Sunday, March 1, 2015

Civics Education : Zero Discrimination Day : resources

Zero Descrimination Day 2015

“Everyone has the right to live with respect and dignity.”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General UN

Today March 1 is Zero Discrimination Day, a chance to celebrate diversity and to reject discrimination.

The United Nations has kicked off the 2015 global edition of Zero Discrimination Day as part of the Organization's wider effort to spur solidarity towards ending discrimination.

“Discrimination is a violation of human rights and must not go unchallenged,” United Nations 
Ban Ki-moon,  Secretary-General

Theme 2015: "Open Up, Reach Out."

2015's theme Open Up, Reach Out encourages all members of the international community, to unite under the banner of diversity and celebrate each other's difference in an authoritative rejection of discrimination in all its forms.

At the same time, Zero Discrimination Day, observed annually on 1st March, draws attention to "the millions who still suffer from social and economic exclusion due to prejudice and intolerance."

Millions of women and girls in every region of the world, for instance, experience violence and abuse on a daily basis and struggle to access adequate health care and education.

"Meanwhile, globally, there are almost 80 countries that still have laws criminalizing same-sex sexual relations while some 38 countries, territories and areas impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV. Furthermore, legal and social environments are still failing to address stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and those most vulnerable to HIV infection."


credits : UNAids

In 2013, UNAIDS estimated that 35 million people globally were living with HIV, while 2.1 million people became newly infected with the virus and 1.5 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

“Some of the world's most challenging problems can be solved simply by eliminating stigma and discrimination,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “As we collectively strive for a fairer world we can be encouraged by the enthusiasm for achieving zero discrimination.”
The UN day will be marked by a number of events held around the world : photo exhibitions in China, dancing in Gabon, concerts in Madagascar, a storytelling event for children in Mongolia and special film screenings in Nepal.


Zero Discrimination Day is a pedagogical activity teachers must include into school curriculum.

We know  that discrimination exists at school between students. How often teachers are called to help some students who are suffering some stigma and discrimination from their schoolmates.

Not only today but everyday, in our lessons, at school, teachers and students have the chance to celebrate diversity and reject discrimination.

It's time to develop some important values in everyday lessons as comprehension, compassion, tolerance, solidarity, encouragement, friendship.

Prepare some activities to include Zero Discrimination Day into your lessons next week.

Some activities:

Invite your students to join the #ZeroDiscrimination campaign:

  • Debating : What zero discrimination means to them;
  • Telling about somebody who has inspired each student through tolerance and diversity : parents, grandparents, friends, other; 
  • Asking your students to show tolerance and frendship to some classmate they were descriminating until now; 

Being inspired by the butterfly, the transformative symbol for zero discrimination students can :

  • Take part in activities to express their support for zero discrimination. They  might dance like a butterfly, bake a butterfly cake, sing a butterfly song;
  • Share their creativity with other students at the school or with some other school(s) if they have a school exchange project;
  • Write some interesting tweets to publish on Twitter (school/class account);
  • Print some t-shirts promoting Zero Discrimination Day and use them at school.
Students can visit Zero Discrimination Day on Facebook, Twitter, or UN social media as Google +, Twitter and Facebook and follow the activities.

Some other information:

If you need some resources to talk about Aids you have two important posts on G-Souto's Blog:

Note: Of course you must adapt the activities to the level you are teaching and age of your students.

Ask your students to be as creative as they wish. Let them show how creative they are. And they are, believe me!


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