Specific tasks to get involved with human rights advocacy
How to champion causes:
So you’ve found a cause you’re passionate about, and want to begin your human rights advocacy journey - but what does that look like? And how do you even get started? The good news is that there are so many different ways to begin championing the causes you care about, and certainly an opportunity for anyone to become an activist.
Here are some helpful ideas to get you started on your human rights advocacy journey!
Get educated on issues you care about.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to do your research both to inform your activism and to prevent unintentional harm or offense. By not having a full understanding of the causes you are attempting to champion, it’s possible you could end up causing more harm than good. In the Human Rights Careers article, “How to Become a Human Rights Activist” They discuss the dangers of uninformed activism by referencing a 2021 Washington Post article. In this situation, human trafficking prevention organizations were forced to use resources on combating misinformation and conspiracy theories, rather than spend time working on solving real human trafficking cases.
Luckily, you have the power to prevent situations like this from occurring again by committing to educating yourself on human rights issues using credible sources and the perspectives of experienced advocates and advocacy groups! Not sure where to start looking for credible sources? Check out our reading list in the resources section.
Research local groups and clubs (or start your own!).
No one ever said you had to do it alone! If you’re looking to become a human rights activist but aren’t sure where to start, why not look for a group of like minded individuals? Not only are groups a great place to explore new resources and perspectives on human rights issues, but activism is often more effective when done via group effort!
If you can’t find a group fighting for the cause you care about, consider starting your own! Many universities in Canada support the creation of new student clubs (and oftentimes even offer financial support), and bigger human right organizations often support the creation of new local chapters.
Look for classes or majors related to your cause.
Being a student is the perfect time to start educating yourself on different human rights causes and issues. Try searching for classes that can help you build up your foundational knowledge and activism skills, or that will further educate you on the causes you are most passionate about! Some schools may even offer minors, certificates, or internship programs which can prepare you for your journey into human rights activism!
Can’t find any courses at your university or not a student at all? Check out some alternative options in the opportunities section.
Create and visualize your personal mission statement.
Many of us may have written a personal statement before, be it for a school project, your LinkedIn profile, or the top of your resume! But did you know that personal mission statements can also help you on your advocacy journey? According to the Human Rights Careers article, “How to Become a Human Rights Activist”, it’s not uncommon for human-rights organizations to ask candidates for a personal mission statement, outlining the skills, goals, values and purpose they bring to the human rights sphere as a part of their application. Personal mission statements are also a great way to reflect, focus on, and commit to goals in your life, and can really improve your sense of direction as you pursue activist opportunities.
Volunteer and Intern
Although self-education and improvement are crucial to your human rights advocacy journey, so is hands-on experience and learning! By volunteering and interning for different human rights organizations, you will also meet new people and expand your professional network. Some universities may even grant credit for placements, internships and volunteer hours completed at human rights organizations!
Not sure where to start looking for volunteer or internship opportunities? Check out the list we’ve compiled below in the opportunities section.
What better way to support a cause you care about than raising funds? Not only does fundraising for the human rights cause you are passionate about support it financially, but it can also be a great way to spread awareness and educate others on the cause!
Not sure how to get started on your fundraising journey? Passionate about advancing the rights of children? Check out this fundraising opportunity with Plan International Canada! Jump Into Your Fundraising is a guided DIY fundraising platform that allows you to set up your page online, and choose from a variety of different projects to support, including clean drinking water, access to education, because I am a girl, and global health.
Shop sustainably and ethically
You may be wondering, “what does shopping have to do with human rights activism?”, and the truth is that there can be a lot of overlap between the two! By actively selecting brands who operate sustainable and ethically in the labor, production and distribution, your purchases can have a positive impact on animals, the planet, and people! By choosing and supporting ethical brands, you have the power to encourage more brands to follow sustainable practices, and encourage other consumers to be ethical shoppers.
Not sure how to turn your shopping addiction into a component of your human rights advocacy? Check out our ethical shopping list for some sustainable brands and research tips!