As facilitators of collaborative design workshops in human rights, we partnered with the Open Society Foundations to find answers and propose specific initiatives to address these questions

Honing in on a broad dilemma and breaking it down into manageable challenges:

Human Rights advocates entering the field often lack skills that are crucial for effective advocacy.

A group of seasoned scholars, practitioners, educators and thought leaders from across the globe met at the Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá) to consider ways to better equip the next generation of human rights advocates.  

In earlier meetings, members of our collaborative mapped existing human rights training programs and pondered ways to spread identified effective teaching practices. 

We distilled our dilemma into six challenges, including teaching strategy, measuring outcomes, combining classroom and experiential learning and incorporating ICTs in the teaching of human rights practice.

Our group then met in Bogotá to engage in a focused, three-day session of collaborative design and problem-solving.

This session had a dual role: to develop the Lab's own methodology for collaborative innovation, and to develop potential solutions to the challenges our group defined in its previous workshop.

Group work and prototyping


While this project has only gone through one phase of our iterative creative problem solving process, our groups' prototypes are ready for refining and some of them are moving to next stages of iteration. We highlight two prototypes:

A curated clearinghouse for human rights instructors:

One of our teams developed a prototype for a platform and a process. The proposed online platform would curate and make easily available effective teaching materials for human rights practice. The team wanted to create a tool for educators and students, and to feature examples of the most successful training methods in clinical and experiential human rights education.  

Drawing from the experience and network of the team leaders, the team developed a process to introduce human rights professors to the platform, aid in incorporating its resources to their teaching, and develop a community of practice and exchange of ideas, so that the platform can remain relevant to human rights instruction, and its impact can be measured based on feedback from instructors across the globe.  

This proposed platform may now move to a new stage: developing a more refined and finished prototype for further testing. Participants included professors and practitioners from the United States, South Africa, and Argentina—three hubs of human rights education.