House-to-House fund: Supporting an active, closer network

“It is difficult to solve serious problems in human rights without solidarity and support from partners. We open the doors to each other, because we are stronger together. Human rights have no borders,” says Serhiy Burov, Director of Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv.

The House-to-House project fund has contributed significantly to cultivating solidarity and building a strong, vibrant, and living network. Two years since its launch, HRHF’s House-to-House fund continues to support Houses and member organisations to be creative and innovative, to test new ideas, and to share and benefit from the vast experience in the network of Human Rights Houses.

“Solidarity and cooperation are at the core of the network. Thanks to the fund, we see increased cooperation, learning from each other and gained strength to address common challenges and human rights needs in the countries of the network,” says Daiva Petkeviciute, Head of House Development and Support at HRHF.

HRHF upholds the principles of sustainability, flexibility, coordination, and independence in its approach as a donor. For the House-to-House fund, this translates into ensuring the projects contribute to strategic directions of the Houses, meet local needs, promote collaboration instead of competition, and prioritise the independence and security of organisations applying to the fund.

 

Project: From Proclaiming Values to Modern Human Rights Practices

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Belarusian Human Rights House held an international conference on 14-16 December 2018 at the House in Vilnius. It was attended by 24 representatives of Human Rights Houses and graduates and experts of the ILIA programme from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Norway – to exchange best practices in the protection of human rights and freedoms.

“In many problems in the field of human rights that we face at the national level, sometimes it is international solidarity and the support of colleagues from other countries that is the strongest help… Such meetings help us understand that we are many, and to examine how can we strengthen one another,” explains Daria Svyrydova, Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv.

While the agenda was united by the common theme of the Universal Declaration and its values, each participant dug deeper into its implementation by presenting on a specific topic from their work. Topics included temporarily displaced persons, lawyers during armed conflict, torture, and the implementation of international standards by national courts.

Project: International Standards as the Basis for Juvenile Justice in Ukraine

Juvenile justice reforms based on international standards in Ukraine
Discussion of juvenile justice reforms in Ukraine, held at the Ministry of Justice. Photo: Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv.

The project ensured juvenile justice reforms in Ukraine were based on international human rights standards, specifically the rights of the child. Mart, member of Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv, worked with Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR, Poland) to prepare recommendations, as part of a joint project with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice.  

The project began with 15 experts attending a study visit to Poland to learn from international standards and the practice of the Polish system of juvenile justice. The partners compared the experience gained in Poland with the state of juvenile justice in Ukraine, and analysed Ukrainian legislation as well as the juvenile justice reform bill, for compliance with international standards.  

The partners presented their recommendations to more than 30 representatives of government departments, including at public events in Kyiv. Of the recommendations, 50% have been taken into account in a new bill. The partners also submitted the recommendations as part the Universal Periodic Review of Ukraine.

Project: Hand-in-Hand for Victims of Gender-Based Violence

The project aimedto improve the general conditions for women victims of gender-based violence by improving the systems of support in Croatia and Armenia. The project focused on increasing the advocacy capabilities of organisations B.a.B.e. (HRH Zagreb) and WRC Armenia (HRH Yerevan), particularly strengthening their political influence in relation to the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

During study visits to both Zagreb and Yerevan, the partners exchanged knowledge and best practices, analysed key legislative bodies and stakeholders, exchanged advocacy tools, and developed new strategies. Through meeting with institutions and other civil society organisations, the partners accumulated knowledge of different kinds of existing victim support services and gained further insight into the political and institutional frameworks supporting women victims of violence in Croatia and Armenia.

Top photo: Representatives of Human Rights Houses and graduates and experts of the ILIA programme discuss the protection of rights and freedoms. Conference held on 14-16 December 2018 at the Belarusian Human Rights House in Vilnius. Photo: Belarusian Human Rights House.

Supporting innovation and collaboration in 2017

At the beginning of 2017, Human Rights House Foundation launched the small-grants fund for House-to-Hous projects.

With nine Human Rights Houses and their member NGOs taking up the opportunity in 2017, the House-to-House project fund enabled 15 successful joint projects during the year, impacting hundreds of people in areas such as human rights education, capacity building, and awareness and understanding of human rights. The fund is motivated by HRHF’s strategic aim of increasing cooperation among the Houses.

Read more about the impact of the House-to-House fund in 2017.