What is a Human Rights-Based Approach to development?
A Human Rights-Based Approach to development (HRBA) is a practical framework that integrates human rights and dignity into the plans and processes of development. A HRBA strives to place the human being at the center of decision-making over their community and resources, and it creates or rethinks activities designed to fight poverty.
Conceptually, this means a shift in focus. HRBA focuses not just on poverty, but on the processes that perpetuate it like marginalization, discrimination and exploitation. A lack of access to clean water – for instance – is seen not just as a problem, but an injustice.
Practically, HRBA changes every aspect of a planned activity to fight poverty (including water poverty). DIGDEEP maximizes the impact of all of or projects using an HRBA. Affected individuals are treated as equal stakeholders, not victims or charity recipients. Efforts are made to protect the rights of the poorest and traditionally marginalized. The community is involved in every aspect of decision-making, creating ownership and responsibility. Mechanisms are created to encourage the development of rule-of-law and processes for complaint or oversight for resource management. Finally, the human person is treated holistically, and efforts are made to address the civil, political, social, economic and cultural roles related to water. Over time the local and state governments are actively engaged.
The stakeholders we work with are not expected to be grateful – they’re expected to be proactive… empowered to protect their own rights and achieve their own development in the future.