The mission of Pitt Global Human Rights Brigades is to educate students about the fundamental human rights that are inherently entitled to every individual. Our goal is to promote and sustain the protection and awareness of human rights on a global scale through education, advocacy, and empowerment. We will work to apply our education and advocacy to promote civic engagement and ensure sustainable protection of human rights in the communities of Eastern Panama.
Brigade Length, Logistics, and What it Entails:
The Human Rights Brigade lasts 7 days in Panama. Upon arrival in Panama, Global Brigades staff pickup students from the airport and transport students to a safe and secure lodging facility where they will be lodged throughout the duration of the brigade. Each day volunteers and staff commute to and from the community to provide workshops and consulting. All meals, in-country transportation, coordinators, translators, and supplies are provided during the brigade.
On the brigade, volunteers will shadow and assist lawyers as they take on cases with individual families and provide legal consulting to community members. The brigade project has four main components: legal clinics, family law cases, educational workshops, and civic engagement and empowerment.
- Pro-Bono Legal Clinics – Panamanian lawyers, shadowed by volunteers, offer legal advice to communities, families, and individuals with unresolved disputes or questions. These clinics are meant to provide no cost access to legal services that were previously denied or unavailable.
- Family Law Cases – Lawyers find and select family law cases to present to volunteers, such as child custody, alimony, divorce, domestic violence, and criminal cases. Volunteers then perform interviews and intake procedures to collect information that will be used by the Human Rights staff to resolve the cases that would have been unattended or unresolved for many years.
- Education Workshops – Volunteers develop and deliver educational workshops on topics including: what are human rights? work contracts, proper filing of documents, research tools and methods, children’s rights, civic duty & responsibility.
- Civic Engagement and Empowerment – Volunteers will work in local high schools to teach about the importance of debate and discussion through student-led debate clubs. With adults, volunteers will work to organize women’s groups.
When is the next Human Rights Brigade?
What is the Human Rights Brigade program fee used for?
Global Brigades’ operations are 100% derived from volunteer contributions. The work of the local staff and our systematic approach to perpetuating volunteers´ projects between brigades allows Global Brigades to be a recognized sustainable development organization. Therefore, Global Brigades asks volunteers to contribute between 790 and 950 USD per volunteer (not including airfare) to support our programs.
About 60% of each volunteer´s contribution is used to pay for brigade-related expenses such as food and housing for volunteers and staff, transportation to the communities, and brigade specific expenses. Human Rights' Brigade specific expenses mainly fund the lawyers who are on staff during brigades, whose work in the following weeks and months goes towards solving the individual cases seen during a Human Rights Brigade.
Approximately 35% of your contribution will go toward program sustainability. There are a number of local Global Brigades team members that work behind the scenes, local technicians and staff, that mobilize community leaders prior to brigades, conduct capacity building with community members between brigades, and ultimately perpetuate the follow-up long after there is a need for brigades in a community. Ultimately, this means creating longer-term partnerships with the community with the ultimate goal of sustainably exiting the community with brigades by leaving an infrastructure of community-led committees and locally hired technicians to perpetuate projects.
Less then 5% of your program contribution will go toward online processing fees and administrative costs such as salaries for any North American or European employees.
The first thing to do is attend Global Brigades general body meetings. These meetings are essential to understanding the holistic model of Global Brigades and seeing how all brigades fit together in our overarching goal of improving the health and lives of individuals in Ghana, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Next, come to Human Rights Brigades chapter meetings to learn more about our chapter and the impacts you can make as a volunteer on campus, in Pittsburgh, and on the brigade. Finally, immerse yourself into our Pitt Global Brigades family. This can be done in a variety of ways: volunteer with us, join a committee, watch a documentary screening, attend a social event, check out one of our other brigades (Business, Engineering, Environmental, Medical, Public Health, Water), and talk to our board members. Together, we can make a difference. Join the movement today.
Questions, Comments, Concerns, Suggestions?
Feel free to contact us, Pitt Human Rights Brigade, at our brigade-specific email firstname.lastname@example.org.