RESOURCE: AIFO, DPI Release Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities
In recent months, many new training manuals have been released targeted at those who wish to train themselves or others in the human rights of people with disabilities, with a particular focus on the new international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The latest of these, entitled “The Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities,” (PDF format, 617 Kb) was launched in March by AIFO (Italian Association Amici di Raoul Follereau) and DPI (Disabled Peoples International) Italy in collaboration with the Mongolian National Federation of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities, with financial contributions from the United Nations.
The new training manual, available in both English and Mongolian, is meant to promote the participation of people with disabilities and their families in ratifying and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). AIFO and DPI also are supervising the translation of the manual into French, Spanish, and Portuguese. (I was unable to find the Mongolian text on-line; if someone knows of a link, please let me know using the comments area below.)
Some of the front material (foreword, introduction, etc.), to my mind at least, is marred by clumsy writing. Either the foreword or the introduction or both should, for example, clarify precisely the intended audience for the training manual. Yes, the description given by Disabled People International states that the manual is meant to help people with disabilities and their families. But are they meant to read the training manual directly? Or is the manual meant to be read by trainers who then use the manual as a guide in training the target audience? From reading the main body of the manual I would guess the latter. But this information is not made immediately clear for the casual reader.
However, The Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities (PDF format, 617 Kb) does have some redeeming content. For example, it begins with a brief history of the United Nations and other international institutions related to disability and human rights. It then reviews why human rights conventions matter and in what ways they can help create change. It provides a history of people with disabilities and explains how the more modern human rights perspective differs from older attitudes. This kind of information provides helpful background content for the reader that can help in understanding the relevance and importance of the CRPD. It then guides the reader through a summary of the 50 articles of the CRPD with suggested teaching points for each. Perhaps the most helpful part of the manual are its extensive appendices, which point readers at a rich collection of documents and web sites on human rights, including disability rights.
Some of the guidance this manual offers for would-be trainers is very broad. For example, one passage says this, “Underline the importance of statistics concerning disability [….] Illustrate the condition of the people with disabilities of the country in various areas related to rights using the available data, publications and reports.” (Section 2.4.1) However, the manual does not–at least in my admittedly superficial review–point readers to resources that could help them locate statistics relevant to their country. Nor does it suggest how trainers might improvise if relevant statistics for their country are either non-existent or of poor quality.
The vagueness of its advice suggests that this training manual may be most helpful to people who are already very knowledgeable about disability and disability rights, including how to locate additional information relevant to the training they wish to provide. It is probably also most helpful to individuals who already have prior experience in independently designing their own lectures and workshop activities with minimal guidance. Because minimal guidance is all it provides.
Would-be trainers who need concretely detailed teaching content, a suggested training schedule, or other structured guidance may be better off consulting some of the other materials that have become available within the past year. (See further below for suggested links.)
The Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities (617 Kb) can be downloaded for free in PDF format at:
Those of you who prefer to draw upon more structured lesson plans, or who have too little time to develop your own handouts or power point programs, may wish to consider linking to one or both of these (click on the relevant title that you want):
Also consult the guide to
We Can Do learned about the AIFO/DPI Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities (PDF format, 617 Kb) via the Disabled Peoples International electronic newsletter, which is available for free.
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