Africa Unite, in partnership with the University of Connecticut, held its annual Human Rights Training Weekend on Friday, 22 February to Sunday, 24 February 2013 at Goedgedacht Farm in Malmesbury, South Africa. Sixty youths from South Africa (Western Cape and Eastern Cape), Students from the University of Connecticut – United States including foreign national from Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Jamaica and Burundi participated in the weekend. The training covered the following topics:
- Human Rights Principles
- Human Rights Education: What and Why?
- Building Human Rights Communities
- Building Blocks for Human Rights Education
- Bills of rights and categories of rights- South Africa’s constitution
- National and international Instruments promoting human rights
- Mandate of South Africa Government in protecting Human Rights
- Limitation of Rights
- Rights of Refugees and Migrants
One of the highlights of the weekend was “Model United Nations.” The youth were placed into five random groups where they chose an African country to represent. Each country was asked to select a president and the president’s cabinet. This selection resulted in the following five countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ivory Cost, and Zimbabwe. Each country was supposed to present a speech to the first African Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Anan. As a tradition of Africa Unite, the youngest of the group is the one who was selected as the Secretary General. The President and Cabinet of each country highlighted the following aspects:
- Brief History of Country: Independence, Population, Political situation, Source of the economy, Progress on Millennium Development Goals
- Status of Human Rights in the Country
- What the winning country do with one billion dollars from the World Bank
- Demonstrate and perform the culture of the country
The winning country was selected by a panel that was composed of the Secretary General and President of the World Bank. The criterion was based on team work, knowledge of the country’s progress, how they were going to utilize the money to help the country achieve its Millennium Developmental Goals and presentation of cultural dress of country as well as culture. Egypt was chosen as the best of the evening and won a mock check of 1 billion US dollars for aid to their country.
After the workshop, the youths from different backgrounds were very excited for the different level of interactions, content of the training and the skills which were gained during this weekend. They gave constructive feedback and thanked Africa Unite for this opportunity given to them. The following is some feedback from the students on the training:
The students thanked Africa Unite for the opportunity to mix and mingle with other youth from various back grounds.
Some said they had learnt a lot on Human Rights in general and more about other countries in such a short period of time.
A lot of friendships were created as well as result of the weekend.
The young people made a commitment to carry this knowledge to their various perspective communities.
Emotions went high as the participants communicated and reflected on the action that they will now take relating to their own communities affected by poverty crime, discrimination, Gangster-ism teenage pregnancies and violence. They realised the relevance of what they had been taught and how it is vital to take it back to their communities.
They appreciated the venue; they said it was a unique, quiet and serene environment. They also expressed great appreciation for the food.
Africa Unite would like to thank Marita McComiskey Ph.D of University of Connecticut for facilitating this partnership with Africa Unite. We would also like to thank DKA Austria and CCFD – France for their support.
For more pictures click here.