Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Disability and Development Online Consultations March 8-28, 2013

Posted on 13 March 2013. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Call for Comments or Information, Cross-Disability, Education, Employment, Events and Conferences, Health, Housing, Human Rights, Inclusion, indigenous people, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Networking Opportunities, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, universal design, Women, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

These online consultations (from March 8 to 28th, ie RIGHT NOW) are an opportunity to influence important decisions about how people with disabilities will be included in efforts to reduce poverty around the world.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been profoundly influential in making decisions on how to prioritize foreign assistance and government funds in more than 100 developing countries. The global community is now working to identify what goals should replace them after 2015. This means that the next few months will be critical for ensuring that people with disabilities are not again forgotten.  It is important for the global disability community, our constituency organizations, and professionals in the fields of international development and human rights be engaged.

Read below and follow the links for more detail on how individuals can participate in this on-line dialogue.

Online Consultations
As part of the preparatory process for the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD), the HLMDD Online Consultations (HOC) will be conducted from 8 to 28 March 2013. The consultations are co-organised by DESA and UNICEF under the existing platform of the World We Want 2015 (http://www.worldwewant2015.org/enable) in multiple languages.

Please register at: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/register.  If you have difficulty registering, then please email enable@worldwewant2015.org for assistance.

Simultaneous consultations will take place in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The site is compatible with screen readers, however, if you are unable to access the site, please email your response to: enable@worldwewant2015.org. Please note that the forum is moderated, therefore your post will not appear immediately but will be posted within twenty-four hours.
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NEWS: Disability Inclusion in Poverty Reduction Strategy in Mozambique

Posted on 24 February 2009. Filed under: Case Studies, Inclusion, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), News, Poverty, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Note from We Can Do editor: Many developing countries are required to develop a “Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper” (PRSP) as a condition for receiving debt relief from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This strategy paper is meant to describe how the country will reduce poverty among its citizens. A country’s PRSP can have a profound impact on the policies and programs it implements to fight poverty. But not all PRSPs are fully inclusive of people with disabilities. This can mean they are left behind while others are gaining new opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty. Rosangela Berman Bieler, at the Inter-American Institute on Disability recently circulated the following email on the mailing list for the Global Partnership on Disability and Development describing how people with disabilities were included in the process of developing the PRSP in Mozambique.]

by Rosangela Berman Bieler

Dear Colleagues:

This message is to share a brief report on the Inclusive Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper project in Mozambique, launched in January in Maputo. Our civil society counterparts in Mozambique are FAMOD (Forum of Disability Organizations) and Handicap International. Maria Reina and Deepti Samant of the Global Partnership on Disability and Development Secretariat also joint us for part of the mission.

During the mission, we could establish many alliances with local and international agencies and government officials. Among the various activities that we were involved, we had a very good and participatory DPO training with 25 leaders of FAMOD. Following the meeting, FAMOD is constituting a working group, composed by civil society organizations, to follow up on country Projects like the FTI on Education for All, the Mozambique Tourism Anchor Program (IFC), School Health (MoE), HIV-AIDS and other possible entry points.

We also had a presentation meeting for general stakeholders, held at the World Bank Office in MZ. The activity was a success – full house and many potential partners from all sectors, very interested in working with inclusive approaches for the next cycle of the Country’s poverty reduction plan that may follow the current PARPA, finishing in 2009.

Besides other Inclusive PRSP training and activities to be held in MZ during 2009, we are also planning with GPDD, an International Seminar on Accessibility and Inclusive Tourism in Maputo, in June, and we are looking forward to be able to work in alliance with all the agencies working in the field as well. Inclusive approaches in Tourism can generate local accessibility and development for those who live in the country. Mozambique can really benefit from such an initiative.

In the field of Education, we are very excited with the possibility of having the local NGOs and Networks – such as the Education for All Network that accompanied us during the events – to interact and influence the school construction that will happen now, for the FTI, to make sure they are built accessible.

We are also working in synchrony with the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, that will go on until 2019. It is possible that MZ hosts the launching of the African Campaign on HIV-AIDS and Disability in October. There are two major FAMOD projects going on in the field and hopefully this can also generate good mainstreaming opportunities.

Our plan is to involve other Portuguese Speaking Countries in most of these activities, as language is on other important cause of exclusion from participation. Hopefully Development Agencies working in other Lusophone countries in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guiné Bissau, Sao Tomé and Prince), and also in East Timor, will be able to partner with this initiative and facilitate this process as well.

All the best,

Rosangela Berman Bieler
Inclusive Development Specialist

Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development
– Doing our part on the construction of a society for all –

Rosangela Berman Bieler
Executive Director
Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development
Website: www.iidi.org

[Another Note from We Can Do editor: People who wish to learn more about the PRSP process, and how it can be more inclusive of people with disabilities, are encouraged to consult the on-line manual, “Making PRSP Inclusive” at http://www.making-prsp-inclusive.org/]



I received Rosangela Berman Bieler’s note via the GPDD mailing list.

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JOB Post: Education Specialist, Fast Track Initiative, World Bank

Posted on 24 February 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Children, Education, HIV/AIDS, Jobs & Internships, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Opportunities, Poverty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

ob # 090252
Job Title Education Spec.
Job Family Education
Location: Washington, DC
Appointment International Hire
Job Posted 17-Feb-2009
Closing Date 03-Mar-2009
Language Requirements
English [Essential]
Appointment Type Term (Duration: 2 yrs)
Background / General description
THIS IS A 2 YEAR TERM POSITION WITH POSSIBLE EXTENSION TO 3 YEARS.
To apply go to http://extjobs.worldbank.org/external/default/main?pagePK=64273552&piPK=64273556&theSitePK=1058433&JobNo=090252&order=descending&sortBy=job-req-num&location=ALL&menuPK=64262364

The Fast Track Initiative (FTI) is a global partnership launched in 2002 to accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal quality primary education by 2015. All low-income countries which demonstrate serious commitment to achieving universal primary completion can receive support from FTI. The FTI is a high visibility and politically sensitive aid platform which currently provides technical and financial support to over 50 countries, with the majority in Africa. The FTI provides direct financial support to countries with endorsed education sector plans through a multi-donor Catalytic Fund which currently has over $1,400 million in commitments through 2009, making it the second largest source of financing for basic education in low income countries. It will also provide support to conflict-affected and other fragile states through the recently created Education Transition Fund managed by UNICEF. The FTI Partnership is supported by a Secretariat housed in the World Bank in Washington, DC.

Duties and Accountabilities
The Education Specialist will provide support to countries developing education sector plans and programs to reach the most vulnerable populations who constitute the majority of out-of-school children. S/he will also work with FTI Secretariat Staff, FTI partners, country donors, civil society organizations and the World Bank to provide substantive input and technical support on a range of education and development topics such as improving quality/learning outcomes; fragile states; strengthening in-country processes; donor harmonization; improving gaps in policy, financing, data, and capacity development; and FTI’s response to HIV/AIDS, gender, and disability issues. S/he will report to the Head of the FTI Secretariat and support and collaborate with the FTI Secretariats’ Senior Education Specialists who lead FTI’s work on learning outcomes and country level processes. Specific responsibilities will include:
1. Out of School/Vulnerable Children Coordinate partnership planning and processes to address key constraints for vulnerable populations to achieving the education MDG.
• Assist in designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating a targeted outreach program to reach the populations most at risk of not benefiting from EFA/FTI programs.
• Develop a results framework for working with vulnerable populations. Develop and monitor indicators and activities linked to specific marginalized populations (gender, poverty, rural/urban, disability, and child labor).
• Provide background research on education and development policies as appropriate.
• Strengthen the policy dialogue within the FTI partnership by researching the donor partners’ statements on policy (user fees, language of instruction, disability, gender, etc.) and identifying common principles and shared understandings.
• Liaise with the Interagency Task Team on HIV/AIDS and education and strengthen mechanisms to ensure that this collaboration between education and HIV/AIDS is brought down to the country level.
• Represent the FTI Secretariat on the INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility

2. Country Focal Point Serve as focal point for a select number of FTI endorsed and potential countries.
• Act as first line of contact for all FTI communications with coordinating agency.
• Provide and seek information on ESP development and implementation, including FTI trust fund issues, application procedures, and key events such as joint annual reviews.
• Ensure tools such as the capacity development, inclusion/equity, HIV/AIDs, School Health are utilized when LDGs are developing their ESPs.
• Conduct the FTI Secretariat’s support and advice on ‘Light Touch’ review of ESPs prior to endorsement.
• Monitor and provide guidance to fragile states as they progress through the single entry process.

3. Learning Outcomes Support the FTI Secretariat and Partnership’s work to develop its work plan and activities on learning outcomes within the FTI partnership.
• Provide research and other support for the FTI task team on education quality.
• Provide support for the coordination of partnership planning and processes for measuring learning outcomes in FTI countries.
• Assist in communicating with country Local Education Groups/Coordinating agencies (CA) to gauge interest in their participating in international assessments of learning/quality.

Selection Criteria
• Education: An advanced degree in education or related fields.

• A minimum of 5 years of relevant experience working in the education sector.

• Strong knowledge of and commitment to the principles and procedures of the FTI.

• Knowledge of fragile states policies and financing mechanisms.

• Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in the use of education data, and social and institutional research analytical tools.

• Knowledge of education operations in the World Bank or other major donor or UN agencies.

• Experience with dialogue with government and other partners, including bilateral donors, multilateral organizations, and NGOs.

• Proven ability to work with peers, managers, and a diverse range of partners including donors, civil society groups, governments, and academic institutions.

• Ability to work well in a small team, operate under pressure, deliver high quality work within deadlines, and meet team objectives.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

To apply go to http://extjobs.worldbank.org/external/default/main?pagePK=64273552&piPK=64273556&theSitePK=1058433&JobNo=090252&order=descending&sortBy=job-req-num&location=ALL&menuPK=64262364



I received this announcement via the Global Partnership on Disability and Development (GPDD) mailing list. For other jobs at the World Bank, consult the World Bank Employment page. Most jobs at the World Bank are not disability related, but a few are.

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UN Secretary General Acknowledges Disability Rights Treaty, Disability Day

Posted on 30 November 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES, SAYS MUCH TO CELEBRATE WITH ENTRY INTO FORCE OF RIGHTS CONVENTION

Following is United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed 3 December:

This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities falls just a week before the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations is commemorating both under the theme, “Dignity and justice for all of us”.

We have much to celebrate this year. The entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in May was a turning point. When the first Conference of the Parties convened in October, participants immediately began considering how the Convention can serve as a tool to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. This progress has been made possible thanks to the active participation and leadership of persons with disabilities, by ensuring that they have access to — and are included in — all aspects of our work.

The United Nations remains committed to this approach. The renovation of our Headquarters complex through the Capital Master Plan will bring our facilities up to the latest standards of accessibility. These advances are long overdue.

The General Assembly has stressed that, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we must include persons with disabilities in all processes. With 80 per cent of persons with disabilities — more than 400 million people — living in poor countries, we need to do much more to break the cycle of poverty and disability.

The slogan of the International Disability Alliance is: “Nothing about us without us.” A disabled person from Swaziland, who has been fighting for the implementation of a disability policy there, has said: “We need total integration to do away with the evil of stigmatization.”

In that same spirit, I urge Governments and all stakeholders to ensure that persons with disabilities and their organizations are an integral part of all development processes. In this way, we can promote integration and pave the way for a better future for all people in society.



The above comments from the UN Secretary General were recently circulated on several different international disability-oriented email discussion lists, including the one for RatifyNow. RatifyNow is an organization devoted to promoting the ratification and implementation of the CRPD.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Impact of Nanoscale Science on Disability

Posted on 29 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Cross-Disability, Disability Studies, Health, Inclusion, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Opportunities, Poverty, technology, Water and Sanitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Call for papers On the impact of nanoscale science and technology on disability, community and rehabilitation.
[NOTE from We Can Do editor: The deadline for abstracts is October 30, 2008; full articles can be submitted later, for authors whose abstracts are selected. We Can Do readers will note that the areas of suggested possible focus may include the impact of nanotechnology on people with disabilities in low-income countries; on international development; and on relevant topics such as water and sanitation, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and others. Inquiries and abstracts should be directed to the journal, NOT We Can Do.]

For a special issue of the International Journal on Disability, Community & Rehabilitation (IJDCR) (http://www.ijdcr.ca/copyright.shtml)

Guest Editor: Gregor Wolbring, Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Program, Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary. <gwolbrin@ucalgary.ca>

Invitation
Nanoscale science and technology, while still in its infancy, describes a rapidly growing sphere of enquiry, with many and varied implications for the disability field. To establish a ‘benchmark’ of the current state of knowledge and conceptual understanding, the Editors of IJDCR decided a special issue should be devoted to the topic. Background information and potential topics are presented below.

We invite potential contributors, regardless of fields of study (discipline), to submit 250-word Abstracts that articulate the conceptual arguments and knowledge base to be covered in a critical analysis on some aspect of the impact of nanoscale science and technology on disability, community and/or rehabilitation. Please submit abstracts to the Guest Editor via e-mail by 30 October, 2008.

From selected abstracts, we will request full articles of 3000-5000 words (excluding figures and tables) of original research and scholarship on a range of topics. Note that an invitation to submit an article does not guarantee its publication. Every submitted article will be subject to blind peer review and recommendations arising.

Background
Nanotechnology in all its meanings allows for, among other things, the manipulation of materials on an atomic or molecular scale and enables a new paradigm of science and technology that sees different technologies converging at the nanoscale namely:

  • nanoscience and nanotechnology,
  • biotechnology and biomedicine, including genetic engineering,
  • information technology, including advanced computing and communications,
  • cognitive science (neuro-engineering),
  • synthetic biology;

hence, the designation “NBICS” (nano-bio-info-cogno-synbio).

Many lists of anticipated nanoproducts exist (Institute of Nanotechnology 2005;Kostoff et al. 2006). Applications for NBICS products are envisioned in areas such as the environment, energy, water, weapons and other military applications, globalization, agriculture, and health (e.g., more efficient diagnostics and genetic testing, cognitive enhancement; life extension and enhancing human performance in general) (M.Roco 2003). Many believe that advances in NBICS hold the key for extreme life extension to the level of immortality and the achievement of morphological (Anders Sandberg 2001) and genomic freedom(Wolbring 2003). NBICS-medicine is envisioned by some to have the answer to global problems of disease and ill medical and social health. Others argue for the pursuit of ‘morphological freedom’ (Anders Sandberg 2001)–allowing the human body to move beyond typical functioning of the species. Disabled people are often highlighted as the beneficiaries of NBICS-medicine products. NBICS applications and the selling of NBICS health products focuses mostly on offering disabled people medical solutions (prevention or cure/normative adaptation) and might move towards transhumanist solutions (augmentation, enhancement of the human body) but rarely offers social solutions (adaptation of the environment, acceptance, societal cures of equal rights and respect). Many NBICS applications/products for disabled people are envisioned and are under development(Wolbring 2005).

We chose this topic for an issue of IJDCR because of how the discourses around these new and emerging nanoscale science and technologies are emerging and their potential impact on people with disabilities, the communities linked to them and/or practitioners as well as others. Consumers and researchers linked to the disability discourse are involved will shape the positive or negative consequences for everyone involved.

Nanotechnology and NBICS have an impact on disabled people in at least four main ways.

Impact of NBICS on disabled people (Wolbring 2006)

NBICS may develop tools to adapt the environment in which disabled people live and to give disabled people tools that would allow them to deal with environmental challenges. This side of S&T would make the life of disabled people more liveable without changing the identity and biological reality of the disabled person

NBICS may develop tools that would diagnose the part of disabled people’s biological reality seen by others as deficient, defect, impaired and ‘disabled’ thus allowing for preventative measures

NBICS may develop tools that would eliminate that portion of disabled people’s biological reality seen by others as deficient, defect, impaired and ‘disabled’.

NBICS may be a target for – and an influence upon – the discourses, concepts, trends and areas of action that impact disabled persons.

Discourses:

  • The discourse around the term human security
  • The religious discourse
  • The politics of biodiversity
  • The politics of inequity
  • The politics of the ethics discourse.
  • The politics of law:
  • The politics of raising the acceptance level for a given technology
  • The politics of setting goals and priorities
  • The politics of language
  • The politics of self perception and identity (Body politics)
  • The politics of red herrings
  • The politics of interpreting International treaties
  • The politics of governance
  • The Politics of evaluation, measuring, analysis, and outcome tools

Concepts:

  • Self identity security
  • Ability security
  • Cultural identity/diversity
  • Morphological freedom and morphological judgement(Anders Sandberg 2001)
  • Freedom of choice and tyranny of choice
  • Duty to fix oneself
  • Duty to know
  • Parental responsibility
  • Societal responsibility

Trends:

  • Change in the concepts of health, disease and ‘disability’/’impairment’
  • The appearance of enhancement medicine and the acceptance of beyond species-typical functioning
  • Moving from curative to enhancement medicine; decrease in curative medicine and the appearance of the transhumanist/enhancement burden of disease
  • Moving from human rights to sentient rights
  • Moving from morphological freedom to morphological judgement
  • The appearance of the techno poor disabled and impaired
  • Moving from freedom of choice to tyranny of choice judgement

Areas of Action:

  • Nanotechnology/NBIC for development
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and the UN Millennium Development Goals
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and global medical and social health
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and accessibility
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and law
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and water and sanitation
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and disaster management
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and weapons/war
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and ethics/philosophy
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and social science/anthropology
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and community
  • Nanotechnology/NBIC and networking

All of the above discourses, concepts, trends and areas of actions impact on disabled people[1] and others.

Potential contributors to this Special Issue might consider areas from the above table or one of the following topics:

1. What are the potential positive and negative impacts of envisioned nanoscale science and technology products and research and development on:

  • disabled people,
  • the community around them
  • practitioners, consumers and researchers linked to the disability discourse
  • community rehabilitation and the rehabilitation field in general
  • inclusive education and the education of disabled people in general
  • employability of disabled people
  • citizenship of disabled people
  • body image of disabled people
  • medical and social health policies and their impact on disabled people
  • health care for disabled people
  • the elderly
  • disabled people in low income countries
  • laws related to disabled people such as the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities
  • the concept of personhood
  • concept of health and health care
  • the measure of disability adjusted life years and other measurements used to guide health care dollar allocation
  • quality of life assessment

2. What are the potential positive and negative impacts of the new social philosophy of transhumanism that is seen as being enabled by nanoscale science and technology products and research and development?
3. What impacts of potential nanoscale science and technology products and research and development onto disabled people will impact other marginalized groups?

For more information about the International Journal of Disability, Community & Rehabilitation (IJDCR) please go to http://www.ijdcr.ca.

References
Anders Sandberg. Morphological Freedom — Why We not just Want it, but Need it. 2001. <http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/Texts/MorphologicalFreedom.htm>

Institute of Nanotechnology (2005). Research Applications And Markets In Nanotechnology In Europe 2005 <http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reportinfo.asp?report_id=302091&t=t&cat_id=4>

Kostoff, Ronald et al. “The seminal literature of nanotechnology research.” Journal of Nanoparticle Research (2006): 1-21. <http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s11051-005-9034-9>

M.Roco, W. Bainbridge eds. Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science. 2003. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht Hardbound. <http://www.wtec.org/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_report.pdf> [PDF format]

Wolbring, G. “SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND THE TRIPLE D (DISEASE, DISABILITY, DEFECT).” Ed. William Sims Bainbridge Mihail C.Roco National. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 2003. 232-43<http://www.wtec.org/ConvergingTechnologies/> <http://www.bioethicsanddisability.org/nbic.html>

Wolbring, G (2005). HTA Initiative #23 The triangle of enhancement medicine, disabled people, and the concept of health: a new challenge for HTA, health research, and health policy Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Health Technology Assessment Unit, Edmonton, Alberta Canada <http://www.ihe.ca/documents/hta/HTA-FR23.pdf> [PDF format]

Wolbring, G (2006). Scoping paper on Nanotechnology and disabled people. Center for Nanotechnology in Society Arizona State University [On-line]. <http://cns.asu.edu/cns-library/documents/wolbring-scoping%20CD%20final%20edit.doc> [Word format]

——————————————————————————–
[1] The term ‘disabled people’, as used here, reflects the way in which environmental factors impact on the ability of individuals with sensory, motor, cognitive or other variations to participate in society, consistent with its usage by Disabled Peoples’ International.



Thank you to Gregor Wolbring for submitting this announcement for publication at We Can Do.

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Including Everybody: Website on Disability and MDGs Launched

Posted on 26 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Children, Cross-Disability, Education, Health, HIV/AIDS, Inclusion, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), News, Opinion, Policy & Legislation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
End poverty and hunger. Put all children in school. Empower women. Stop children from dying. Keep pregnant and birthing mothers healthy. Fight AIDS, malaria, and other disease. Create a sustainable environment. And promote global cooperation. These are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)–an important set of goals agreed upon by key leaders and heads of state from around the world in September 2000. No, they don’t mention people with disabilities at all–and I will come back to this point in a few paragraphs. Or you can ignore me and go straight to the new website on disability and the MDGs. But in theory, the MDGs are meant to help everyone.

Each goal has a set of specific targets to be achieved, most with the deadline set for 2015. For example, the poverty goal includes a target to cut the number of people living on less than $1 a day in half by 2015. And the goal on child mortality includes a target to cut the child mortality rate by two-thirds among children below age 5. Many country governments, multi-lateral development banks, international development organizations, and donors have invested billions of dollars into projects meant to help more countries and regions meet the Millennium Development Goals.

What has the results been? Mixed. Some of the goals, such as the targets for reducing poverty and hunger, or in putting all children in primary school, have been met–and exceeded in many countries particularly in eastern Asia. Progress in southern Asia has helped also. But many countries in sub-Saharan Africa lag far behind in meeting many of the MDGs.

You can read more about the overall progress–or lack of it–at http://www.undp.org/mdg/basics_ontrack.shtml. Or if you only want to look up the progress in the country where you live, work, or care about the most, go to http://www.undp.org/mdg/tracking_countryreports2.shtml.

People with Disabilities and the MDGs
But what about people with disabilities? Unfortunately, they have been so invisible that most programs and governments don’t even count them. That means it’s hard to find reliable numbers that measure whether people with disabilities are included–or left behind–in the haphazard progress that has been made toward the MDGs. But, we can make some educated guesses.

For example, what limited numbers do exist estimate that possibly as many as 98% of children with disabilities in some developing countries never go to school. Personally, I doubt this number is universally true. For one thing, there is a great deal of variation from country to country in how proactive they are about finding creative ways to include children with disabilities in school. Read Making Schools Inclusive: How Change Can Happen: Save the Children’s Experience (PDF format, 4.14 Mb) for examples of progress.

Then, there is probably some variation depending on the disability. A child with a relatively mild walking-related disability, for example, might have only minor difficulty reaching school if it is not too far. Or a child with undiagnosed and unaccommodated dyslexia might sometimes make it through a few years of school, and even learn a little, before they quit in frustration.

But if that 98% figure is anywhere close to the mark, then it is safe to say that the MDG target on universal primary education has failed disabled children miserably. We do know that they are very disproportionately left behind: the UK Department of International Development (DFID) says that one-third of the 72 million children who are out of school have disabilities, even though people with disabilities are only an estimated 10 percent of the world population in general. And this only covers the education-related target of the MDGs; the new website on disability and the MDGs points out gaps in all the rest.

Disability Inclusion is Everyone’s Business
So what’s the answer to this problem? A thorough response to this question would fill a book. One thing, however, is clear: It will not be resolved by any one government or organization working in isolation. And it certainly will not happen if resource-strapped disability-oriented organizations are left to tackle the problem alone. It will take many governments, agencies, and organizations working together–including those that do not normally specialize in disability issues. In short, everybody who is doing anything to address the MDGs needs to identify better ways to include people with disabilities in the work they’re already doing.

This begins by increasing everyone’s awareness of the complex relationship between disability and the MDGs. By “everyone” I mean both disability advocates (so they can help advocate the issue) and also mainstream international development professionals (so they can find ways to ensure their programs are not inadvertently leaving disabled people behind). Either way, you can start learning at the new website on disability and the Millennium Development Goals, Include Everybody, at:

http://www.includeeverybody.org/

What Do I Think of “Include Everybody”?
When you consider that this website is brand new, I think it makes an excellent start at covering the issues. In the long run, as with any new endeavor, I see room for them to expand. For example, their page on achieving universal primary school education or the page on promoting gender equality and empowering women could usefully link to publications such as Education for All: a gender and disability perspective (PDF format, 151 Kb). Or their page on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases could link to the on-line global survey on disability and HIV/AIDS.

They also could consider eventually developing a one to two page, attractive looking, factsheet on disability and the MDGs that advocates could print out and disseminate when educating others about the topic. They also could consider developing a similarly attractive, one-page factsheet for each of the MDGs individually. The latter could be useful, for example, for passing along to a specialist who only wants to read the information on child mortality without also having to wade through a lot of detail on environmental sustainability. Or vice versa.

But, for now, this web site is a good place to start learning.

http://www.includeeverybody.org/links.php



The Include Everybody website has been publicized in several different locations by now, including the GPDD mailing list, the Intl-Dev mailing list, Joan Durocher’s mailing list, and others.

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