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Course E0611: Human Rights-Based Programming

1 October-16 December 2014 | Register for this course (page opens in new window)
Instructor: Dr. Felisa Tibbitts

This e-learning course introduces staff members of (international) development agencies and NGOs to rights-based programming. A human rights-based approach (HRBA) is a conceptual framework for the process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights. Essentially, a human rights-based approach integrates the norms, standards and principles of the international human rights system into the plans, policies and processes of programme development.

Participants will deepen their knowledge about project and programme development from a human rights perspective and learn how to apply the principles of equity, empowerment, participation and accountability to various phases of project planning and implementation. Participants will also gain sensitivity to how programs can integrate non-discriminatory practice and give attention to vulnerable groups. The course will focus on practical tools for human rights situation assessment, programme planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation within the rights-based conceptual framework.

The course involves approximately 50 hours of reading, on-line working groups, interaction with students and instructors/facilitators, webinars and assignments, and is offered over an 11-week period. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. The course instructor will provide individualised feedback where appropriate. Participants will do the required readings, prepare interim and final assignments and participate in group discussions. The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. It is also possible to be an auditor of the course.

Course outline

Week 1. Introduction to the Human Rights-Based Approach
Week 2. Human Rights Standards and Principles
Week 3. Key Principles of Human Rights-Based Programming
Week 4. HRBA Programme Design
Week 5. "Open week"
Week 6. HRBA Analysis and Planning
Week 7. HRBA Programme Elements
Week 8. Monitoring and Evaluation
Weeks 9-10. Analysis of Human Rights-Based Programming: Case Study  
Week 11. Human Rights-Based Programming and the Future of Human Development Work

About the instructor

Felisa Tibbitts has successfully developed and managed projects in the NGO sector for over 30 years, managing over $15 million worth of projects from "idea development to evaluation" stage. As project manager, she has assisted partner organisations in their project design and management, often in the area of new programming. Dr. Tibbitts is co-founder and Senior Advisor at Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) and former coordinator of Human Rights Education Programming for the Netherlands Helsinki Committee. She has Master's degrees from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (Public Policy) and from Harvard's Graduate School of Education (Administration, Planning and Social Policy) and a PhD from the University of Magdeburg and has published several articles on program planning and development in the education field. Dr. Tibbitts has been an instructor of the HREA e-learning courses Child Rights Programming, Introduction to Human Rights EducationMonitoring & Evaluation in the NGO Sector and Project Cycle Management since 2002. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Harvard's Graduate School of Education and the University for Peace.

Who should apply

The course is intended for staff members of development and human rights/social justice organisations, including development NGOs and UN specialised agencies like UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and others. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


The course tuition fee is US$ 725. Tuition for auditors is US$ 275. Unfortunately, there are no scholarships or discounted tuition fees available for this course.

Payments can be made online by major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, bank transfer and money transfer (Western Union, MoneyGram). Bulk rates are available.


Register for this course (page opens in new window). Registrations are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. There is no registration deadline, but please be aware that courses generally fill up quickly!

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