Over 4,000 community health workers in Bihar will receive training in human rights over the next three months as part of a new certificate course launched by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and Amnesty International India. The ‘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. At a workshop organized at the NIOS Patna regional office for key stakeholders, Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Director, Academics at NIOS, said, “We are very happy to introduce the self-learning human rights course as a pilot project. 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.” “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. “We hope to see participants empowered and aware of their rights and responsibilities, while also being more perceptive to rights-based issues around them,” she added. The three-month course is designed for community workers working in the fields of health and education - including Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHAs, Anganwadi workers, MAMTA government health workers and private health workers - in rural and urban Bihar. The course aims to help participants learn about various human rights issues and violations. The course also details rights and remedies available within the legal framework. Participants are expected to work on community-level human rights issues and run local awareness campaigns after the completion of the course. The certificate course will eventually reach out to over 1625 women and 2375 men across Bihar. Mr. Sanjay K. Sinha, Regional Director at NIOS, said, “This course is provided free of cost to participants from all 38 districts in Bihar. We have ensured that at least 40% of the participants are women. 25 master trainers will conduct personal sessions with over 4000 learners that will help learners to clarify any doubts about the course content and the programme roll-out.” Background The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) was established in 1989 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. The NIOS certifies registered learners in pre-degree level academic, technical and vocation courses. It aims to provide sustainable inclusive learning, with universal and flexible access to quality school education and skill development. It has a network of more than 6,000 study centres across the country and abroad. More than 500,000 students are admitted to its 150 courses every year. Amnesty International India’s Human Rights Education programme works with school communities – school management, students, teachers and parents - in India to make human rights a part of everyday life. The programme is rooted in the belief that if dignity, respect, inclusion and non-discrimination become accepted as the norm, children start living a culture of human rights, thereby contributing to creating a rights-respecting society.