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The aims of this manual are:

  • To provide those interested in doing human rights teaching with a framework for training of trainers in health and human rights
  • To provide resources which will be of use to the training of trainers and students
  • To support alumni of our Train-the-Trainer courses, who now number nearly 200 people
  • To share our eight years of experience in running this course with others so as to begin a dialogue around educational issues in teaching human rights
  • To build additional teaching capacity in health and human rights.

The School of Public Health and Family Medicine at UCT has offered undergraduate and postgraduate training in human rights since 1995. The Train-the-Trainer course was developed as an offshoot of pilot initiatives at UCT to teach undergraduates, at a time when findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) identified a need for human rights education for health professionals across the country. Through this manual, this course will continue to fulfil the goal of developing and sustaining a network of individuals who return to their home institutions and professional environments to integrate human rights dialogue and initiatives into their work. Our vision through this manual is to support both our past trainees and other health professionals who wish to integrate human rights into their teaching of students in the health professions. We realised soon after commencing work with undergraduates that the task was too large to tackle on a piecemeal basis or by training limited numbers of students at a time. Rather, it was more appropriate to spread capacity by training trainers and by supporting them with implementation challenges in their own institutions. In this way, we hope that the impact of training will be multiplied as more and more trainees take away what they find valuable for putting human rights into curricula for their students. This means extending from the teaching of undergraduates to include postgraduates, and to the inclusion of human rights in continuing professional development activities. In this way, we believe that human rights training for health professionals will be mainstreamed and meet the critical needs identified in developing this manual.

Laurel Baldwin-Ragaven & Leslie London