SPIYCE (Simulation Project for Integrating Youth through Community Engagement)

SPIYCE was a  human rights fact finding simulation which focuses on honing and testing participants’ professional skills of engaging in and conducting witness interviewing, testimony gathering and legal analysis of a certain fictitious incident that has serious human rights violation implications. The project composed of theoretical training and simulation activity as followed by  real life field visit to one gender based and one professional-religious minority community.

I learned simulation as a student at Harvard International HUman Rights Clinic. After returning to Bangladesh, it was my dream to start a similar training for our law students. I applied for the EMK Small Grants 2019 through ELCOP, and SPIYCE was one of the grantees! Simulation teaches the following skills to students: 

  • Victim interviewing
  • Empathetic listening
  • Applying hearing filters
  • Tackling challenging situations and conflicting statements/findings
  • Report  writing to national and international authorities and watch dogs
  • Design Awareness programmes relevant to community needs
Simulation going on: graduate candidate Morsalin Hider roleplaying as a UP Chairman

SPIYCE trained 24 Law and Criminology students from Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong from March till July 2019. These students learned how to design fact finding mission, interviewing skills, setting questionnaires, trust building with the victims of the human rights violations, and last but not the least, how to differentiate ‘fact’ from ‘perception’.After the theoretical training, the trainees participated in a SIMULATION. Simulation means ‘make believe’, or কল্পিত নাটক. I designed two simulations where  Law students acted in the roles of government officials, journalists, and victims. The 24 trainees honed their fact finding skills by interviewing the actors, and then presenting what they learned from their investigation. The trainees have visited the workplace and residences of the Hijra community and the Dalit (Harijan) community in  Dhaka. The trainees investigated the human rights violations under 4 streams: freedom of religion, right to identity, right to employment and discrimination. 

 

A vital part of SPIYCE was the Community Leader training. The students selected 10 members from Harijan and Hijra community who received Street Law training on Human Rights so that they can serve as community lawyers in their own community.  Street Law, dubbed in Bangla as প্রতিদিনের আইন, is an interactive learning method where participants receive legal knowledge in an easy to understand approach. Our trainees used role play, debate, ranking exercises, and diagrams to explain human rights, arrest and detention, and property rights in Islamic and Hindu law for  Trans-people in the 2 day long training at EMK center.

SPIYCE also resulted in two publications: the first ever Bengali language Human Rights Fact Finding Manual, and Stories from SPIYCE: Collection of testimonies from the field. 

After the Street Law Training at EMK Center

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