Action Projects

Action Project Guidelines

Following the completion of the Summer Fellowship Program, all Humanity in Action Fellows are obligated to implement an Action Project—a public outreach initiative inspired by the Humanity in Action fellowship experience. The following information provide some initial guidance on how to plan a successful project, whom to contact for support, what resources are available for your initiative, and why Humanity in Action believes that Action Projects are an essential component of your development as a leader in the field of human rights and your ongoing association with Humanity in Action’s network of experts and Senior Fellows. We invite your questions, and we look forward to working with you as you transition from the end of your Fellowship Program into the beginning of your longterm experience in the Humanity in Action network.

What is an Action Project?

Action Projects are the means of enabling Humanity in Action Fellows to initiate projects that extend your Humanity in Action experience beyond the Fellowship Program. Action Projects promote individual civic engagement and social responsibility. They are the gateway to ongoing participation in the global network of Humanity in Action experts and Senior Fellows. More specifically, an Action Project is an outreach initiative inspired by the ideas and models of action presented in the Fellowship Programs. The project can represent many different forms of action - from public lectures and policy advocacy to service projects and social entrepreneurship; but the common thread is that the Action Project is your platform to apply what you have learned in your fellowship to real-life human and minority rights issues in your home communities or abroad.

Why does Humanity in Action oblige its Fellows to complete an Action Project?

There are three goals that Humanity in Action seeks to accomplish through the creation and completion of an Action Project:

Individual Impact—Humanity in Action believes that the skills and self-knowledge you gain through conceiving and executing a successful Action Project are an essential part of your Humanity in Action education—as well as your development as a leader and innovator in the field of human rights, or in any discipline you choose to pursue. It is our hope that the Action Project will help move your Humanity in Action experience from one of educational inquiry to action. Moreover, the Action Project will provide you with personal experience in using the Humanity in Action network—its global network of experts in academia, business, government, journalism, media, law, and civil society—to set a standard and approach for collaboration as you build on your personal and professional goals in the years ahead.

Public Impact—It is Humanity in Action’s mission to prepare young leaders to make a public impact in the field of human and minority rights and to reach out to those whose rights are threatened. The Action Project is a small, yet meaningful demonstration of our Fellows’ capacity to engage in this work. Thus, Action Projects should be designed to raise awareness about a human right issue in your community or to address specific social or civic barriers that you choose to focus on through your initiative.

Institutional Impact—Action Projects are a means of connecting you with Board Members, Senior Fellows, and experts, and of expanding the intellectual and social capital of the Humanity in Action network. Our hope is that the Fellowship and the Action Project are merely the beginning of a sustained partnership with Humanity in Action. Of equal importance, Action Projects are also a key way for Humanity in Action to demonstrate the impact and significance of its programs to the broader public and to financial supporters. Therefore, it is Humanity in Action’s goal to learn how we can be supportive of the personal and professional goals of Fellows in our network.

What guidelines should you follow for developing your Action Project?

While there is no single approach to an Action Project, there are some general guidelines that will assist you in developing an initiative that is both realistic and likely to succeed:

• The Action Project may be an independent initiative or it may be conducted through your involvement with an outside organization.

• The Action Project should be narrow in scope so that it can be implemented within a year’s time and without significant external resources.

• The Action Project should not be a continuation of a pre-existing academic, professional, or volunteer project. However, it can be an extension of an existing project if you use new resources and connections through the Humanity in Action network.

• The Action Project should be publicly identified with Humanity in Action.

• The Action Project may be conducted in partnership with other Humanity in Action Fellows, although we advise against undertaking projects with Fellows from different countries (past experience has shown that multi-national projects tend to be difficult to implement).

• The Action Project should have a verifiable outcome that is communicated to Humanity in Action.

• The Action Project should include a plan for sharing the project outcomes with the Humanity in Action network, through its website and Board members, Senior Fellows, and partnering organizations connected with Humanity in Action.

Code of Conduct

Action within the Humanity in Action network can take many different forms. In order to ensure the successful implementation of the Action Projects there is a set of rules to be followed.

• An Action Project must not incite violence or hatred.

• An Action Project should not be developed to promote the goals of political parties or other political organizations.

Action Project Development

We will spend some time during the Fellowship Program developing your ideas and training you in skills relevant to project planning, management and implementation. We will discuss the various aspects and elements of an Action Project. While there is no financial support for your Action Projects, there is significant intellectual capital within the Humanity in Action network that we encourage you to draw upon. It is incumbent on Humanity in Action to support you in using the following resources to your advantage.

• Senior Fellows—There is a broad range of professional and academic expertise within the community of Senior Fellows. We encourage you to network with Senior Fellows who have designed successful Action Projects in prior years, as well as with those Senior Fellows who have professional experience that will enhance your project. The national Senior Fellows associations in Europe and the United States will be an immediate source of support for you. Our internal communication platform HIA Connect is a good starting point for networking.

• National Directors—The directors and coordinators are a great resource for learning about past successful Action Projects, as well as national resources and related initiatives.

What outcomes do you need to demonstrate with your Action Project?

A description of your Action Project will be posted on the Humanity in Action website. We aim to use the archive of hundreds of Action Projects—implemented by Fellows from Europe and the United States in their countries and abroad—as a resource for future Humanity in Action Fellows and the broader public, so that both audiences can enhance their social action through our collective resources.

Sample Action Projects Examples of Action Projects can be found here and here.