Many people are worried about freedom of religion or belief violations in their communities but unsure of how to make a difference. The new learning materials are designed to empower local communities to make change.
The course will be publicly launched in English, Arabic and French during a digital event on 25 May.
The course focuses on developing knowledge, transforming attitudes and building skills for action, using a methodology that combines interfaith understanding and a rights-based approach. Easy to adapt to different contexts, the course has been tested by interfaith groups in Jordan, India, Nigeria and Tanzania.
“Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed our inalienable right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in 1948, nations have sought to understand and interpret the concepts contained in this right,” said Jennifer Philpot-Nissen, programme executive for Human Rights and Disarmament for the World Council of Churches Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. “A plethora of laws, standards and policies have been debated, disputed, and adopted around the world, although sadly these often fall short of giving people the full enjoyment of this right.”
The Local Changemakers Course is designed to help these principles be known and understood by the “ordinary people” of a nation. “The promotion and protection of all human rights starts in the home, within families, with neighbours, and in communities,” said Philpot-Nissen. “The Local Changemakers Course is aimed at such communities, who may have little or no prior knowledge of human rights and legal standards, and has been designed in such a way as to help challenge and change attitudes, and overcome the fear of those whose beliefs are different, through story-telling and visual methodologies.”