document | August 2014 To project page

Human Rights Based Approach in practice

Students were trained in Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA). The training included basics about Human Rights, as well as HRBA related methods and tools of analysis. Since HRBA was a cornerstone for the whole UniWASH project, the student teams put special attention into it throughout the process. The learned methods were used mainly for data gathering and concept testing during the field periods. The approach also guided the data analysis and prepared the students with a specific mindset to conduct fieldwork and evaluate potential WASH concepts and their impact on the community.

How did the students/teams apply HRBA in their work?

Methods: HRBA guided the students’ field research methods. The goal was to give voice to the people, especially the children, who would be affected by the solutions the students were to ideate.The methods were modified during the field trips based on the learnings. Methods for data gathering included focus group discussions with pupils, formal and informal interviews with key informants, interactive workshops in the schools, transect walks around the school compounds with the pupils, and observation. Also, questionnaires were used to gain insights from the families.

Selecting participants: Following the HRBA principles, special attention was put into the selection of participants for the workshops and focus groups. It was important to include wide representation of pupils (and other community members) to get feedback and thoughts not only from the most active ones, but also from the more withdrawn pupils who are more prone to be left out. Participants were chosen through random selection, paying attention to gender balance.

Use of data: Depending on the project, the data collected was used in different stages of concept development: ideation, testing, and conceptualisation. The data steered the projects towards the key problems that the students would focus on and guided the ideation work. The insights gained through HRBA rooted the challenges into a wider ecosystem and helped the teams to see the impact of their potential solutions through the pupils’ eyes.

Testing: To get the locals and pupils involved in the process along the way and also to fill knowledge gaps, the teams tested the concepts with the pupils and the community members (for example through open workshops). The teams gained valuable insight on what the local people found important and critical and it was a way to make their voices heard. The thoughts and new ideas steered the concepts towards more realistic outcomes and helped the students to focus on fitting the concepts into existing ecosystems formed by habits, behaviours, attitudes and infrastructure.

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