Introduction to “We Can Do”
We Can Do readers who have a Facebook account can now follow this blog via Facebook. To pursue this option, click on this link:
We Can Do needs to have 7 Facebook followers or more before Facebook will start feeding new We Can Do posts to the Facebook page devoted to this blog. Right now it only has one (me)! But, given that We Can Do receives a few hundred page views each day, it should not be long before at least 7 people start following it via Facebook. Once this happens, you will have the option of using the We Can Do Facebook page to check for new blog posts at We Can Do. This can give you one more way to ensure that you do not miss new information posted at this blog.
In addition to following We Can Do via Facebook, you also can receive email notification each time We Can Do is updated. Consult the Subscribe to We Can Do page for instructions on how you can sign yourself up.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Regular readers looking at this page will have noticed that I have now made a few more changes in the navigation bars to the right side of this page. In particular, there is no more “blog roll” to the right — but if you want to explore some of We Can Do’s many links to other web sites on disability and international development, you can still find these at the very bottom of every page at We Can Do. I also removed the listing of “Pages” — but you can still find these at the very top of every page at We Can Do. I made these changes in an attempt to make the page a little “cleaner” in appearance.
Since December last year, We Can Do readers have had the option to receive an email alert each time We Can Do is updated. But people who would prefer to subscribe via an RSS feed can now do that by clicking on the icon of their choice to the right. (I don’t control the appearance or accessibility of these icons — this is something that wordpress.com puts in there by default if I don’t have anything else in the far right-hand navigation bar.)
Want to check out recent We Can Do posts on a particular topic area? Check the drop down menu under “Categories.” Or, want to browse through all old and recent We Can Do posts? Select your desired month in the drop down menu under “Archives.” Or if you want to try a key-word search, then you can type your search term into the search engine at the very top of this page (above the navigation bar).
Comments on these revisions to We Can Do’s appearance, organization, etc. are welcome, in the comments area below or via email to me at ashettle [at] patriot.net
Subscribe to We Can Do
Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).
Other Resources at We Can Do
Catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.
We Can Do Copyright
This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and RatifyNow.org. Other sites may be plagiarizing this post without permission.
It has now been one year since the very first We Can Do post went up a little after 9 p.m. (EST) on July 24, 2007. What has happened with this blog in that time?
In that time, thousands of individual people have browsed the pages at this blog, for a grand total of 100,000 page views. More than 200 of you subscribe to We Can Do so you know when to check the blog for the newest blog posts.
The geographical representation among the readers have fluctuated somewhat over time, but currently a little more than a quarter of you are from the United States; a little more than 10% are from India, and a little more than a quarter from East and South Asia as a whole; about 19% are from Africa; and 14% are from Europe. In other words, you come from around the globe. China and Latin America, however, are very much under-represented. I’d love to have more readers from these regions–suggestions for how to reach them are welcome!
The Most Popular We Can Do Pages
A few of the most popular blog posts and individual pages at We Can Do include the following:
- Conferences, Events, Call for Papers, Training Opportunities has been viewed by more than 5,000 visitors since I started maintaining it in December. This is where you can find the links to We Can Do blog posts announcing upcoming events, calls for papers, training opportunities, and current job announcements, and volunteer opportunities, organized in one page.
- More than 3,000 people wanted to know where they can find funding to attend conferences. If you look at this page, you will see that only three funding sources seem to offer a limited amount of funding; two of those three are applicable only to Latin America. People from other regions will want to focus on the Ford Foundation.
- More than 1700 readers are looking for short training courses in human rights.
- More than 1400 readers wanted to read a case study on an early intervention program for blind children
- More than 1200 people were curious to learn more About the We Can Do blog.
Under-Rated Blog Posts
Some blog posts, at least in my humble opinion, might have been under-rated.
- Only a few dozen people have looked at the blog post describing a resource that disability advocates can use to help schools in their country be more inclusive of students with disabilities–a publication entitled Making Schools Inclusive: How Change Can Happen. Follow the link to learn how to download the publication.
- The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has a new web resource that may be helpful for actively people involved in advocating for human rights for people with disabilities. The post entitled UN Human Rights Disability Section describes, and links to, this resource.
- One of my personal favorites is a blog post that has been read by fewer than 100 people: an essay I wrote a couple of months ago entitled “The Farmer, the Spoon, and the Plow,” an allegorical tale about why the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is worth celebrating–and why the work of disability advocates around the world.
- I also hope that some of you will consider using the page on Resources, Toolkits, and Funding to help you find useful materials (and a few funding sources) that you can use to improve the lives of people with disabilities in your country, or in the countries where you work. Or look for Research, reports, papers, and statistics. Some of the items that I posted months ago may still be relevant and helpful today.
What Do YOU Think?
I hope some of you will take a few minutes to add a few thoughts of your own in the comments area below this blog post. What blog posts or links at We Can Do have been the most helpful for you? What resources did you discover through this blog? How have you been using those resources to improve the lives of people with disabilities? What resources would you particularly recommend for other We Can Do readers? What kind of content do you hope I will share at this blog during its second year of existence? Do you have suggestions for how I could make We Can Do more useful for you and other disability advocates in developing countries, or for mainstream international development professionals learning how to make their programs more inclusive?
Please let me hear your thoughts!
I owe a big thank you to all the people who have given me feedback on this blog in the past year, or who have subscribed to this blog, or who simply come back to this site again and again to see the latest materials. We Can Do is entirely a volunteer effort that I work on in my free time outside of work, schooling, and volunteer activities. Your feedback helps motivate me to keep going.
If you have ever been curious to learn more about the person behind the We Can Do blog, then I have posted a new permanent page entitled “Who Am I?” that is now available from the top navigation bar. In this page, I talk a bit about myself and what motivates me to keep up with this blog month after month. Follow the link to:
If you were thinking of submitting something to We Can Do for possible publication, then I have tweaked the Writing Guidelines. For one thing, I changed the title from “Wish List for Written Materials and Resources” to “Guidelines for Writers” (but the URL link is currently still the same as it was before). Also, I added a few more criteria regarding things such as preferred word-length; languages other than English; use of tables and graphics; etc. Follow the link to:
I know I still owe some emails to people who have already submitted materials for consideration. I apologize. We Can Do is a volunteer project I do in what limited free time I have, so I am frequently behind with my email. Feel free to send me a follow-up reminder to ashettle (at) patriot.net if you fear I’ve forgotten you.
In a few minutes, a post will be going up about the one-year anniversary of this blog: as of this writing (7:40 pm Washington DC time) We Can Do will be exactly one year old in just 1.5 hours from now.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
[Original publication at wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do) at http://tinyurl.com/28hh6h.]
I have now created a new page, linked from the top navigation bar, entitled “Resources, Toolkits, and Funding. In this page, you can find the following types of materials:
- Finding organizations
- Resources for inclusive development
- Resources on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Case studies
- Funding Sources
- Other helpful resources
I added this page to help readers quickly locate pragmatic resources, announced or linked from We Can Do, that you can use to help disability communities in developing countries access human rights and public services or escape poverty.
I want to continue improving this page. Please do share your feedback or suggestions in the comments area, either here or at the Resources, Toolkits, and Funding Sources page.
This new page joins other pages in the navigation bar that can help you
- catch up on the latest international disability news;
- find research, reports, papers, and statistics related to disabled people in developing countries;
- find up-coming or on-going conferences, events, call for papers, education and training opportunities.
Still not sure how to find the materials you are looking for? See if the Navigating We Can Do page can help. I have recently revised and updated this page. I will probably continue to make further improvements in the Navigation page to make it easier to use. Please feel free to make suggestions or feedback.
Want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming resources, toolkits, funding sources, or other informative posts at We Can Do? Consider subscribing to We Can Do so you can receive an email alert when new material is posted here.
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Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.
Do you have an interest in ensuring that We Can Do is accessible to as many people as possible? Do you have advice, ideas, feedback, concerns, or other comments to share related to accessibility at We Can Do? If so, please consult the new page on “Accessibility“. I can use YOUR help. This can be as simple as two minutes of your time to comment on accessibility barriers you have encountered at We Can Do. Or it could mean 10 or 20 minutes to help advise me on how to create a table and make it accessible to blind people. Or it could mean a more extensive, on-going commitment to translate We Can Do materials into other languages.
“Accessibility” in part refers to making We Can Do accessible to people with disabilities. The disability group that tends to face the most barriers on the Web are people with vision impairments. Of particular concern are people who use screen readers, whether due to vision impairments or for other reasons such as dyslexia. So far, the people I know who use screen readers have not told me about any problems in navigating We Can Do. But each screen reader is different. And sometimes different people differ in how well they know how to use the equipment they have. So if you use a screen reader, I still want to hear your feedback on accessibility at We Can Do. I also would welcome advice and assistance in specific areas such as making pictures or tables accessible to blind people. If you think you might be able to help, please consult the Accessibility page for more details about what questions I have.
People who are blind are not the only people who face accessibility barriers. People who are deaf or hard of hearing, or have mobility impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, or cognitive disabilities all face challenges in navigating the web. If you might have feedback you want to share in these areas, please consult the Accessibility page and share your comments.
At We Can Do, I am concerned with not only accessibility for people with disabilities fortunate enough to have Internet access and literacy skills. I also want to ensure that We Can Do is as accessible as possible for people in developing countries who may be using very old, slow equipment and dial-up connections. Or for people who cannot access the Internet at all. Or who do not read well in English. If you have thoughts you want to share, or if you have the time and interest to help, please consult the Accessibility page and contact me.
I realize I have been posting many “administrivia” items at We Can Do lately and somewhat fewer fresh materials. I do have a couple more pages in mind that I want to add to the top navigation bar. But I will also be posting more news, resources, and papers in the coming few weeks. Please do keep coming back to We Can Do.
Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.
I have now created a new page for the top navigation bar entitled “Research, Reports, Papers, Statistics“. That page can point you to We Can Do posts that present academic papers written by authors from aroudn the world, or point to resources around the web that can help you find more reports, research, academic papers, and sources of statistics on your own.
These resources can help researchers find what information is already available about people with disabilities in developing countries. Some of these resources may also be helpful to disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and grassroots advocates who are trying to raise funding for important projects or programs in their countries. Funding sources often want to know how many people with disabilities are in your country or region and what other services are already available to them before deciding whether to fund projects meant to serve this population. It can also be helpful to use documented sources to back up your assertations about the challenges that confront disabled people in your country and why existing resources and services may not be adequate to meet their needs.
Some of research, reports, and papers has been published in peer reviewed publications; or have been presented at international conferences; or they come from highly reputable sources such as the World Bank or the International Labour Organization. Some of the material listed does not any of the above criteria. Papers published at We Can Do usually indicate at the bottom whether it has been previously published or presented elsewhere. Researchers, students, and DPOs will want to use their own judgment about which reports or papers are appropriate sources of information for their own particular needs.
Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.
I have now added a page to the top navigation bar, News, that consolidates all the news and press releases posted at We Can Do since this blog began.
I mostly cribbed this new page from the work I did recently for the We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some). However, if you compare the two, you will see that there are more items listed under the “News” page in the top navigation bar than there are in the Retrospective post. That’s because, when I wrote the Retrospective post, I made a rule with myself that each We Can Do post would be listed only once, even if it arguably belonged in more than one category. Some of the “news” items reported new resources that might still be helpful for readers months or years from now. So I listed those items under “Resources” in the Retrospective post instead of news. But for the “News” page in the navigation bar, I made sure to include anything that was tagged as “news” when it was first posted.
I will try to keep the “News” page up to date. You will notice that it already includes one news item that has gone up since the Retrospective post.
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Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.
We Can Do has a growing collection of information on resources, funding sources, academic papers and research, case studies, conferences and other events, call for papers, education and training opportunities, job and internship opportunities, and volunteer opportunities. But how do you find everything that might be helpful to you in the work you do with disability communities in developing countries?
I have now created a new page to help guide you. Click on Navigating We Can Do in the top navigation bar for some quick tips on:
- finding particular types of information
- finding information by theme or topic
- consulting an overview of all We Can Do posts
- finding announcements for upcoming (or on-going) conferences, events, call for papers, education, and training opportunities
- making sure you haven’t overlooked any recent posts at We Can Do
- browsing all past posts in the We Can Do Archives; finding the most popular–and the most under-rated–We Can Do posts
- finding information and resources elsewhere; making sure you don’t miss future information posted at We Can Do
Please do share any ideas you may have for how I can make it easier for you to “navigate” We Can Do. I want you to be able to quickly find the information you need to help you fight poverty among disabled people in developing countries and advocate for human rights. I also welcome feedback on making We Can Do more accessible to readers with disabilities, including people who use screen readers or screen magnifiers.
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Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.
Until now, the only way someone could quickly look up all conference and event announcements, or training opportunities, or call for papers was to look under “Categories” in the right hand navigation bar and click on “Events and Conferences, “<a href=”Education and training opportunities, or “Call for Papers.
This probably worked fine for people who monitor We Can Do on a regular basis. When a new announcement went up on the site, you could be sure it wasn’t too late to apply (because, after all, it was a new announcement). And you could see at a glance if it was of interest to you. But for someone new to the site, I imagine it might have been more difficult to browse through the large, and growing backlog of various types of announcements. Some of the newer announcements are already dated–for events that have now come and gone. But some of the older announcements are still perfectly valid–for events that still won’t take place for many more months.
Now there’s a better way to quickly locate announcements for upcoming events, conferences, call for papers, and education or training opportunities. If you look up at the top of this page, you will see there is a new link entitled Conferences, Events, Call for Papers, Training Opportunities. You can click on that page at any time to see events organized by date. You might notice that I cribbed most of this new page from the work I did on my Retrospective post, which links to the first 100-plus posts at We Can Do.
I will still post announcements for events, education and training opportunities and so forth as I receive them. But from now on, I will also try to link to these announcements from the new page. And from time to time, I will remove links to dated announcements.
If you subscribe to We Can Do, then you can receive a free email alert each time a new post goes up at We Can Do. That way, you can be sure you won’t miss any new announcements or other material of interest at We Can Do.
Please let me know what you think of this new feature. Also please do let me know of any suggestions you may have for other ways I can improve We Can Do.
Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.
If you’re new to We Can Do, what interesting information, news, or resources might you have overlooked from the past few months? Although some older items may no longer be interesting, others may still be relevant and helpful a year or three from now. This post can help guide you through the first 100-plus posts at this blog. You can click from the table of contents below to any section of this page that interests you–and then another click on “table of contents” can take you back to the contents, or “top of this page” takes you back to this introduction.
- About We Can Do
- The five most popular We Can Do posts
- The five most under-rated We Can Do posts
- Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies, or Helpful Organizations
- Finding sources of information, research, papers, or statistics
- Funding sources: leads on where to find funding support
- Academic papers related to disabled people in developing countries
- News related to disabled people in developing countries
- Opinion pieces
- Call for papers for conferences and journals
- International Conference and Event Announcements
- Job, internship, and volunteer opportunities
- Education and training opportunities
- Missed opportunities for events, jobs, etc.
- What’s next for We Can Do?
About We Can Do
Thinking about submitting your own written materials, job posts, conference announcements, or resources to We Can Do? Check the Wish list for written materials and resources.
Want to receive an alert in email when a new post goes up at We Can Do? You can Subscribe to We Can Do for free.
I changed the organization and appearance of We Can Do in early October to its present format.
The Five Most Popular We Can Do posts
The five listed here are the ones that have attracted the most “page views” since We Can Do began in late July. You may notice that not all of these are featured in the 10 “most popular posts” listed in the right-hand navigation bar. That’s because the navigation bar only lists posts that have received a lot of traffic very recently (I think within the past few days; its done automatically by wordpress so I’m not sure how it works). But here I’m listing the five that have the highest TOTAL page views.
- An announcement about the International Day of Disabled Persons, held on December 3, 2007, has received more than 600 hits.
- More than 500 We Can Do readers were especially anxious to learn more about some limited available funding for conference participation from developing nations.
- More than 400 readers wanted to learn from a Case study on early intervention for blind children.
- The international Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) in plain language has attracted more than 400 readers. This version of the CRPD was written for people who have trouble understanding the legal language of the original, or who want a tool to help them translate the CRPD into another language.
- More than 400 people have learned more About We Can Do.
The Five Most Under-Rated We Can Do posts
Are these posts really under-rated? You’ll have to read them and decide for yourself. But in choosing these five, I used two criteria: 1. These are posts that have received fewer than 100 visitors–sometimes far fewer. 2. These are posts that I think could be helpful or interesting to readers and maybe deserve more attention than they have gotten. These are in no particular order:
- See Finding development organizations and resources for a link that can help you find major international development organizations and funders. Some of these organizations already work on disability issues and may be interested in building new partnerships with new DPOs, development organizations, and other NGOs.
- Equipment that enables blind people in industrialized countries to read computer screens can be expensive. But new technology can help bring screen readers and magnifiers to blind people in developing countries. The Sightsaver’s Dolphin Pen is cheaper, which means it is easier to afford in countries where the average income may be only a few hundred dollars per person per year.
- Looking for statistics to back up your arguments, or to add to your literature review for your dissertation? You can consult Numbers Don’t Feed People–Or Do They?” for a few leads.
- Want to help teach disabled people in your country about the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? Handicap International has developd a teaching kit on the CRPD with suggested teaching points, power point programs, Word files and PDF files.
- Teachers, parents, and other advocates for children can use the Child-friendly version of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to teach both disabled and non-disabled children about disability rights.
Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies or Helpful Organizations
Mainstream international development agencies sometimes say that they don’t know how to find people with disabilities, or their representative organizations, in the developing countries where they work. Reviewing the July post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations may help point you in the right direction. Also see Disability Organizations in Afghanistan, Asia, Kenya, Uganda.
Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) sometimes aren’t sure where to find mainstream development organizations and resources that might be willing to collaborate with them.
There is an international network of organizations for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome.
Resources for Inclusive Development
Both disability advocates and mainstream development organizations want to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when countries and organizations fight poverty or improve public health, education, water, and other services. But it can be a challenge to figure out how to make projects and government policies more inclusive. The following resources can help:
- Making Poverty Reduction Strategies Inclusive: for disability advocates and other individuals or organizations that want to help national government policies become more inclusive of disabled people when they fight poverty. This handbook can be downloaded for free.
- Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability, for mainstream international development organizations written by Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). Download for free.
- An On-line book on Universal Design and Visitability can be downloaded for free.
Resources on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
By now, you may be aware that a global movement is taking place to ratify the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Many relevant resources are now being produced in relation to the CRPD, some of which have been posted or featured here at We Can Do:
Reviewing case studies of projects implemented elsewhere can be a valuable source of ideas that could help you figure out how to run or implement your own projects. I would love to post many more best-practice and failed-practice case studies than I have available right now. If you think you have something worth sharing, please check my Wish List of Written Materials and Resource and contact me at ashettle [at] patriot.net.
But for now, here are two case studies:
- A Case Study about an Early intervention program for blind children in Russia
- a collection of short case summaries of projects for deaf children in Burkino Faso, Zimbabwe, Somaliland, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and India
- A set of Recommendations on how to empower people with intellectual disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region was developed at a conference held in the region in October 2007.
- A dictionary for Sri Lankan Sign Language has been published.
- A new device functions as a screen reader or magnifier for blind people in developing countries: this Sightsavers’ Dolphin Pen is cheaper than the standard screen readers used in industrialized countries. That helps bring it within reach of a wider number of blind people even in countries where the average income is very low.
Finding Useful Sources of Information and Research
Finding academic research, papers, resources, or statistics
Looking for academic research and academic papers; resources that can be used by people working in the field; or sources of statistics? Some of the following posts may be helpful:
- Disability Knowledge: Hungarian and English
- Numbers Don’t Feed People–Or Do They? On finding statistics relevant to disabled people in developing countries
Information on people with disabilities
Interested in learning about the living conditions of people with disabilities in specific nations, or in specific thematic areas? Some of the following may be of interest:
- Report on Disabled People in Zimbabwe
- World Bank Report on Disabled people in India
- A report on research capacity on mental health in low- and middle-income countries was published by the Global Forum for Health Research on Mental Health Day in October 2007.
- The International Labour Organization (ILO) published a report on employment and people with disabilities, which calls for more active and sustained efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities in part to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.
- An early post reviews information on deaf children with additional disabilities and resources available for them in developing countries.
- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) may have some funding for DPOs, NGOs, or other entities to be used for disability inclusion.
- The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) has come out with a resource that could help women’s organizations find funding.
- The Worldwide Initiative for Grantmaker Support (WINGS) Global Fund for Community Foundations makes grants of up to $50,000 USD to emerging and developing community foundations or support organizations in developing countries. Note that these funds are NOT meant for individual non-government organizations (NGOs) but for small FOUNDATIONS or organizations meant to SUPPORT NGOs.
- The United Nations Democracy Fund holds an annual competition for funding applications for projects to promote better democratic participation. The 2007 deadline is December 18. Missed it? Review their information carefully and consider preparing early for their next funding round.
- Looking for funding to attend an international or local conference? three organizations have some limited funds available for conference participation from developing countries; two of these are focused on Latin America, but the first one listed (the Ford Foundation) covers other regions as well.
- The Inter-American
Foundations Grassroots Development Fellowship Program offers research fellowships to doctorate (PhD) students who want to study grassroots movements among poor people in Latin America. The application deadline is January 22, 2008.
- Funding is available for South Asian projects on HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination; the application deadline is January 31, 2008.
We Can Do has published, or re-published, academic papers, or linked to same, on a range of subjects, including:
- Violence against blind and visually impaired girls in school in Malawi by Abigail Suka
- Changing Face of Disability Movement: from Charity to Empowerment by Kishor Bhanushali
- Impact of the South Asian Earthquake on Disabled People in the State of Jammu and Kashmir by Dr. Parvinder Singh
- Equalizing Educational Opportunity for the Nigerian-Ghanaian Blind Girl Child by Florence Banku Obi.
- Violence Against Women with Disabilities in South Africa by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa.
At one point in September, the international disability community prematurely thought we might be On the Verge of Making History by ratifying the disability rights community.
- In October, We Can Do reported that Gabon and India ratified, and Cambodia signed, the International CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated a project improving access to services for people with psycho-social (psychiatric) disabilities.
- An activist, Mussa Chiwaula, has been lobbying the Malawi government for disability rights.
- Read a report on the first known African deaf HIV/AIDS workshop.
- Mental Disabilities Rights International (MDRI) reports severe abuse and human rights violations of people with mental disabilities in Argentina.
- A Report was issued on a disability forum held in Pakistan.
- Mugiho Takeshita at the UNDP’s Crisis Prevention and Recovery was seeking information on implementing the CRPD in relation to crisis prevention and recovery for disabilities caused by violence and natural disaster.
- A Report was issued from the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters Conference that was held in Spain in July 2007.
- Mental Disabilities Rights International (MDRI) reports on human rights abuses of disabled children and adults in Serbia.
- The Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference issued a Memorandum calling for Commonwealth countries to support the CRPD.
- A Brazilian journalist and disability advocate received the International Service Human Rights Award for her defense of the human rights of people with disabilities.
- The International Day of Disabled Persons was held on December 3, 2007.
- A web site on Disability Awareness Week in India was launched.
- Disability advocates have launched a global campaign to ratify the international disability rights treaty.
- The United Nations Secretary General made a statement in support of employing disabled people.
- People in India celebrated the International Day of Disabled Persons.
- Rosangela Berman Bieler made a statement on receiving the International Services Human Rights Award.
- Read a summary of a round table discussion on disability rights in Bangladesh, which held in December 2007.
- Bangladesh, Spain, Namibia, and Nicaragua ratify the international disability rights treaty (CRPD).
- El Salvador, Mexico ratify the CRPD.
So far, the opinion pieces here are all by me. But I would like for We Can Do to be host to an active exchange of ideas and differing perspectives. If you have a strong opinion about something, please consider submitting it. Yes, that includes opinions that disagree with mine! Consult the Wish list for written materials and resources for ideas of the kinds of topics I’m trying to cover at We Can Do.
Meanwhile, here are a few of my own opinion pieces:
- Dying for Employment
- Channeling Remittances from Disabled Emigrants
- One Laptop Per Child–But is it Inclusive?
Call for Papers (for Conferences, Journals, Other)
You might be just now starting your academic career as an undergraduate or graduate student. Or perhaps you have been doing quantitative or qualitative research, or writing policy analysis, or case studies, or social analysis, for years. Either way, if you’re looking for opportunities to present, publish, or otherwise disseminate your papers or run a workshop, then check out these upcoming or ongoing opportunities:
- A Call for proposals for an international forum on women’s rights and development is open until January 28, 2008. The conference itself will be in November 2008.
- A Call for papers for the International Conference on Social Science Research Methodologies is open until February 2008. The conference itself will be in September 2008.
- Authors are needed to Write book chapters for a book to be entitled, “Post-Conflict Rehabilitation: Creating a Trauma Membrane for Individuals and Communities and Restructuring Lives after Trauma”.
- If you have ever written a paper about the World Bank for a class or for a dissertation during your post-secondary education, then you can share your university papers on the World Bank.
International Conferences and Events
The South Asian Conference on Autism is being held in New Delhi, India in January 2008.
The 8th annual meeting of the Gulf Disability Society will meet in United Arab Emirates in March 2008.
- The Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities will meet in the Hawaii islands, USA, in April 2008.
- The 8th Symposium of the Arab Federation of the Organs of the Deaf “Improving Education and Rehabilitation of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing People” will be held in Saudi Arabia in April 2008.
- The Unite for Sight International Health Confernece will be held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA in April 2008.
- The Conference on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons on Disabilities will be held in Ethiopia in May 2008.
- The i-CREATE International Conference on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology will be held in Thailand in May 2008.
- The 21st World Congress of Rehabilitation International will meet in Quebec in August 2008.
- The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication conference will be held in Montreal, Canada, in August 2008.
- The International Conference on Social Science Research Methodologies will meet in South Africa in September 2008. A Call for Paper/Presentation Abstracts is open until February 2008.
The Association on Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)’s International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2008. A call for proposals is open until January 28, 2008.
Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities
We Can Do will probably never be a comprehensive job-board. Serious job, internship, or volunteer placement hunters will want to explore other means of finding opportunities. For example, jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the international field generally, or in the disability field generally, can sometimes be found at www.idealist.org. But I do occasionally happen to come across a job announcement. Here are a few that may still be open to applications:
- Three job posts are available in Luanda, Angola; the deadline for these is December 31, 2007.
- On-line translators for a corporate social responsibility initiative called “Disability Focus”. Contact organization to inquire regarding deadline.
- The United Nations is seeking a Senior Social Affairs Officer, P-5. The application deadline is January 14, 2008.
Education and Training Opportunities
- Leadership training for women with disabilities in South Asia will be available in February 2008.
- Mobility International USA is recruiting men and women with disabilities from Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru for the International Leadership Employment and Disability (I-LEAD) program for 21 days in March 2008 in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
- Study human rights at Central European University, for grassroots activists for human rights involved with a local non-government organization (NGO), or for lawyers with an interest in human rights.
Some of the material I post at We Can Do is time-sensitive material. That means the conferences announced here have come and gone; job posts have been filled; and deadlines are over. So, if it’s too late for you to do anything about any of the following announcements, then why bother listing them? First, some conference organizers issue compilations of papers and presentations or other interesting materials after their event is over. If a topic interests you, it may be worth communicating with event organizers to see if any follow-up publications are available. Second, organizations that offer one conference, job opportunity, call for papers, etc., may offer something similar in the future. Many conferences, for example, meet every one, two, three, or four years. Monitoring, joining, or communicating with organizations of interest to you could help ensure that you learn about the next opportunity in time to plan for it.
Missed Call for Papers
The German Journal for Disability and Development called for papers on art and disabilities to be submitted by the end of November 2007.
In October 2007, the International Labour Organisation had a training course for professionals from developing countries.
Missed Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities
Remember that it is too late to apply for these specific opportunities. These are listed here in case you want to check out the sponsoring organizations for future opportunities like these:
- Technical Officer: Disability and Rehabilitation, at the World Health Organization
- Executive Director of the Global Partnership for Disability and Development
- Volunteer Opportunity with VSO in Kenya
- Technical Coordinator in Disability in Bangladesh
- Regional Coordinator, South Asia
- English teacher for deaf adults in Jamaica
- Technical Officer: Injuries, violence prevention, disabilities, and rehabilitation, at the World Health Organization
- The Commonwealth disabled peoples conference in Uganda was held in November 2007. Participants at that conference issued a memorandum asking commonwealth countries to support the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- The International Conference on Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations was held in Germany in November 2007.
- A conference was held by the Community Based Rehabilitation African Network on Inclusive Policy in South Africa in November 2007.
- An international conference on intellectual disabilities and mental retardation was held in Thailand in November 2007.
- The 7th International Seminar on Housing the Poor was held in Thailand in November 2007.
- An on-line forum on the sexual and reproductive health of people with disabilities was held via e-mail in November.
- A national conference on the CRPD was held in India in early December 2007.
- An on-line forum on successful family planning programs held in December 2007; people may also wish to full out a survey on this topic.
- A photo competition on decent work and people with disabilities was held by the International Labour Organization, ending in November 2007.
What’s Next for We Can Do?
I am not yet satisfied with We Can Do. I still see many gaps that I want to repair. I want to find, and post, more materials of a pragmatic nature. By which I mean, material that people in the field can put to immediate use in improving the lives of disabled people in developing countries. If you think you can help me locate helpful materials, please review my Wish list for written materials and resources and contact me.
I also want to reach more development professionals at mainstream development organizations and more employees and volunteers at international disability organizations. And I want to reach more small DPOs and individual advocates in more developing countries. The knowledge shared at We Can Do cannot help until it is brought to people with disabilities living in poverty in developing countries. That “final mile” can only be bridged by readers like YOU.
If you want to help, I hope you will consider telling your colleagues and contacts about We Can Do. If you run a web site or a blog, please consider linking to We Can Do at https://wecando.wordpress.com. If you have the skills, the time, and the commitment to launch a We Can Do mirror site translation into some other language, please talk to me (leave a comment or email me at ashettle [at] patriot.net). And please do feel free to print out the more helpful We Can Do posts to share with people you know in developing countries who do not have easy access to the Internet.
For those of you who like numbers: We Can Do had 285 page views in July; 851 in August; 1305 in September; 2936 in October; 4862 in November; and more than 5100 in the first three weeks of December. And who is responsible for making these numbers happen? Why—you, of course! So, thank you for visiting We Can Do.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
If you wish, you can receive an alert in email when new posts are added to We Can Do. You can subscribe for free via “Feedblitz” at:
If you are blind, visually impaired, or dyslexic, then you will need to subscribe in a different way. The usual web form at the Feedblitz site above asks subscribers to prove they are a human being–not a robot–by looking at an image and typing the letters they see. This is not accessible to screen readers. It may also be difficult for some people with dyslexia. BUT the good news is that Feedblitz says they will help you subscribe. If you are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise unable to subscribe via the feedblitz web subscription form, then you can send an email to Feedblitz Support at
Tell them you want to subscribe to the We Can Do blog at https://wecando.wordpress.com Also tell them whether you want these alerts via email, Skype, AOL IM, or Twitter (public or private).
Feedblitz says that they will help blind or visually impaired users subscribe to the blog(s) of your choice within one business day. This probably means 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. So if you try to sign up when it is Friday night in the United States then Feedblitz might not help until the following Monday.
I ALSO encourage blind, visually impaired, or dyslexic users to let me know that you are trying to subscribe. If you do this, then I can help make sure your subscription goes through as quickly as possible, or I can help you follow up with Feedblitz if you run into trouble. You can contact me by posting a comment in the comments area below. (Be sure to put your email address in the field provided for it so I can help you.) Or you can send me an email at ashettle [at] patriot.net.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Currently, We Can Do gathers news; announcements; academic papers; case studies; opinion pieces; information about resources; and other materials of interest to disabled advocates and international development professionals from a wide range of sources. In addition to these, from time to time, I write fresh content of my own.
I also hope to be able to depend heavily on YOU–We Can Do readers–for some of the best, most interesting, and helpful materials. Examples of materials that would interest me include, but are not limited to: “best practice” case studies; “failed practice” case studies; checklists; fundraising advice or resources; other pragmatic resources; academic papers or reports; student projects; press releases; opinion pieces; announcements; and more. For more detail, please click on “Wish List for Written Materials and Resources” at the top navigation bar.
If you can assist with my current top priority, or with any of the other items in my “wish list”, then PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. Email me at ashettle at patriot dot net or leave a short note in the comment area below and I’ll contact you.
Current Top Priority for We Can Do
Are you from Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, or Panama? If so, were you involved with the movement to persuade your government to sign and ratify the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? If so PLEASE CONTACT ME (ashettle at patriot dot net, or leave a comment below with your email address).
I want to interview people involved with these movements (via email) so I can write a story describing what strategies you used; any barriers you faced along the way; how you overcame these barriers; any mistakes you made, how you corrected them, and how other countries can avoid them; what activities or techniques you think were the most critical to your success; and so forth. Sharing this type of information at We Can Do–and elsewhere–could be immensely helpful to disability movements in other countries that are working toward the same goals.
My primary written language is English, pero puedo escribir y leer, mas o menos, en espanol tambien. (Lo siento para la mala ortografia–no se como crear acentos en WordPress.) Once we are in contact, I will probably have many questions for you–and follow up questions after that!
Thank you for helping make We Can Do become a strong, good-quality resource for people with disabilities in developing countries and the people who are working hard to meet their needs.
Edited to Add: I do not post my full email address because any recognizable email address posted on the web then immediately becomes the target of “spam harvesters” and starts receiving tons of unwanted, unsolicited commercial emails. But I spelled it out above and spell it out again here. But this time I’m amplifying it because I realize that not all people have learned how to parse spelled out email addresses:
My username is: ashettle
Every email address has an @ at sign @ between the user name and the domain name, thus ashettle@
My email domain is patriot.net
Put it all together and you have my email address.
Or if that is still too confusing–or if it’s just easier for you–then feel free to leave a note below (with your email address in the area provided for it) and I’ll get in touch.
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As you know, We Can Do is a brand-new blog. That means I’m still looking for different ways to improve it. If you’re a regular reader at We Can Do, and if you’re sighted, then you may have noticed that I have now changed the visual appearance of We Can Do. (Is any change noticeable to readers with visual impairments using voice synthesized or Braille readers? I’d be interested to know.) Most importantly, I have changed the way that information is organized on the page. I would like your advice on whether this new presentation is helpful to you–even if you only read We Can Do on occasion.
You will notice that the main text of the newest blog post is now presented at the left hand side of this page. If you scroll down past the text of the newest post, you will see at the bottom a list of titles for the most recent few blog posts before it. (Or, if you’re blind, then you’ll hear or tactile that list!) You can click on any of these to read the post in question. Further down still is a list of links to other web sites of interest to people involved with fighting poverty and oppression among people with disabilities in developing countries.
There are also two navigation bars to the right. In these navigation bars you can find a search engine that will allow you to do a key-word search throughout the entire blog; you can browse through the We Can Do archives to make sure there’s nothing interesting here that you’ve missed; see the five most recent blog posts; link the 10 most popular blog posts at this time; see the list of categories into which I organize my blog posts (so, for example, if you want to see all my posts on deaf people, or all my posts related to the South Asian region, or whatever, then you can do that); see a list of the five most recently posted comments at this blog; and more.
Previously, if you clicked on, let’s say, the archives for all the posts made in the month of September, then the full text of all 17 of them would show up on the screen at once. Then if you wanted to skip over some of them, you could only do that by scrolling … and scrolling … and scrolling down the screen. Now, with this new structure, you only see the title and the first paragraph or so for each post in September, then you have to follow the link to see the rest of the post. That makes it easier to scroll down past the posts that aren’t relevant to your concerns to find the ones that are. I hope this improvement will assist readers in browsing through the backlog of posts at We Can Do (now 38, including this one).
I am limited in what changes I can make because I am not a computer programmer. Also, 99% of the structure and presentation of any blog hosted and programmed by wordpress.com is controlled by wordpress.com, not by me. However, if you encounter any frustrations with the appearance or presentation of this blog, then please do let me know. I have access to a limited range of possible “themes” for this blog, each of which organizes information in a somewhat different fashion. I am willing to explore alternatives–as long as they exist!
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[Note: this text has also just now been published as a new, permanent “Page” for this blog–see the top navigation bar, or the navigation bar at the right hand side of this page.]
After I came up with the basic concept for this blog, one of the first things I had to decide was: What to name it?
So: Why “We Can Do”?
“We” Means …
All of us combined–you, me, and the other people reading this blog–have the knowledge and skills to ensure that disabled people are not left behind when decision makers meet to figure out how to put all children in school, or end poverty, or bring water and electricity to isolated communities. Together, we have the skills and passion to create a world in which poor people with disabilities in developing countries have the power to choose: to choose independence, to choose self-determination, to choose life.
The trouble is, “We” isn’t “We” yet. Or at least, it’s not a single, unified “We.”
We have people in both large and small mainstream organizations dedicated to ending poverty in developing countries for all people. Unfortunately, many of these organizations have inadvertently left disabled people out–not because they mean to, but because they don’t know enough about how to include them. Some people in these organizations are working to change that.
We have people in disability advocacy organizations who bring both passion and first-hand knowledge to the fight for human rights. For some, that includes the right for disabled people to be free of poverty.
We have people in local, national, and international organizations who might not identify as “disabled” at all. They might simply identify as “Deaf”, and view themselves as members of a cultural or linguistic community. Or perhaps they identify as “Autistic” or some other label, and view that as simply a form of neurodiversity. What they do share is the desire to ensure that Deaf, Autistic, and other people, too have access to education, health services, and the opportunities they need to escape poverty.
We have people who work in the intersection of the dual fields of development and disability. Some work in organizations that focus on disability in the context of international development. Others work in mainstream development organizations, perhaps within a unit dedicated to disability issues.
And we have enthusiastic younger people who have not yet started their careers. Young people who care about the fate of people with disabilities in developing countries and want to learn more.
We all have something to offer each other. But disability experts and development experts often don’t know how to find each other. People with one disability might have limited contact with people with a different disability–even though some of the solutions to their shared challenges may be the same. Young people would love to talk to anyone who is willing to give them the time–but they might not know where to find them.
The word “We” in “We Can Do” means: it is time for all of us to share our ideas and resources and become one, stronger, more unified “We.”
“We” means that anyone and everyone who cares about removing barriers that make it harder for disabled people in developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty is welcome to this blog.
“Can” means …
Have you ever had the experience of being underestimated, ignored, or overlooked?
Have people ever “forgotten” to invite you to a meeting that affects your entire neighborhood, community, or village because they were sure you “wouldn’t be interested”? Or because they thought it would be too “difficult” to include you?
Have people ever not bothered to ask you for YOUR ideas how to solve problems that affect your entire neighborhood, community, or village because they assumed you would have little or nothing to suggest? Or because they assume that people who RECEIVE help–like you–are never able to GIVE help in return?
Have you ever had a decision made ABOUT you WITHOUT you because people thought you weren’t “competent” enough to make your own choices about your own life?
Have you ever had people try to solve your problems for you without even asking what you believe are your most urgent needs? Or without allowing you to come up with ideas for solutions yourself? Or without allowing you to simply ask for the specific resources, skills training, funding, and other assistance you need to solve your own problems yourself?
If you have a disability, or if you are poor, or if you are from a developing country, then most, if not all, of the above experiences will likely seem very familiar to you.
Many non-disabled people, or middle-income and rich people, and people from high-income countries want to “help.” And most have the very best intentions. But even good people with good intentions sometimes forget that poor disabled people in developing countries are their own most important allies for change. Sometimes good people with good intentions forget to work WITH people who are disabled, or poor, or from developing countries–not FOR them.
The word “CAN” in the name of this blog is a reminder not to underestimate what people with disabilities can do. Or what poor people can do. Or what people from developing countries can do. Frequently, the real barrier isn’t the disability, and sometimes not even the poverty or the geography. The real barrier is that poor disabled people are denied access to the things they need to solve their own problems. Most of the time, when we say, “They can’t do it,” what we really mean is, “We haven’t yet asked them what they need to turn ‘can’t’ into ‘can.'”
They may need support and tools and resources. They may need skills training and expert advice. And, yes, they nearly always need funding. (Don’t we all?) But if you ask poor disabled people from developing countries, “Can you do it?” the answer you receive often will be, “Yes, we can.”
“DO” means …
What does the word “Do” mean in the name “We Can Do”?
That depends partly on YOU, and the other people reading this blog.
I expect this blog will include many kinds of posts. Some will simply announce an upcoming conference, training opportunity, or other event. Others will deal with concepts and ideas that might be useful for people new to disability or development to think about. Or, I might arrange “pro” and “con” essays (and rebuttals) among experts who hold opposing opinions on issues important to disabled people in developing countries.
But I don’t want this blog to be all in the abstract. If you’re reading this blog, that’s because you care about real people who have real problems who need real solutions–NOW. You care about people who don’t have time to sit around and wait while “experts” talk at each other through the Internet. You work with people who are starving–for food, for water, for shelter, for health services, for education, for vocational training, for jobs, for microfinance services, and for a path out of poverty. And because of that, you want to DO–not just talk.
Talking about ideas and concepts and sharing information still have their place. Bringing together people who have very different personal and professional backgrounds also has a place. And I hope to do both of these things here. But I would also very much like to include purely pragmatic materials in this blog. In other words, resources that can be put to immediate use by people out in the field so they can start making a tangible difference in the lives of real people. Resources that can be used by people who DO, not by people who talk.
And for that, I am counting on YOU.
Do you have resources or materials that could be helpful to people who are working hard to make a difference in the lives of poor people with disabilities in developing countries? Perhaps you have a check list that can be used by educators in poor, rural areas to make their schools a little more accessible to disabled students without spending money or consuming time that they just don’t have. Or maybe you have been running a successful project that you think could be replicated elsewhere. And you’re willing to write up a case study that would help people figure out how to emulate your efforts. Or maybe you have done exactly the opposite: you have allowed a failed project to collapse because you realized that it just wasn’t accomplishing what it was supposed to do. And you think you know where you went wrong. You, too, could write up a case study that could help other people avoid repeating the mistakes you have already made.
If you have a pragmatic resource to share with people who DO, please send it my way. I’d love to post it right here at this blog.
You can reach me by email at ashettle & patriot.net but replace the &ersand with the @ at sign. And of course type my email address as all one word. (I’m presenting my email address in this way to help protect it from spam harvesters.) Or, if you have trouble reaching me by email (for example, if my spam filter mistakes your email for spam), post a comment at this blog and I’ll get in touch with you.
Please be patient. I will try to respond to emails promptly. But please understand that I work on this blog as a labor of love in my free time, which is often limited. Please DO send follow-up emails (or comments) to help me remember to respond.
I’m working on a set of guidelines for “Guest Bloggers” (which you would be, if you submit something that I post!). It’s not ready yet. But don’t wait for me to finish it before offering your help or submitting something for me to publish.
For more information on the “We Can Do” blog, also see the About the “We Can Do” Blog” page.
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What is this blog about?
This blog is for anyone who wants to end poverty and oppression for poor disabled people in developing countries.
I plan to cover a wide range of topics.
Often I may simply point to a resource or web site that might be of interest to you.
Other times, I might invite a “guest blogger” to write an essay about something related to disability and poverty in developing countries. (Or disability and education … or health … or microfinance … or water and sanitation … or civil and human rights … or … the list goes on, as long as it relates to people with disabilities in developing countries).
Or I might interview someone who has interesting information, knowledge, or experiences to share about disabilities and poverty or human rights in developing countries.
Or sometimes I might simply express an opinion of my own.
One of my hopes for this blog is that it might become a way to bring together people from around the world from a wide range of backgrounds and interests. In other words:
This blog is for: People with and without disabilities. People in developing countries and in industrialized countries. People who grew up poor (or who are poor now), and people who grew up with all the food, water, clothing, education, health care, and other basic services that they needed.
This includes culturally Deaf, signing people who may not identify as “disabled” at all. As well as deaf or hard of hearing people who do.
This blog is for: People who might know a great deal about international development, but who are still learning about disabilities. I hope this blog can become a resource to you in figuring out how to more actively include people with disabilities (and Deaf/deaf people, “disabled” or not) in your mainstream program activities.
This blog is ALSO for: People who know a great deal about disabilities and disability rights, but who maybe don’t know much about this strange field called “international development” and wonder why they should.
(For now, let me just say two quick things: 1. No, it is NOT just “something to do with economics”! It includes that, yes. But that’s only one dimension of the development field. 2. If you care about disability rights in developing countries, then understanding a little about “international development” and development organizations could still be helpful to your work even if you think you will never do “international development” yourself.)
This blog is for: People who know about disabilities, but who maybe are not yet familiar with the “social model” or the human rights perspective of disability.
I think this is an important concept that anyone working with, or on behalf of, disabled people should be familiar with. And, ideally, live by. I plan to talk a bit about this topic from time to time. But this philosophy will permeate the whole blog even when I don’t refer to it directly.
This blog is for: People who are still new both to disabilities and to development or to developing countries.
This blog is for: People who are already experts in disability and development but who want to learn about best practices being done at other organizations or in other countries. Or who hope to learn about the occasional unfamiliar resource.
This blog is for: Professionals who work in the field of development, particularly professionals in disability and development.
This blog is for: Advocates and activists who volunteer their free time in a non-government organization (NGO) run by (or on behalf of) people with disabilities in developing countries.
This blog is for: Volunteers working with disabled people in developing countries. For example: Peace Corps, VSO, etc.
This blog is for: People who are not yet actively involved in improving the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries, but who would like to be.
This blog is for: People who want to learn from the perspectives of people who come from a different professional or personal background from yours.
I look forward to learning from your own perspectives and ideas in the comments area of this blog site, or in the essays you submit as a guest blogger. I hope you will find this blog to be helpful to you in turn.
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