Act

“I learned that you can change the world in small doses,
one at a time.” Sixth grade girl

Social Action Projects & Organizations

198 Methods of Nonviolent Action 
Gene Sharp’s research on nonviolent action has been credited by many as inspiring nonviolent protestors across the globe.  This list is a place to begin when considering ways to approach problems nonviolently.  Other links on the page lead to resources from A Force More Powerful.

350.org
Founded by environmental author Bill McKibben, 350.org provides resources to track the planet’s carbon dioxide level and to promote social and political action to reverse climate change.  According to the site, “350 is the most important number in the world—it's what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”  Pages explain the science behind the numbers and provide action links as well.

Alliance for Climate Protection
Founded by former vice-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, the Alliance pages are linked to facts on climate change and local and global actions citizens and governments can take to address the climate crisis. The Climate Challenge and Solutions links are especially useful in classrooms.

Amnesty International 
“Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.”  Links are provided to learn about human rights and to activism steps to afford human rights to people across the globe.

Center for Civic Education
“Project Citizen is a curricular program for middle grade students that promotes competent and responsible participation in local and state government. The program helps young people learn how to monitor and influence public policy.” Teacher workshops, teaching resources, and national student conferences make this citizenship action project of interest in teaching peacemaking strategies.

Exploring Humanitarian Law: 
It seems counter-intuitive to teach rules of war if we want peace.  However, this well-developed and extensive matrix of curriculum materials provides opportunities to teach about concepts of human dignity in war and peace, school and community bullying and bystander dilemmas, and global humanitarian actions.  As the Red Cross materials explain, “Humanitarian law is a body of international law that aims to protect human dignity during armed conflict and to prevent or reduce the suffering and destruction that results from war.”  Learning about international humanitarian law can promote critical thinking, empathy, and action.

 

Human Rights Resource Center (University of Minnesota)
This deeply linked site provides resources and rationales for teaching and taking action regarding rights.  Useful questions, lessons, and downloadable files are available to connect literature, current events, history, and other curricula to the consideration of human rights.  Browse around to find resources for ages K-adult!

  • This is my Home
    Examples of resources available as pdfs are K-2 (Caring School Climate) or 6-8 (Justice or Injustice).  Lesson plans, rationales, and handouts are provided.  Social action steps are outlined, including sample letters and action plans.  Invaluable!

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
How can students understand the power of nonviolent conflict if we don’t teach them its success stories?  This site provides case studies, links to news, and definitions, such as the following: “Nonviolent conflict is a way for people to fight for rights, freedom, justice, self-determination, and accountable government, through the use of civil resistance - including tactics such as strikes, boycotts, protests, and civil disobedience....”

Klein Foundation
Founded by Holocaust Survivor Gerda Klein and her husband Kurt, the Klein Foundation “creates the opportunity for young people to understand the world and translate that understanding into positive action.” The Foundation “teaches tolerance and respect for others, and encourages community service focusing on ending hunger.” Links on the site provide access to other service organizations, as well as materials developed in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Oxfam International
Oxfam works to end poverty and injustice.  Campaigns include work to end hunger, promote fair trade, promote health and education, and provide help in emergency and conflict zones.  Videos, visuals, games, and text help students understand issues and possible actions.

PeaceJam
PeaceJam.org is an organization that brings young people and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates together to work on peace projects. Their excellent website provides biographies, speeches, and background information on the 12 Laureates who work with PeaceJam. These include Oscar Arias, the Dalai Lama, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Betty Williams.  Examples of student-initiated action projects are available on this richly linked site.

PeaceOneDay 
Jeremy Gilley founded Peace One Day to promote an international day of cease fire and bring life to the United Nations designated day of peace, September 21.  His film about the process of working to achieve that goal is compelling for young people and is available free.  After registration, the website also offers a free, detailed, and rich peace education curriculum with opportunities for action.  The mission states, “Peace One Day Education aims to advance active learning in the areas of conflict resolution, global citizenship, human rights and the link between sustainability and peace, using Peace Day 21 September as a focus.”  Great resources!

Pennies for Peace 
Pennies for Peace invites students to fundraise to build schools for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  It is an offshoot of the Central Asia Institute, whose mission “focuses on community-based education, especially for girls. Research from the developing world reveals that a 5th grade education for a girl improves not only the basic indices of health for her and her family, but also helps her spread the value of education within her community.  Literacy, for both boys and girls, provides better economic opportunities in the future and neutralizes the power of despot mullahs and other extremist leaders.”  The website offers videos, pictures, and information on geography and culture of the region.

Roots & Shoots
“Founded by Dr. Jane Goodall, the Roots & Shoots program inspires youth of all ages to make a difference by becoming involved in their communities. Each Roots & Shoots group plans and implements service-learning projects that promote care and concern for animals, the environment, and the human community.” The website provides curriculum materials for activism and global awareness for student groups from elementary to university settings.

Teach for Peace: Citizenship Action Project 
Download PowerPoint: Citizenship Action Project (citizenship-action-project.ppt) to see step-by-step instruction how to build a social action project into the curriculum. Susan Gelber Cannon’s presentation includes inspirations, directions, timelines for projects, samples of projects, and student writing about taking action in their communities.

The Teen Guide to Global Action
Barbara Lewis’s book offers “background information on service and social action opportunities and tools teens can use to choose their cause, research issues, and plan projects.”  Contact information for numerous organizations is offered in the text as well.

World Wildlife Fund
“WWF's mission is the conservation of nature. Using the best available scientific knowledge and advancing that knowledge where we can, we work to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth and the health of ecological systems….”  Links to Places, Species, Climate, and Act Now provide numerous resources for teaching, learning, and action.

Share this