Closing: Exploration

Intro

One of the most effective ways of ensuring that students retain what they are learning is to give them opportunities to apply what they are being taught. Students make the contents of their studies their own by teaching others, creating materials to share with others and applying what they have learned by planning and carrying out projects.

Students in Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) can widen the impact of their learning well beyond their classroom – to family, friends and community. They can interact with younger children, tell others the stories they have gathered or take part in humanitarian activities to aid the vulnerable. Such activities by students can reach even children who have not completed or had more than primary education. Students can also promote the humanitarian point of view by investing time and energy in other forms of community service.


image
The amount of time spent on student projects is up to each teacher. It will depend on your goals for the project and on the time available.

Objectives

  • To understand the effect a bystander can have upon the actions of others
  • To be aware of examples of bystanders acting in situations of violence to protect life and human dignity

Key Ideas

  • There are many different things a person can do to actively promote human dignity, and it is best to participate in a project that draws upon one’s skills and interests.
  • When working on behalf of other people, it is essential to consider their perspective and to include their input.
  • As a project proceeds, it is helpful to assess progress periodically and to review future plans.

Preparation

In the Methodology Guide, review teaching method 6 (Using stories, photos and videos), 7 (Writing and reflecting) and 10 (Gathering stories and news) and workshop10 (“Applying learning: Youth projects”).

If possible, view the relevant chapter of the training film for teachers (Closing exploration).

Exploration

Community Action

    Students might design a project to:

  • teach others about international humanitarian law (IHL);
  • address specific humanitarian needs in their areas;
  • promote support for IHL through political activities and legal research.

    Possible ideas for projects:

  • Reaching out to younger children or community groups [For example: story books, comics, short plays, exhibits, presentations, letters to the media, radio call-in programmes, handbooks]
  • Working as a volunteer for existing organizations [For example: aid to the homeless, refugees, displaced persons, orphans, the sick, the elderly]
  • Research or action [For example: doing research on the implementation of IHL or on anti-discrimination measures at the national level or joining a humanitarian or human rights organization]

    Questions for assessing a project’s potential:

  • Will the project give students a personal connection to a particular issue?
  • Will the project encourage students to take action to support the goals of IHL?
  • Will the project enable students to spread information about IHL?

From start to finish

Use questions like the following to guide students through the three phases of carrying out their project.

    Planning the project:

  • Whom will this project benefit?
  • What is its goal?
  • What do we need to do to meet that goal for those people?
  • What is the day-by-day design of the project?
  • What adjustments are required during the project, and why?

    Reflecting upon the project afterwards:

  • What was the result of the project?
  • How did people react?
  • How did it affect me?
  • What do I want to do now?
Having students keep records of the process (through writing or in some other form) and discuss their experience will contribute to their sense of accomplishment.

Preparing to work in the community

Understanding the target community is an important first step. The following observations are particularly relevant for volunteer projects, but they are applicable to other projects as well.

Before they begin to work on a project, students should get to know both the strengths and the needs of the people they hope to serve. Even when people are in need, their skills and their views should, whenever possible, be included in any plan designed to help them. Students should be aware that it is important to both consult the community and work with them when providing assistance.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has set out guidelines for working with communities.

  • Work with people to identify the strengths of their community.
  • Work together to identify problems, needs and threats.
  • Identify those who need support the most, and who take precedence, given the available skills and resources.
  • Work with the community to improve the situation of those who are most vulnerable.

Where Do We Go From Here?

(one preparatory session, time for planning and carrying out the project and an assessment meeting)

One of the most effective ways of ensuring that students retain what they are learning is to give them opportunities to apply what they are being taught. Students make the contents of their studies their own by teaching others, creating materials to share with others and applying what they have learned by planning and carrying out projects.

    Concepts

  • Youth mobilization
  • Target population
  • Project goal
  • Community strengths and resources
  • Human dignity

    Skills Practices

  • Identifying problems
  • Assessing needs
  • Planning actions
  • Keeping records
  • Assessing projects

    Guiding Questions

  • How can you promote human dignity?
  • What can you do to make a difference?
  • How can you develop awareness in others?
– International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, From Needs to Action, 1995. Content