Programs profiled here: “Play it Fair!” and “Speaking Rights”
Global (North America, Middle East, Africa, Haiti, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia)
Grade Level of Students Participating
Grades K to 12
Number of Students Participating per Year
Over 100,000 young people per year
Year Organization Began
“Play it Fair!” was piloted in 2004. “Speaking Rights” was piloted in 2009.
Relationship to the public education system
Works outside of public education system in non-formal educational setting such as summer camps, after-school programs, youth centers, youth organizations or community/recreation centers. Also works in schools and in extra-curricular programs within schools.
Organization’s Vision and Mission
“For nearly half a century, Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education has been working for the advancement of equality, social justice and respect for human dignity in Canada and around the world. Through transformative human rights education programs, Equitas provides individuals the necessary tools to shape attitudes and positive behaviors, thus contributing to lasting social change.”
Brief Description of Program Activities
The programs described below were piloted in Canada and have since been contextualized to other regions in the world in which they are implemented. For example, Play it Fair! models in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia and Haiti are addressing violence and ethnic, religious and class-based exclusion and discrimination with over 10,500 youth.
Play it Fair! (Ages 6-12)
Play It Fair! is an educational Toolkit developed to promote human rights, non-discrimination and peaceful conflict resolution within schools and in formal and non-formal education programs for youth, such as summer camps and after-school activities.
A resource of activities. More than 80 games (10-20 minutes in duration) to promote human rights values such as cooperation, respect for diversity, fairness, inclusion, respect, responsibility and acceptance with youth aged 6-12 years and youth working with them. The games and activities offer opportunities for participants to provide constructive responses to conflict and to support staff to address challenging situations related to bullying, cliques, exclusion, etc. Games and activities are linked to articles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Cooperative Musical Chairs (For ages 6-8, 15 mins in duration): After a few rounds of playing a standard game of musical chairs, youth eliminated from the earlier rounds are allowed to return to the game. With the same number of chairs remaining, all the youth must cooperate to identify creative solutions to prevent anyone else from being eliminated (finding new areas for them to sit without being excluded). This game is related to Article 2: Right to non-discrimination. At the end of the game, the youth have a group discussion to reflect on the experience.
- The Noisiest Game in the World (For ages 9-10, 10 mins in duration): Youth are split into groups. Some of these youth are designated as Messengers (students who must convey a message either verbally or nonverbally), and some are selected to be Receivers (the intended recipients of the message). The remaining youth must stand between the Messengers and Receivers and attempt to prevent the messages from being communicated successfully. This game is related to Article 12: Right to express opinions. At the end of the game, the youth have a group discussion to reflect on the experience and where they can take action.
Speaking Rights (Ages 12-18):
Equitas’ Speaking Rights program engages 12-18 year-old youth in exploring human rights issues and identifying strategies to combat discrimination and exclusion while promoting respect for diversity. The program centers on the active participation of youth by developing their ability to discuss issues that are important to them and to work collaboratively on activities that community-build and solve conflicts peacefully. There are more than 50 games and activities (25-45 minutes in duration) and 4 projects (ex: Graffiti, Drama and Photo) each consisting of three 90-minute sessions. Games and activities are linked to articles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Examples of games and activities include:
- One Step Forward (25 mins): Participants use role cards to step into someone else’s shoes, reflect on what their life is like and respond to statements that may or may not be related to that person. This activity is related to Article 2: Right to non-discrimination. At the end of this activity, the youth have a group discussion to reflect on the experience and think of future actions they can take.
- Improvisation Game (45 mins): Participants use improvisation cards to respond to situations involving issues youth face and to think about these issues through a variety of improvisational techniques (miming, singing or free improvisation). This activity is related to Article 2 (Right to non-discrimination) and Article 12 (Right to express opinions). At the end of this activity, the youth have a group discussion to reflect on the experience and think of future actions they can take.
Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies
Self-confidence, flexibility, appreciation for diversity, personal and social responsibility, adaptability, cultural awareness and competence, respect.
Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies
Teamwork, conflict resolution, cooperation, inclusiveness, empathy/perspective-taking, communication
Program Content: Cognitive Competencies
Problem-solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, decision making
Program Content: Attitudes and Values
Cooperation, Respect for others’ [dignity], Fairness, Inclusion, Respect for Diversity, Responsibility (thinking before we act), Acceptance (acting to ensure full participation of everyone without fear of judgment).
Respect for diversity, non-discrimination, inclusion, responsibility, respect for human rights, equality, civic engagement.
Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students
The youth’s participation in an activity provides them with the opportunity to live a concrete experience together in their group from which they can learn. Each activity is followed by a Group Discussion, which engages the youth in a process of critical reflection. The youth have the opportunity to talk about what they experienced, reflect on their behavior in relation to human rights values, and propose ways of integrating human rights values into their lives through actions in their community.
Source of Information
1All information for this summary come from the Equitas website, the Play It Fair! Toolkit (sample), the Speaking Rights Toolkit (sample), the Speaking Rights Workshop manual, and a phone interview in June 2016 with an Education Specialist and the Associate Director of Programs for Equitas