the capacity building of human rights defenders and (dis)empowerment: an analysis of current practice

Building the capacities of human rights defenders plays an important role in approaches to their protection. This is partly due to participants’ own expressed desire for trainings (the main element in capacity building programmes). Yet, as protection professionals occasionally observe, many of these same beneficiaries often do not seem to implement the knowledge they receive in trainings. This paper aims to explain this conundrum and make some cautious suggestions for how it might be resolved. The paper does so by drawing on data gathered over a period of two years’ fieldwork with protection organisations and defenders in Kenya, as well as on the relevant scholarly literature.

Irina Ichim, February 2019