Our Programs & Projects

New Leaders Program

The Women and Girls Engaged, or WAGE, Education Program is an intensive human rights leadership and organizing educational program. The program provides in-person, interactive training sessions for community members in rural, southern communities.

Sessions introduce participants to: human rights standards and how they relate to rights protections and poverty reduction in the U.S., rights-based analysis and documentation of the impacts of poverty and effective organizing and coalition building tactics. The outcomes: new local leaders, collaborations, and policy reform efforts.

In-person training sessions are followed by online trainings that focus on strategies for building constituencies of support, engaging with policy makers and analyzing how budgeting decisions impact rights protections and perpetuate poverty, among other topics.

Educational sessions for younger participants are tailored to the appropriate age and focus on growing their understanding of human rights and how it relates to their communities and within the U.S. more generally. General human rights education sessions are also offered to communities and groups interested to learn more about human rights and how rights relate to social justice work in the U.S. and efforts to combat poverty.


Human Rights Cities Initiative

Turn South works to expand the global Human Rights Cities movement into the rural southern U.S. Human Rights Cities pledge to build a community based on equality and nondiscrimination; they work toward ensuring access to food, clean water, housing, education, healthcare, jobs and livable wages for community members.

Establishing a Human Rights City offers opportunity to reflect on the community that members want for themselves, their families and their neighbors, and then to work collectively to achieve it. Community members learn to articulate and adopt policy goals around which to organize and advocate, policy reforms that address and seek to reduce poverty. Once adopted, community members monitor and report on progress in meeting these goals.

Turn South Project Director Rachel Fowler serves on the steering committee for the National Human Rights City Network, which guides efforts to advance the movement in the U.S.

Connecting Human Rights and Community Service

Turn South offers educational programs on the relationship between community service and human rights to college civic engagement centers, community service organizations, and other service oriented groups.

Educational sessions introduce participants, including students, staff, and volunteers, to a rights-based approach for both a) identifying root causes of poverty, and b) developing community service projects that more effectively consider these challenges and human rights protections. Sessions designed for college student participants will also include focus on how they can promote human rights in their home communities.

Participants will map, or survey, groups engaged in complementary service work in the community and grow their understanding of why and how collaboration in planning and implementation can serve to address impacts of poverty in a more comprehensive and systemic manner.