Challenges and Examples about RBA Applications

Challenges to Applying RBA

Right Based Approach is not the magic solution to everything. It comes with some serious challenges that advocacy workers need to consider before adopting this approach. Following are some of the major challenges:

  • One of the RBA principles, indivisibility, actually presents one of the biggest challenges to applying RBA. Indivisibility means that rights should be taken as a whole. We cannot defend some rights and put aside some others. In real life, attaining all rights at the same time is virtually impossible. With so many rights violated, advocacy and social justice workers need to prioritize their efforts regarding which rights to start within a given country.
  • Some groups, especially those marginalized and disempowered for a long time, might feel that calling for their rights is too antagonistic to start with. Indeed, using the rights framework might sound more contentious than the needs-based approach. Groups applying this approach for the first time need to pay more attention to the language that they use to reduce the sense of confrontation as much as possible.
  • RBA falls short of expressing some important soft needs. Rights appear in somewhat rigid legal terminology that fall short of garnering love and genuine sympathy. For instance, no law or regulation can force a brother to love his sister. Yet, we all have a deep and genuine need for love and sympathy.

Examples of RBA Applications

Basing your actions on the RBA may lead to a different view of the actions to take.[1]AWID,  A rights-Based Approach to Development, P. 2. Facts and Issues; Women’s Rights and Economic Change, No. 1, August 2002. … Continue reading . 23 Unemployment is a common problem in most rural areas in many developing countries. In dealing with this problem and using an NBA framework, many development organizations saw the need is for young people to learn some professional skills, such as computer and English language, to increase their competitiveness in getting jobs. Many youths joined these training programs and still could not get jobs. For instance, Using an RBA framework, development groups would examine policies regarding investment in rural areas differently. The how policies encourage investment in the rural areas and how to have policies that carry incentives for investors to come to these places and use local people and provide the necessary training that might increase the competitiveness of local youth.

In many domestic violence cases, an NBA framework would lead to taking actions to raise society’s awareness, providing therapy for battered family members – most often women and children – and building shelters for affected individuals. Using an RBA framework, actions might include introducing new legislation that decisively criminalizes domestic violence and a policy to include lessons in the school curricula about the right and means of having a safe home environment and specific channels to report domestic violence cases.


1 AWID,  A rights-Based Approach to Development, P. 2. Facts and Issues; Women’s Rights and Economic Change, No. 1, August 2002.

[1] The Strategy Tips reminders for the team of specific points that they need to consider while formulating the campaign strategy. You will find references to Strategy Tips in other parts of this manual.