The Commission fulfills the mandate to enhance awareness on human rights and civic duties as a constitutional mandate under article 59(2) (a) which is ‘to promote respect for human rights and develop a culture of human rights in the republic; and ‘to formulate, implement and oversee programmes intended to raise public awareness of the rights and obligations of a citizen under the Constitution’. In order to develop and sustain a culture of human rights, the duty bearers and rights holders (the public) need to be aware of their rights and be sufficiently empowered to claim them. The mandate is fullfilled through;
- Training workshops for state and non-state actors
- Public Awareness Forums
- Production and dissemination of IEC materials
- Production training and capacity building materials
- Human rights based approach
- Media Programs
Training workshops for state and non-state actors
The program conducts training workshops to raise awareness on the rule of law; create an understanding and respect for human rights and to promote human rights based approach among the state and non-state actors. The trainings aim to shade light on human rights related topics. Groups who have benefited from past trainings include police and prison officers drawn from various cadres from all over Kenya. Other activities related to training in the past are;
- Training workshop for CBOs and FBOs in Lower Eastern Province focusing on the Constitution, bill of Rights, gender and children rights.
- Training for a CBO consortium working in the area of health and HIV/AIDS focusing on integrating human rights and gender issues into HIV and AIDs programming.
- Training on alternative dispute resolution processes and human rights in Malindi, Marereni among other places.
- Human rights training for opinion leaders in Meru and Kisumu Counties on the constitution
Public Awareness forums
In order to effectively reach out to the public, the Commission also holds public awareness forums on various areas of concern. The annual events such as the international day of torture, international human rights day provide an appropriate platform and have been used in the past to conduct such public awareness forums.
Production and dissemination of IEC materials
To effectively create awareness and complement capacity building efforts, the program from time to time develops human rights IEC materials to disseminate to state actors, partner CSOs and CBOs and the public. The materials facilitate dissemination of human rights information to the intended target group and areas in order to stimulate discourse and awareness of human rights. Some of the materials produced and disseminated in the past include booklets on the rights of IDPs and prevention of torture.
Training and capacity building materials
In collaboration with like-minded partners and with the aim of infusing human rights standards and principles within the public service, the Program engages in developing training manuals and curriculums for human rights trainings for public officers. Training manuals and curriculums are designed to improve the quality of performed tasks of the respective target group, address gaps on human rights understanding and application and are also used as a general human rights reference document. A Training manual for Government training institutions was developed through this initiative. Similarly, the Program participated in the validation of the police training curriculum to ensure that it captures human rights content; The Ministry of Education and the Kenya Institute of Education have been engaged in programs aimed at infusing human rights content into the school curriculum.
Human rights based approach
The program initiated efforts to infuse the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) in the public sector. This is being done through trainings geared towards enhancing the practical application of this approach. HRBA addresses five key questions: Who is left behind; why are they left behind; who is responsible; what needs to be done and what resources are required? HRBA also Identifies right holders and duty bearers and aims to fill their capacity gaps; Promotes institutional and behavioural changes of duty bearers; Leads to optimal utilization of resources; Shifts focus from average targets to disparities beyond the targets; Empowers rights holders to claim their rights; Prioritizes the rights of marginalized groups; Promotes participation and information sharing and Enhances accountability for results and process. In this light, the program has engaged the offices of the Prime-Minister on performance contracting, Ministry of State for Planning and National Development and Vision 2030 to ensure that Human Rights standards drive the formulation and evaluation of policy cycle process.
Media serves as the most appropriate tool of outreach and communication, in the coming financial year, the program has planned to incorporate multifaceted media strategies to complement these efforts. This will be done on both national and local print and electronic media for enhancement of human rights awareness at national as well County level.