Compasito - Manual on Human Rights Education for Children
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General Human Rights
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Human Rights calendar

23. Putting Rights on the Map

Where do human rights begin?... In small places close to home!

Themes General human rights

Level of complexity Levels 2-3

Age 8-13 years

Duration 60 minutes – several days

Group size 2-20 children

Type of activity Drawing, analysis, discussion

Overview Children work cooperatively to create a map of their community and identify the rights associated with major institution.

Objectives • To develop familiarity with human rights
• To build association of human rights with places in children’s daily life
• To encourage evaluation of human rights climate in the community

Preparation • For younger children: prepare map outlines.

Materials • Art supplies, chart paper
• Copies of child-friendly UDHR

Source: Adapted from a demonstration by Anette Faye Jacobsen, Danish Intitute for Human Rights.


  1. Divide the children into small groups and give them chart paper and art supplies. Ask them to draw a map of their own neighbourhood (or town, in the case of smaller communities). They should include their homes, major public buildings (e.g. parks, post office, town hall, schools, places of worship) and public services (e.g. hospitals, fire department, police station) and any other places that are important to the community (e.g. grocery stores, cemetery, cinemas, pharmacy, etc.).
  2. When the maps are complete, ask the children to analyse their maps from a human rights perspective. What human rights do they associate with different places on their maps? For example, a place of worship with freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; the school with the right to education; the post office with the right to privacy, and to self-expression, the library or Internet café with the right to information. As they identify these rights, they should look up the relevant article(s) in the UDHR and write the article number(s) next to that place on the map.
  3. Ask each group to present their map to the whole group and summarize their analysis of human rights exercised in the community.

Debriefing and Evaluation

  1. Debrief the activity by asking questions such as these:
    • Was it hard to draw the map of our neighbourhood?
    • Did you learn anything new about the neighbourhood?
    • Were you surprised to discover human rights in our neighbourhood?
    • How did your map differ from others?
  2. Relate the activity to human rights by asking questions such as these:
    • Did any parts of your map have a high concentration of rights? How do you explain this?
    • Did any parts have few or no rights associations? How do you explain this?
    • Are there any articles of the UDHR that seem to be especially exercised in this community? How can this be explained?
    • Are there any articles of the UDHR that no group included on their map? How can this be explained?
    • Are there any places in this community where people’s rights are violated?
    • Are there any people in this community whose rights are violated?
    • What happens in this community when someone’s human rights are violated?
    • Are there any places in this community where people take action to protect human rights or prevent violations from occurring?

Suggestion for follow-up

  • Use your maps to take a walk around the neighbourhood to observe rights in action.
  • The activity ‘Compasito Reporter’, p. 92, also ask children to evaluate their community through a human rights lens.

Ideas for action

Invite a neighbourhood social worker, long-time resident or local activist to talk to the group about how they see the neighbourhood, how it is changing and what needs to be done to make it a better place to live. Help the children explore how they can contribute to this change.

Tips for the facilitator

  • This activity assumes that the children are already somewhat familiar with human rights, and helps them to put that conceptual learning into a well-known context. However, the children may still need some assistance in connecting everyday places with rights: e.g. grocery store with the right to health or an adequate standard of living.
  • This activity has a very positive message: we enjoy rights everyday in our own neighbourhood. You may want to discuss the presence of violations on a different day to allow for this positive impact to be assimilated.
  • Some young children may have little experience in reading a map and may need some time to assimilate the concept. You might begin by mapping the room, playground or building where you meet the children.


  • Do each part of the activity on a different day, allowing the children time to become accustomed to reading the map and to consider the make-up of the neighbourhood.
  • Assign each group a particular rights theme to consider when drawing the map.
  • Use the CRC rather than the UDHR for this activity.
  • Focus on a single rights theme such as freedom from violence or an adequate standard of living, and see how that theme finds expression in the neighbourhood.

Adaptations for younger children:

  • Work with an area that is familiar to the children, such as the immediate neighbourhood, school or home. The younger the children, the smaller the area to be mapped should be.
  • Create a three-dimensional map using cardboard, boxes and art materials.
  • To save time and emphasise the map-making process, provide children with a prepared map or aerial photograph of the area that they can fill in and label. Close-up aerial views of most parts of Europe are available on Google Earth:
  • Omit Step 2 where the UDHR articles are matched with the right.

Adaptations for older children:

  • Draw maps to scale.
  • Divide the children into groups and give each group a separate part of one common map to analyse.
  • In the debriefing, ask questions about whether the rights they have noted are civil and political rights, and which are economic, social and cultural rights. Did one kind of right predominate on the map? Did one kind of right predominate in certain areas (e.g. more civil and political rights associated with the court house, city hall, or police)?