Blog: Adding human rights to our collective power!


Lydia Murphy,
Development Officers,
The Poverty Alliance


“it has allowed me to grow and a human rights approach has run through it all” 

 Since January 2022 we have been working to support organisations and communities to add human rights to their collective power through our Rights in Action project. One way of doing this has been bringing together anti-poverty organisations to take part in action learning sets to analyse, understand and plan action to address poverty using a human rights lens. We have been facilitating two groups, the first with an urban focus and the second with a focus on rural and remote organisations.  

This week we launched the report Learning together for change: Community Organisations Advancing Human Rights in Scotland to share examples of practice change and learning on taking a human-rights based approach, from action learning sets with five community, anti-poverty organisations. The context of the deepening and lasting cost-of-living crisis presented barriers throughout the process, as did the extreme levels of marginalisation faced by certain groups, the challenging funding landscape and organisational capacity.  

 Barriers aside, the impact of the actions taken by participants as a result of this project have been far reaching and included,:  reduced need for long-term foodbank referrals through improved partnership working, deepening community participation, embedding measures to combat intra-community racism throughout all projects, upskilling of staff with lived experience to support them to lead, increased advocacy and accountability, and embedding human rights-based approaches. 

'are saying to staff, don’t be afraid to advocate... you’re challenging someone’s right to something... We will have your back.’  

‘People have been actively campaigning’  

‘As a result of the set, everything we do we are focusing it on how our staff with lived experience are taking the lead. It has always been that way, but we are consciously doing that more.' 

‘I’m delighted that in our community we now have participation levels that are off the scale’ 

We hope that by sharing this learning, we can help spark action in organisations who are facing similar challenges.  

If anyone would like to discuss the project further please reach out to 

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