Thank you Theresa for giving us these practical insights into the clear participatory case for engaging different groups - and for the need to respond flexibly with various media tools; visual, print, etc., to changing, sensitive or perhaps unknown social practices or circumstances. If you don't mind, I'd like to follow-up with two questions: do you think proper social disclosure of prevailing practices can better inform and perhaps influence the methodology design so as to maximize desirable outcomes? It would be nice to first arrive at a better understanding of the perceptions (or misperceptions) of the targeted group about human rights education first and fashion the tools afterwards. By talking to the various members of the group through open consultations, workshops, or interviews, the reasons that may lead some members to reject or dismiss the messages later could become clear. And with that knowledge in hand, one can then adapt and shape their methods and solutions to deliver that message in, if you will, a friendlier or culturally-sensitive manner. This brings me to the second question: would it have been possible to arrive at these beneficial insights if such disclosures had not preceded the design of the tools and methods? From experience, I find that permanent disclosure with the members of the targeted group builds trust that is necessary to properly address certain social concerns that may or will arise during training workshops. And if trust was not available, the best intentions and solutions offered may fall on deaf ears if not create tension between the "teacher" and "student". Osama M. Rajkhan Social Affairs Officer and Human Rights Focal Point Population and Social Integration Section Emerging Social Issues Division United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific Bangkok, Thailand Tel: (66-2) 288-1845, Fax: (66-2) 288-1030 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org On 28 October 2005, Theresa Limpin wrote: Dear all, My name is Theresa Limpin and I am the Regional Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Regional Resource Center for Human Rights Education (ARRC). I have been a practitioner and an avid endorser of participatory methodology in human rights education for many years now. I have just finished a brief presentation of understanding what is participatory methodology in human rights education to a group of NGO workers, M.A. students, and human rights advocates at an annual regional human rights study forum being held here in Thailand in recent days. My observation remains, that there is a broad range of perceptions on what is participatory methodology in human rights education depending on practice and context. Some believe that facilitating a question and answer process in a learning session is participatory methodology in human rights education. Others who are attached to this term goes beyond this practice. It is the process of animating, using games, activities to get people's attention, sharing of experiences on the different concepts being shared. In addition, other would even say it must involve and lead to concrete human rights action. The experiences of many NGOs on human rights education methodologies are largely unwritten. The richness of the experiences are not well documented. At the same time, the methodologies being employed are misunderstood in many cases. Many people would considered participatory, creative methodologies as: only good for fun, time consuming, shallow, insensitive, dangerous lacking in follow-up. These comments consider participatory, creative methodologies as important for the initial introduction of the participants, to break the ice, or keep participants awake. But beyond these, there is no other role for these methodologies. Still many see participatory, creative methodologies as unnecessary because they only take time and can offend the sensitivities of the participants. These comments are not giving participatory, creative methodologies a positive image. They limit them to a minor role in the educational process or judge them as hardly useful. This shows that participatory, creative methodologies are hardly understood. I find these impressions detrimental to participatory methodology in human rights education especially if we wanted to influence the formal education to be practicing participatory methodology in teaching human rights. We need to prove that participatory methodology in human rights education makes a difference. More and more critical and in depth studies and researches pertaining to participatory methodologies in human rights education are needed to be studied carefully and given importance. At a practical recommendation I would say, we need instructional videos on participatory methodologies in human rights education be produced and effectively distributed to target users for us to be able to enriched the pedagogy in human rights education. To end, please visit the ARRC website for the electronic copy of the following research work we did on human rights education participatory methodologies in Asia and the Pacific in the past and in recent year: 1. Report on the Asia Human Rights Education Trainers Colloquium, 2003. 2. Reclaiming Voices: A Study on Participatory Methodologies in the Asia-Pacific, 2004. http://www.arrc-hre.com ======== Asia Pacific Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to < >. 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