A teacher stands at the front of a classroom as she speaks to a group of students.

Human Rights Education – The Foundation for The Vision

The vision of achieving a human right respecting society greatly lies on the actions of the people. They should be aware of their rights and their roles and responsibilities in upholding and defending them at all times. As part of efforts aimed at achieving this vision, Amnesty International Nigeria (AIN) kicked off its Human Rights Education (HRE) activities for 2023 with training for children and youths on child and human rights. The trainings were designed to suit the needs of each group, answer their questions while also equipping them with appropriate knowledge and skills.

Learning about Child Rights is important to me because I now know my rights and I can stand up for them without being scared.

The HRE activities for 2023 kicked off with the training for secondary schools’ students. Student leaders from two selected secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory (Stella Maris Secondary School and Government Science Technical College, Garki) were trained on a weekly basis for a period of four weeks. The training which was themed “Becoming a Child Rights Champion; A Training Guide for School Prefects” covered areas such as the history of child rights, the articles in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The opening session focused on the historical background of events that led to the recognition of children’s rights while subsequent sessions focused on understanding the roles and responsibilities of individuals in protecting and defending child rights, as well as actions to take in cases of abuse or violation.

Participants at the workshop for the youth were selected members of the human rights clinic of tertiary institutions namely, University of Lagos, University of Nigeria (Enugu Campus), and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The workshop, titled “Taking Action for Human Rights,” aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of the concept of human rights, human rights abuses, violations, and non-violent direct actions to address them. Facilitators took time to explain, among other concepts, the   difference between human rights abuse and violations as they are often misunderstood. The workshop featured interactive activities such as games, brainstorming sessions, case studies, panel discussions, and presentations.

As part of the interactive sessions, participants were made to engage other students in conversations about human rights. The feedback from the participants emphasized the misconceptions and gaps in knowledge about human rights among the students. Reflections on personal experiences shared by participants highlighted the need to train other members of the school community on their roles in upholding and defending child and human rights.

There was overwhelming positive feedback from the respective participants as they tell the impact of the training on them. Members of the human rights clinic requested Amnesty International Nigeria to implement more of such projects in their schools, while the student leaders from the secondary schools requested that the training included more students and members of the school community as participants in future.

Recognising the importance and impact of these trainings for participants, the team is working on expanding the trainings to include more students and other members of the school communities. Based on this, we will be training more students from other secondary schools and tertiary institutions around the country.