The failure to respect, protect, or fulfil human rights is a fundamental and leading obstacle to economic development and social justice. Practically speaking, however, NGOs are still struggling to understand what this major organisational shift means. The term ‘rights-based approaches’ (RBAs) has become so familiar that we tend to assume that it is well-understood and that it is a foregone conclusion that rights-based approaches offer more potential for sustainable impact. This report is built around case studies that provide compelling conclusions about the differences between rights-based and more “traditional” projects, and their relative impacts. It presents the findings of a collaborative Learning Project between CARE USA and Oxfam America, who compared RBA projects with non-RBA projects and identified “best practices” and lessons that could be used to improve the application of rights-based approaches in programming. In doing this they confirmed that rights-based approaches strengthen development work, and provide a valuable analysis for field-based staff, partners, and other development practitioners working on the design and implementation of rights-based projects.
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