Activity 4a: Globalisation, Internationalism and Human Rights

While trade between countries has existed for centuries, the final quarter of the 20th century saw a significant reduction and removal of economic barriers in many parts of the world to facilitate international investment and the flow of goods, services and labour between nations. The transition from national and regional economies to global economies is referred to as globalisation. Globalisation has been made possible through the negotiation of free trade agreements, and advances in technology which have reduced labour costs and connected individuals and groups around the world in unprecedented ways. For developed economies, globalisation has enabled access to a broad range of consumer products and finance for corporations. However, for many of the world’s developing economies, globalisation has had a negative effect.  

Resources Required

e Resources

Task 1 

In this activity students are given examples of child exploitation and are asked to suggest ways in which these problems could be overcome.

Access the online interactive Rights at work: 3Plus-U by the International Labour Organization (a United Nations agency). The interactive explores the issues of child labour, forced labour, discrimination and freedom of association in the workplace through a series of ‘adventures’. Record your responses while completing the following adventures:

  • Toshi’s adventure: How might your patterns of consumption indirectly support child labour, forced labour, discrimination and freedom of association?

  • Isabelle’s adventure: What are some of the organisations working to improve the conditions under which people work? What have these organisations achieved?

  • Kaia’s adventure: What can you do to promote decent working conditions around the world? Complete one of the suggestions or come up with one of your own. 

Task 2

Internationalism, as distinct from globalisation, implies working together across international borders to improve the quality of life for all people.

Research one of the following international organisations. Outline the purpose and aims of the organisation. In particular, detail its role in improving human rights outcomes. What are the ongoing issues and challenges?

Prepare a poster about the information you have collected and share it with your classmates. You might like to create an online poster using web tools such as Glogster and Web Poster Wizard.

Task 3

Fair trade is an organised movement that seeks greater equity in international trade. It aims to secure the rights of marginalised workers in developing economies by improving their working conditions and ensuring that they receive a fair wage for the products that they produce. Fair-trade products can be identified by their Fair-trade consumer label. Products certified as fair-trade also adhere to a number of human rights agreements such as the banning of child and slave labour.

Your teacher will show you a short video clip about Fair-trade soccer balls and how a class of secondary students in Essex, United Kingdom took action about introducing fair trade products at their school.

What impact have fair-trade practices had on the people living in Sialkot, Pakistan? How did the students take action after watching the video? Draw up a SWOT analysis chart like the one below and record your responses to the questions.


What are the strengths (advantages) of fair trade?


What are the weaknesses (disadvantages) of fair trade?


What opportunities exist for your school to become involved in fair trade?


What threats (barriers) exist to your school becoming involved in fair trade?

Becoming a Fair-trade School

You can make your school fair trade by Using Fair-trade certified products.

To promote fair trade within your school talk to:

  • your teachers about having Fair-trade certified coffee and tea in the staffroom

  • the school canteen manager about selling Fair-trade certified fruit, chocolate bars and nuts

  • the sports or physical education coordinator about purchasing Fair-trade certified sports equipment. 

Access the Buy and Sell locator on the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand website to identify suppliers of Fair-trade products.

For more information and to be recognised as a Fair-trade school, download the Fair Trade Communities: Guideline for Schools and develop a plan of action. 


Activity 4a | Activity 4b | Activity 4c

For the teacher | Human Rights Introduction4: How Do We Preserve and Improve Human Rights? 

Overview of activities:  Focus Question 4