognize barriers in society to addressing domestic violence.

  • To identify the constraints placed on women from leaving a situation of violence and identify ways of removing these constraints.

  • To become familiar with the public/private split.

  • To introduce the concept of state responsibility.


  • Flip chart, paper and pens

  • Cycle of violence handout (Appendix 8)

  • Sticky-tak or sticky tape.

  • Picture of a woman

  • Cut-out bricks (Appendix 9)

  • Scenario cards (Appendix 10)


  • 1 hour 45 mins

Warmer: Meet, argue, make friends again – the cycle of violence

  • Ask participants to walk around the room.

  • Ask participants to stop and find a partner.

  • When they meet their partner they are to say hello as if they were a long lost friend.

  • Ask participants to stop and continue to walk around the room.

  • Ask participants to stop and find a new partner.

  • This time they pretend they are very angry with their new partner and have an argument with them. (Remind participants not to become too offensive with their partners as this is just an exercise!)

  • Ask participants to stop, and continue walking round the room.

  • Ask participants to stop, find the second partner, and apologize to them for the argument and become friends again.

  • The exercise can be repeated several times. Each time, the participants are asked to exaggerate the emotions. It could end with the participants on the floor, begging for forgiveness.

  • Lead short follow-up discussion using following points:

  • How did it feel to be part of the exercise?

  • How does this exercise reveal one of the reasons why women stay in violent relationships?

  • What are some other reasons why women stay in violent relationships? (Answers include threat of future violence or even death, economic dependence, low self-esteem, etc.)

    • Using the handout (Appendix 9), explain the cycle of violence between a male and female partner in a violent relationship and some of the reasons women stay in violent relationships. (20 mins)

Wall of silence

  • On the flip chart board put a picture of a woman (from a magazine) or alternatively the outline of a woman. (Avoid images which reinforce gender stereotypes.)

  • Divide participants into pairs.

  • Give each pair some bricks (about five per pair).

  • In their pairs ask participants to think of reasons why women stay in abusive relationships. They write these in the bricks – one per pair.

  • Once completed, participants explain their reasons and stick their brick to the flip chart. Participants do not have to stick all their bricks to the flip chart. Only those containing different reasons should be displayed.

  • Once the reasons have been stuck to the flip chart, the picture of the woman becomes hidden behind a brick wall. (Some reasons are: children, financial dependence, fear/threats of more violence (including death threats), what the extended family and/or community will think, etc.)

  • Ask participants:

    • What effect does this wall of problems have on the woman? (limits her freedoms, choices, opportunities, affects her confidence, etc.)

    • Whose responsibility is it to knock this wall down?

(NB: This will be looked at in more detail later in the session so the discussion should be kept brief at this point and the facilitator should not provide an answer.) (30 mins)

How we personally respond to violence

  • Explain the following terms. (Have them written on an overhead transparency (OHT) or flip chart.)

Government/state actor – Individuals working on behalf of the state (includes government officials, police, judges, prison guards, security forces, and staff at public hospitals or in educational institutions).

Non-government/state actor – Private individuals acting independently from any government organization or position of authority (includes economic actors such as businesses).

  • Read out the following scenario (which should be written on an OHT or flip chart):

A fight breaks out in the middle of a busy market. First A shouts loudly at B. Then A takes up a stick and begins to beat B on the head and shoulders. B is much smaller and is unable to withstand the attack. Soon B is lying on the ground and A kicks B, who is bleeding from the nose and mouth.

  • Divide participants into groups of four.

  • Give each group one of the scenario cards.

  • In their groups participants make up a scene to show what happens based on the information on their cards. They should think about:

Do the police get involved?

Do onlookers intervene, join in, run away?

  • Allow participants time to prepare their scenes. Explain that the scene can be no more than two minutes in length.

  • Watch each scene in turn.

  • After each scene, lead follow-up discussion using the following points:

1) How do the age, gender and relationship of A to B make a difference to how people react?

2) Why is this the case? (30 mins)




Sometimes government officials or other agents of the state (such as the police, judges, prosecutors, prison guards, security forces or staff at public hospitals or educational institutions) are directly responsible for committing acts of violence against women.

[end of box]


However, in many cases, it is a private individual, group of individuals or an organization who is responsible. Husbands, other family members, doctors, religious leaders, teachers, the media, bosses and businesses may all be responsible for violence against women. AI believes these private (non-state) actors, including economic actors such as businesses, must also respect basic human rights. Everyone has basic responsibilities in relation to human rights.

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An important part of Amnesty International’s SVAW campaign is to raise awareness about individual responsibility, but is also to underline state responsibility for creating conditions under which laws are non-discriminatory and rights are promoted and protected even when the act of VAW is committed by a private actor.

[end of box]


Are there any questions?

[end of box]

(10 mins)

Final summing-up

Invite participants to share some of the issues today which they have found most interesting/ shocking/ useful, etc.

Return to the agenda to remind participants of what has been covered. (Write the key learning points on to flip chart paper or OHT. Use the following points as a guide if you wish.)

Explain that hopefully we have today:

  • become familiar with the UDHR and some of the articles in it

  • linked human rights to women’s rights and begun to explore gender roles and gender stereotypes and how these lead to discrimination against women

  • seen the disturbing reality of gender-based violence as a result of these stereotypes and prejudices towards women

  • looked in more detail at violence against women in the home and touched briefly on VAW in conflict

  • started to identify legal human rights documents which relate to VAW and analyzed case studies to highlight where discrimination has led to VAW.

We have begun to recognize barriers in society to address domestic violence and have started to look at the concept of the public and private split and the responsibility of the government to protect our rights. (15 mins)


[divider page]

Day Two

Sessions 5 – 9

Making rights a reality

Human rights education workshop for youth

[end of divider]

Session 5



  • To question commonly-held assumptions surrounding VAW.

  • To look further at the difference between individual and state responsibility.

  • To introduce the concepts of state/government accountability and “due diligence”.


  • Myths and Facts cards (Appendices 11 and 12)

  • Flip chart, paper and pens

  • Ndambo case study (Appendix 13)


  • 1 hour 30 mins


Facilitators Tip:

Recap - Welcome participants back to the second day of the workshop and recap the main points from yesterday. (You can refer to the summing-up points at the end of Day One as a guide.)

[end of box]

Warmer: VAW myths and facts

  • Divide participants into groups of four.

  • Give each group a pack of the myths and facts “door” cards. (You will need to prepare these in advance by sticking the two pieces of paper together so that on one side there are myths, and on the other, facts.) Make sure that the myths are facing up when you distribute them and ask participants to refrain from looking at the other side.

  • Explain that participants are to arrange the doors in a line from right to left according to whether the community they are living in agrees or disagrees with the statement.

Left = Disagree Right = Agree

  • Once completed, ask participants to discuss in their groups how they might answer these myths.

  • Participants then turn over the door to reveal the true fact and so open the door on the problem.

  • In plenary, ask participants if they were surprised by any of the facts.

  • How do they think the facts could change the way VAW is perceived and what could the impact be (i.e. that VAW is not tolerated or justified due to false information, there is more awareness, etc.)? (20 mins)

The case of Ndambo

(This case is about rape by armed forces during conflict. Please see page 4 for advice on sensitivity around discussing rape in this pack.)

  • Read or ask participants to read the case of Ndambo.

  • Explain that Ndambo’s family wants to bring the people responsible for Ndambo’s rape to justice. The army does not want this to happen.

  • Using the following questions (which should be written on flip chart prior to the session starting) ask participants to discuss why Ndambo’s family and the army have these points of view.

Guiding questions:

  • Who do you think is responsible for the rape: the army, the government, Ndambo, the soldiers who raped her?

  • How would it affect other members of the security forces if the guilty soldiers are held to account?

  • If the guilty soldiers are punished, would the power of the government or other soldiers increase or decrease? What about their image?

  • What if they are not punished? Will the army lose the trust of the people?

  • Does it matter if the army loses the trust of the people?

  • If the soldiers are not punished, what effect will this have on the public’s perception of the legal system (court, judges, etc)?

The key points to bring out of this are that often people who work for the state are protected, even when they do something unlawful. This is called impunity. This exercise has shown us why impunity occurs. However, it is important for us to raise awareness that this is wrong, and to call for people who commit human rights violations such as VAW to be brought to justice and not be protected or given any special treatment above the law.

  • Ask participants to imagine that they were hiding nearby when Ndambo was raped. They saw the faces and army numbers of the soldiers who attacked her, but were not seen themselves.

  • As group discuss following questions:

What would you do in this situation? Would you:

a) Go home and forget all about it? Would this be possible?

b) Go to a police station and report it? If not, explore reasons why not.

c) Do something else? If so, what? Why?

  • Divide participants into groups of four.

  • In their groups participants are to pretend that one of them is a journalist who has come to ask Ndambo’s family about the attack.

  • Each group should prepare a small scene about the meeting with the journalist. Some questions to think about are:

    • Do they want to talk to the journalist? Is it dangerous?

    • Can they trust him/her? What does the journalist want? Would it help?

    • What is his/her point of view about the attack? Can the journalist help to publicize the attack?

    • Do the relatives/friends/colleagues of Ndambo want this?

  • Allow participants time to prepare their scenes.

  • Each group presents its scene to the rest of the group.

  • Once all the scenes have been shown, ask participants to consider how their responses to the questions would have changed if they were living next to a woman who was being abused by her male partner.

  • Explain:

The government has a responsibility and an obligation to prevent any act of VAW. This is called “due diligence”. If a state is not acting with “due diligence” they can be held responsible. How to do this will be looked at in future sessions. (60 mins)




Women demanding rights and seeking peace

Since the first coordinated international effort to bring women together to organize for peace at the International Congress of Women in 1919, women have organized to resist violence and oppose war. Women have assembled peace missions, crossed battle lines between warring factions, lobbied decision-makers and created global peace initiatives. In doing so, they have demanded justice and asserted their right to participate in peace negotiations. In 2000, these efforts achieved global recognition when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325, which reaffirmed women’s right to protection in conflict and post-conflict situations, and also urged increased participation by women in all peace processes. Such participation is critical to ensuring that peace-building and conflict resolution processes are founded on the principles of equality and non-discrimination that are so central to eradicating violence against women.5 (10 mins)

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  • Ask if there are any questions.

Session 6


  • To look at the impact VAW has on the whole community.

  • To look at the benefits which stopping VAW would have on the whole community.


  • Flip chart paper, flip chart and marker pens

  • Old magazines, scissors, glue (optional)

  • VAW in the Community handout (Appendix 14)


  • 1 hour 30 mins


Ask participants to stand in a neutral position. The feet should be directly under the hips and hands hanging loosely at the side.

Explain that this is the neutral position and their energy levels are at zero. Ask participants to imagine in their heads what energy level 1 would be like. Allow them some time to imagine. Then ask them to imagine energy level 2 and again allow them a moment to imagine this. Move onto energy level 5, then energy level 10.

While participants are still in their places, explain that you are going to ask them to walk round the room. You will call out a number and they should increase or decrease their speed to suit this number.

Ask participants to walk round the room at a speed that is comfortable for them. Ask them to reflect on what energy level this is at.

Once participants are walking comfortably round the room, start calling out different energy levels. These should be random and not in sequential order.

Once all the numbers have been called out, continue the exercise but after each number ask participants to choose an emotion that fits this energy level. They should incorporate this emotion into the way that they walk. (5 mins)

Emotions and how they affect what we do

  • Explain that emotions have varying strengths. These varying emotions affect what we do in our daily lives.

  • Ask participants to find a space in the room.

  • Explain that you will call out an energy number and an activity. Participants should do that activity and see how their emotion and energy level affects how they do that activity. (5 mins for this exercise)

  • Suggested energies, emotions and activities to call out:

Happy 5 Make a cup of tea

Sad 1 Get out of bed

In love 10 Buy a train ticket

Anxious 1 Walk down the street

Nervous 9 Read a book

Content 5 Tie a shoe lace

Happy 10 Make a cup of tea

Depressed 1 Type/write a letter

Anxious 5 Walk down the street

Angry 6 Read a child a story

Content 10 Tie a shoe lace

Guilty 7 Sit in a doctor’s waiting room

In love 2 Buy a train ticket

Ashamed 4 Clean your teeth

Anxious 10 Walk down the street

To close the exercise, call out:

Calm 5 Sit in a circle

  • Lead follow up discussion on following points for 10 minutes:

1) How did the emotions and energy levels affect how people did the actions?

2) What do you think this means in relation to women who are victims of violence and/or live in a community where the threat of violence exists? (Try to draw out concepts of stress, pressure, feeling unable to cope with the simplest tasks, unable to do the things they need to do in their daily lives such as go to work, feeling emotionally sensitive, vulnerable, scared, etc.)

3) If people are not able to function to the best of their ability, how could this impact on the community as a whole? (i.e. the community will suffer economically from reduced workforce, etc.). (Draw out the emotional impact on children, who may also find their everyday lives affected at school, socializing with other children, etc.) (15 mins)

VAW and the community

  • As whole group, brainstorm on flip chart all the things that make up a community. Examples could include: a school, a hospital, a playground, a factory, houses, etc.

  • Divide participants into groups of five.

  • Give each group a large piece of flip chart paper.

  • On the flip charts, groups draw a picture of their local community. If participants belong to very different communities, they can draw an imaginary community that combines all the aspects of the different ones they live in. (Alternatively, bring in old magazines for participants to cut up and use to make a collage of their community.)

  • Once participants have completed their community maps, ask them to mark in red all the places where VAW might occur.

  • Once completed, one participant from each group should take the rest of the group on a journey through their community and highlight the effects of VAW at each place.

  • Ask the following question:

  • What do these “maps” reveal about the impact of VAW on our communities? (Try to draw out the key points that: a) VAW impacts on the whole of the community; and b) there are health and economic impacts as well as psychological damage on children which could lead to crime and anti-social behaviour.)

    • Give out VAW in the Community handout (Appendix 14) which will consolidate these points.

    • Keep the maps to re-visit in Session 7. (60 mins)


Alternative extra: Advertising your community


  • 60 mins


  • Flip chart paper and pens

  • As a group, brainstorm all the components of a TV advertisement

  • Back in their groups of five, participants make a TV advertisement for their local community

  • Two groups should make an advertisement for the community where VAW exists

  • Two groups should make an advertisement for the community where VAW does not exist

  • Once completed, watch each group’s advertisement

  • Lead follow up discussion using following questions:

    • Which community sounds most attractive?

    • Why?

    • What are the benefits to the whole of the community in bringing an end to VAW?

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Go round circle with each person saying one thing they could personally do to reduce incidents of gender-based discrimination and VAW in their community. (Answers could include raising awareness through discussions with family/community members and dispelling myths around VAW.) Creative awareness-raising may also be effective, such as organizing short drama pieces at school (Day Three of this workshop will focus on this) and designing posters. Explain that at the end of today we will also look at how to campaign on VAW by writing letters to local officials and governments. (10 mins)

Session 7


  • To look at the various agents/people responsible for bringing an end to VAW.

  • To decide what these agents/people need to do to bring an end to VAW.

  • To recognize individual and community responsibility in bringing an end to VAW.

  • To understand the importance of state responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil women’s rights.

  • To look at “due diligence” and state accountability in more detail.


  • Flip chart, paper and pens

  • Community map from previous session

  • White sticky labels


  • 1 hour 30 mins


  • Ask participants what the word “responsibility” means to them.

  • Try to capture key words and concepts on to flip chart.

  • Now ask them to remember the last time they admitted doing something wrong and so took responsibility for their actions.

  • While they are remembering warn them that they will be required to talk about the incident so it should be something they feel comfortable admitting to.

  • In pairs, participants relate the incident and describe their feelings about it. Was it easy/difficult? Why?

  • Invite participants to share briefly what they felt the point of that exercise was, i.e., that we all have responsibility as well as rights. Likewise, governments also have a responsibility to make sure we have rights and to protect us from individuals, organizations, companies and even people that work for them from abusing our rights. We will look at this concept of state/government responsibility in more detail later on today. (15 mins)

Community role-play

  • Explain that a refuge is somewhere for people to go to escape from violence or threats of violence, to feel safe and to receive basic provisions such as a bed, food and water, etc.

  • Prepare in advance a list of community members and write them on to sticky labels. Give each participant one of the labels. You can choose from the following examples. (You may need to double up some of them depending on the size of the groups. You may also need to adapt some of these to suit the community in your part of the world. Ensure that gender-sensitive titles are used.)

    • Police officer

    • Teacher

    • Doctor

    • Nurse

    • Business person

    • Lawyer

    • Journalist

    • Youth worker

    • Social/community worker

    • School student

    • Housewife

    • University student

    • Builder

    • Farmer

    • Local government minister

    • Local grassroots campaigner

    • Shop worker

      • Participants should write their character and character’s name on a label and stick it to their chest. They should spend 10 minutes thinking about that character and how they might feel about the refuge.

      • Ask participants to sit in a circle and introduce themselves.

      • Explain that they have all met at a local community meeting to discuss the following proposal (for 20 mins):

Planning permission has been given to build a women’s refuge:

  • You will chair the meeting to decide on the course of action and whether to accept or oppose the new plans. (Use your role as chair to encourage full and equal participation from the group.) (30 mins)

Follow-up discussion

  • Once the meeting is over, use the following prompt questions for a discussion:

    • How did participants feel about this exercise?

    • Was a decision made?

    • Was it unanimous (i.e. did everyone agree?)

    • What prejudices were expressed during the meeting?

    • What feelings were behind the prejudices?

    • Were the characters stereotypes?

    • How realistic was it?

    • What other opinions could emerge that did not?

      • Ask participants to remove their labels and say how they personally feel about this issue. How could they argue against some of the opinions they have heard in the role-play that they did not agree with?

Responsibility for ending VAW exists at the individual, community and state level. Individuals make up communities. Any personal prejudices towards women can and do have an impact on the public role which the individual performs in the community and, therefore, on the support for and protection against acts of violence a woman can expect to receive from other non-state authorities. Overall responsibility, therefore, lies with the state. States have a responsibility to:

  • respect – to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the right

  • protect – prevent harm to individuals known to be at risk; and preventing harm in a more general way at an earlier stage for all potential victims

  • fulfil and promote rights so that they are respected by all

For example:

- put aside money in the government’s budget and create laws to protect women, and promote their rights

- take measures to educate all citizens about their rights, including through education at school and the public media.

  • explain to participants that the legal term for this is “due diligence”, which means that the government must be responsible for protecting its citizens from harm but also for making sure that individuals do not bring harm to other citizens. Therefore, if a man beats his wife, the government/state can be held to blame for allowing for this to happen or for not ensuring that the man is brought to justice (arrested, taken to court, etc.). (15 mins)

Community map revisit

  • Bring community maps back from Session 6.

  • Divide participants into groups of five.

  • Ask each of the groups to choose three of the areas where VAW occurs that they would like to explore further.

  • Assign each group one different area.

  • Give each group a piece of flip chart paper and some marker pens.

  • Ask the groups to divide their paper into three columns:

[box, in 3 columns]

Failure to Failure to Failure to


[end of box]

  • Ask participants to brainstorm the ways in which a state’s failure to respect, protect and/or fulfil women’s rights in a particular situation could contribute directly to an incident of VAW or make a situation of VAW worse.

  • Once participants have completed their charts, ask one participant from each group to feed back the results to the plenary.

  • Give out the Impunity handout (Appendix 17) and read it through with the participants.

  • Ask how they feel about these laws and incidences.

  • Explain that tomorrow we will look at creative and concrete ways to campaign on VAW and to address some of these obstacles (including discriminatory laws and impunity). We will look at ways to raise awareness on VAW in our schools and/or communities through creating a youth manifesto and even doing drama! (30 mins)

Session 8


  • To recap on language/terminology and concepts looked at on course

  • To become familiar with human rights documents and legal mechanisms that can be used to hold states to account.


  • Flip chart, coloured paper, pens, magazines, sellotape, etc.

  • Bingo card (Appendix 15)

  • Terminology handout (Appendix 16)

  • Impunity handout (Appendix 17)

  • Articles from the UDHR and/or CEDAW (


  • 1 hour 40 mins


  • Divide participants into groups of two or three. Give each group one of the bingo cards.

  • Explain that they contain words that have come up during the sessions so far.

  • Explain that you will call out the definitions of the words.

  • Ask participants cross out the word if they think they have it.

  • The first group to get three in a row shouts “Bingo!”

  • Give out Terminology handout (Appendix 16) and check that understanding is clear. (15 mins)

Making a youth manifesto

Explain that participants are going to become like a human rights political party/organization. They need to have a manifesto: a document which explains what they believe in and what they promise they will do. This particular manifesto will be about women’s rights and violence against women. The manifesto should be around 500 words and may be presented in any way participants choose (pamphlet, poster, booklet, web pages, magazine, etc.). They should think about the following areas.

What are our principles?

  • Why do we believe in these principles?

  • In what ways does the government currently limit the rights contained in our manifesto? In what ways would the government need to change? How can we influence this change?

  • In what ways could the government support and enforce our manifesto?

  • In what ways do religion, culture, tradition, custom and habit currently limit the rights contained in our manifesto? In what way would these things need to change? How can we influence that change?

  • In what ways do religion, culture, tradition, custom and habit support and enforce our manifesto?

  • What action do we believe is necessary (changing/ amending laws/pressure on government/awareness of international and national laws, etc.)?

  • What needs to be done to make this action happen (laws, community activities, individual action, etc.)? Remind them to think about all the areas we covered on Day One and today.

When participants have finished, they should display their work on the wall and assign one person from each group to feed back their manifestos. Try to draw out the following points:

  • The need for individual change (our own behaviour, deeply held prejudices).

  • To understand the direct link between discrimination and violence.

  • The need for the community to understand the social, psychological and health impact of VAW, as well as the economic impact.

  • The international human rights standard (UDHR) as well as more specialized treaties (CEDAW) and how these can be used to put pressure on governments. The principle of “due diligence” which puts responsibility at the feet of the government for failing to protect its citizens from violence, even if an individual committed the violence. They have a duty not only to protect citizens, but to prevent the violence from happening, and to educate society about their rights.

Congratulate participants on this valuable piece of work because not only does it show how much they have learned over the past few days, but they could try to produce it to give to their peers in order to encourage them to participate in creating a world without VAW! This could be done in collaboration with their school/community groups or with the section/structure’s help if possible. Depending on resources available, this manifesto could be put on a community webpage/on AI’s International Secretariat/section/structure youth webpages/community magazine or newsletter. Contact the Youth team with any questions/suggestions at:

What can be done to end VAW?

  • Give participants the Impunity handout (Appendix 17) and highlight:

    • In some countries, the laws are deliberately discriminatory against women (i.e. they are given less equality in the law and have different laws applying to them which fail to protect them).

    • In some countries there are laws to protect women from all forms of violence but the government/authorities do not always respect/impose them.

    • It is necessary, therefore, for us to speak out against impunity and discrimination in the law, and to lobby our governments to include or change laws in order to make sure women are protected.

    • We must also remind governments that they have a responsibility to use “due diligence” which means they must:

      • protect women

      • fulfil their rights (give them their full human rights)

      • promote their rights

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the first Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, has pointed out that the legal framework to end VAW is now in place. The problem is that those with power to secure such a transformation in women’s lives are not taking action. They must be challenged, pressed and inspired to fulfil their obligations in practice.” (70 mins)

  • Bring participants back together and lead open group discussion on how those in power can be:

a) challenged

b) pressed

c) inspired to fulfil their obligations in practice. (10 mins)

Summarize discussions and conclude

A range of things needs to happen to protect women from violence.

  • Speak out against violence against women, listen to women and believe them.

  • Condemn violence against women as the major human rights scandal of our times.

  • Remove laws that discriminate against women.

  • Establish effective laws and policies to protect women and punish perpetrators.

  • Hold states accountable to their existing obligations under international law to prevent, investigate, punish and redress violence against women.

  • Challenge religious, social, and cultural attitudes and stereotypes which diminish women’s humanity and lead to the abuse of their human rights.

  • Promote women’s equal access to political power, decision-making and resources.

  • Support women to organize themselves to stop the violence.

  • Train police, judiciary, health workers, local councils and those with authority

  • Encourage good practice – making sure that structures are in place to enable people to do their jobs well.

  • Promote and run education and awareness training programmes in schools and communities. (5 mins


Alternative extra – Special Rapporteur role-play

(particularly for older participants who have an interest in legal mechanisms and the UN system)

Time: 2 hours


  • Flip chart, paper and pens

  • Special Rapporteur’s mandate written on OHP or flip chart

  • Newspaper stories about an incident of VAW

[end of box]


Special Rapporteur roleplay

Who is a Special Rapporteur?

Try to capture the following information on flip chart or OHT and explain that the Special Rapporteur is someone at the UN whose job or “mandate” is to collect and analyze information, and to recommend measures to help stop and prevent violence at the international, national and regional levels. The mandate is threefold:

  • To collect information on violence against women and its causes and consequences from sources such as governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies and intergovernmental (such as the UN and the European Union) and non-governmental (such as Amnesty International, Save the Children, women’s groups) organizations.

  • To recommend ways at the national, regional and international levels to stop violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences, i.e., health care, financial compensation, etc.

  • To work closely with other special rapporteurs, special representatives, working groups and independent experts from the Commission on Human Rights.

Some useful background information

The year 1993 marked a key step in the development of women’s rights. The UN had always been concerned with the issue but the adoption by the General Assembly of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in December 1993 showed a recognition of the alarming global dimensions of female-targeted violence. Prior to this, most governments had tended to regard violence against women largely as a private matter between individuals and not as a pervasive human rights problem requiring state intervention.

The Commission on Human Rights adopted resolution 1994/45 on 4 March 1994, in which it decided to appoint the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences.

Explain to participants that the current Special Rapporteur on violence against women is Yakin Ertürk from Turkey (see Her mandate covers:

(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.

  • Divide participants into groups of four

  • Give each group a selection of news stories from their countries that report on incidents of VAW and gender-based discrimination. (You could also use the Amnesty International Report to select VAW cases.)

  • Give participants time to read the information.

  • Explain that they are going to concentrate on community-based violence.

  • Give each group a piece of flip chart paper. Ask the groups to divide the paper into two columns and label one CAUSES and the other CONSEQUENCES.

  • In their groups, participants identify the causes and consequences of the situation and write these in the appropriate columns.

  • Once completed, ask participants to:

Either: Nominate one member of their group to be the Special Rapporteur on violence against women. The group helps that participant to prepare a presentation for the rest of the group on the recommendations they would make to try to prevent further incidents of VAW from occurring again. They should think about changes at the national level.

  • Give participants time to prepare their presentations.

  • Each group feeds back one at a time.


In their groups, participants prepare a five-minute news report about the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur. If this option is chosen, to ensure that all participants are included in the scene remind them that they can include dramatized “film clips” of what the TV station would use to support the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations. (1 hour and 30 mins)

[end of box]


Facilitator’s tip:

As a follow-up the facilitator could consider asking participants to visit Amnesty International’s website, clicking on stories and reading about incidents of VAW from around the world. Participants could then imagine they are the Special Rapporteur and write a report on the country. Alternatively, they could write a letter to their own government outlining the issues of VAW in their country; outlining the concept of due diligence; and reminding the government about attention to legal standards alternatives.

[end of box]


Go round circle and ask each person to think of one way in which their community would benefit if incidents of VAW were reduced. (Some answers could be: a reduction in the culture and cycle of violence; children feel happier and safer at home and can therefore build strong relationships, study well at school, etc.; women can participate more actively in society, thereby creating a healthy balance; people’s rights are respected and promoted; less money needs to be spent on refuges and counselling services and more can be spent on health and education; a decrease in the spread of HIV/AIDS which means less suffering, fewer orphans and also lower health care costs, etc. (10 mins)

Session 9


  • To bring the workshop to a conclusion, reinforcing key ideas and reiterating the importance of taking action to stop violence against women.

  • To evaluate the workshop.


  • Flip chart paper and pens


  • 1 hour 10 minutes

Final summing-up, evaluation and close

Explain that we have now come to the end of the workshop. Repeat briefly the areas that have been covered (referring to the agenda if necessary or preparing the key points on flip chart or OHT in advance of the session).

Reinforce the following key learning points that you would like participants both to take away with them and to talk about with their peers, teachers or families:

  • Stereotypes limit, restrict and pressurize both men and women, which leads to discrimination.

  • Discrimination paves the way for violence to occur.

  • Responsibility lies in our hands as individuals, but it is also in the hands of businesses and the government/ state.

  • The state also has the added responsibility of due diligence, which means that even if a man beats his wife in the privacy of their home, the government can be held to blame for not setting up systems to protect her or to let her know about her rights.

  • The law is an important way of defending women’s rights and protecting them from violence, but we also need to examine our own attitudes and behaviour. Until these change, violence will continue. We have all looked at the impact of that violence on the whole community. We have all thought about what our community could be like if it is free from violence. We can make that world happen!

  • Any outstanding queries. (15 mins)


An imagined land: 6

  • Bring participants back together as a group and give each a piece of paper.

  • Put two very large outlines of hands on flip chart paper in the middle of the circle. Alternatively, mark the hands out using pieces of string/rope.

  • Explain that participants are aliens from Planet Zorg, which is exactly the same as Planet Earth except for two things: the people are only 1mm tall and all the “what ifs?” have been answered. No violence against women exists.

  • Ask participants to close their eyes and imagine they are walking around Planet Zorg. What does it smell like, feel like, taste like? What are the colours like, what are the expressions on people’s faces, how do they talk to each other and treat each other? Ask participants to think about their daily routines, friends, families, communities and national/international relations.

  • Give participants one or two minutes to think about this land and to imagine that a visitor from Earth arrives. The inhabitants of Zorg are amazed and worried to learn about the way women are treated on Earth. Ask them to think of one gift they would like to give that visitor to take back to Earth so they can experience a world where there is no violence against women. Ask them to think of one sentence that would describe that gift.

  • After a few moments ask participants to write their sentence on the piece of paper provided.

  • Explain that you will go round the circle with each participant saying their sentence and placing it in the large outlines of the hands. These hands are the hands of the visitor from Planet Earth.

  • Once all the gifts have been put in the hands, highlight that the desire and ability to stop violence against women is now in their hands, but as the participants are not from Planet Zorg but from Planet Earth it is not in their hands but “in our hands” (slogan from Amnesty International’s 2004 Stop Violence against Women campaign).

The following are some suggestions of ways to evaluate and close the course. The facilitator should choose and adapt methods to suit their needs. (15 mins)

Alternative variation:

  • Bring participants back together as a group.

  • Ask participants to close their eyes and imagine a new world where all the “what ifs” have been answered and discrimination has been filtered out; a world where violence against women doesn’t exist. Ask participants to think about their own daily routines, friends, families, communities and national and international relations.

  • Ask participants to think of one sentence that describes this and write it down.

  • Once participants are happy, they put their sentences into a circle shape and start a rhythmical beat of four by stamping, clicking or clapping, etc. Everyone should join in.

  • Once the whole group is moving to the correct beat, ask a participant to call out their sentence to the beat. The rest of the group should then echo this back to them, keeping in rhythm. Repeat this a few times with the same sentence and then move on to another participant. (15 mins)


Facilitator’s tip:

As this is a closing exercise, the exercise should end on a quiet and calm note.

[end of box]


If the workshop is not continuing to Day Three, give participants an Evaluation form (Appendix 21) and ask them to fill it in. To ensure the largest number of returned forms, it is strongly advised that the facilitator asks participants to fill in the form before leaving, rather than sending them at a later date. If continuing to Day Three, give out the evaluation forms at the end of that day. (15 mins)


Facilitator’s tip:

To ensure that the conversations remain brief, tell participants before the exercise begins that they will have approximately 1-2 mins each.

[end of box]

Smiles, frowns and lightbulbs:

Draw following chart on flip chart:

  • In the Smiles section write things participants liked on the course.

  • In the Frowns section write things participants did not like on the course.

  • In the Lightbulbs section write comments where participants learned something or understood something better.

  • In Questions write comments where participants are still unclear, or questions they would like answered.

  • Discuss as a group how they could try to get answers to these questions and what they could be. (15 mins)

[box with graphics]

Smiles Frowns

Questions Lightbulbs

[end of box]

Circle of affirmation:

  • Participants stand in a circle.

  • Going round the circle, the group thanks each participant for something they have contributed over the workshop series. Try to encourage every participant to thank the person during each round.

  • After the group has delivered its thanks, the participant is given a round of applause. (10 mins)



[divider page]

Day Three

Sessions 10 – 12

Making rights a reality

Human rights education workshop for youth

[end of divider]

Session 10



  • To discuss different ways of taking action.

  • To recognize the huge impact which the smallest change can make.

  • To define what a world where VAW does not exist means to the participants personally.


  • Flip chart paper and pens

  • Women activists cards (Appendix 18)

  • Large copy of Effects wheel (Appendix 19)

  • “What if” cards (Appendix 20)

  • Pair of large hands drawn on flip chart paper (one hand per flip chart sheet), or rope/string to mark hands out on floor.


  • 1 hour 30 mins


Going round the circle, ask each participant to say the name of a woman who has inspired them. (10 mins)

From incredible suffering come incredible women


  • Divide participants into groups of four.

  • Give each group one of the women’s rights activists card.

  • Introduce the character “X”.

  • Ask participants to discuss:

a) What X’s life would have been like before the activist took action.

b) What X’s life would have been like after the activist took action (i.e. the impact the activist had on X’s life).

  • Once participants have finished discussing the above questions, explain that they are to devise a five-minute scene/role-play to demonstrate the impact the activists had on X.

  • Give participants time to prepare their scenes.

  • Participants enact their scene/role-play in turn.

  • After each scene, lead follow-up discussion on how the changes brought about by the activists would have an impact on society at large.


  • Put the women activists’ cards up around the room. Include some from the participants’ own country.

  • Allow participants time to circulate and read about the women.

  • Divide participants into four groups and run a quiz on the information they have read. (40 mins)


Alternative extra: Interviewing activists


  • 40 mins

Materials: None

Invite five participants to volunteer to be women’s rights activists and give a Women activists card (Appendix 18) to each one.

Explain that the remaining participants are to make a panel of journalists and photographers who will interview the activists about their life and achievements.

Ask the five “activists” to leave the room and to read the cards in preparation for the interview.

Give the remaining participants time to brainstorm some questions they would like to ask the “activists”.

Bring participants together and run the role-play.

[end of box]

Effects wheel

  • Explain that this exercise is to explore further how one change can have significance beyond the impact of the immediate action.

  • Have copy of the Effects wheel reproduced on flip chart paper or OHP.

  • Write a change that would have an impact on women’s lives in the centre of the circle. For example:

“What if women were paid the same as men?”

  • Ask participants to think about the possible effects this change could have on women’s lives.

  • Elicit some suggestions and write these in the first outer circle.

  • Ask participants to think about these first effects.

  • Elicit some suggestions and repeat the process until the Effects wheel has been completed.

  • Check that participants understand how the Effects wheel works and divide them into new groups of between two and three.

  • Give each group one of the “What if” cards and ask them to complete an Effects wheel for that suggestion.


  • Once completed, participants stick their completed charts to the wall. The group then circulates to view the effects posters and add anything they wish. One participant from each group should remain by their group’s poster to answer any questions other participants may have. Different participants from each group should take responsibility for this role so everyone has the chance to see the work of other groups.


  • Once completed, participants create a short scene to show what their “what if” world would be like to live in.

  • Watch scenes back. (40 mins)


Facilitator’s tip:

If a group finds it difficult to fill in a complete wheel for one “what if” card,, give them a selection of cards.

Check that participants put the effects in the correct segments to show progression.

[end of box]

Example of a completed Effects wheel from “What if” exercise in Session 10


Session 11

Action campaigning

  • This session give participants a chance to engage creatively in campaigning. Depending on the resources available and the needs of the participants, you can use your discretion as to whether to do all the activities or focus on particular ones.

  • You may want to consult the campaign coordinator at the local AI section/structure to co-facilitate this session. She may have some suggestions and additional campaigning ideas to add to the following guidelines:



  • Paper and Pens

  • Case studies/news articles on VAW

  • Relevant government addresses

  • Example of an AI letter, i.e, Urgent Action (UA). These can be found on the website by clicking on Act Now and Urgent Action Network.


  • 2 hours

  • Start by explaining that letter-writing is a campaigning tool that has been used by AI since the organization began in 1961. Peter Benenson, a British lawyer, wrote a newspaper article calling on the public to write letters to the Portuguese government to release two students imprisoned for raising their glasses in a toast to peace.

  • Why do participants think that AI has used this technique?

Some answers could include that it puts pressure on government; shines a spotlight on what they have or have not done; shows that people all over the world are aware of the situation; offers solidarity to victims and their families, etc.

  • This is a good opportunity to talk about the UA network and why it is so important to AI’s work, i.e., that it is reactive and extremely fast, and successful in bringing immediate pressure when people are at risk of grave human rights violations such as torture. Try to give a case example of a woman at risk of torture (see the section’s website).

  • Participants should read through some current international SVAW case studies and choose one or two that they would like to write to their government about. They should spend up to 15 minutes doing this.

  • They should refer to an example of an AI letter/UA to get an idea of the structure of a letter and some useful human rights terminology. The facilitator should offer to help at any time with difficult terminology. The facilitator could use the glossary list created from Sessions 1-8 of this pack if they have previously run those sessions. (See Appendix 16 for tips on Terminology.)

  • Once they have chosen their cases and studied examples of letters and UA appeals, participants should begin to plan their own. They should be reminded to focus on:

    • The name of the person

    • The violation that has occurred

    • The treaties and conventions covered on Day Two of this workshop, particularly the UDHR and CEDAW.

    • They should also refer to the responsibilities of governments to protect women, fulfil and promote their rights (Session 7).

    • They should spend 45 minutes planning and writing the letter(s), which should be no more than one side of A4 each. The facilitator should monitor the participants closely in the planning stages to ensure that they have included as many elements as possible.

    • Once they have finished, participants should swap letters with a partner who has worked on different cases/news stories.

    • At the end of this session, remind participants that they can send these letters to the addresses you have given them. If the section and structure has the resources, they could give the participants stamps for these letters or offer to post them.

    • The first-ever UA was issued on 19 March 1973 and featured a professor of Brazilian literature at São Paolo university. Under the military regime ruling Brazil at the time, Professor Luiz Rossi was arrested at his home in the middle of the night. He was released nine months later. Professor Rossi later said:

“The torturer aims to isolate you, to cut all your links with the outside world. But AI was able to break that isolation. ...Once the authorities know that other people know you’re there and what’s happening to you, they are forced to be more careful about how they treat you ... When I saw my wife, I knew that my case had become public, I knew they could no longer kill me. Then the pressure on me decreased and conditions improved.” (Taken from AIUK’s website:

  • End the session by asking participants how they could encourage their peers to do letter-writing for AI.

Answers could include:

  • Start an AI group and write letters at lunchtime (schools) or weekends (community groups).

  • Make templates of letters to guide others in letter-writing.

  • Hold a letter-writing marathon, where as many people as possible in your school or community write a letter on the theme of the SVAW campaign.

If possible, this is a good time to circulate any SVAW campaign materials produced by your section or structure, asking participants to sign petitions, postcards, etc. (1 hour)

Creative campaigning

Either: Making a banner


  • blank piece of material or cardboard

  • wood or sticks to support the banner

  • coloured paper

  • coloured pens and/or paints

  • buttons, string, glitter, egg cartons, etc.

  • magazines


  • 1 hour

Or: Making a poster and/or leaflets


  • A3 paper/card or A4 paper stuck together.

  • SVAW campaign launch report, copies of the Wire or any other AI material which features VAW.

  • AI case studies

  • coloured pens, paints

  • magazines, scissors, glue, etc.

  • for the badges: card, sellotape, safety pin


  • 1 hour

  • Explain that in this next session participants will have the chance to be creative! The aim is for them to either make a banner or placard that could be used during a peaceful march or at a stall, or to produce an information poster and supporting pamphlet (maybe with an accompanying badge) for use at a school/community meeting or stall.

  • Ask participants what they feel are some of the essential elements of a poster or banner, i.e.:

    • Attract attention

    • Have clear information or a very recognizable message (and AI symbol)

    • Be inspiring

Explain that participants will now fulfil these inspirations! They should spend some time designing the concept of the material (20 mins) and the rest of the time making it. They should feel free to make their creations as big and as colourful as they wish. (Creative ideas from AIUK can be found at:

When all groups have finished, display the material around the room so that people can see everyone’s work. Encourage participants to set up a VAW stall/meeting in their community so that they can make use of this creative work.


Optional extra: VAW mural

Murals are a great way of harnessing creativity and grabbing people’s attention in the community. They can inform and inspire, as well as add colour to the immediate environment, whether a car park, school playground or park.

Depending on resources (including permission to have a wall to do it on!) and time available, this workshop could focus on the design of a SVAW mural or include the activity in a follow-up workshop.

Once participants have decided on a design, they could present it to their community to try to negotiate its creation. If a wall is not available, it could be designed on a large piece of cloth and hung in a suitable inside space (see materials for making a banner).

Some themes for the mural design could be:

  • a world where VAW doesn’t exist

  • how to stop VAW

  • VAW and our community

  • how we (youth) feel about VAW

If these participants are the same ones who completed Sessions 1-8, the facilitator should refer participants to Session 6, VAW in the community, to highlight the importance of this mural project in raising awareness and reminding people of their responsibility to change their behaviours and attitudes towards women. A mural is a positive and engaging way to start taking VAW into our hands!

Facilitator’s tip:

Try to find out if there is someone in the community who has done this before and who could assist and advise you on the best way to go about this activity. Working on a collaborative project with other youth groups could be an excellent way of building alliances, bringing a human rights-based approach to youth issues and also raising awareness of VAW in the community.

[end of box]

Session 12

Creating a drama-based presentation

The following exercises are suggestions for activities to enable the facilitator to guide the participants towards putting on a short drama-based presentation within three hours that incorporates material developed throughout the workshop series. If the facilitator wishes to expand this into a longer theatre-style presentation, these activities can still be used as a starting point. The facilitator should also consult the tips on creating a theatre piece and the resource books, outlined in the Bibliography. It is strongly advised that the facilitator should only consider putting on a larger-scale theatre presentation if they have a strong background in drama and have worked in a similar way before. (See Appendix 22.) (3 hours 10 mins)

Introduction and deciding the theme


  • Outline that participants are going to spend the next part of the workshop series working on a drama presentation based on the work they have carried out over the workshop series.

  • Explain that they will first decide on the issue they want to explore further and the message they want to express. They will then work together to create characters and stories. Once they have their stories they will be given time to rehearse them to show to the rest of the group. After the presentations, time will be given to discuss the issues and opinions brought up.

Deciding the theme

  • Divide participants into three teams.

  • Give each team a packet of post-it notes. Each team should have a different colour.

  • Explain to participants that you are going to give them five minutes to brainstorm everything they have learned over the workshop series. They should write a different learning point on each post-it note. They will then run, one person at a time, to the far wall and stick the post-it note to the wall.

The team with the most post-it notes at the end of the five minutes wins.

  • Once completed, count the number of post-its and decide the winning team.

  • Ask participants to sit down while remaining in their teams.

  • Give each group a piece of flip chart paper.

  • Explain that in their groups they are going to decide on the issue and theme for their drama presentation, i.e., what they want to say.

  • On the flip chart they brainstorm what they as a group feel are the most important issues that have emerged over the workshop series. They should include any supporting facts they can remember.

  • Once they have finished ask participants to write one sentence that will be the message of their drama presentation.

  • Once completed go round with each group saying what their message will be.

  • Emphasize that participants will not be able to include every piece of information in their presentation. It is better to select the most relevant information that will help them deliver their message.

  • Bring participants back together as a whole group.

  • Brainstorm together the different methods and techniques they have used over the workshop series and discuss ways of using these in their final presentations. (30 mins)


Time-reducing alternatives

If time is short the facilitator can consider the following options:

  • Rather than running with post-it notes, brainstorm as a whole group the most important issues that have emerged over the workshop series.

  • Break into groups to form messages.

  • Present messages back.


  • Brainstorm as a whole group the most important issues that have emerged over the workshop series.

  • Form one group message rather than break into smaller groups. (This will affect the level of variation in the final presentations but the different ways in which groups develop their message can make an interesting discussion point.)

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Creating characters and stories

  • Ask participants to reform in their groups.

  • Give participants time in their groups to discuss the characters and storyline. Remind participants that at this stage they are not deciding the final story for their presentations and that all ideas will be accepted and listened to at this stage. The following questions may be useful:

    • What is their story?

    • What effects of VAW are shown in the story?

    • How can their story help them deliver their message?

      • Once participants have been given time to discuss their ideas, explain that they are now to start working on the story they will be telling.

      • Ask them to create a “frozen picture” of the first time the audience meets their character and a “frozen picture” of the last time the audience sees the character, or the first and last scenes.


Facilitator’s tip:

A “frozen picture” is where the groups form a snapshot from an imaginary album. (Use the list you have made on the flip chart paper and adapt it.) To create the frozen picture, imagine a scene in your story/drama and then after the countdown from 10 to one, freeze as if the action was paused.

[end of box]

  • Once they are happy with their pictures, ask participants to sit down in their groups. Explain that each group will show its pictures to the others. You will count from five down to one. When you reach one, the first group should be frozen in its picture.

  • Once participants are frozen in position, explain that you will tap them on the shoulder and ask a series of questions. They should answer with the first thing that comes into their heads.

  • Tap participants on the shoulder and ask some of the following questions:

  • What are you thinking?

  • What are you feeling?

  • What do you think will happen next?

  • What would you like to happen next?

  • What will you do next?

  • Once all the pictures have been looked at and explored, ask participants to reform in their groups.

  • They should make frozen pictures for:

    • What happens immediately afterwards

    • What happens in the middle

    • What happens just before the end?

Once participants are happy with their pictures, explain that you will count from five down to one. Once you reach one, the group should be frozen in their first picture. You will then clap your hands. Every time you clap your hands the participants should move to the next picture in the series. They should move as quickly and smoothly as possible and even if moving quickly they should stay as still as possible.

  • Count from five down to one and wait for the participants to assume their frozen pictures and begin the clapping sequence. The clapping should get quicker and quicker.

  • Participants then reform in their groups and are given time to make up the rest of the story, creating scenes where they walk and talk to fill in the spaces between the frozen pictures. Remind participants that their final presentation can be no more than 10minutes. Each of the frozen pictures should be included in their final presentation and mark the end and beginning of each scene. (40 mins)

Non-character scenes

Once participants are happy with their story, they may want to consider incorporating a non character-based scene into the narrative. These can be used to:

  • comment on the events/issues in the story

  • deliver factual information

  • reveal what a character thinks about a situation

Some possible forms of non character-based scenes could take the following forms:

  • fairy tales and myths

  • dream sequences

  • news reports

  • case studies being turned into monologues

Final presentations

Rehearsal period

Once participants have their narrative story and have found a good place to incorporate their non-character scenes, allow them time to rehearse their scenes to get them to a standard they are happy to share with the rest of the group. (30 mins)


  • Once the rehearsal period is over, draw all participants together to form an audience.

Watch each presentation back in turn. (Counting down from five to one is a good way to settle participants to start.)

  • Discuss issues raised in each piece after it has been shown. (1 hour)

Evaluating presentations

A designated person feeds back their responses to the issues raised. Remaining participants then offer their comments.

Facilitator asks:

  • What did you like?

  • What did you not like?

  • What was the message? Did you agree/disagree with it?

Encourage participants to perform their dramas at their school/youth group/community centre, to generate debate and understanding about VAW and how to stop it.

The “Smiles, frowns, lightbulbs” activity from the end of Session 8 can be used to finish this session and to elicit what people have learned from it. (30 mins)



[divider page]


Making rights a reality

Human rights education workshop for youth

[end of divider]


Appendix 1: UDHR cards


1. Everyone is free and we should all be treated in the same way.

2. Everyone is equal despite differences in, for example, skin colour, sex, religion, language.

3. Everyone has the right to life and to live in freedom and safety.

4. No one has the right to treat you as a slave nor should you make anyone your slave.

5. No one has the right to hurt you or to torture you.

6. Everyone has the right to be treated equally by the law.

7. The law is the same for everyone and should be applied in the same way to all.

8. Everyone has the right to ask for legal help when their rights are not respected.

9. No one has the right to imprison you unjustly or expel you from your own country.

10. Everyone has the right to a fair and public trial.

11. Everyone should be considered innocent until guilt is proved.

12. Everyone has the right to ask for help if someone tries to harm them, but no one can enter another person’s home, open their letters or bother them or their family without a good reason.

13. Everyone has the right to travel as they wish.

14. Everyone has the right to go to another country and ask for protection if they are being persecuted or are in danger of being persecuted.

15. Everyone has the right to belong to a country. No one has the right to prevent someone from belonging to another country if they wish to.

16. Everyone has the right to marry and have a family.

17. Everyone has the right to own property and possessions.

18. Everyone has the right to practise and observe all aspects of their own religion and change their religion if they want to.

19. Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information.

20. Everyone has the right to take part in meetings and to join associations in a peaceful way.

21. Everyone has the right to help choose and take part in the government of their country.

22. Everyone has the right to social security and to opportunities to develop their skills.

23. Everyone has the right to work for a fair wage in a safe environment and to join a trade union.

24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.

25. Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and medical help if they are ill.

26. Everyone has the right to go to school.

27. Everyone has the right to share in their community’s cultural life.

28. Everyone must respect the “social order” that is necessary for all these rights to be available.

29. Everyone must respect the rights of others.

30. No one has the right to take away any of the rights in this Declaration.

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Appendix 2: Triangle

(To be photocopied or drawn on to A3 paper)


To get what you need

To be safe

To take part

[end of graphics]

Appendix 3: Situation cards

(To be cut out)







[end of boxes]

Appendix 4: House

(To be photocopied on to A3 paper)


Appendix 5: House handout

(To be photocopied)



At least one in every three women worldwide, or up to one billion, have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetime. Usually the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her.7

The Council of Europe has stated that domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for women aged 16 to 44 and accounts for more death and illhealth than cancer or traffic accidents. (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Domestic Violence against Women, Recommendation 1582. Adopted 27 September 2002)

Mexico: 30% - 50% of women reported that they have experienced physical violence or psychological abuse from their partners, according to surveys in different localities.

(UN Development Programme, 2002)

USA: Domestic violence occurs in one half of all US homes at least once a year. (US Department of Justice 2003)

  • A woman is battered, usually by her husband/partner, every 15 seconds. (UN Study on the World’s Women, 2000)

Colombia: 19% of women have been physically assaulted by their partner in their lifetime. (UNICEF 2000)

India: Nearly 45% of married men acknowledged physically abusing their wives. (UNICEF 2000)

Japan: 59% of 796 women reported being physically abused by their partner. (UNICEF 2000)

Bangladesh: 50% of all murders are of women by their partners. 8

Spain: 1.88 million women were assaulted but only 43,000 reported the assault to the police. (Women’s Institute of Spain, 2002)

  • One woman every five days was killed by her male partner in 2000.9

Russian Federation: 36,000 women are beaten on a daily basis by their husband or partner, according to Russian non-governmental organizations. (World Organization against Torture 2003)

  • 75% of all Russian women suffer from some type of violence within the family (Russian NGOs).

Netherlands: 21% of all women aged between 20 and 60 reported an act of physical abuse and 11% reported an act of severe physical assault. (WHO 2002)

United Kingdom: Approximately two women per week are killed by their partners.10

[end of graphics]

Appendix 6: VAW definition cards

(To be cut out)


The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recognized that violence against women is a form of discrimination. In its General Recommendation 1911 the Committee stated that:

Gender-based violence, which impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental freedoms under general international law or under human rights conventions, is discrimination within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention. These rights and freedoms include:

(a) the right to life;

(b) the right not to be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (c) the right to equal protection according to humanitarian norms in the time of international or internal armed conflict;

(d) the right to liberty and security of the person;

(e) the right to equal protection under the law;

(f) the right to equality in the family;

(g) the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

[end of box]


The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women12 states:

Article 1:

[t]he term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Article 2:

Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution.

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Appendix 7: Cut out cards (case studies)


Fifteen schoolgirls were burned to death and dozens of others were injured in a fire at their school in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on 11 March 2002. Religious police prevented the girls from leaving the building because they were not wearing headscarves and had no male relatives there to receive them. The religious police also reportedly prevented rescuers who were men from entering the premises.

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On 12 February 2001 a young Burmese lesbian working in Thailand and a male friend were returning home when several men who worked at the same factory joined them. They were drunk. One of them asked her if she was a lesbian. She said nothing, but started to walk faster. They blocked her way, one of them told her that she was beautiful, and said that it was a waste for her to be a lesbian. He grabbed her and told his friends to “cure this abnormal lesbian so she can enter womanhood.” All six men raped her. The next day, the whole factory knew about the rape, but no one came to her defence. In tears, she asked why the community allowed these rapists to go unpunished and blamed only her. As a female migrant worker, this woman was particularly vulnerable to abuse. Female migrant workers in Thailand have also been raped by Thai security forces.

[end of box]


A 2003 government directive in Tanzania banned women civil servants from wearing miniskirts and tight dresses while at work. Politicians in Dar es Salaam claimed that the spread of AIDS would be halted if women stopped wearing short and tight dresses.

[end of box]


Rita Margarete Rogerio, a Brazilian national, was arrested by Spanish police during a search for undocumented foreign sex workers in August 1995. She was raped in a cell in the main police station in Bilbao. Despite medical evidence, the public prosecutor refused to bring a case against the officer. When Rita Margarete Rogerio brought a private prosecution, the court found that she had been beaten and raped, but felt obliged to acquit the three officers on duty at the time because they refused to testify against each other. No connection between Rita Margarete Rogerio and sex work was ever established

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Jean – a victim of domestic abuse, United Kingdom

“... as to how I put up with this treatment, I suppose I just thought he was bad tempered and that I triggered off some fury in him by not having meals ready on time, or coming in 10 minutes late from work or earning more than him or not being able to keep the children quiet…who could I tell? I live hundreds of miles from my family, I had no time for friends, and he hated me going out. To the outside world he was a hard working family man, a policeman! And I was simply ashamed that here I was, an educated woman in a responsible job, being beaten, bitten, kicked and punched by the man I still loved. I kept believing that things would improve.”

[end of box]

Appendix 8: Cycle of violence handout

(To be photocopied and used at end of Meet, argue, make friends again in Session 4)






[end of graphics]


Why do women stay?

Women stay for many reasons including the shame of admission, fear of future beatings or escalation of violence, economic dependence and lack of economic and emotional assistance.

[end of box]

Appendix 9: Brick

(To be cut out and used in Wall of silence exercise in Session 4)


Appendix 10: Scenario cards

(To be cut out and used)








[end of boxes]

Appendix 11: Myths cards

(To be cut out and used in VAW Myths and facts exercise in Session 5) The Facts should be photocopied and stuck on the back of the Myths doors


a) Violence against women is a characteristic of the lives of uneducated and poor people and members of the lower classes.

b) Women entice violence by what they wear and the way they behave.

c) If women wanted to, they would leave. If they stay, they must find some masochistic pleasure in the violence.d) If the woman is not hit then it is not abuse.

e) If she didn’t scream, fight or get physically hurt, then it wasn’t rape.f) Violence against women is imbedded in only some cultures’ traditions and norms.

g) Violent men are alcoholics.

h) Domestic violence is a new phenomenon caused by the economic and social changes of modern life, our speedy way of living and new social stress.

[end of boxes]

Appendix 12: Facts cards


a) Violence against women has no educational or economic distinctions.b) Any individual is responsible for the way they react to a situation. Excusing violence stops people taking responsibility for their actions.

c) Women stay for many reasons including the shame of admission, fear of future beatings or escalation of violence, economic dependence and lack of economic and emotional assistance.

d) Emotional, sexual and financial abuses are very damaging. Many women say that these kinds of abuses take longer to heal than physical injuries.

e) Many women submit to their rapists in order to survive. In many cases fighting back or screaming can endanger a woman’s life. In an attack a woman may be frozen by fear and shock and unable to move or fight back.

f) Violence against women is not limited to any class, ethnic or social group.

g) Alcohol can exacerbate violence but it does not cause it. Abusive men with alcohol problems abuse their partners when they are drunk and when they are sober.

h) The custom of wife beating is as old as marriage itself and in some cases has been openly encouraged and sanctioned by the law. Similarly, most forms of violence against women have a long history.

[end of boxes]

Appendix 13: Ndambo case study

(To be photocopied and used in The case of Ndambo in Session 5)

The case of Ndambo:


Sixteen-year-old Ndambo was raped by three soldiers in a field, in war-torn country X. They shot at her mother when she tried to protect her. Unable to walk after the attack, Ndambo was carried to the hospital. Because she had no money, she received no treatment, and was unable to procure the document proving rape. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that some 5,000 women had been raped in the area between October 2002 and February 2003, an average of 40 a day.

[end of box]


The case of Ndambo – After the attack:

As a result of the rape, Ndambo became pregnant. Frightened of becoming ostracized from her community she had a back street abortion. Because this was not carried out properly, Ndambo has had many long-term health problems. There are also concerns that she may have contracted the HIV virus.

Since the end of the conflict, violence has increased in country X. Thieves prey on women walking alone; male family members abuse the females in their household at an alarmingly high rate; guns from the wars can be bought and sold on the streets; and mothers now worry about their children becoming involved in increasingly popular youth gangs. In some areas, women have become “camp” followers – they have no means of support other than attaching themselves to the remaining military camps where they provide sexual favours.

Nevertheless, peacetime has brought some positive changes for women. Many have become increasingly involved in community issues. Stepping in to fill roles previously occupied by men, women are now more influential in local government and women’s groups play increasingly important roles.

[end of box]

Appendix 14: VAW in the Community handout

(To be photocopied and given out at the end of VAW and the Community exercise in Session 6)


Violence against women and the community

Some background information

Violence against women impoverishes society economically, politically and culturally by limiting the active role that women can make in the development of their communities. While it is difficult to determine the full cost to society of violence against women, a growing number of studies point to the serious economic consequences, including loss of productive time, loss of earnings and medical costs:

  • In developing countries, an estimated 5 per cent of working time lost by women because of disability or sickness results from gender-based violence and rape.

  • Research conducted in India estimates that women lose an average of seven working days after each incident of violence.

  • Female victims of domestic violence in China lost an estimated US$1.56 billion in earnings in 1996, approximately 2 per cent of the country’s gross national product.

  • The direct annual cost of violence against women in Canada has been estimated to be US $585 million in the criminal justice system and US $160 million for police. Counselling and training in response to violence amounts to an additional US $250 million.

  • Studies in Nicaragua, the USA and Zimbabwe have found that women who have experienced physical or sexual assault – whether in childhood or as adults – are more intensive users of health services.

  • A 1993 World Bank study estimated that annual rates of rape and domestic violence translated into 9 million years of disability-adjusted life years, including years lost to premature mortality as well as the actual time lost because of disability or illness.

  • According to one study, in 1997 female victims of domestic violence in Chile lost US$1.56 billion in earnings, or more than 2 per cent of the country’s 1996 GNP. Women who suffered some form of domestic violence earned salaries that were, on average, approximately 50 per cent lower than women who did not suffer such violence.

Note: from Not a minute more – Ending violence against women, © 2003 United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), ISBN: 0-912917-84-9.

[end of box]

Appendix 15: Bingo card

(To be cut out and used in Bingo game in Session 8)

Write all the possible words to be used in the Bingo game on flip chart and ask participants to choose some words and write them in the boxes.


Appendix 16: Terminology

(To be used in Session 8)



The abbreviation for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; a legally binding document which secures equality between women and men, and prohibits discrimination against women.


An agreement between states; a form of treaty.


An agreement between states; a form of treaty.

Customary international law:

This is the principal source of general international law.

Due diligence:

When the state must fulfil its responsibility to protect individuals from abuses of their rights.

Gender role:

The socially constructed roles of women and men ascribed to them on the basis of their sex.

General Assembly:

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN. It is composed of representatives of Member States, each of whom has one vote. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new Members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are reached by a simple majority.

General international law:

This applies to all states, whether or not they are parties to a treaty expressly containing the rule.

International law:

Governs relationships between states. The legal responsibilities of states under international law are real and binding, even though in practice, their enforcement seems very different from the ways laws are enforced on individuals.

International human rights law:

This is a part of international law. It addresses the rights and dignity of all human beings – women, men and children – at all times and without discrimination. It provides that states must respect and protect human rights in practice.

Non-state actor:

Private individuals and groups/organizations acting independently from any government or position of authority, i.e. businesses.

State actor:

Individuals acting on behalf of the state (includes government officials, police, judges, prison guards, security forces, staff at public hospitals or in educational institutions).


By agreeing to be bound by a treaty, states assume legal responsibilities.


The abbreviation for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the most widely accepted statement of human rights in the world.

Appendix 17: Impunity handout

How acts of violence against women still go unchecked and unpunished: (NB. This text to be written in the scroll)

Inadequate laws and flaws in the legal framework:

Thailand is a country which is progressive on domestic violence legislation and penalizes the offence, but where marital rape is omitted from the definition.

In Egypt there is a law prohibiting female genital mutilation, but it refers only to operations performed outside hospitals by people without a medical qualification.

Discriminatory laws that contribute indirectly to violence:

In Gabon, a wife must obtain her husband’s permission to travel abroad.

According to a study in India, 48 per cent of judges interviewed agreed that it was justifiable for a man to slap his wife under certain circumstances, and 74 per cent endorsed the view that preservation of the family should be the primary concern for women even when there was violence in the marriage. (from Not a minute more - Ending violence against women, © 2003 United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)) (ISBN: 0-912917-84-)

Discriminatory laws that contribute directly to violence:

In 1999, 33 states in the USA had exemptions to marital rape laws, many of which spared a husband from prosecution if his wife was mentally or physically impaired, unconscious or asleep and legally unable to consent. (from Not a minute more - Ending violence against women, p. 43, © 2003 United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)) (ISBN: 0-912917-84-)

Some countries, such as Brazil, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Romania and Turkey, have laws that suspend rape sentences if the perpetrator marries the victim. (Amnesty International It’s in our hands: Stop violence against women (AI index: ACT 77/001/2004), and UNIFEM, Not a minute more: Ending violence against women, p. 43)

Uninterested, inadequate police forces and criminal justice systems:

In St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA, rape victims may be required to pay for a hospital’s collection of evidence from the assault. This is increasingly the case across the USA and in many countries throughout the world

Impunity in conflict zones:

During the conflict in Sierra Leone, rape and sexual violence were widespread and systematic. An amnesty was granted to all combatants under the 1999 Lomé peace agreement, which was subsequently passed into law, ruling out prosecutions for crimes committed during the conflict.

Large numbers of women and girls have been raped and killed by Russian forces in the conflict in Chechnya. Investigations into allegations of human rights violations by Russian soldiers are rare. Investigations that do take place are usually inadequate and hardly ever result in prosecutions. Far from holding the perpetrators to account, the Russian authorities have reportedly redeployed units accused of human rights violations for further tours of service in Chechnya.

Appendix 18: Women activists cards

(To be photocopied and given out in From incredible suffering come incredible women in Session 10)


Women Activists, card number 1

Margaret Sanger, USA:

Margaret Sanger was born in 1879 into an Irish working class family. Watching her mother’s slow death as the result of 18 pregnancies and 11 live births motivated Margaret Sanger to work in the health sector. As a nurse and midwife in the poorest neighbourhoods of New York City, she witnessed further examples of the poor health standards for women. Information about contraception was suppressed by laws influenced by the clergy and accepted by the medical profession. It was actually a criminal offence to send information through the mail. The educated, however, had access to the information. They were able to buy “French products”, which were actually condoms, and other “feminine hygiene” products, which were spermicides. Margaret Sanger felt that this discrepancy in the availability and accessibility of information and products related to female healthcare was unjust. As a result, she published a series of articles entitled “What every Girl Should Know” in her own newspaper The Woman Rebel. She went on to distribute this information to women through neighbourhood clinics that dispensed woman-controlled forms of birth control (a phrase coined by Margaret Sanger). Because of her radical views, Margaret Sanger faced criminal charges. To escape these she fled to Europe. There she learned more about contraception and the politics of sexuality. When she returned to the USA a year later she initiated sex counselling and founded the American Birth Control League. Her work extended as far as Japan and India where the organizations she founded are still doing excellent work.

[end of box]


Women Activists, card number 2

Nebahat Akkoc, Turkey:

Events in the 1990s transformed Nebahat Akkoc from an ordinary teacher in Diyarbakir, Anatolia, in a Kurdish district of eastern Turkey, to a human rights activist. When her husband was jailed for his activism in a teachers’ union, she learned from other wives of prisoners how deeply domestic violence as well as political violence and social restrictions affected women’s lives. Government violence against teachers, including the cases of 16 shot and killed by “unknown assailants”, prevented Nebahat Akkoc from acting as president of the Diyarbakir branch. When she spoke out against the killings, she herself was subjected to judicial and administrative investigation. On 13 March 1993 her husband was murdered in an armed assault on his way from his home to school.

After her husband’s death, Nebahat Akkoc retired from teaching to work more actively for human rights, becoming a board member of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD). In February 1994, she was arrested and detained for 12 days during which she was subjected to sexual torture. She has said, “My experience in detention was different from [the 17 men who were arrested with me]. Everywhere and in every situation there was a high price for being a woman.”

These experiences solidified Nebahat Akkoc’s commitment to work on women’s issues: “I became a feminist at the age of 41.” In August 1997, Nebahat Akkoc founded Ka-Mer (Women’s Centre in Turkish) to advance women’s rights in south-east Anatolia, where the UN estimates that 58% of women are physically abused by their husbands or male relatives. Today there are branches of Ka-Mer in five other Anatolian cities, providing legal and psychological counselling for abused women. Recently, Ka-Mer has focused on honour killings, offering a special hotline and direct assistance, as well as intervention with the women’s relatives.

Ka-Mer also offers courses for women that cover basic literacy (an estimated 55% of Kurdish women in Anatolia are illiterate) as well as education about economic and social rights. Women are urged to develop an idea for a business and offered small, low-interest loans to put their idea into action.

Citing the restrictions imposed on her freedom of expression, the murder of her husband, and her arrest and torture, Nebahat Akkoc lodged a complaint against the Turkish government with the European Court of Human Rights.

[end of box]


Women Activists, card number 3

Hina Jilani, Pakistan:

In 1981 Hina Jilani, her sister Asma Jahangir, and two other lawyers founded the first all-female law firm in Pakistan. They called it AGHS, the first letter of each of their names. In 1987 the law firm was registered as a non-governmental organization and created a Women's Legal Aid programme to handle the legal needs of Pakistani women, including those seeking to divorce their abusive husbands.

On 5 April 1999 the offices were attacked and Samia Sarwar, one of Hina Jilani's clients who had suffered nearly 10 years of physical abuse, was shot dead. Shots were also fired at Hina Jilani. It was discovered that Samia Sarwar’s parents, believing that shame had been brought on the family by their daughter seeking a divorce, had arranged her “honour killing”.

Although the perpetrators could easily be identified, no one has been arrested. Instead, Hina Jilani has been publicly condemned and has received death threats. She is now Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights Defenders.

[end of box]


Women Activists, card number 4

Jeannine Mukanirwa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC):

Jeannine Mukanirwa works for the Promotion et Appui aux Initiatives Feminines (PAIF), a women’s human rights organization in Goma, DRC. With one colleague and no outside funding, Jeannine Mukanirwa organized women to inform them of their rights, especially their social and economic rights, and provided concrete assistance through self-funded community-based projects. PAIF is one of the few voices in eastern DRC willing to speak out against rape and other highly sensitive issues by directly confronting military and civilian authorities. Jeannine Mukanirwa and her colleagues also produced a weekly radio programme to inform women and the community at large about women’s rights.

During the last three years Jeannine Mukanirwa came under increased threats from the rebel and Rwandan authorities in eastern DRC. After she and her family had been repeatedly threatened, she left Goma to re-establish herself in Kinshasa.

However, Jeannine Mukanirwa came under similar threats in government territory, where she worked with the National Campaign for a Durable Peace. She was arrested several times in 2000 and 2001, and was at one point detained for 48 days without visits or legal counsel. Following pressure from international and local human rights groups, she was released in March 2001, but because of a significant risk that she would be re-arrested and intensified threats to her life, she fled to Canada in late 2001.

Now granted political asylum status by the Canadian government, Jeannine Mukanirwa continues to advocate for women’s rights, especially in support of PAIF, whose offices were totally destroyed by the January 2002 volcanic eruption in the DRC.

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Appendix 19: Effects wheel

(To be photocopied and used in “What if” exercise in Session 10)


Appendix 20: “What if” cards

(To be cut out and used in What if exercise in Session 10)


What if…………..Immigration law was extended to grant political asylum to women fleeing violence of any kind?

What if………..Employers who tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace were legally liable?

What if……….The government recognized violence against women as a human rights violation and imposed strict punishments against perpetrators?

What if……….Pornography was made illegal?

What if……….The government gave economic support to survivors of violence in the family?

What if……….Children’s books addressed violence against women in the home?

What if……….Advertising agencies were challenged when they objectify women or stereotype women as victims?

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Appendix 21: Evaluation form

a) Was the workshop at the right level for you?

b) Did you enjoy the workshop?

c) What would you have liked more of in the workshop?

d) What would you have liked less of in the workshop?

e) What did you learn in the workshop?

f) What will you do with what you have learned in the workshop?

Appendix 22: Tips for creating an extended theatre piece

The following are a few points for the facilitator to consider if wishing to extend the workshop series and create an extended theatre piece. It is in no way an exhaustive or comprehensive list. The facilitator should only consider pursuing this path if they have some previous drama experience.

Purpose of the theatre presentation

  • The facilitator should run a long session exploring the role of theatre as an educative tool. In the context of violence against women, this should be done in conjunction with considering it as a campaigning tool – motivating communities into taking action. The intended outcome of the theatre piece should also be considered –- is it about raising awareness or is there specific action the participants would like the audience to take?

  • The intended audience should be considered in conjunction with the issue that is explored and the intended outcome, i.e., who are you making the piece of theatre for, and why?

Theatre process

  • Sessions dedicated to training the participants in performance technique and increasing their performance confidence should be included.

Practical considerations

The intended venue for any performance should be considered. This will affect:

  • performance style – (for example, outside performances mean that performance style, costumes, voice, props, etc. will all have to be bigger. Will an audience be randomly gathered or will they be informed before the event and have prearranged to come? How will the piece be advertised and will there be a charge?).

  • audience attendance – will they be gathered haphazardly (street theatre), or have been informed before the event and have prearranged to come?

  • How will the theatre piece be advertised? Will audience members be charged?

  • Budget – will your youth group have a budget for the project? If no, will one be needed? If yes, where will this money come from?

  • Sessions exploring the use of props, set and lighting should be included. Try to think beyond purpose-built theatre venues and traditional sets and costume, and instead use and transform what is easily available and accessible.

Bibliography, Useful resources and Endnotes



Afkhami, Mahnaz, and Vaziri, Haleh: Claiming our rights: A Manual For Women’s Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies. Maryland: Sisterhood is Global Institute, 1996 (abridged version also available in Arabic)

[ab: A manual for women’s human rights education in Muslim societies that examines human rights concepts within major international agreements and documents. For all levels of Muslim societies including grassroots populations; aspires to be multidimensional, and includes an exploration of the economic, social, cultural and political condition; develops a framework for conveying universal concepts in association with indigenous ideas, traditions, myths, and texts rendered in a local context.]

Afkhami, M., Nemiroff, G.H., Vaziri, H.: Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies. Maryland: Sisterhood is Global Institute, 1998

[ab: Divided into four parts, using a mixture of case studies, discussion question and other exercises, the first three sections explore the issue of VAW in Muslim societies with particular focus on verbal and psychological abuse, escaping financial and resource coercion, sexual harassment in employment, child labourers, female genital mutilation, rape, prostitution, child brides and honour killings: the final section includes an evaluation form for the publication, followed by numerous appendices. Includes details of projects aimed at addressing the problem of VAW and girls, text of international instruments, documents on national laws pertaining to women’s rights, and a list of resources and organizations]

Kivel, Paul: Making The Peace: A 15 Session Violence Prevention Curriculum for Young People. Hunter House, 2002

[ab: Making the Peace is written to help high-school students break away from violence, develop self-esteem and regain a sense of community. It provides photographs, illustrations, exercises, role-plays, in-class handouts, homework sheets, and discussion guidelines to explore issues such as dating violence, gangs, interracial tension, suicide, sexual harassment and the social roots of violence.]

Mertus, Julie, with Nancy, Flowers and Dutt, Mallika: Local Action Global Change: Learning About The Human Rights of Women and Girls. UNIFEM and the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, 1999

[ab: A manual exploring different issues pertaining to women’s human rights, including those related to the family, work, politics and media; also examines women’s right to health, reproductive and sexual rights, violence against women, the rights of refugee and migrant women and women’s right to education; each section contains activities, ideas and case studies for exploring the issues; includes tips and methodologies for undertaking workshops, and a selection of human rights treaties and standards.]

Williams, Suzanne: The Oxfam Gender Training Manual. Oxfam, 1994

[ab: A comprehensive training manual aimed at adults, generally from developing countries, designed to introduce issues of gender, sex discrimination, feminism and equality. Over 100 training activities are clearly presented and explained, accompanied by notes on the experiences that facilitators have had with each exercise. A wide spectrum of issues relating to women are covered, including stereotypes, employment, development, violence, health and family; copies from; Oxfam, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7DZ, UK.


Boal, Augusto, Legislative Theatre: Using Performance to Make Politics, Routledge, London 1999

[ab. Brazilian activist Augusto Boal has devoted his career to effecting social change through theatre. Here he describes how he uses theatre to enable communities to articulate their concerns by developing plays which are presented locally to larger audiences. Discussions that follow can lead to proposed legislation addressing the concerns that generated the play in the first place. Includes speeches, articles, plays and anecdotes.]

Boal, Augusto, Jackson, Adrian (translator), Games for Actors and Non-Actors

[ab. Best-selling book by Augusto Boal. Includes methods, techniques, games and exercises and is designed to show how theatre can be used to transform and liberate everyone – actors and non-actors alike.]

Clifford, Sarah, Herrmann, Anna, Making a Leap: Theatre for Empowerment - Practical Handbook for Creative Drama Work with Young People,: London; Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1999

[ab. This handbook is designed for those wanting to use drama and theatre to explore personal and social issues in their work with young people. Developed from 10 years of active research in community settings, the authors’ approach to theatre-making draws on a range of disciplines, including theatre in education, community theatre, youth work, group work and conflict resolution. The book should be suitable for use by both experienced theatre practitioners and beginners, and provides a model that is adaptable for work with different groups and different timescales: a day, a week, or several months.]

Braverman, Danny, Drama and Citizenship. UK, Trentham Books, 2002

[ab. This book shows how effectively drama can be used to support citizenship education. The book offers guidance and information on using drama exercises with secondary-school students and youth groups to develop their oral skills, non-verbal communication, listening, debating and public speaking skills. The book includes the text of One Thursday, a short play developed by the author.]

Johnston, Chris House of Games – Making Theatre from Everyday Life, London: Nick Hern Books, 1998

[ab. This resource for those running drama groups is divided into three sections. Part one looks at theory and asks the question – why do drama in the first place? Part two looks at the role of the facilitator, and part three offers advice on the practical issues and includes games and exercises.]

McEntegart, Tag, In the garden of the imagination, sowing the seeds of a peaceful future, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Centre for Drama and Education, Bosnia – Hezegovina, 1999

[ab. A teaching and learning manual for schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina developed by groups of local teachers, professors and pedagogues.]

Novelly, Maria C., Theatre Games for Young Performers. Meriwether Publishing Ltd, 1986

[ab. The basics of pantomime, improvization, voice control, monologues and dialogues presented in game formats with exercises and work sheets.]


Amnesty International: Broken bodies, shattered minds: Torture and ill-treatment of women. London: Amnesty International (International Secretariat), 2001

[ab. Published as part of the AI campaign “Take a step to stamp out torture” to mobilize people around the world to confront and eradicate the torture of women; examines torture of women in the home and community, failures of the state to provide legal redress and investigate gender bias in the police and judicial systems; also looks at torture by state agents and armed groups including the torture of women in custody and in armed conflict; includes case studies and recommendations for the elimination of torture against women (AI Index: ACT 40/001/2001).]

Amnesty International: Creating a torture-free world: Learning about Human Rights – Torture. London: Amnesty International (International Secretariat), 2001

[ab. Aims to provide teachers and educators with generic education teaching materials for exploring the issue of torture through experiences of bullying; modular activities include group work, topics for discussion, drama, writing and drawing exercises; background material on torture and a list of resource material for teachers are provided (AI Index: POL 32/002/2001); can also be used in conjunction with the children’s booklet (AI Index: ACT 76/001/2001).]

Cook, Rebecca J. (Ed.): Human Rights of women, National and International Perspectives. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994

[ab. Explores how CEDAW and the supporting provisions and institutions could become an effective instrument in the quest for women’s equality, protection and individual dignity; also addresses the interactions between women and their families, including their domestic victimization by discrimination and violence, without stereotyping and only locating them within their family structures; discusses challenges facing the human rights of women and the international and regional approaches at our disposal.]

International Women’s Tribune Centre: Rights of Women: A guide to the Most Important United Nations Treaties on Women’s Human Rights. New York: International Women’s Tribune Centre, 1998

[ab. This issue explores the role and scope of CEDAW as a lobbying tool for women’s rights: it outlines the strength and weaknesses of CEDAW by looking at the complaints procedure and reporting processes: provides guidelines on creating a “Convention Resource Kit”, which includes a mini Q&A, list of CEDAW Committee experts, NGO reports to the CEDAW Committee and resources; also includes a chart indicating the ratification status of international instruments by region.]

Koenig, Shulamith: Passport to Identity. New York: Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE), 2001

[ab. Recounts particular examples of women’s initiatives globally within the framework of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), using an interactive and participatory approach; exercises guide users through a path of personal and group reflection and preparation for action, enabling women to use human rights as a tool for systemic analysis and for social and economic transformation; chapters 1-4 establish a conceptual, pragmatic framework of the human rights of women, giving historical development of CEDAW and the BPFA; contains a description of the international human rights mechanisms for the advancement of women, discussing concerns, standards and goals; chapters 5-13 examine the BPFA’s critical areas of concern and leads readers in a discussion about its application in the community and the relevance of human rights in their daily lives; the annexes provide summaries of the two Covenants, Conventions against Torture, Racial Discrimination, CEDAW and Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the BPFA.

Newham Asian Women’s Project: Women’s Voices. Annual Report, 2000

[ab. Annual report containing testimonies of Asian women who have been at the forefront of domestic violence, with an introductory paragraph on the work of the Newham Asian Women’s Project (NAWP); includes blank pages for taking notes, and translations of testimonies in different languages.]

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): Women’s Rights: the Responsibility of All. Geneva: United Nations, 1997

[ab. Focused on women’s rights, contains a special section of contributions by UN agencies and programmes on women’s rights; an initial list of activities being planned worldwide to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UDHR, with special reference to the human rights of women and excerpts from the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, as well as the Platform for Action from the Fourth World Conference on Women.]

Raoudha, Gharbi (Cood.): Maghreb Women “With All Reserves” Collectif 95 Maghreb Egalité

[ab. Produced with financial assistance from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the European Union in preparation for the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference, and provides an analysis of the impact of international instruments on domestic legislation related to the status of women; within this framework, it examines the nature and scope of international treaties and current discrimination in laws in force in the Maghreb countries as compared with the content of international instruments; also the non-effectiveness and non-enforcement of legal provisions which are present in national laws that comply with international standards of equality, but in reality result in discriminatory practices; covers economic, social, political and civil rights, birth control, marriage, family and inheritance rights.]

Schuler, Margaret A.: Claiming Our Place: Working the Human Rights System To Women’s Advantage. Washington: Institute for Women, Law and Development, 1993

[ab. Offers some ideas on utilizing the UN framework for addressing the rights of women and explores issues pertaining to violence against women, women’s economic rights, state accountability under CEDAW, principles of universality and cultural identity and the international, regional and NGO strategies available; appendices include descriptions of the UN complaint procedures and of the UN’s human rights machinery.

United Nations: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. United Nations, 1980

[ab. Contains the text of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.]


Adams, Caroline, and Harrow, Marietta, and Jones, Dan (Amnesty International): Freedom: Human Rights Education Pack. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001

[ab. Aims to stimulate the student’s awareness of human rights issues starting with their own knowledge and experience, and provides a practical educational approach to foster ideas for active teaching and learning about a range of human rights issues. Each unit has a set of teachers’ notes for lessons and activities, followed by a set of teaching materials for students that can be used separately.]

Amnesty International: First Steps: A Manual for Starting Human Rights Education. London: Amnesty International (International Secretariat), 2001

[ab. Manual for teachers wanting to introduce human rights into their educational practices for young people; divided into six parts, the first explores human rights and human rights education in general, and the remaining five sections look at the human rights environment within schools and the curriculum. Includes material on diversity; the principles enshrined within the UDHR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and practical advice for building and organizing a human rights network. Contains details of possible funders for human rights education work, organizations and useful printed resources.]

Brander, Patricia, and Keen, Ellie (Eds.): Compass: a manual on human rights education with young people, Strasbourg, Council of Europe, 2002

[ab. Introduces young people, teachers, youth leaders and other educators to the concept of human rights education, and includes a collection of activities of different levels of complexity, themes and issues (including gender): chapter 3 contains ideas for active promotion of human rights; chapter 4 contains information on international instruments and standards.]

Donahue, David M.: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights: A Human Rights Perspective. Topic Book 3, 2000

[ab. A collaborative effort by AIUSA, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and the Human Rights Resource Center, that provides activities for the classroom to explore issues concerned with gay and lesbian rights; includes official and simplified versions of the UDHR, and a list of resources and materials.]

Schmidt, Janet (Ed.): Human Rights Education Resource Notebooks: Women’s Rights. New York: Amnesty International USA (Unpublished), 1997

[ab. Contains a selection of activities and resources about women’s rights; includes a comprehensive annotated bibliography and text of international instruments.]

Useful websites

Contains a downloadable pack of 100 ideas for energizers.

Website for Amnesty International. Contains link to which contains all the relevant information for the SVAW campaign.

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) is an international membership organization aiming to connect, inform and mobilize people and organizations committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights.

UNIFEM is the UN Development Fund for Women. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that promote women’s human rights, political participation and economic security.

Information and resources on the promotion of gender equality throughout the UN system.

International source of funding for population and reproductive health programmes. Includes support for programs that help combat VAW.

Working for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women around the world.

STOPVAW is a site developed by Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights as a tool for the promotion of women’s human rights in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The site was developed with support from and in consultation with UNIFEM and the Open Society Institute’s Network Women’s Program. This site addresses VAW as one of the most pervasive human rights abuses worldwide.

Project of International Women’s Tribune Centre which markets and distributes books on women and development with a focus on the perspectives of women from the Global South.

International advocacy organization that seeks to increase the power of women as policy makers.

Human Rights Watch is an organisation dedicated to protect the human rights of people around the world. Their website has a section devoted to women’s rights. is a grassroots, interactive community by, for and about women. It aims to facilitate information-sharing among women and encourage mobilization around political issues. The website has a useful section on anti-violence resources.


1 Adapted from Advice for Handling Questions or Inquiries from Persons Alleging Violence Against Themselves or Someone Else, published by AI Canada (English speaking) for the 2004 SVAW campaign.

2 Heise, L., Ellsberg, M. and Gottemoeller, M., Ending Violence Against Women. Population Reports, Series L, No. 11. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, December 1999, p.1.

3 Amnesty International, First Steps – A manual for starting human rights education. Please contact the HRE team for a copy:

4 Amnesty International, It’s in our hands: Stop Violence against Women (AI Index: ACT 77/001/2004), p. 52

5 Amnesty International, It’s in our hands: Stop Violence against Women (AI Index: ACT 77/001/2004), p. 64

6 Adapted from discussion workshop on VAW by Julie Kavanagh AI UK unpublished

7 Heise, L., Ellsberg, M. and Gottemoeller, M., Ending Violence Against Women, Population Reports, Series L, No.11. Baltimore, John Hopkins University School of Public Health, December 1999

8 Seager, J., The Atlas of Women, The Women’s Press, London, 2003

9 Seager, J., The Atlas of Women, The Women’s Press, London, 2003

10 Seager J., The Atlas of Women, The Women’s Press, London 2003



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