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Community Organizing and Human Rights

Do you want to learn and act in an international challenging environment? Are you willing to understand the human rights challenges communities face in the urban context of Amsterdam? Do you want to learn how to mobilize communities around issues that affect their lives? Apply for this minor!

You will learn how to take the first small steps in mobilizing marginalized or discriminated groups and, if time allows, you also learn how to enable them to change their situation in society, from a human rights perspective. The focus is on developing strategies to support groups in precarious situations, such as economically disadvantaged groups, migrants and refugees, children, the homeless and the elderly. Or you learn how to mobilize communities around a certain theme, such as neighborhood cohesion or sustainability.

The strategies combine mobilization, education, awareness-raising, and campaigning, to target the systemic nature of disadvantaged positions.

This minor provides a theoretical framework and the methods needed to work with disadvantaged and disenfranchised urban groups. Attention will be paid to the capabilities approach as well as to cross-cultural sensitivity and competences, among other subjects. The focus is on a practical, relational, and strategic approach to human rights promotion, based on a thorough knowledge of the processes underlying the many forms of legal deprivation in the current globalized urban area. The activation strategies require an active, respectful, and targeted approach, with awareness of the often challenging life situations of the groups involved. Field practice is at the heart of this minor, accompanied by theoretical, practical and reflective classes.

Keywords for this minor are: learning by doing, reflection, engagement, mobilizing and building stamina to work in challenging situations.


Learning outcomes. You will:

  • understand and identify the basic steps a community organizer has to take, what a community organizer wants to accomplish and how to get there;
  • understand the meaning of human rights, the capability approach and urban processes in relation to community organizing;
  • carry out a community analysis and work on a field practice report;
  • apply participatory research methods and cross cultural competencies throughout your field practice

Aanvullende informatie

Questions about the minor?
Contact Charlotte van Kemmeren,

Questions about the Kies op Maat procedure?
Contact Liesbeth Steenbeek,

Applications will be processed in the order of receipt of signed learning agreements.


Only two students can apply for this minor.


‚ÄčA basic level of mastery of the English, reading, writing and speaking, is required (B2 level).


Course components, number of credits (ECTS)

Frameworks of human rigths and urban context - 6 ECTS
- Human rights
- Capabilities approach
- Urban context and issues 
Community Organizing Methods and Skills  - 6 ECTS
- Community organizing
- Cross cultural skills
- Participatory research  
Field Practice - 18 ECTS
- Community Analysis and Report
- Evaluation
- Final event

If a student fails to successfully complete the minor in the period in which she took the minor it is possible to finalize the minor in a following period in which the minor is given.

 If a minor is no longer offered or in case the minor is rewritten, the degree programme will offer students a further two opportunities to finalize this minor in the following year.


For each course papers and articles will be distributed. 


After the introduction week classes in the first four weeks are at Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. During field practice every week there is a return day scheduled. After field practice, classes will be on Wednesday and Friday.

After the introductionweek, for four weeks students meet each other in the classroom for about 18 hours per week. The remaining time of the week students will prepare themselves for class. During field practice students spend a miminum of 18 hours in the field which is accompanied supervison and 6 hours of lectures. After field practice students meet each other in the classroom again for 6 hours a week. The remaining time of the week students will prepare themselves for the final event and write the evaluation report. Email contact with teachers is possible throughout the minor period.