Human Rights Day Celebration in the Philippines

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Our group has been involved in advocating human rights in the past several years, from climate justice through the Philippines Climate Change Translate-a-thon, freedom of the press, right to a healthy environment through participation in the WikiForHumanRights Campaign, and labor rights

This year, in celebration of International Human Rights Day 2023, the Wiki Advocates Philippines User Group, spearheaded by our Human Rights Team, conducted human rights awareness and information dissemination activities. Activities include poster-making contests, poster exhibitions, informal talks, sharing, and community merienda to foster inclusivity and advocate empowerment and social justice. We aimed to provide an avenue for women and youth to cultivate care and love for themselves, other human beings, and our environment through awareness, freedom, equality, and justice for all. Throughout the celebration, 80+ people registered during the day, and 4 students participated in the poster-making contest. A translated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was also printed on postcards and distributed among the participants.

Volunteers and Participants during the Human Rights Day, Author: Ballardmaize, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Need for Community Immersion

Edit-a-thons are indeed an effective way to maximize the wiki projects by adding information about human rights. In the past three years of organizing these sessions, we have been able to create and translate articles on this topic. But like any other event held by organizers, participants’ interest dwindles over time, and most of the articles are left unedited after the event. We have observed a large gap in how these outputs are being consumed by users, looking at how low their pageviews are, the editing activity, and the events held concerning its improvement. While Wikipedia is always there, waiting for contributors to collaborate on improving content with human rights, the community we are in isn’t that deeply involved yet in this current issue. As a solution, the group has decided to work in the field, communicate directly with individuals, and invite them to learn about their human rights. 

Why Community Merienda?

Merienda is a Spanish word that we also use here in the Philippines, referring to light snacks taken during the afternoon. Our event was conducted from 3:00 until 5:00 in the afternoon in a park where there are food stalls available. This is an opportune time to gather around people and invite them for an interview, ask for information through survey forms, and discuss with them the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 5, Section 1 of this Declaration mentions food, which is indeed a very basic human right for every human being. Filipinos, being known as hospitable and welcoming people, would always perceive taking snacks together as a time to get to know each other and chit-chat. With this strategy, we were able to build trust among them and collect significant information we needed for our future campaigns. 

Next Steps

  • Reviewing Community Feedback

In past edit-a-thons on human rights, we have merely relied on the list being distributed by the global organizer. We have missed topics that are relevant in our context. Through the feedback we have received in this community immersion, we will be able to provide a topic list that is mostly significant to our local community considering that we are along coastlines and petroleum factories are in the area. 

  • Disseminating the Central Bikol Translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The language committee of our group has observed that the available translation of the declaration contains some inconsistencies in translation, and certain words are unfamiliar even to native speakers. We have provided a simpler translation and will continue to improve the other parts of the translated texts. This file is already uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. 

  • WikiForHumanRights 2024

In anticipation of participation in this global campaign, we will be using the reviewed feedback form to assess what topics are in need in the local context. The community immersion has been able to surpass the number of participants we gather during human rights edit-a-thons, and we would strategize on how we can merge these two activities to create a more impactful event that will benefit the wikiprojects. 

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