Talking about Human Rights and Law in Interactive Ways

Apr 27, 2016

Participants at UNDP's Public Legal Awareness Workshop practicing interactive methods of raising awareness on human rights and legal issues at community level (Photo: Ryoko Yonamine/UNDP)

Suva, Fiji - Lawyers from the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) and Law Professors and students from the University of Fiji learned and practiced various interactive methods of raising awareness on human rights and legal issues at the community level with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Public Legal Awareness Workshop was aimed to equip lawyers with interactive methods of teaching and raising awareness among the public on law and human rights, including gender issues. The workshop was organized by the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) for Rural and Urban Fijians Project, and facilitated by the world renowned clinical law teacher, Professor David McQuoid-Mason from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. This workshop is a continuation of previous workshops undertaken early this year with participants from the Legal Aid Commission, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, University of the South Pacific, and Fiji National University.

The participants were introduced to the rationale for using interactive teaching methods and given demonstrations of their use. They were then shown how to draw up a legal awareness lesson plan and divided into three teams, each of which prepared and conducted a 30-minute presentation.  The lessons chosen by the participants covered the topics of the right to education, prevention of domestic violence and what constitutes a crime. Following the presentations feedback was provided. 

Jamie Anne Mayo Bancod was among the lecturers from the University of Fiji who participated in the workshop. She shared her feelings about the workshop, “I found the methods used at the workshop were exciting and informative. I teach first-year University students about legal methods and research and the methods I learned from the workshop would be effective to teach those young students.”

Laisiasa M. Rogoyawa, from the FHRADC, said, “I was particularly impressed by the session on formulating a logical oral argument on certain human rights issues, the learning from which I can put into practice in facilitating human rights education for school teachers and students.”

Ashwin Raj, Director, FHRADC said, “Social and economic rights are inextricably woven with civil and political rights. The REACH Project is an important embodiment of the intersectionality of these rights.”

The REACH Project aims to promote peacebuilding, social cohesion and inclusiveness through awareness of rights, access to services, provision of legal advice and institutional capacity building in Fiji. The three-year REACH Project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Legal Aid Commission and is supported by the Government of Japan. 

Christine Fowler, REACH Project Manager said that the REACH Project this year will soon commence mobile services of awareness raising and service delivery throughout Fiji.  “The mobile teams this year will be assisted with mobile units which are currently being designed and will be specially equipped for efficient delivery of services and effective awareness raising.”   

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals launched on 1 January 2016 with 17 goals, addresses the needs of people in both developed and developing countries - emphasising that “No one should be left behind”. The REACH project will contribute particularly to achieving Goal 5:  Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls and Goal 16: Promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

Contact information

Tomoko Kashiwazaki, Communications and Advocacy Officer; Tel: +(679) 331 2500; email: tomoko.kashiwazaki@undp.org

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Pacific Office 
Go to UNDP Global