Become a More Effective Human Rights Advocate

Whether you're a seasoned advocate or new to social justice work, this course will help you refine your skills and analysis.

  • Develop a political analysis around the root causes of structural discrimination

  • Build an understanding of your own social position and the dynamics of solidarity

  • Critically explore how systems change happens

  • Be able to distill social issues you care about into winnable campaigns and strategize about tactics to proceed

  • Learn about a range of advocacy tools that can be used at the local, state, national, and international levels

Pilot course underway

Enrollments will open again mid-2022

We are currently in the pilot phase of the course, and we will be opening the course for new enrollments in mid-2022. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when it opens.

Curriculum Preview

  • 1


    • Course Overview

    • Pre-Course Survey

  • 2

    Week 1: The Politics of Human Rights

    • Materials to Review

    • Reflection

    • What is the landscape of human rights advocacy today?

    • What is a political analysis?

    • How did we get here?

  • 3

    Week 2: Structural Discrimination

    • Materials to Review

    • Reflection

    • What is structural discrimination?

    • Example: TrackGBV

    • What is systems change?

  • 4

    Week 3: Positionality: Power, Privilege, and Solidarity

    • Materials to Review

    • Personal Reflection

    • How do we show up as human rights advocates knowing that systems of oppression play out through us?

    • Intersectionality and Interconnected Struggle

  • 5

    Week 4: Design Justice: Principles for Action

    • Materials to Review

    • Reflection

    • How do we do human rights advocacy?

    • Tool: Systems Mapping

    • Tool: Journey Mapping

    • Design Justice Principles in Action

    • Applying Knowledge

  • 6

    Week 5: How Change Happens: Interruption, Resistance, and Abolition

    • Materials to Review

    • Unpacking Your Project Example

    • Reflection Activity

    • How does change happen?

    • Movement Building Basics

    • Activity

    • Where Movements Diverge

  • 7

    Week 6: Tools for Making Change Part I: The Issue, Demand, and Power Analysis

    • Materials to Review

    • Power Analysis

    • Social Media Toolkit

    • Reflection

    • Advocacy Campaign Strategy

    • Issue Statements

    • Building a Base of Support

  • 8

    Week 7: Tools for Making Change Part II: Tactics

    • Materials to Review

    • Institutional Advocacy

    • Legal Advocacy

    • Protests, Demonstrations, and Direct Action

    • Artivism

  • 9

    Week 8: Tools for Making Change Part II: International Human Rights Mechanisms

    • Materials to Review

    • Reflection

    • Review Human Rights Treaties

    • International Human Rights Law

    • Using International Human Rights Law

  • 10

    Weeks 9 and 10: Catch Up & Digital Security

    • Reflection

    • Digital Security for Activists

    • Digital Security Tools Handout

    • Digital Security for Your Project

  • 11

    Week 11: The Future of Human Rights

    • Personal Reflection

    • Reflecting on the Future of Human Rights

    • Post-Course Survey


  • How much does it cost?

    This course is free for all students. We also welcome donations to help us ensure this course reaches as many interested students as possible.

  • What is the weekly workload?

    The course involves about 2-3 hours of reading, watching, reflecting, project work, and forum discussion activities each week.

  • What does pilot course mean?

    This is the first time we are running this course, so we have limited enrollments to the ICAAD network. We are looking for feedback on everyone's experiences in the course in order to refine it for our public launch mid-year.

  • Will there be opportunities to engage with other students?

    There will be two live video calls where you can engage with other students through the course. There are also regular forum discussions where you can share and exchange knowledge with other students.

  • What background knowledge is necessary?

    No background knowledge is necessary. We built the course to be widely accessible for high school students and up.

  • Human rights is a really broad category. What specific topic areas will we cover?

    The course draws from a range of topic areas including racial justice, gender justice and anti-violence work, economic justice, climate justice, and indigenous rights among others. Throughout the course, learners are invited to use course materials to reflect on the broad umbrella of human rights and explore the topic areas they are particularly passionate about.

  • How is this course funded?

    The course has been built by ICAAD, an international human rights center. ICAAD is funded from a range of sources including individual donors and foundation/ government/ consulting grants. You can find more detail in the financial reports on our website. For this course, we intend to build a self-sustaining course by using a suggested donation model. Those who are able to donate help sustain the course to keep it widely accessible around the world.