Human Rights and Equality Grants 2020 Announced

€500,000 Awarded to 42 Projects Nationwide to Promote Access to Rights and Access to Justice

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has today announced the 42 organisations to be awarded a total of €500,000 in funding for projects under its Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme 2020.

The wealth of experience and expertise represented by the people and groups taking up the 42 project grants is significant. The projects announced today encompass issues of homelessness, empowering people with dementia and those receiving palliative care; helping survivors of sexual violence, challenging ageism around our COVID response, and supporting people to assert their housing and employment rights, to mention but a few. (The full list of 2020 projects is provided in the Editor’s Note below.)

Now in its fifth year, the 2020 grant programme awards small grants of up to €6,000 and general grants of up to €20,000 to support civil society organisations, rights-holder and community led groups, and trade unions in Ireland promote access to justice for people who face the greatest barriers to accessing their rights. The Commission welcomed 138 applications to the grant scheme from across the country.

Since its establishment in 2016, the Commission’s grant scheme has supported 150 human rights and equality projects across Ireland including research programmes, training or resource activities, conferences or events and cultural initiatives.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated today:

“The Human Rights and Equality Grant Scheme 2020 is a strategic initiative for the Commission to use our role to support important rights focused work across communities in Ireland that face the greatest barriers to justice.

“Participation, dignity and empowerment are essential human rights and equality principles that assist people to understand and claim their rights. These 42 grants will support individuals and communities through education, training, research and in bringing forward their own policy analysis to ensure they have a voice in the decisions that impact them.

“We look forward to seeing the outcomes of these empowering projects, the results of which can be truly transformative for people and their communities.”


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Editor’s Note

The Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme 2019

The Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme is part of the Commission’s statutory power to provide grants to promote human rights and equality under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

The full list of organisations receiving the Human Rights and Equality Grants Scheme 2020 are:

Organisation Project Summary
SVP - Saint Vincent De Paul, Monastery Hostel, Carlow Human Being/Human Rights

This project aims, through a series of workshops, to build the capacity of homeless men living in emergency accommodation to better understand their rights and acquire the information and skills to access their rights and access justice.

Waterford Integration Service

Partner organisation:

Waterford City & County Council

Human rights approach to delivering services in the housing sector

This project aims to build the human rights capacity of migrant community leaders, including people seeking asylum, and local authority frontline staff working in housing services through a training for trainers programme, leading to the better delivery of housing services within the context of meeting the requirements of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

All Together in Dignity (ATD) Ireland,
Dublin 1.
This is how it happens to us: a peer-led call for socio-economic status

This project will empower people who have direct experience of socio-economic discrimination to use visual arts to give voice to their experience and promote the recognition of socio-economic discrimination as a ground in Irish Equality legislation

Threshold Training Network (TTN), Tallaght, Dublin 24 Becoming a mental health rights defender

This project will build the capacity of people experiencing mental health difficulties, through a series of training and coaching sessions, to understand their rights, become active defenders of them, be more empowered to speak out in relation to decisions that affect them and support others to do the same.

Latin America Solidarity Centre, Dublin

Partner Organisation:

Association of Bolivian Residents, Dublin

Rights and Resources: Latin America in Ireland

This project will equip Latin American migrant communities (with a focus on women and the LGBTQI+ community) in Ireland with information on their rights and skills to address the barriers to realising their rights, in order to build a network to provide mutual support.

Blaney Blades Women’s Group, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan Coming Together

This project aims to enable and empower older women and migrant women, through workshops, to name and address issues that affect them within a human rights and equality framework, understand their rights, identify solutions to issues and engage with local duty-bearers, in the context of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty at a seminar, to bring about change.

NASC, Cork Our Lives, Our Future

This project aims to empower disadvantaged young people who are unable to access further and third level education because of their immigration status to become strong advocates for legal and policy change, using a suite of short videos to give voice to their experience and the right to education.

WALK, Walkinstown, Dublin Our Lives, Our Rights

This project aims to build the capacity of peer advocates to support and defend their own rights and others and to come together to discuss issues from a human rights and equality perspective and shape the content of a rights-holder led conference on disability rights.

Age & Opportunity Is ageism ever acceptable?

This project will facilitate a national reflection by older people on whether the policy of cocooning based on being over 70+ plus was ageist. Through a series of regional assemblies and a national assembly, older people will explore whether the human rights of older persons have been compromised by the national response to Covid-19 and develop recommendations for future policy making regarding older people in a Pandemic.

Federation of Irish Sport

Partner organisation:

UNESCO Chair “Transforming the lives of people with disabilities, their families and communities through physical education, sport, recreation and fitness, Institute of Technology, Tralee, Co. Kerry,
SARI – Sport Against Racism Ireland,
Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA),
Central Statistics Office (CSO),
Sport Ireland

Human Rights in and through Sport

This project aims to support and build the capacity of rights-holders, to advance their access to rights in and through sport, in particular groups facing barriers to participation in sport including women, people with disabilities, members of the Traveller community, migrants, minority ethnic groups, members of the LGBTQI+ community, and people who are socially disadvantaged. It aims to increase understanding among duty bearers - state actors, the sports sector and grassroots sporting organisation - of sport as a human rights and a tool for human rights promotion and implementation in the context of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

Mercy Law Resource Centre, Dublin Know Your Housing Rights!

This project aims to empower individuals and families, and frontline, voluntary and community workers working with vulnerable groups to assert their rights and the rights of those they assist through a series of online training workshops on housing law, all supported by digital resources.

Community Response, Dublin 8 Community Response Project

This project aims to build the capacity and empower people from migrant backgrounds to understand their rights through baseline research and capacity building when accessing Addiction and Homeless Services and to engage with duty bearers to protect and promote equality in these services in line with the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

West Cork Women Against Violence Project

Partner organisations:

Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre

Listening to Survivors and Supporters

This project aims through research and workshops to capture the vision and voice of rights-holders who have experienced sexual violence or helped someone who has. It will do this by assessing current sexual violence support service delivery and participate in the design and development of services in rural West Cork, as well as using the findings to inform national legislation, policy and practice.

Listening to Survivors and Supporters

This project aims through research and workshops to capture the vision and voice of rights-holders who have experienced sexual violence or helped someone who has. It will do this by assessing current sexual violence support service delivery and participate in the design and development of services in rural West Cork, as well as using the findings to inform national legislation, policy and practice.

Know Your Employment Rights!

This project aims to empower individuals whose employment and/or equality rights are being violated, specifically people in low paid or precarious work, people with disabilities and people facing gender discrimination in the work place, and their advocates and provide them with information and the tools to vindicate their rights, and will promote them widely through an information campaign.

Exchange House Ireland

Partner organisations:

Limerick Community Development Project, and
Paul Partnership

Limerick Travellers: Building Capacity to Access Rights and Justice

This projects aims to build the capacity of Travellers in Limerick to organise themselves in a sustainable way and develop the knowledge and leadership skills to advocate for their rights and support others to do so. This will be achieved through a series of human rights and equality training sessions and advocacy workshops with Limerick Traveller Women’s Group and Limerick Travellers Network

One in Four,
Victim-Survivor Forum

The project aims to create a forum of victims/survivors of child sexual abuse where they can grow their capacity to articulate the challenges that victim/survivor stakeholders face within the criminal justice system and provide a platform to influence legislation and policy development, affect positive change and increase accountability of duty-bearers.

Irish Traveller Movement,
Embedding Yellow Flag Programme in National Education Policy & Curriculum

This project aims to capture the learning and impact of the Yellow Flag Programme on students and schools with a focus on the voice of students and engage with education stakeholders to mainstream it into national education policy and curriculum in the context of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, so as to reduce and eliminate the barriers that affect the educational experience and outcomes of black and minority ethnic, including Traveller and Roma, students.

Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency

Partner Organisation:

The Coalition of Disabled People’s Organisations

Towards a Shadow Report by the Disabled Person’s Coalition

This project aims to facilitate and support the Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) Coalition to prepare, develop and write their Shadow Report on the implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to be submitted to the UN Committee responsible for examining Ireland on its fulfilment of the obligations set out in the Treaty.

All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC)

Partner Organisations:

University of Limerick,
Health Service Executive, Decision Support Service,
Nursing Homes Ireland,
Irish Hospice Foundation, Age related Healthcare Department, Tallaght Hospital, Medicine for the Elderly, St Vincent’s Hospital.

Shaping Palliative Care Policy using a Human Rights Approach

The research project aims to give voice to nursing home residents, their families and care workers in relation to their experience and expectations of palliative care to ensure that any changes to palliative care policy, especially due to Covid-19, will be informed and shaped by the needs and perspectives of rights holders. It will also educate and inform policy makers, service providers, healthcare professionals, the public and specifically people living in nursing homes, their families and care workers on their rights in relation to palliative care during a pandemic.

Independent Living Movement Ireland, Dublin

Partner organisation:

South Dublin County Council

Making Inclusion a Reality

This project aims to enable the effective participation of disabled people across all impairments in the development of housing policy in South Dublin County. It will also train council representatives and officials in disability equality and establish this collaborative model as an example of best practice to inform the Council’s approach to the delivery of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty in relation to disability.

Children’s Rights Alliance, Dublin Barriers to Accessing Rights & Justice for Children and Young People

This project aims to carry out a baseline action research to establish what children and young people know about their rights, determine the best ways to educate them about their rights, with a focus on: children in care, children with disabilities, migrant/refugee children, LGBTI+ children and children in conflict with the law. Its findings will inform the development of human rights education programmes, the next National Children’s Strategy and Ireland’s forthcoming review under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2021.

Free Legal Advice Centres

Partner organisation:

National Traveller Women’s Forum

Equal Access Project

This project aims to build the capacity of Traveller Women equality advocates on the Equal Status Acts, with a particular focus on the intersectional grounds of gender and the Traveller community grounds The training programme will lead to a network of Traveller women equality advocates who will provide information and skills to other Traveller women and girls necessary to vindicate their rights and who may provide representation in claims of discrimination before the Workplace Relations Commission in the absence of civil legal aid

Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group Traveller Accommodation and Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty

The project aims to carry-out a participatory research analysis by Travellers as peer researchers to identify how Fingal County Council is implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty and hold a roundtable with Fingal County Council Housing Department and Traveller groups to share the findings.

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Partner Organisation:

Irish Refugee Council

Know Your Rights Guide for People in International Protection System

The project aims to work directly with international protection applicants through focus groups to identify gaps in the rights knowledge of people who are seeking international protection, including those living in Direct Provision accommodation. The project aims to develop a relevant and accessible ‘Know your Rights Guide’ in five languages to assist people seeking international protection to understand the entire spectrum of human rights they are entitled to in Ireland. ICCL with the Irish Refugee Council will work with leaders among those seeking international protection to promote and disseminate the guide.

Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Dublin

Partner organisations:

St. Catherine Community Services Centre, Carlow,
Traveller Visibility Group Cork, and
Wicklow Travellers Group

Access to Justice for Traveller Women Experiencing Domestic Violence

This project aims to promote increased access to justice for Traveller women who experience domestic violence by empowering women with knowledge, information and skills to access and use legal protections in relation to domestic violence, and raising awareness of complaint mechanisms to report shortcomings in the justice system.

Galway City Community Network

Partner Organisation:

Galway City Partnership

Building Collective Capacity and Engagement of Rights-Holders in Galway City

This project will build the collective capacity and engagement of rights holders through the development of a civil society panel in Galway City to facilitate and support the effective and transparent implementation of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty by duty bearing organisations and agencies in Galway City.

Central Remedial Clinic, Dublin

Partner Organisation:

Disability Federation of Ireland

Looking ahead: Choices and Aspirations of People with Disabilities in the context of Human Rights and Independent Living

This project aims to empower people with disabilities to carry out rights-holder centred research and a series of focus groups to capture their experience in accessing their right to education, employment and independent living, identifying gaps and developing a roadmap to address these issues.

Robert Emmet Community Development Project, The Liberties, Dublin 8

Partner Organisation:

Community Action Network (CAN)

Empowering Change in Oliver Bond House

The project aims to support and empower Oliver Bond Residents Group to understand and claim their rights as well as the knowledge to engage with relevant statutory bodies to ensure that these rights are respected.

Inclusion Ireland Participation of people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland’s Shadow Reporting on the UNCRPD

This project aims to hold a series of consultations around the country to get the views and experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and to compile them into a submission to inform the civil society shadow reporting on the UNCRPD.

Dolphin House Community Development Association Dolphin House Regeneration – Residents Access their Rights

This project aims to facilitate a meaningful process of informed resident engagement in the ongoing physical and social regeneration of Dolphin House with the purpose of empowering residents to frame their issues in human rights terms and offer leadership and create a unified community voice to engage with Dublin City Council on the next phase of regeneration.

Cheeverstown House Voices

This project aims to equip people with intellectual disabilities, framed within the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with the skills to gather a range of voices and experiences of how the Covid 19 Pandemic has directly affect their lives, using spoken word, pictures and other multi-media platforms. This will provide insight into how the pandemic has impacted on individual’s rights including not having access to services and having to leave their house to isolate, with the aim of raising awareness among policy makers and affecting change.

Age Action Is Digital Exclusion Amongst Older People a Barrier to Accessing Justice

The aim of this project, through a series of participatory dialogues with older people and people working in public bodies with responsibility for administration and procedural aspects of public policy decision making, is examine the extent to which digital exclusion experienced by older people impacts their capacity to realise their rights in this context as mandated in the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty and make recommendations for changes that will enable the participation of older people in public policy design and implementation.

Irish Refugee Council

Partner organisation:


Barriers to Rights for People Accessing International Protection

This project aims assess the barriers that people seeking international protection face in accessing their rights and accessing justice, documenting those barriers in the context of relevant international human rights law. It will be guided by an advisory committee of people seeking international protection and refugees with recent experience of the international protection process and also act as peer facilitators. The project report will provide an evidence base.

Good Shepherd, Cork My Say My Way - Participatory Budgeting

The aim of this project is to build the confidence of people who face injustice or discrimination, using participatory budgeting, to decide democratically how a specific budget should be used, and to give them real power over real money to make decisions that affect their own lives.

South Leinster Citizen’s Information Network Access to Justice Remotely

The project aims to run three workshops over two regions and eleven service areas which will enable the CIS network to build capacity to support vulnerable people to access justice remotely as a consequence of the working arrangements put in place as a result of COVID 19, mainly before the and in cooperation and in agreement with Work Place Relations Commission, the Labour Court, the Social Welfare Appeals Office and the Residential Tenancy Board.

Places of Sanctuary Ireland Empowering Sanctuary Ambassadors

The project aims to run Sanctuary Ambassador participatory training courses in the Midlands and South East for refugees and asylum seekers to inform and empower them to understand human rights, find and use their voice effectively and engage with decision-makers. The training teams will include refugees and asylum seekers who have benefited from the training in the past The training will provide practical outreach to raise awareness of the human rights issues affecting refugees. The project will culminate in submissions and manifestos on refugee rights being presented to local councils and the Oireachtas.

Irish Penal Reform Trust Access to Rights & Justice for Migrants and Ethnic Minority People in Prison

This project aims to empower and promote access to rights and access to justice for migrants, foreign national prisoners, and ethnic minorities in the penal system. It will create a sound evidence base and raise awareness of inequality and human rights breaches against migrants and ethnic minorities in probation and prisons in Ireland. It will build the capacity of rights holders, civil society organisations and state bodies to recognise and address discriminatory practices.

Kenmare Family Resource Centre

Partner organisations:

Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency

Right to Education Project for Children & Young People with Intellectual Disabilities

The aim of this project is carry out participatory research with parents and children to identify barriers to accessing mainstream education in the Greater Kenmare area, it will complemented by workshops to build the capacity of rights-holders to understanding their rights under human rights, disability and equality law and be empowered to engage with local schools and the education system.

National Youth Council of Ireland Justice – Hear My Voice

This project aims to create a pool of rights-holding young facilitators and speakers, with lived experiences of injustice - racism, homophobia, classism, disablism and gender discrimination - who will facilitate workshops, and information sessions on the issues that affect them and their communities. In doing so they will strategically advocate for their communities and stand in solidarity with each other in accessing their rights.

RADE (Recovery through Arts & Drama Education) The Rights Murals

The project’s aim is to focus on the exploration of rights issues which directly and adversely affect substance-dependent people, and to engage them in the creative process of producing murals to communicate their perspectives on human rights issues that concern them. It further aims to challenge the stigma and commonly-hold negative perceptions of the abilities and skills of substance dependent people, and to build their capacity and confidence to assert their rights.

The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, Dublin Rights Made Real: Supporting People Living with Dementia

This project led by the Irish Dementia Working Group (IDWG) supported by The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, aims to empower people living with dementia to know what human rights are and to make those rights real and applicable in their lives. The project will build the capacity of the IDWG members to facilitate awareness sessions for their peers living with dementia. It will build on the advocacy work of the group and offer a unique opportunity for people living with dementia to understand human rights.

Ferns Diocesan Youth Service

Partner organisations:

Waterford and South Tipperary Community Youth Service, and
U-casadh CLG

No Name – Empowering Roma Young People

The aim of this project is to support and empower young people from the Roma Community in the South East of Ireland (Wexford and Waterford) to become champions of equality and human rights in their own communities and support them to realise their own rights. It will culminate with the production of a Human Rights and Equality Statement and a final event where the young people will present their views to public bodies in the context of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.