The recent 'rise of rights' has sparked much critical reflection, one of the key concerns being 'What is different this time'?. Can this emerging focus on rights within development help bring about favourable changes for poor and marginalised people?
This issue of the IDS Bulletin addresses diverse perspectives and questions across a spectrum of current thinking, policy and practice. Why the rights-based approach and why now? Whose rights count? 'Rights' work has evolved from an historical focus on human rights violations and concern for legal protection, but its future depends on direct engagement with civil society causes.
Development needs rights as much as rights need development. Illustrated here are struggles for rights within specific contexts (tenants associations in Kenya; children's organisations in India): the perspective of marginalised groups alters how formal rights are given meaning. Using rights in practice is challenging and filled with contradictions and tensions. The struggle for rights is happening and it is not simply an agenda of the powerful.
What emerges from this IDS Bulletin is a vibrant picture of often diverse meanings and strategies pursued throughout the world. If the current enthusiasm for rights in development can open thinking spaces and result in appropriate action, rather than serving as a one-size-fits-all export, then rights bases approaches are to be welcomed. Moving beyond old debates and recognising that rights must be claimed and realised by real people, the development community can discover what rights will ultimately mean in context and practice.
Table of contents
- Introduction: Developing Rights: Discourse to Context and Practice (pdf), Jethro Pettit and Joanna Wheeler
- 'Why Rights, Why Now? Reflections on the Rise of Rights in International Development Discourse', Andrea Cornwall and Celestine Nyamu-Musembi
- 'Rights-based Approaches and Bilateral Aid Agencies: More Than a Metaphor?', Laure-Hélène Piron
- 'Rights-based Development: Linking Rights and Participation - Challenges in Thinking and Action', Valerie Miller, Lisa VeneKlasen and Cindy Clark
- 'An Actor-oriented Approach to Rights in Development', Celestine Nyamu-Musembi
- 'Rights-based Approaches: Recovering Past Innovations', Valerie Miller, Lisa VeneKlasen and Cindy Clark
- 'Rights and Power: The Challenge for International Development Agencies', Alexandra Hughes, Joanna Wheeler and Rosalnd Eyben
- 'Can a Rights-based Approach Help in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals?', Salil Shetty
- 'Living Rights: Reflections from Women's Movements About Gender and Rights in Practice', Cindy Clark, Molly Reilly and Joanna Wheeler
- 'Small Hands, Big Voices? Children's Participation in Policy Change in India', Emma Williams
- 'Operationalising the Rights Agenda: Participatory Rights Assessment in Peru and Malawi', James Blackburn, Mary Ann Brocklesby, Sheena Crawford and Jeremy Holland
- 'Defining Rights from the Roots: Insights from Council Tenants' Struggles in Mombasa, Kenya', Samuel Musyoki and Celestine Nyamu-Musembi
- 'Rights and Citizenship in Brazil: The Challenges for Civil Society, Almir Pereira Júnior, Jorge Romano and Marta Antunes
- 'Beyond Approaches and Models: Reflections on Rights and Social Movements in Kenya, Haiti and the Philippines', Mwambi Mwasaru
- 'Transforming Rights into Social Practices? The Landless Movement and Land Reform in Brazil', Zander Navarro
The article looks at the challenges and strategies of a partnership for health that was formed in 1998 in Saidpur and Parbatipur municipalities in Northern Bangladesh. Under the Child Survival Programme (CSP), a partnership was formed between Concern, 2 municipal authorities and 24 ward health committees. The overall goal of the CSP is to reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity, and increase child survival by developing a sustainable municipal health service. The article looks at issues of partnership, and how a meaningful partnership was a difficult achievement in this case and had to be reconstructed after initial failures. The authors describe processes used to assess the capacities of the partners, to design the programme, and the overall achievements of the CSP. The article concludes by outlining future challenges, lessons learnt and implications for building sustainable health-promoting partnerships in development.
The article explores the processes and structures of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), which is a cross-sectoral consortium of services into a holistic women and child development scheme. The authors argue that one of the biggest obstacles experienced during the implementation of the ICDS programme was the poor level of community participation. The article goes on the explain scaling up participation in a pilot experiment and the process undertaken. Based on the experience and lessons learnt during the pilot experiment, a framework was developed for scaling up the use of participatory methodologies in other districts under the ICDS programme. Building on reflections from the process, the authors conclude by summarising the problems, challenges and implications identified during the process.
With a few exceptional cases, children are excluded from municipal planning, and adults represent their needs. Yet involving children makes sense: children have the greatest stake in the future, and involvement helps to develop a sense of place and home, which they are more likely to care for. They also tend to have a more objective assessment of what matters, based on the value of the place itself, in contrast to the more commodity or resource-led values held by adults. This paper reports a participatory planning case involving children in municipal master planning in a fast growing tourism region of S.W. Turkey, the Bodrum Peninsula. Working with the Yali Municipality, students from the University of Colarado looked at how the growth of an area in the name of job creation and a better standard of living affects the essence of the place itself, and how many values are lost. The students used participatory photography to involve the children in this study and the paper explains how they did this. First it looks at the principles and methods of participatory photography, then goes on to examine the childrenÆs places and values, including those of aesthetic value, villages and homes, water features, the public realm, play places, work places, endangered species etc. Lastly it describes how the childrenÆs photographs and stories were displayed along with the studentsÆ own analyses and recommendations at a gathering of residents, city council members, and local professionals. Most of all, it was the childrenÆs photos that enabled the audience to make connections and understand the proposals.
This information pack is provided to give an introduction to gender and citizenship. It contains three documents: an overview report, a supporting resources collection, and the InBrief, Bridge Bulletin, Issue 14 on Gender and Citizenship. The report looks at the importance of both citizenship and gender to development theory and practice. It discusses key debates in the literature on gender and citizenship and attempts to illustrate how reframing citizenship from a gender perspective can introduce broader rights and political participation as development goals. It also highlights how understanding the ways in which different groups define and experience citizenship can enable development actors and the citizens they work with to make such rights and participation a reality. The supporting resource collection is made up of summaries of key texts, case studies, tools, guidelines and other materials relating to gender and citizenship. Networking and contact details, and links to web resources are also included. The included issue of InBrief looks at the ways in which working with ideas of citizenship can help promote gender equality. An approach to development that starts from the perspective of people as citizens can enable development actors to support struggles for rights and participation in decision-making for those marginalised on the basis of gender. This involves re-framing citizenship rights and responsibilities to include the needs of women and to ensure their access to policy and institutions. Case studies and articles include experiences from Egypt, Bangladesh, Mexico, Namibia, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Rwanda.