Join the Thunder for the “Disability Treaty” (CRPD)!

Posted on 6 June 2014. Filed under: Announcements, CRPD, Human Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[This was first posted two days ago at my other blog, Rambling Justice.]

Help bring attention to the “Disability Treaty” (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD)!  We need the U.S. to ratify this important international human rights treaty protecting the civil rights of 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide. Sign up your Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account NOW to join the next “Thunder Clap It” for the CRPD at !

What’s A “Thunder Clap It”?

A “Thunder Clap It” is when 100 or more people sign on their Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account to all send out the same message at the same time to all their followers.  To participate, you need to sign up in advance.  The next CRPD “Thunder Clap It” will be at 2pm EST on June 10, 2014 (1pm Central Time, 11am Pacific Time).  Sign up BEFORE this time or you will miss the Thunder Clap.

How Do I Sign Up?

  • Go to this link:
  • A message will ask you to share a message to support the #CRPD.
  • You will find three buttons—one each for Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.  You need to have an account in at least one of these three in order to participate.
  • Click on whichever button is appropriate.  You will have an opportunity to personalize your message to your followers.
  • Hit the “Add My Support” button.
  • If you have successfully signed up, then you should appear at the top of the list of “Recent Supporters” in the right hand side bar.  Refresh the page if needed.

What Else?

Learn more about the CRPD and other ways to help at  Sign up for the CRPD “action alert” mailing list at the link!  Ask your friends to do the same!

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International Day of Mourning and Remembrance: Institutionalized Lives of People with Disabilities–Forgotten Lives and the Ones Who Fight Back

Posted on 23 January 2012. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Inclusion, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Blogger Dave Hingsburger is trying to make today, January 23, the first of what he wants to be an annual event in which we remember together people with disabilities who have lived in institutions and, in some cases, died in them.  Another blogger, Amanda Baggs, has also written extensively about her own experiences inside places that others label as “institutions”–and also some places that weren’t labeled “institutions” but were just as bad: I encourage readers to read today’s post at her blog, “What Makes Institutions Bad.”   Today, in Dave’s proposal, is meant to be a day to remember the people that we were meant to forget: people placed in institutions, not to help them, but to isolate them from so-called “normal” people.  And, it is meant to remember people who have been “put away” supposedly for “their own good,” people who others think “cannot live in the community” as if being human were not enough to qualify one to live among other humans.  It is meant to mourn the lives that people with disabilities could have led if they had been allowed to live in their own homes and allowed choice and self autonomy.  It is important to emphasize that the day is meant not only to consider people institutionalized years ago, in a time we think we can safely forget because we assume it belongs only in the past.   It is also meant to consider the millions of people worldwide, in both developing and also developed countries, who continue to be institutionalized today due to no crime other than being different, being someone who others has labeled as “disabled.”

Dave also means this day as a day to celebrate people with disabilities who have fought back against the mentality that strives to push them to the margins of society, making it easier to institutionalize them.  In this context, Dave Hingsburger mentions a woman named Sandra Jensen who fought literally for her life when she was initially denied a heart transplant simply because she had Down Syndrome.  Sandra, already a disability rights advocate, fought back and won her transplant in 1996–and also won change in organ transplant policies in Canada.  In addition to individuals Sandra Jensen, I can also think of certain organizations that work hard to promote de-institutionalization and other closely related causes:  Disability Rights International (DRI), ADAPT, MindFreedom International, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP), various chapters of People First worldwide, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and others.   I have probably missed many other organizations that are also devoted to ending institutionalization: feel free to mention them in the comments area below.

If these organizations don’t choose to carry forth Dave’s proposal, or if these international and national bodies like the concept but choose a different date or take the idea in a different direction, then Dave’s International Day might well still catch on at some local organizations scattered throughout Canada, US, the UK, and Australia.  Dave, after all, has been in the field of intellectual disability and disability rights for more than 30 years: he has delivered hundreds (possibly thousands) of lectures around the world, his blog reaches thousands more readers every month, and some of his many books are required reading in some training programs for future service providers who will be working with people with disabilities.  Dave is certainly not without some clout and influence all on his own.   But without the support of large and highly visible organizations, his concept could remain a relatively obscure event known only in certain circles in certain cities in, predominantly, English speaking developed countries.  It will spread only slowly, if at all, to non-English speaking countries or to developing countries.

Also critical to the success of this event in the future is the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and its member organizations.  IDA, as many of We Can Do’s more regular readers probably already know, is a major umbrella organization for various international disability organizations that include WNUSP (listed above), the Disabled Peoples’ International (an organization run by people with various disabilities, with national assembly members in more than 100 countries), Inclusion International (representing people with intellectual disabilities and their loved ones), World Federation of the Deaf, World Blind Union, and others.  Each of IDA’s member organizations themselves have many more member organizations in dozens of countries around the world, and many of these in turn have member organizations at the local level in their countries.  If some of these organizations adopt Dave’s idea, then many more organizations around the world would surely also pick it up as well–whether their local language is English, Spanish, French, or something else, whether in developed countries or in developing countries.

Is this day an event that should catch on more widely?  I hesitate to issue a firm position on this issue.  I do feel that it is worthwhile to have some kind of event that could prompt us, not only to mourn people who would otherwise be forgotten, and to celebrate people who have promoted the cause of freedom, but also to take some action that could help set free the many people who are still institutionalized against their will today.  For this reason I do like Dave’s general concept and feel it is worthwhile putting it in front of the readers of We Can Do for their consideration.  But I also feel that the issue of how to frame such an event, how to promote it, what activities should be done to acknowledge it, and what date it should be held on, should ultimately be determined by people who have themselves experienced institutionalization, or been threatened with the possibility.  People with intellectual disabilities who are confined because they learn more slowly than others.  People with psychosocial disabilities and people on the autistic spectrum who are confined because others view their behaviors as “bewildering” and would rather not have to see them at all than try to understand.  People with mobility impairments, and people who are acquiring a range of conditions related to old age, who are institutionalized because government legislation, budgeting policies, and the medical profession make it easier to place them in nursing homes than to get support to continue living at home.  People who are deaf, or blind, who may be mistaken for having other disabilities, or who others may assume are incapable of learning or being independent because they cannot hear or see.  Organizations such as People First, WNUSP, MindFreedom, ASAN, ADAPT, and other international and national organizations run by people who themselves are most commonly targeted for being institutionalized come to mind.  I think this is a choice that needs the involvement of many advocates and leaders around the world, not just one man–even a powerful leader like Dave Hingsburger.  And not just one woman either, including me as the author of this blog site.

For now, readers may want to read a few blog posts that Dave wrote about what today’s date means to him and why he feels it is important to have an International Day of Mourning and Remembrance:

January 23: International Day of Mourning and Memory in which Dave first sets forth his proposal.  Note that he seems open to revising the concept, or at least the name, for future years.

Cousin Mattie: The International Day of Mourning and Memory — Dave’s post from today, January 23, honoring the day itself.

She Never Knew: The Interviews — in which Dave presents an interview he conducted with a woman who performed a song that Dave feels fits in well with the spirit of the International Day.

I also encourage readers to consider taking a few moments–or a few hours, or days–to learn more about the reality of institutionalization today and what is being done to end it.  A few of the links from above are good resources.   Disability Rights International (DRI) has a huge collection of reports and videos documenting institutionalized abuses from around the world, from Ukraine to Mexico to the United States to Romania to Paraguay and elsewhere.  Many People First organizations fight against the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities.  The Global Disability Rights Library has content and links related to institutionalization of people with disabilities–particularly try the information portal of the same name (Global Disability Rights Library) and check under specific disabilities for psychosocial disabilities and intellectual disabilities.  Also in the same information portal, check the section on Independent Living for some of the solutions that allow people with mobility impairments and a range of other disabilities live freely in the community instead of in nursing homes (the link goes to GDRL’s primary page on independent living, but don’t miss the sub-sections under this page with more resources).  And check out some of the personal stories on MindFreedom’s website.

A blog post on institutionalization from me would be incomplete without also mentioning another blogger besides Dave Hingsburger who has taught me a great deal about what it really means to be institutionalized:  Amanda Baggs.  Amanda has herself been institutionalized: although most of her experience in places others would recognize as institutions was in the 1990s, she still knows people who have been institutionalized much more recently than that.  And she has had experiences in places that, although technically are not institutions, can be harmful in ways she feels is very similar.  Amanda’s entire blog is very well worth reading: I regularly encourage people interested in disability rights to read her blog front to back, or back to front, or inside out, or outside in, or sideways or upside down or right side up or any way at all as long as they read it, throughly and often.  Both Amanda and Dave are in developed countries (the United States and Canada, respectively) and I suspect most of their contacts and most of what they have learned about disability rights is also somewhat oriented to developed countries as well.  But many of the concepts that both of them wrestle with day in and day out on their blog sites and elsewhere, much of the philosophy they espouse, the values they uphold, and their insightful analysis of how even very lovely, good, kind people can still do terrible things are not bound to any one country.  I suspect that disability rights advocates from any country, whether developed or developing, will find ideas of value both in Dave’s blog and in Amanda’s blog.

Here are a few of Amanda’s blog posts that have helped teach me about what it is actually like to be inside an institution, or in an environment that is harmful in similar ways:

What Makes Institutions Bad (today’s post)

Outposts in Our Heads

Everything I Need to Know in Life I learned in Institutions

Identical Behavior, Constrasting Responses

What it Means to Be Real  (These events were at a day program, not technically at an institution. But apparently much of the way people in the program is treated is similar)

Being an Unperson (Not specifically about institutionalization, but the process of dehumanization described in this video does occur in many institutions)

And one more from Dave, from the perspective of a person who once worked in institutions early in his career:

Patty  — In this video (deaf and hard of hearing people can read the full transcript below the video) Dave describes an incident in which he reached out to Patty, a woman in the institution where he worked, and the reactions of his co-workers.

At least one more blogger has also blogged about this day: International Day of Mourning and Memory at Lounalune.  And one individual, Kristine Snider, sent Dave a video in honor of the day.

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Call for Applications to Receive Global Disability Rights Library

Posted on 12 January 2011. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Capacity Building and Leadership, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Opportunities, Resources, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Call for Applications to Receive Global Disability Rights Library
January 7, 2011


Contact: Andrea Shettle, Program Manager: Global Disability Rights Library
Telephone: (877) 535-0506

Washington, DC – The Global Disability Rights Library project announces a call for organizations to apply to receive a free digital Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL).  Applications are open to disabled people’s organizations, universities, government agencies, and other organizations in developing countries.   Sixty organizations will receive the digital library to empower them to disseminate valuable disability rights knowledge and toolkits to their communities.

The goal of the GDRL project is to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in developing countries.  The project uses an innovative off-line digital storage technology to deliver digital resources to people beyond the reach of the internet.  The electronic library will be stored in a hard drive, called an “eGranary unit” that also contains an interface emulating the look and functioning of the web but without requiring actual internet connectivity.  Users will include disabled people’s organizations (DPOs), decision makers, government agencies, individual advocates, and others who cannot easily download information from the web.  Read more about the GDRL project at:

The GDRL is a collaborative effort between the U.S. International Council on Disabilities and the University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project with support from USAID to bring the best materials on disability rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to developing countries.

Ideal deployment site candidates will have a demonstrated commitment to promoting and facilitating disability rights.  Successful applicants will have the organizational capacity to become a hub for disseminating disability rights information and will be inclusive of a diverse disability community. Interested organizations are urged to review the application and full eligibility criteria posted on WiderNet’s website at:

Individuals and organizations with internet access are encouraged to please assist in reaching out to organizations with poor internet connectivity to assist them with the application process.  There will be several selection rounds.  Applicants not accepted in an early selection round will be immediately rolled over into subsequent selection rounds.  Candidates are encouraged to apply early.  Please do not wait until the final deadline.

Apply by March 1, 2011, to be considered for deployment by June 30, 2011
Apply by September 1, 2011, to be considered for deployment by December 31, 2011
Apply by May 1, 2012, to be considered for deployment by August 31, 2012

Questions about the application process or eligibility criteria should be directed to  Applicants who cannot use email also may reach us by post mail at

Andrea Shettle, MSW, MA
Program Manager, Global Disability Rights Library
United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD)
1012-14th Street, NW, Suite 105
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America

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Intl Leadership Forum for Young Leaders, 1-9 August 2009

Posted on 22 February 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Capacity Building and Leadership, Children, Education and Training Opportunities, Events and Conferences, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Opportunities, Women, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

International Leadership Forum Announcement – Call for Applications

[Note to We Can Do readers: This opportunity is not targeted at disability advocates, but young leaders with an interest in disability-related advocacy may wish to read the criteria below and consider whether their interests may usefully intersect.]

The UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut invites applications for the fifth annual International Leadership Programme: A Global Intergenerational Forum, to be held August 1 – 9, 2009 in Storrs, Connecticut, USA. Applications must be received by February 27, 2009.

The Forum seeks to empower young leaders by involving them in finding solutions to emerging human rights problems, and nurturing individuals to be effective leaders in the field of human rights.

To this end, the Forum will:

• Introduce participants to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
• Build a network of solidarity among human rights leaders
• Expand the knowledge relevant to human rights practice
• Provide tools and a platform for open debates
• Provide programmes, activities and processes necessary for human rights leadership
• Promote the sharing of experiences and understanding
• Showcase speakers on such topics as: health and human rights, education, the environment, the plight of child soldiers, the use of media, fundraising, conflict resolution and transformation; litigation and advocacy

The UNESCO Chair will provide all conference participants with dormitory housing, meals, ground transportation in Connecticut, resource materials and a certificate of participation.

Young people between the ages of 18-30, with community service experience, and with demonstrated ability to work on solutions to human rights problems, should apply. Relevant issues include, but are not limited to, human trafficking, the plight of children, refugees, hunger, HIV/AIDs, gender discrimination, racism, classism, the environment and peace education.

Conference will be held in English only. Fluency in English is required. Applicants will be selected based on the strength of their application essay, demonstrated commitment to human rights (practical/hands-on experience), potential impact on the individual and their potential contribution to the Forum, regional and gender representation.

Programme details and application materials can be accessed by linking to or

Nana Amos
Program Manager
University of Connecticut
UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights
UConn-ANC Partnership
233 Glenbrook Road, Unit 4124
Storrs, CT 06269-4124
860.486.3054 Phone
860.486.2545 Fax
Scholarship and Job are posted at

I received this announcement via the AsiaPacificDisability listserver. If you have inquiries about this opportunity or wish to apply for it, then please follow the relevant web links provided above and follow the instructions at the official web site. We Can Do is NOT able to assist you with your questions about this event–please contact the people organizing the forum directly. Thank you.

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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.

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World Vision International Peace Prize NOMINATIONS Sought

Posted on 2 November 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Awards & Honors, Call for Nominations or Applications, Children, Opportunities, Violence, Women, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

World Vision International Peace Prize

[It is my hope that We Can Do readers will consider whether they might know an individual with disabilities, or a disability-oriented organization, that might qualify for the World Vision International Peace Prize. The winning organization will receive $5,000; the winning individual will receive $1,000. The deadline to submit nominations is February 15, 2009. The following text is copy/pasted from the World Vision guidelines for the awards, which can also be downloaded in PDF format. The guidelines are also available in French and in Spanish.]


The purpose of the World Vision International Peace Prize is to annually recognize and honor one individual who is a catalyst for peacemaking and one organisation which champions the integration of peacebuilding into relief, development and advocacy programmes.

Two award recipients shall be named annually under this World Vision International Peace Prize:
1. Peacebuilding Award – given to an agency or organisation that excels at integrating peacebuilding into relief, development or advocacy activities, and mobilising communities to build a durable peace
2. Peacemaking Award – given to an individual who has taken risks and excelled in being a catalyst in either bringing conflicted parties together to resolve a conflict or in enabling a peace process that engages peacemakers, mediators and people of moral authority who bring hope that a significant destructive conflict can be resolved.

The first award focuses on World Vision’s area of greatest expertise in peacebuilding, namely integrating peacebuilding in relief, development and advocacy. Key programmatic themes of World Vision include the role of children, youth and women in building peace.

The second award focuses on World Vision’s secondary area of focus, making a significant contribution to community-based peacemaking, serving as a catalyst and building bridges so that other organisations and individuals can assist in resolving destructive conflicts that put all development at risk.

Description of award
The World Vision International Peace Prize is given annually in honor and memory of Steve Williams (1951-2007), World Vision UK Senior Policy Advisor on Peace and Conflict. Steve brought vast experience in peacebuilding, conflict analysis and policy analysis to World Vision UK, and served as the Co-convener of PaxNet, the World Vision global peacebuilding network.

He distinguished himself not only within World Vision but within the peace community around the world as one who integrated his conflict analysis and policy work, was committed in his personal, family and work life to work for peace and reconciliation, strongly supported programmes of Children as Peacebuilders, and was a great advocate for peace with justice.

It is in this spirit that the World Vision International Peace Prize was established to honor his life, his work and his memory. The awardees each year may be little known to the public but each will serve as profound examples of peacemaking and peacebuilding in a world of conflict.

Nomination and selection process principles


Organisations and individuals that are external or internal to World Vision International may be nominated with equal consideration. Local community-based organisations as well as global humanitarian and development organisations are eligible for nomination.

The Awards Committee will give particular attention and consideration to nominees who mobilise children, youth and women in peacebuilding. A nomination will be strongest when the organisations or individuals demonstrate that their work and programme is built on careful context and conflict analysis, and produces credible policy and advocacy influence that contributes toward peace.

Monetary Prize and Trophy
Each organisation and individual who is awarded the World Vision International Peace Prize will receive both a monetary award ($5,000 for an organisation and $1,000 for an individual) and a physical trophy with the award designation.

Use of the award
The monetary award is to be used at the sole discretion of the awardees to further the work of the individual or the organisation in their continued role in peacemaking and peacebuilding.

Procedures for nomination
Nominees may come either from within or from outside World Vision. Self-nominations are accepted. The World Vision International Peace Prize Nomination Form can be found online at It should be completed in full and sent by email to: by the final day for submission: February 15, 2009.

Selection process
The World Vision International Director of Peacebuilding and the Peacebuilding Unit will initially review all applications to determine which ones meet the criteria and are the strongest candidates. A vetting process will assess the nominations and develop a preliminary list of finalists. The entries from those finalists will be posted online for one month, allowing the global peacebuilding community to view, vet and rank the nominees. A short list of nominees for each prize will then be submitted to an International Peace Prize Awards Committee which will review the nominations and select the winner in each category. Decisions of the Committee will be final.

Peace Prize deadlines
September 21, 2008 International Day of Peace: Announcement and Solicitation of Nominations
February 15, 2009 Final Day for Submission of Nominations
June 30, 2009 Awardees informed privately of their selection
September 21, 2009 Announcement of Prize recipients, presentations and call for nominees for 2010 competition

Award presentation
Awards will be presented by the World Vision International President or designee on the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2009.

To find out more about World Vision’s Peacebuilding work and team, go to

[We Can Do readers should please note that the official web site for the World Vision International Peace Prize is at

People interested in learning more about the World Vision Peace Prize should please follow the link to their web site. Nomination forms can be downloaded at their web site in English, Spanish, or French. Any questions about the prize that are not adequately addressed by the World Vision Peace Prize website should please be directed to, NOT to We Can Do.]

I learned about this prize via the Disabled Peoples’ International email newsletter.

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JOB POST: Communications Officer, Handicap International, USA

Posted on 4 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Communications Officer – Washington DC – Metropolitan Region

Handicap International (HI) is an international NGO with eight international offices that collectively support programs for people living in disabling situations in some 60 post-conflict or low income countries. The U.S. office, incorporated in 2006, now seeks to establish a Communications Officer tasked with raising HI’s profile in the U.S. in support of HI’s ongoing fundraising and advocacy work. The Officer will stay abreast of HI’s international program work and will be able to develop myriad creative channels for communicating the impact of this work to potential donors and the general public. Overall responsibilities will include press relations, planning and implementing outreach and advocacy events, overseeing HI’s web site and ensuring that web content supports and enhances HI’s fund raising activities. Fluency in French highly desired. Willingness to travel essential. People with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Salary: $30-$35,000+ commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits.

Deadline to apply: September 30, 2008.

Full job description available at

Download the full job description (terms of reference) in PDF format at:

Send resume/CV, cover letter and salary history as email attachments to Ed Kenny at

Thank you to Ed Kenny for alerting me to this job opening. The text for this blog post is taken directly from the job announcement at Handicap International’s website.

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Other Resources at We Can Do
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RESOURCE: Human Rights Education Associates Launches New Network

Posted on 6 March 2008. Filed under: Education and Training Opportunities, Human Rights, News, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , |

Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) has recently launched the Global Human Rights Education Network. This information and advocacy network promotes learning and training in the field of human rights.

Membership is open to all organizations that support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that are involved in education and training activities promoting the human rights framework.

This is not a disability-specific initiative. However, people involved in the field of disability rights might wish to use the network to learn about general good practices in human rights that may be helpful in the disability field. Participating in the network might also be an opportunity to educate other human rights specialists about the linkages between disability rights and other human rights.

Individuals or organizations interested in joining the Global Human Rights Education Network can access their online application form at

We Can Do learned about this network through the Disabled People International (DPI) email newsletter.

This article is cross-posted at We Can Do and RatifyNow with permission of author.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (

Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do ( Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: and Other sites are most likely plagiarizing this post without permission.

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JOB POST: Secretary General, Rehabilitation International

Posted on 20 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Inclusion, Jobs & Internships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Michael Fox, president of Rehabilitation International, has been circulating the following announcement; note that the application deadline is March 28, 2008:

As advised at the RI 2007 Assembly in Djerba, Tunisia – our Secretary General Tomas Lagerwall has decided to leave RI later this year – and return to Sweden after a seven year term with RI.

Accordingly, and on behalf of the RI Selection Committee, I am pleased to invite submissions from applicants worldwide for this important role of RI Secretary General – as following details and information.


Michael Fox
RI President
Sydney phone 612 6552 9333

4 February 2008

RI Secretary General – New York

RI was established in 1922, and is a well recognised and respected international disability and rehabilitation advocacy organisation. RI is a global cross-disability and cross-disciplinary NGO providing a unique meeting ground for participants in a field that has disciplinary and ideological opinions and differences. RI has well-established partnerships with the UN and its agencies as well as other international and regional organisations in the field of disability. Further information on RI and our UN and global networks are available at

RI is a democratic organisation governed by an Assembly – representing RI member organisations in almost 100 countries. The RI Annual Assembly is a global forum to discuss developments in disability issues and general policies and programs of the organisation. The RI Executive Committee provides strategic direction, formulates and considers policies and oversees the budget of the organisation. The RI EC consists of 22 members composed of the RI President, President-elect or Past President, Treasurer and representatives of RI Regions and expert Commissions.

RI is a matrix organisation, with regional leadership in Africa, the Arab Region, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America as well as thematic Commissions in particular fields of expertise, to assist in developing and expanding program activities in accordance with RI strategic goals. The RI Foundation was established in 2006 and provides the basis for significant growth and development of the RI agenda worldwide.

RI and its members are involved in a range of advocacy projects and activities to promote the RI goal of advancing and achieving the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities worldwide. The next RI World Congress is scheduled in Quebec City, Canada during August 2008. RI also works toward increasing international collaboration and advocates for policies and legislation recognising the rights of people with disabilities and their families, including the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

RI Secretary General
RI is managed by a full time Secretariat in our New York City head office. The Secretary General is the CEO of the organisation and our current incumbent has successfully managed this role since 2001.

We now require the services of a resourceful, experienced and dynamic candidate for the role of RI Secretary General. There will be a suitable and agreed transition period for the successful candidate.


DUTY STATION New York, United States of America

ACCESSIBILITY RI New York offices are ADA accessible

Responsibilities and Competencies of Secretary General
The responsibilities and competencies of the successful applicant will include

* Implementation of RI policies, strategies and programs as determined by the RI General Assembly and RI EC – and as agreed with, and in close consultation with, the President, Executive Committee and RI Foundation Board

* Effective management and implementation of the RI Strategic Plan – with balanced commitment to RI Global activities and development of the RI Foundation

* Demonstrate professionalism, judgement, technical awareness and leadership

* Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to operate effectively across organisational boundaries – with ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds

* Solicit input by genuinely valuing other peoples ideas and expertise – and willing to learn from others

* Ability to operate in a changing environment with innovation and professionalism

* Take the lead with respect to the preparation and implementation of the work program, ensuring that resources are utilised effectively and prudently to implement activities in accordance with the RI Mission, budget and available human and financial resources

* Monitor and review the work program and budget by conducting regular analysis to assess progress of actual work versus the program

* Define requirements and work with system units with respect to improving budget reporting systems and cost effective utilisation of program resources

* Supervise and provide guidance on financial administration and management information issues and practices to Board members, in conjunction with the Finance Committee

* Support, manage, travel and organise RI events as required

* Supervise staff at RI New York and other locations as required

* Provide guidance and leadership to RI staff

* Promote RI membership growth in conjunction with the Membership Committee

* Oversee work related to billing and receipt of income from various services, monitoring and evaluation of individual contractors for services

* Represent RI at international, regional and national meetings related to disability rights and related issues – including IDA, the International Disability Alliance

* Collaborate with relevant organisations including United Nations, World Bank, DPOs, foundations, the private sector, NGOs and civil society at large

* Participate in inter-agency consultations, meetings, and conferences related to disability rights and services issues

* Organise and participate in expert group meetings, workshops and seminars on disability rights and services as required

* Provide advisory services to and collaborate with UN agencies, governments, DPOs, NGOs, regional groups, private sector groups and other stakeholders on disability rights, services and related issues


Education – A minimum of first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience.

Work Experience – A minimum of 5 years progressively responsible experience in change management, human resources and financial / budget operations, with relevant professional experience in international, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

The RI Secretary General role calls for very good administrative, diplomacy and management skills. First hand disability related experience is preferred.

Languages – Fluency in oral and written English is required. Fluency and / or working knowledge of other languages is desirable.

Other Skills – Ability to use relevant computer technology and software.

A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered – subject to professional experience, family situation and other criteria as may be applicable. Immigration procedures can be negotiated as required.

Selection Process
Applicants will be short listed on the basis of academic credentials, experience, availability and other relevant factors. Additional information may be requested from candidates.

Short listed applicants will be invited to come to New York or elsewhere as appropriate, for an interview with representatives of the RI Selection Committee. Candidates will be interviewed on various criteria including related knowledge, skills, abilities, personality and availability.

The intention is for the new RI Secretary General to be appointed by June 2008.

How To Apply
Interested persons from any nationality worldwide are invited to apply for this important position. This invitation to apply for the role of RI Secretary General is open to everyone.

Detailed responses including Resumes / CVs, and a minimum of two written references, are to be submitted by Friday 28 March 2008. Submissions can be sent by email, post of fax to

Marca Bristo, RI North America Vice President

c/o Access Living
115 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60610 USA

Email or
Fax 1 312 640 2140

All applications will be confidential to the Selection Committee and RI Executive Committee, until the successful candidate is announced.

We look forward to your application


Michael Fox AM
RI President
Sydney Australia

We Can Do retrieved this announcement from the email discussion list for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD). Individuals may join their mailing list for free. Please note that interested parties should contact Rehabilitation International directly, not We Can Do.

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RESOURCE: Training Manual on HIV/AIDS Awareness and Disability Rights

Posted on 13 February 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Young people with disabilities in Africa can now use a free training manual to learn how to become leaders in preventing HIV/AIDS in their country.

The manual, entitled “HIV/AIDS Awareness and Disability Rights Training Manual” (Word format, 800 Kb), is targeted at: people in the disability community; government officials involved in disability and HIV; community leaders; and people working for HIV organizations. The manual is written in simple language to meet the needs of people who have little or no basic literacy skills.

The first chapter clarifies the definition of disability; explains some of the barriers people with disabilities experience in gaining access to information that could save their life; and offers guidance on meeting the communication needs of disabled people.

The second chapter explains what “HIV” and “AIDS” are and clarifies some common, incorrect beliefs about HIV/AIDS. It explains the common ways in which HIV/AIDS is transmitted (how people are infected) and why disabled people are at high risk for getting or spreading HIV. The chapter also provides information about the importance of being tested for HIV/AIDS; suggests how to deal with being HIV-positive; and how to prevent HIV/AIDS.

The third chapter discusses the stigma and discrimination that people with disabilities experience and the causes and effects of stigma. It suggests possible strategies and solutions for addressing stigma and discrimination against persons with disabilities living with HIV/AIDS.

The fourth chapter provides an overview of important international disability rights laws, including the new international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It advises new leaders on how they can take steps to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities living with HIV/AIDS.

The fifth chapter discusses how emerging leaders can continue to strengthen their leadership skills and learn the principles of good governance.

The manual, “HIV/AIDS Awareness and Disability Rights Training Manual” (Word format, 800 Kb), was prepared by Rehabilitation International (RI), Disabled Organization for Legal Affairs and Social Economic Development (DOLASED), and Miracles in Mozambique, with support from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

It is available in two versions: one version is targeted at trainers whoplan to use the manual for leading activities to train others. The other version is targeted at people who plan to participate in training activities.

The manual for training participants can be downloaded at: (Word, 700 Kb)

The manual targeted at trainers can be downloaded at: (Word, 800 Kb)

We Can Do learned about these manuals by browsing the Rehabilitation International web site.

Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (

This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do ( Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: and If you are reading this anywhere OTHER THAN We Can Do, BlogAfrica, or RatifyNow, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people without their permission.

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TRAINING for Women with Disabilities in South Asia

Posted on 13 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Education and Training Opportunities, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project: Creating Space for Women With Disabilities to Communicate & Advocate for their Rights
Project Partners: AWWD (India), SARPV (Bangladesh), AKASA (Sri Lanka), HLWW (UK), Supported by: DFID, UK


“Currently our rights are not understood or heard. We need to mobilize our girls and women to take the challenge and responsibility to make our presence felt. A new generation of leaders is essential to make change happen”
Kuhu Das, Director, Association of Women with Disabilities – India

The initial ‘master’ training will facilitate a group of 25 Women with Disabilities (WWD) from the South Asia region including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives in leadership & advocacy skills within a rights based framework. Those attending will in turn be supported to organize and run national level leadership and advocacy trainings when they return home. They will also develop country strategic advocacy plans, and be offered small seed grants to enable the implementation.

The participants will engage in a 7 day training process which will enable them to:

  • Share their country level situations
  • Deepen their understanding of a rights based approach to issues affecting WWD
  • Design & plan their adapted leadership and advocacy training at national level based on the initial ‘master’ training
  • Form a regional network of WWDs
  • Design & plan national advocacy and communication strategies for the rights of WWDs
  • Develop WWD leadership training modules including a resource base of materials

PARTICIPANTS (Criteria for selection):
The training is open to WWDs and organizations, who will be able to carry out the national level trainings in their respective countries after this initial workshop. They should be well networked and able to mobilize people and resources. They will need some experience of leadership and an ability to motivate others. A working knowledge of English is required, as is the ability to organize and host training events.

Priority will be given to WWD themselves and organizations working to further the rights of WWD


Regional Leadership Training: (TOT): 7 days.

  1. Sharing of project and training objectives, finalizing draft schedule and participatory agenda setting
  2. Leadership
    • Meaning, Necessity
    • Quality of a leader
  3. Communication – Advocacy – Lobbying
    • Meaning/Importance/Necessity
    • Good / effective communication
    • Communication tools
    • Development of Advocacy frameworks
    • Advocacy & lobbying – what, why & how
  4. Social Mobilisation
    • Understanding rights, including human rights, rights of women, rights of disabled
    • Significance of human rights instruments (national & international) – CEDAW, UNCRPD, BMF etc.
    • Use and limitations of these instruments
    • Social mobilization to achieve rights
    • Analysis of legislation and policies
  5. Group Mobilisation
    • Meaning/Importance/Necessity
    • Organizing people in groups
    • Mobilizing and managing groups
    • Strengthening group dynamics
    • Setting targets for group
  6. Networking
    • Why? The benefits and challenges
    • Making it effective & sustainable
    • Setting vision and target activities
  7. Planning & designing training
    • Adapting ‘master’ training to national level
    • Content development / modification
    • Quality assurance – M&E
  8. Facilitation skills
    • Participatory approaches
    • Skills development
  9. Working with the Media
    • How to engage with media
    • How to promote issues
    • Media literacy
  10. Action planning for national level training and advocacy activities
    • Strategy development
    • Integrating into existing national and local initiatives
    • Monitoring and Evaluation

The training will be highly participatory, drawing on the experience of the participants to develop and improve our collective knowledge base. Trainers will be from a variety of backgrounds and specialisms including advocacy expertise, network strengthening, media, project planning and management and leadership skills development.

25 places will be fully supported including travel, food, accommodation and a small allowance.

Workshop Venue – Kolkota (to be confirmed)
Dates – mid February 2008 (to be confirmed)

If you are interested to attend this workshop please email a one page letter outlining:
your interest in this field of work
your experience in disability activism and rights based approaches
your experience and capacity to take the work forward at national level
Ms Kuhu Das: (Regional coordinator – AWWD India)
and Mr David Curtis: (Head of Programme and Capacity Development, Healthlink Worldwide, UK)

Closing date for applications: January 5th 2008.

A selection committee comprising members from the four lead organizations will assess each application. Please remember that after the initial ‘master’ training, there will be national level trainings in each of the countries in the region so there will be further opportunities to engage at national level.

This workshop is part of the ‘Creating Spaces – for women with disabilities (WWD) to communicate and advocate for their rights’ project – a collaborative initiative from Association of Women with Disabilities (AWWD) – India, Association for Women with Disabilities (Akasa), Sri Lanka, Social Assistance for the Rehabilitation of the Physically Vulnerable (SARPV) Bangladesh and Healthlink Worldwide, UK

The project is funded by UK Department for International Development (DfID)

We Can Do received this announcement via the Intl-Dev email distribution list; subscriptions to Intl-Dev are free.

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CONFERENCE: Unite for Sight Int’l Health Conference

Posted on 27 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Blind, Events and Conferences, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Unite For Sight 5th Annual International Health Conference: Building Global Health For Today & Tomorrow

This conference, to be held April 12 & 13, 2008, at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, is targeted at people interested in in public health, medicine, social entrepreneurship, nonprofits, philanthropy, anthropology, eye care, and international development. Other interested individuals may include students, doctors, nurses, Peace Corps volunteers, public health, business and nonprofit professionals, anthropologists, policy makers, philanthropists, educators, and others.

There will be 150 expert speakers in international health and development, public health, eye care, medicine, social entrepreneurship, nonprofits, philanthropy, microfinance, human righs, anthropology, health policy, advocacy, public service, environmental health, and education. These will include keynote addresses by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Dr. Sonia Sachs, Dr. Susan Blumenthal, and Dr. Jim Yong Kim.

Registration for the conferences ranges from $65 to $150 depending on how promptly you register (the earlier, the cheaper) and on whether you are a student (in which case, it is cheaper). Several hotels are located near the conference, but a special rate has been arranged at the Courtyard by Marriot for $129 per night. I could not locate information on the Unite for Sight website regarding whether there is any assistance for lodging, travel, or other expenses for participants traveling from developing nations.

For more information, including how to register, follow the link to the conference website.

The information for this blog post, and part of the text, was harvested from the conference website. We Can Do learned about this conference through the Poverty Reduction and Disability List (PRD-L).

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