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Community Organising and Human Rights

Do you want to learn and act in an international challenging environment? Are you willing to understand the human rights challenges communities face in Amsterdam and other urban settings around the world? Do you want to learn how to mobilise communities around issues that affect their lives? In that case, this is the minor programme for you.

Course description

You will learn how to take the first small steps in mobilising marginalized or discriminated groups and, if time allows, you also learn how to enable them to change their situation in society, from a human rights perspective. The focus is on developing strategies to support groups in precarious situations, such as economically disadvantaged groups, migrants and refugees, children, the homeless and the elderly. The strategies combine mobilisation, education, awareness-raising, and campaigning, to target the systemic nature of disadvantaged positions.

This minor provides a theoretical framework and the methods needed to work with disadvantaged and disenfranchised urban groups. Attention will be paid to the capabilities approach as well as to cross-cultural sensitivity and competences, among other subjects. The focus is on a practical, relational, and strategic approach to human rights promotion, based on a thorough knowledge of the processes underlying the many forms of legal deprivation in the current globalised urban area.

The activation strategies require an active, respectful, and targeted approach, with awareness of the often challenging life situations of the groups involved. An eleven weeks fieldwork period is at the heart of this minor, preceded by 5 weeks of theoretical and practical classes and followed by 4 weeks in which you reflect on your fieldwork and which culminates into a final event.

Learning outcomes

You will:

  • understand and identify the basic steps a community organizer has to take, what a community organiser wants to accomplish and how to get there.
  • understand the meaning of human rights, the capability approach and urban processes in relation to community organizing.
  • carry out a community analysis and formulate an action plan.
  • apply participatory research methods and cross cultural competencies throughout your fieldwork.

Course programme

Frameworks for Human Rights and Urban Contexts


Which includes:




Human Rights




Capability Approach




Urban Context and Issues


Community Organising Methods and Skills


Which includes:




Community Organising




Cross Cultural Skills




Participatory Research


Field Practice


Which includes:




Fieldwork Analyses








Final Event


Total credits





  • Learning by doing
  • Reflection
  • Engagement
  • Mobilising and building stamina to work in challenging situations

Period and course days

  • The minor will take place in both the autumn and spring semester. Days are to be determined.
  • The classes will be spread out over 3 days.
  • During fieldwork we expect you to spend a minimum of 24 hours in the field.
How to apply
Download minor programme factsheet