India: Human rights course for community health workers in Bihar

educationOver 4,000 community health workers in the Indian State of Bihar will be trained in human rights by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). This course was an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Amnesty International India. The three-month 'Self-Learning Human Rights Certificate Course' aims to promote human rights values and principles of equality, dignity, inclusion, non-discrimination and participation in the public through community health workers.

Community health workers, including Anganwadi workers and Accredited Social Health Activists, usually work in their own neigbourhood or village to provide various health-related services to the population, including health education, mother and child care, and the treatment of basic illnesses and injuries with first aid.

Correct knowledge of laws

By DFID - UK Department for International Development [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsRajesh Kumar, director of NIOS, said: "It is important to empower people with correct knowledge of laws and provisions. It is important to build a culture of respect, dignity and civic responsibility, and this course provides an opportunity for learners to empower themselves and others around them, ensuring smooth redressal as well as prevention of human rights abuses."

The course is designed for community workers working in the fields of health and education in rural and urban Bihar. "By introducing a comprehensive course about human rights in simple language, we hope to provide participants with information on human rights and relevant provisions in the Constitution of India, laws and state policies, with a special focus on women and children," said Somya Dimri, programme coordinator at Amnesty International India's Human Rights Education Programme.

This course is provided free of cost to participants from all 38 districts in Bihar. At least 40% of the participants are women. Twenty five master trainers will conduct personal sessions with over 4000 learners that will help them to clarify any doubts about the course content and the programme.

Source: Human rights course for community health workers in Bihar. Manash Pratim Gohain, The Times of India, 24 March 2017

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