Circle of Rights was produced with a primary target group of trainers in mind.  Part I of Circle of Rights addresses substantive issues related to ESC rights and strategies for ad­vancing these rights.  The purpose of this Part II is to provide suggestions for using the in­formation contained in Part I in a training program. 

Part II opens with some general points on planning and implementing training programs.  These are followed by general suggestions for introducing the material in this manual in such programs.  Part II then provides specific suggestions and techniques to use with respect to each module.  It does not attempt to cover all the information in Part I, not does it seek to suggest all possible training methods that could be used to present that information.  Rather the suggestions made with respect to each module are offered simply to help spark the crea­tivity of the trainers who use Circle of Rights.

Planning a Training Program

An effective training program has a beginning, a middle, and an ending, whether it is a half-day session or a month-long program.  Normally, a training program begins with ice-break­ing or getting-to-know-you activities and ends with planning for the future and evaluating the program.  The training program should follow a logical sequence, both in the individual ses­sions and in the overall course of the program. 

When planning a training program, it is important to follow these steps:

1.      Establish the objectives of the training session

      The objectives of a training program are normally based on an assessment of trainees’ needs.  The knowledge, skills or attitudes (relevant values or ethics) to be covered and the objectives to be achieved are decided by a trainer or training organization based on these needs. 

2.      Design the content and format of the training program

  • Determine the subject matter of the training program, based on the needs assessment and objectives.
  • Set up a timetable with a detailed lesson plan or modules, with objectives to be achieved in each module.
  • Design evaluation and follow-up processes. 

3.      Select teaching methods and materials

Each lesson or module requires appropriate teaching methods and materials-for exam­ple, case studies, games or visual aids. 

4.      Clarify role of trainers/facilitators.

Trainers and facilitators, including teaching staff and resource persons, must be briefed on the objectives of their sessions and the materials they should they should prepare for conducting their sessions.

Implementing a Training Program

1.      Oversee trainers/facilitators as they conduct the training program.

  • Monitor the day-to-day progress of the program.
  • Receive and provide feedback to trainees and trainers.
  • Evaluate the training program, during the program and after completion.

2.      Follow up after the training program.

  • Write a report of the training program.
  • Ensure follow-up on the programs or plans decided on at the training program.

A Participatory Approach to Training

A trainer should remember that for learning to be effective:

  • Learners must be actively involved in their own learning.
  • The program must be based on the needs, desires and perceptions of the learners.
  • The program should be structured in a way that enables the learner to actively participate, seek clarifications and freely express his or her opinion.
  • The learning process should be based on the assumption that everyone in the program has a positive contribution to make on the basis of his or her experience and knowledge.
  • The trainer or facilitator has as much to learn from the learners as they have from the trainer and from each other.

Finally, a trainer or training organization should remember that planning and conducting a participatory program is more difficult than planning for a nonparticipatory one.  Trainers and even trainees may prefer nonparticipatory methods/process, since they require little preparation.  It is important to recognize that a trainer may fear that s/he would lose his or her authority and direction of a participatory program, but adequate planning should minimize this potential problem.

The Role of a Facilitator

A facilitator of a training program has two kinds of functions: task functions and process functions.  Task refers to what the group must achieve (learning, decisions, etc.); process refers to how the group proceeds towards the objective and how the individual participants relate to each other.  Both functions must be kept in balance.  Too much emphasis on task may damage the level of participation and creativity as well as the degree of commitment to follow-up.  Too much emphasis on process may lead to poor results.

A facilitator in a program initiates (sets the ball rolling), regulates (ensures participation and that the objectives are met), informs (acts as a resource person), supports (encourages and makes sure that that everyone is respected despite differing views), and evaluates (ensures feedback and assessment).

Bringing closure to a training program

It is important for the facilitator to bring the session to closure.  The facilitator should refer to the objectives and briefly summarize the process of the training session.  Starting from the first session, s/he should trace the path along which the participants have gone during the training program, then discuss plans for follow-up and how the participants can implement what they have learned.  Follow-up plans should be based on what has been learned during the program.  Finally, the facilitator should make sure the learners leave with a positive feel­ing about the session.

Evaluating a Training Program

It is important to evaluate a training program, whatever its length.  Evaluation entails judging the success or failure of the training, revising or refining the training design, and deciding whether to continue or replicate the training.

A training program is normally evaluated by its participants and organisers. However, help of independent persons can be sought.

The input, process and impact of the training program are all evaluated.  Input consists of content and methods.  Process includes the facilitation skills of trainers or experts as well as the level of participation of trainees.  Impact is the final result-the contribution to know-ledge and skills and to changes in attitude or values.  Knowledge and skills are probably the easiest to evaluate; assessing the impact on values or attitudes is most difficult.

Evaluation is a continuous process. It is undertaken during the training program, at the end of training program and, if appropriate, after some period of time has elapsed.

Evaluation can be conducted by using daily participant evaluation forms (feed back sheets), pro and con lists (brainstorming), suggestion boxes, written pre- and post-training tests, interviews, questionnaires, on-site observation and informal conversations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods and techniques are almost infinite in their variety.  They can be used on their own or in creative combination.  However, they should be chosen carefully to fit the activity, the nature of participants, the cultural milieu and the facilities available for using them. 

Remember that the methods and techniques must support the objectives of the training pro­gram; otherwise they lose their meaning.

Importance of Teaching Methods

The effectiveness of training depends greatly on what is to be taught, how the trainers are prepared and what training methods they emphasize.  Development of a good curriculum and selection of effective participants may be of little value if the trainees are unable to under­stand what they are taught.  Trainers have a responsibility to facilitate learning and not merely complete the curriculum or course content.  Selection, preparation and effective use of teaching methods have a great impact on a trainee’s ability to learn. 

Some Common Teaching Methods

• Lecture presentation

A lecture presentation is the most frequently used method for conveying information, theories or principles.  The style of presentation may range from an uninterrupted lecture to a mixed presentation combining questions and discussions. 

The advantage of a lecture presentation is that it can be adapted to any kind of learner.  It is useful for large groups, it can cover a lot of material in a short time, and the lecturer has more control over the process.  The limitations are that it is essentially a one-way communication; the learner’s role is passive and depends on the effectiveness of the lec­turer.

A lecture presentation can be made more interesting by the use of visual aids, discussions or any other teaching activities that retain the attention of trainees. 

• Small group discussion

A small group discussion is an activity that allows learners to share their views and expe­riences on a topic or to solve a problem.  In small groups, trainees may feel less inhibited; this contributes to increased participation of trainees. 

For a small group discussion to be effective, the task of the group and the time limit should be clearly stated.  It may be helpful to provide guidelines or questions for facili­tating discussion.  It is important to remind group members that they must ensure the participation of everyone in the group. 

• Case study

A case study is a written description of a real or hypothetical situation that is used for analysis and discussion in small groups.  A case study increases the involvement of train­ees in discussing a problem.  It is important to select a relevant case for discussion.  Questions for discussion should be carefully planned in advance. 

• Role play

A role play is an activity where trainees act out real or hypothetical situations.  In a role play only the situation or role to be acted is explained.  No script is needed, and few ma­terials are needed, since students can use pretend props.  Trainees should be encouraged to use their imagination.  A role play is stimulating and fun, and increases the participa­tion of trainees.  The trainees must have a good understanding of the role play they are expected to enact. 

• Simulation

A simulation is a problem-solving activity that imitates, or simulates, a real-life situation.  It may involve acting out a story, the playing of roles, or participation in a game.  The technique helps trainees reflect on how to meet anticipated problems.  To be effective, a simulation must be well prepared and sufficient time must be allowed.

• Brainstorming

Brainstorming is normally used for generating participants’ views, ideas and comments on a given topic or issue. 

In a brainstorming exercise, participants can make any points or suggestions on the sub­ject matter of the brainstorming.  A participant can build on other people’s ideas or views, but s/he cannot comment or criticize views expressed by others.  No discussion is allowed on the points made or ideas expressed.  Time limit should be set, since speed is the essence of brainstorming.

The ideas expressed and views shared should be finally synthesized by the trainer or facilitator. 

• Other teaching aids

In addition to the above methods, a trainer could also use films, video shows, slide shows, tape recordings, proverbs, fables, stories, poems and drama as teaching aids.

Introducing the Modules of the Manual

The following sections discuss some suggested training processes and methods that can be used to introduce the modules of the manual in a training program.

Getting started and setting the context

Before introducing the substantive modules, it is important to begin a training program by ensuring that the facilitator and participants get to know one another, the contexts within which each is working and the experiences each already has in the area that is the focus of the training. 

The opening sessions of a training program on ESC rights should have the following objec­tives:

1.      Mutual introduction of participants and facilitator

2.      Clarification of the participants’ expectations about the training program

3.      Explanation of objectives of the program

4.      Understanding participants’ perceptions of the program’s subject matter

5.      Developing an understanding of the contexts within which the participants are work­ing

6.      Developing an understanding of the experiences (actions and interventions) already undertaken by participants in the ESC sphere

Following are some suggested ways for achieving these objectives.  The trainer can decide on the length of time required for achieving each objective, based on the duration of the training program.

1.      Mutual introduction

Mutual introduction of participants and facilitator is a first step in establishing a good rapport with and among participants.  Normally, ice-breaking exercises help create an in­formal climate for participants to introduce themselves and get to know one another better.

2.      Clarifying expectations

The introduction of participants should be followed by clarification regarding their ex­pectations of the training program.  Normally, information regarding what participants expect from the program will have been sought as part of the program’s preparation.  In­formation regarding participants’ expectations is a way of assessing their training needs. 

An exercise that can be used at the beginning of the program to clarify expectations is:

The facilitator draws a tree with just the roots and the trunk.  The roots should be marked "perspective” or "objective” of the program, and the trunk "methodol­ogy.”  The partici­pants should be asked to add leaves consisting of their expecta­tions.  The drawing can be displayed during the program.  At the end, they can be asked to add flower which repre­sent what they have learned during the program.

3.      Explanation of objectives of the program

A trainer or facilitator should explain the overall objectives of the program and clarify how the objectives take into account the expectations and needs of the participants.  A facilitator should be willing to modify the structure of the training program if the expecta­tions of the trainees are entirely different from the original objectives set by the facilitator.

After the expectations and objectives of the program are clarified, the facilitator should explain the day-to-day agenda as well as the structure and process of the program.

4.      Understanding participants’ perceptions of the subject matter

It is important for the facilitator to develop an understanding of the participants’ percep­tions of the subject matter of the training program.  This step is critical, since effective learning takes place when the learning process begins with the perceptions of the learn­ers.  In the present context, the question would be the participants’ perceptions regarding human rights or, more specifically, economic, social and cultural rights.

Suggested Methods for Understanding Perceptions

Several exercises could be used to help the participants share their perceptions. 

Method 1

Participants are asked to write down on large, chart paper words they associate with human rights.  (Alternatively, they could be asked about their associations to words such as poverty or development).  The facilitator should set a time limit of three to five minutes for writing these words, and participants should not consult one another.

In the next step, the papers are displayed around the training room.  The facilitator should first identify the common words and clarify their meaning from each partici­pant; many common words may have emerged, but each person may have written the word with a different meaning in mind.  In the next step the remaining words should be read out.  Each person who wrote a word should explain why s/he wrote it.  Through the process of explaining, the participants are sharing their ideas or percep­tions regarding these basic concepts.

Method 2

The participants are asked to narrate instances when they felt their rights had been violated.  They should explain why they felt a violation was involved.  This exercise helps clarify participants’ understanding of the term "rights” and related concepts.

Method 3

Participants are asked to draw pictures or images they associate with human rights.  They are then asked to explain the meaning of their pictures or images.

Method 4

The facilitator asks participants to share experiences about when they felt powerful and felt powerless.  Once everybody narrates, the facilitator should open discussion by asking what made them feel powerful or powerless.  For example, was it a ques­tion of domination or a question of lack of knowledge or resources?  Finally, the fa­cilitator lists all the elements that contribute to a sense of power or powerlessness.

5.      Understanding of the contexts within which the participants are working

This part of the session is devoted to the facilitator and participants’ developing a fuller understanding of the different contexts within which they work.  This helps the partici­pants to understand one another’s experiences and human rights concerns. 

Method 1

The participants describe their work, and then they and the facilitator jointly analyze the social, economic and political contexts within which their organizations work and the impact of these contexts on the enjoyment of ESC rights.  At this stage, the participants may not share information by using terms such as social, economic and cultural rights; they may merely explain the problems faced by their groups. 

A facilitator should provide a common framework for eliciting information from the par­ticipants.  The following is an example of such a framework:

  • In what geographical area (country, province, rural, urban, etc.) does each partici­pant’s organization work?
  • With what groups (women, squatters, indigenous people, etc.) does their group work?
  • What are the major ESC problems (alternatively, development problems) that they are confronting?
  • What do they consider to be the causes of the problems and who are the actors who contribute to these problems?

Based on the information shared by the participants, the facilitator should identify major issues, patterns and actors involved.  These should be written on chart paper and dis­played.  They provide the context for the training on ESC rights activism.  During the course of the training, the facilitator can draw upon them as examples of issues or prob­lems.  They can also be used as part of training exercises; for example, during the discus­sion on strategies, the facilitator could refer to these issues and ask the participants to develop appropriate strategies for dealing with them.

Method 2

The facilitator elicits information on the contexts within which participants work by using the "web chart exercise.”  In this exercise, each participant writes in the middle of the chart paper what s/he considers to be a major problem or issue.  The causes of the prob­lem are also written and their interconnectedness drawn.  A web emerges showing vari­ous actors, institutions and factors that have a bearing on the issue.  The facilitator should encourage participants to identify the cause, not the impact, of the issue or problem.

6.      Developing an understanding of the experiences (actions and interventions) already undertaken by participants in the ESC sphere

The purpose of this part of the session is to seek information on actions and interventions already taken by the participants for dealing with the issues identified by them in the pre­vious activity.  This will help the facilitator to learn about and build on the experiences of the participants in dealing with ESC issues.  It will also help in the later parts of the training program, which focus on developing strategies.

The facilitator can use various methods to elicit information from the participants, rang­ing from having them verbally narrate their experiences to drawing pictures or role-playing.

It is important that the facilitator summarize the information shared by the participants.  It can be summarized as follows:

  • The forum within which the action was taken (local, national, international)
  • The type of action taken (e.g., mobilizing, litigation, law and policy reform, data col­lection and monitoring, lobbying in international forums)
  • The actors towards whom the actions were aimed (e.g., local government officials, multinational companies, multilateral agencies)
  • The types of demands made
  • The success and failures in the actions, and/or the lessons learned

The facilitator can also share information or case studies on actions taken by groups in different parts of the world.  The following report on the Nineteenth September National Union of Garment Workers in Mexico is an example that could be used for sharing in­formation on organizations or movements in the countries from which participants come.  The subsequent case study on the Kensington Welfare Rights Union in the United States could also be used in this session.

The Nineteenth of September National Union of Garment Workers in Mexico

"The Nineteenth September Garment Workers' Union is composed solely of women. Established in 1985, the Nineteenth of September Union recruited its members from the sweatshops of Mexico City . . .

"The movement among women garment workers was an unexpected development in Mexican labour organization. The women worked in small and unhealthy workplaces, remained seated for more than twelve hours per day, were subjected to the pressure of piecework and the infernal noise of the sewing machines, yet earned miserable wages. After decades of work under intense exploitation in this sector, it took the tragedy of the earthquake in Mexico City in 1985 to open the eyes of the society to the conditions in which these women lived and worked . . .

"The survivors, who had witnessed the walls of their factories fall upon their places of work, were sacked by their bosses without any explanation and without regard for the existing labour laws . . . Employers removed machines leaving the bodies of the dead in the rubble. More than 5000 garment workers united and organised themselves-first to demand the rescue of their fellow workers, and afterwards to defend their right against the injustice of bosses who had paid no compensation to any workers, living or dead. The garment workers, who had always worked in isolated workshops recognised in the trauma of the earthquake that each one of them had suffered the same forms of oppression and decided to organise themselves independently . . .

"On 20 October 1985, the year of the earthquake, these workers succeeded in being recognized as the National Union of Garment Workers, or the Nineteenth of September Union. Their first Congress was held in May 1986.

"The Union is unique because it is a democratic organization run by women workers . . . The Union's demands relate both to the particular conditions of the clothing industry and to the critical economic situation which exists in the country . . .

"The organization has emphasised in its policies the specific problems which women suffer as women-issues that have previously been neglected . . . In addition to their labour rights the women garment workers have demanded more humane treatment, the installation of public services to alleviate the burden of work conducted in the home and revised laws which permit their development as workers and facilities to help in their activities as mothers . . .

"As an independent and democratic worker's organization, it aims to convince diverse sectors of society of the necessity to gain the rights which are internationally accepted as basic; for example, the right to a decent salary; the right to receive technical training; the right to housing; the right to education; the right to a health service; the right to free organization and assembly; the right to have their children cared for in a crèche."

- from Teresa Carrillo, "Working Women and the '19th of September' Mexican Garment Workers Union: The Significance of Gender," (Stanford University, Working Paper 179, March 1989), 26.


The Kensington Welfare Rights Union

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) was created in April 1991 in direct response to the governor of Pennsylvania's decision to drastically cut economic aid to destitute people living in the northern section of the city of Philadelphia, the most impoverished area in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. KWRU is a multiracial organization of, by and for poor and homeless people, committed to guaranteeing that all economically disadvantaged people have life's basic necessities.

In the past KWRU erected tent cities when local shelters for the homeless were full, and in 1998 it established a "Human Rights House" which offers emergency housing, free medical facilities, and food for poor and homeless people. In addition, the organization collected anecdotal evidence and statistical documentation on the impact of the federal government's "welfare reform" and presented its findings at 1995 US Congressional hearings. In June 1997 KWRU led a "March for Our Lives" to the United Nations to bring economic and social rights violations in the United States to international attention. Through grassroots outreach activities that were part of the march, KWRU learned that most Americans have never heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the United States refuses to sign. KWRU devoted time and energy to cultivating an awareness of these instruments by embarking on a media campaign that included organizing tribunals to expose people to ESC rights issues.

Creating and maintaining a grassroots as well as international interest in ESC rights in the United States has been a constant challenge. KWRU members at times believe that they are "selling something that no one wants to buy . . . pushing a cause that people would like to believe no longer exists." Moreover, a certain percentage of KWRU's members are "followers in passing," individuals who may only connect with KWRU at a specific rally and march. Often it is a challenge for its settled members to remain connected with their transient counterparts.

It is KWRU's goal for people who connect with them, whether for a fleeting moment or permanently, to remain committed to the cause of eliminating poverty. One of the primary ways it works towards this goal is by creating diverse programs of grassroots participation. For example, in 1998 KWRU launched its "Economic Human Rights Campaign" to draw attention to the experiences of poor and homeless people. It organized a "New Freedom Bus Tour" that carried sixty poor men, women and children through thirty-five cities in thirty states. In each city, the freedom riders organized rallies and tribunals to give a voice to poor people living there.

KWRU's leaders-its committed all-volunteer staff, who are welfare recipients themselves-believe that "one may be poor and homeless, but not helpless."



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