Dianova Uruguay has implemented a human rights perspective training plan for its employees and beneficiaries
By Andrea Ríos – Dianova Uruguay has paid special attention to the issue of Human Rights since its inception, which can be seen in its mission statement: to develop actions and programmes that actively contribute to personal self-reliance and social progress.
Because when we talk about human rights, we are referring to a set of consensual, socially-constructed principles linked to human dignity, which seek to guarantee respect for freedoms so that everyone can have an autonomous life. In this way, this concept of dignity is directly associated with the promotion of autonomy, which is precisely the reason why this institution exists.
In this organization, we strive to maintain a constantly critical attitude that enables us to review our practices and discourses. This enables us to work on the continuous improvement of the programs that we manage, with the aim of improving daily practices and creating quality processes and actions that result in a good service for beneficiaries.
Enhancing the human rights perspective
It is in this context that we began to ask ourselves in 2018 if the emphasis we were placing on the perspective of human rights in our theoretical-technical framework and in our programmes was enough. We then decided to take action to emphasize this perspective and highlight our commitment as an organization to the promotion and protection of, and the provision of education on, human rights.
The main question was: how do we transform discursive practices into concrete actions?
Review of documents and application of the perspective in daily activities
Firstly, we started by reviewing the organization’s documents, including those used on a macro basis as well as those used on a daily basis for the programmes, seeking to make explicit the perspective of human rights. This process was very interesting because it did not just involve administrative work (i.e. sitting down to amend texts) but it helped to educate the teams, using everyday examples through the frequent reading of the texts.
On giving informed consent, a therapeutic contract with a new participant. On providing guidance to a new team-member, when reading the onboarding documents, in conformity with the ethical agreement. We repeat a discourse that positions us ethically, politically (because we are taking a position) and epistemically. And we incorporate what will eventually end up being transformed into actions.
Participation in the National Human Rights Education Plan
In March 2019, we were invited by the National Secretariat for Human Rights to participate in the second round of talks on the National Plan for Human Rights Education, in which we made a formal commitment to educate our partners on human rights in order to focus on two strategic objectives of the Plan. These objectives consisted of: creating a human rights culture committed to the dignity of all people and with respect for one’s own human rights and those of other people, and raising awareness of, providing training in, and committing to, the development of human rights education processes for stakeholders that become strategic because of their capacity to be transmitted to others and because of their particularly relevant nature.
Implementing virtual human rights education workshops
Based on these objectives, a training process was planned for that had to be adjusted according to the pandemic situation, resulting in the holding of virtual human rights education workshops for our employees.
Workshop-based educational activities inside the residences had been considered. It was a very interesting experience that enabled us to reflect on the limited knowledge that most of us had about our own rights, which was even more limited regarding the history and origin of these rights.
With regard to programme beneficiaries, the vast majority of whom are vulnerable and have had their rights violated, we reaffirm the importance of educating them in human rights with the aim of promoting their autonomy, freedom and knowledge of their rights so that they can demand and protect these rights.
To achieve this, we must first start with the education of those of us who make up the teams: those of us who design and provide care services. The partners who participated in the training were for the most part (88.9%) ‘very much in agreement’ that the content of the training is relevant to the work, while the rest were ‘in agreement’. No one disagreed with this.
Encouraging an attitude based on respect and promotion of human rights
Based on these lessons, Dianova Uruguay’s actions continue through the incorporation of human rights documents into the onboarding processes of the people who make up the teams, through promoting training on the subject and by means of activities carried out within the programmes, whether at training events, days or workshops, but mainly in the attitude with which every member of the team must work and relate with others, which entails respect for, and the promotion and protection of, and the provision of education on, human rights.
It is an attitude that can be spread to, and enables the education of, others. It is in this way that the commitment is to remain focused on this human rights perspective, which starts off as a text and then becomes con-text by moving towards tangible everyday action for people.