Apply for 6th International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD)

Posted on 20 January 2012. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Capacity Building and Leadership, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, indigenous people, Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
Invites women with disabilities around the world to apply for the
6th International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD)
August 6 – 27, 2012 (Tentative)

Eugene, Oregon, USA

ABOUT MIUSA:
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a U.S.-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

ABOUT THE WILD PROGRAM:
MIUSA’s Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) will bring together approximately 30 women leaders with disabilities from approximately 30 different countries, to strengthen leadership skills, create new visions and build international networks of support for inclusive international development programming.

During the three-week program, participants will take part in workshops, seminars and discussions, conduct on-site visits, and participate in team-building activities, to explore challenges and exchange strategies for increasing leadership opportunities and participation of women and girls with disabilities in international development programs.

WHO CAN APPLY: ELIGIBILITY
Women with disabilities who are from:

  • South Pacific
  • Middle East
  • Latin America
  • Caribbean
  • Eurasia
  • Asia
  • Africa

Women with disabilities who are:

  • Established leaders and/or professionals
  • Emerging young leaders, ages 21 and above

Women with disabilities who speak or use at least ONE of the following languages:

  • Conversational English (minimum)
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Sign Language; preferably familiar with American Sign Language (ASL)

•    MIUSA uses ASL sign language interpreters who are experienced and skilled at providing interpretation for individuals who use different sign languages.
•    Spoken and sign language interpretation will be provided during formal program activities, workshops, discussions and site visits only.

WHO CAN APPLY: QUALIFICATIONS
Women leaders with disabilities who demonstrate:

  • Personal experience with disability, an understanding of issues, and a commitment to working for the rights of women and girls with disabilities
  • Membership in an organization led by and for people with disabilities, or by and for women, with particular attention to issues of women and girls with disabilities; or civil society organization committed to the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities
  • Commitment to and capacity for increasing leadership opportunities of women with disabilities in the community and/or country
  • Commitment to and capacity for increasing the participation of women and girls with disabilities in international development programs

MIUSA will strive for diversity of geographic region, age, ethnic background, and types of disability in final selection of qualified participants. MIUSA will give priority to qualified women with disabilities who:

  • Are from rural communities
  • Are members of indigenous groups
  • Have not participated in a MIUSA exchange program
  • Have not visited the United States

PROGRAM OVERVIEW:
The WILD program will include interactive workshops, site visits and practical activities on priority issues for women with disabilities, including:

•    National and International Policies and Legislation, including the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Disability Policy
•    Educational rights and opportunities including specialized and inclusive schools, policy and legal rights, services and accommodations for accessibility
•    Leadership for economic empowerment, including higher education, training models, supported employment, microenterprise, private sector partnerships, career mentorship, skill-building, employment policy, and career development.
•    Health and family issues including parenting, health care, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and violence prevention
•    Using the media
•    Coalition building
•    Organizational development and sustainability, including funding resources and strategies, and fostering partnerships with community organizations and businesses
•    Goals and action plans to promote collaborative relationships with other organizations for the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in international development programs.
•    Inclusive international development, including exchanging strategies for inclusion with representatives from U.S-based international development organizations and/or human rights organizations
•    Cultural and team-building experiences
•    Mentorship and networking

LODGING AND TRANSPORTATION:

•    Simple but comfortable lodging with a local host family will be provided. During one-week of the program, shared lodging will be provided at a simple outdoor retreat center.
•    Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided each day. All supplemental meals, snacks, or personal incidentals (including laundry) will be at the expense of each delegate.
•    Accessible public transportation will be provided.
Note: Please do not expect “luxury” accommodations, meals, or transportation.

PROGRAM COST:
Accepted participants will be responsible for:
1.    $250 USD program fee.  Limited scholarships may be available based on applicant’s demonstrated financial need. Applications for a scholarship will be provided upon acceptance to the WILD program.
2.    Obtaining a current, valid passport and U.S. visa, including all related costs such as travel to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the home country

MIUSA will provide:
1.    Roundtrip airplane tickets for participants to travel from home countries to Eugene, Oregon, USA
2.    Travel health insurance during the WILD program
3.    Food, lodging, program activities and accessible public transportation during the WILD program
4.    Disability-related accommodations, including sign language interpreters, funding for personal assistants, etc.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2012

APPLY EARLY!
We receive a large number of applications for a limited number of openings.
Send your application by e-mail (preferred), or fax:

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) / 2012 WILD
Email: womenleaders@miusa.org
Fax:  +1-541-343-6812 / Website: www.miusa.org

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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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

MEDIA RELEASE

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Andrea Shettle, Program Manager: Global Disability Rights Library
Telephone: (877) 535-0506
Email: gdrl@usicd.org

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:

http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/global-disability-rights-library

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:

http://www.widernet.org/digitallibrary/GDRLSiteSelection

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 gdrl@usicd.org.  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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JOB POST: Program Officer, Disability Rights Fund

Posted on 5 June 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Human Rights, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Disability Rights Fund seeks Program Officer

About the position
The Program Officer position offers a unique opportunity to join a groundbreaking grantmaking initiative supporting the rights of persons with disabilities. As a member of a small team, the Program Officer will help shape the Fund as it matures and incorporates the best strategies in funding disability rights in the Global South and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union. The main objective of the position is to work with other Fund staff in the creation of grants strategy and process and the oversight of grantees. To do this work, the Program Officer will build field contacts and partnerships and work with grantees in the field. Other program and administrative responsibilities related to both grantmaking and the general operations of the Fund are also foreseen. The Fund is looking for a candidate who is able to work in a fast-paced environment, is flexible, takes initiative, and is independent, but team-oriented. This position is not necessarily Boston-based.

About the Disability Rights Fund
Launched in March of 2008 as a project of the Tides Center, the Disability Rights Fund is a grantmaking collaborative aimed at building community capacity to achieve the rights of all persons with disabilities. The Fund makes modest grants (USD $5000-70,000) to Disabled Persons’ Organizations in the Global South and in Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union for advancing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at country-level.

Program Officer responsibilities
· Help design a grants proposal process that is accessible to people with disabilities
· Serve as liaison to grantees and prospective grantees
· Working closely with Tides, administer and manage grants(e.g., grant award and declination letters, disbursements, report tracking, grant files)
· Together with the DRF team, evaluate grant proposals, conduct financial and critical analysis of applicant organizations
· Provide technical aid to grantees during grants application and implementation
· Prepare concise written analyses of grant proposals and funding recommendations for Steering Committee comprised of field advisors and donors
· Arrange and conduct site visits and meetings with grantees
· Provide organizational effectiveness assistance to grantees or recommend helpful resources as appropriate
· Evaluate and monitor the impact of grants; review and analyze grantee reports
· Develop professional relationships within the field of disability rights to inform the grantmaking of the Fund; keep abreast of trends within the field of disability rights
· Collaborate with DRF team, Global Advisory Panel and Steering Committee to develop and refine grantmaking strategies
· Assist with the day-to-day operations of the Fund as needed
Skills and qualifications

The ideal candidate should demonstrate:
· Passion and commitment to advancing the human rights of people with disabilities
· Familiarity with the community of DPOs and the CRPD (particularly in the Asia Pacific region)
· Grantmaking or grantseeking experience (or relevant nonprofit experience)
· Experience supporting capacity development within civil society
· Demonstrated ability to work well with diverse populations from around the world
· Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Other language proficiencies a plus
· Strong administrative and organizational skills; the ability to manage time efficiently
· Computer proficiency (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint); willingness to learn additional applications (and accessible technology) as necessary
· Bachelors degree, or equivalent with minimum 5 years of relevant experience; advanced degree desired
· Ability to travel independently in developing countries
· Ability to combine the roles of objective evaluator and empathetic observer

Compensation
Salary and benefits negotiable, based on experience.

How to apply
Disability Rights Fund, a Project of the Tides Center, is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, and people of color, including bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities, and people of other (non-U.S.) nationalities. People with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please email or mail a cover letter, resume, three references (with contact information and relationship), writing sample (five page maximum) to:

Disability Rights Fund
Diana Samarasan, Director
Third Sector New England’s NonProfit Center
89 South Street, Suite 203
Boston, MA 02111-2670
dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org (please no phone calls)
Fax: (215) 261-4593

Deadline: Applications must be received by August 1, 2009.



Thank you to Diana Samarasan for submitting this announcement for publication at the We Can Do blog.

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FUNDING: Small Grants for Deaf Children

Posted on 23 March 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Children, Deaf, Funding, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

GLOBAL: Small grants programme for deaf children

Since 2002, Deaf Child Worldwide has supported organisations working to help deaf children overcome the barriers that contribute to their poverty and isolation.

Round 8 of Deaf Child Worldwide’s Small Grants Programme (SGP) opens on 19 March 2009 and ends 30 May 2009.

The SGP supports projects which show clear, measurable and sustainable improvements to the lives of deaf children and their families in developing countries.

Deaf Child Worldwide fund projects of up to three years and for a maximum amount of £30,000 (£10,000 per year). Visit the website for information on the SGP and the application process.

Successful projects must meet one or more of Deaf Child Worldwide’s strategic aims. Applicants must consider our cross-cutting themes in the development of their proposal.

Deaf Child Worldwide is focusing its activities in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania), South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) and Latin America (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru). You must be based in one of these countries to apply to SGP.

Applications are only accepted in ‘concept note’ format in English or Spanish. The deadline for submission of concept notes to Deaf Child Worldwide is 30 May 2009. Selected projects will start in January 2010.

The following documents can be downloaded from the Deaf Child Worldwide website:

* Background information leaflet containing details of the full eligibility criteria
* Guidance on applying
* Concept note format

Visit: www.deafchildworldwide.info

More details on the Small Grant Programme at http://www.deafchildworldwide.info/where_we_work/small_grants_programme/index.html

More details on how to apply at http://www.deafchildworldwide.info/where_we_work/small_grants_programme/how_to_apply/index.html

Missed the May 30, 2009, deadline? Deaf Child Worldwide offers similar grants on a periodic basis, though not always in the same countries. Consult their web site at www.deafchildworldwide.info to learn of future opportunities like this one.



I received this announcement via the Global Partnership on Disability and Development mailing list. Please consult the Deaf Child Worldwide website directly, NOT We Can Do, for more detail on this funding opportunity, including more thorough instructions on how to apply.

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TRAINING: Labour Market Inclusion of People with Disabilities, 20-29 April 2009

Posted on 24 February 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Inclusion, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“Labour market inclusion of people with disabilities”
International Labour Organization (ILO) Training course for professionals from developing and transition countries

Dates: 20 – 29 April 2009 – Language: English – Venue: Turin, Italy

Application deadline: March 13, 2009

The ILO International Training Centre is offering a course on “Labour market inclusion of people with disabilities” (course A901286). The course language will be English and registration is open to staff involved in policy making, planning, implementation, research of Ministries, Social Partners and other institutions working on disability and social inclusion. Please note that this course is especially designed for participants from developing and transition countries.

The course programme offers the possibility to learn more about legislation and mechanisms for labour market inclusion of people with disabilities in developing and transition countries, provides the opportunity to get to know different international experience and good practice.

The conditions of participation are the following:

COSTS
The price of the course is EURO 2,950. This amount includes the cost of training and subsistence (full board and lodging at the Turin Centre).

FELLOWSHIPS
The ILO International Training Centre offers a number of partial fellowships to co-finance the costs of the course. If you wish to apply for a fellowship, please contact us as soon as possible. The partial fellowships are for EURO 1,200, the difference is EURO 1,750.

AIR TRAVEL
Not included is the cost of international air travel from the country of origin to Turin, which has to be covered by the participants.

APPLICATION
In order to register and to apply for a partial fellowship, candidates should send us:
1. A completed nomination form (Word format, 67 Kb);
2. A “letter of commitment” by the participant’s organization (or a donor organization) stating that it will cover:
a) the cost of the course, namely EURO 2,950 – or in case you request a fellowship, the remaining cost of the course of EURO 1,750.-;
b) the international return ticket to Turin.

These documents should be sent to:
Ms. Alessandra MOLZ: a.molz@itcilo.org. Tel: +39011693 6428
Ms. Elisabetta BELLORA: e.bellora@itcilo.org. Tel: +39011-693 6561. Fax: +39011-693 6451

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION
13 March 2009
.

Yours sincerely,
Alessandra Molz
Programme officer
Employment and Skills Development Programme

ILO INTERNATIONAL TRAINING CENTRE
Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10, 10127 Torino, ITALIA
Tel.: +39-011-693 64 28, Fax: +39-011-693 64 51

Interested in our courses? Visit our on-line training calendar:
http://www.itcilo.org/calendar
http://www.itcilo.org

Tiene interés en nuestros cursos? Nuestro calendario de actividades se encuentra en:
http://www.itcilo.org/calendar/view?set_language=es
http://www.itcilo.org/es



I received this announcement via the Global Partnership on Disability and Development (GPDD) email-based discussion group .
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Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law, Abo Akademi University, Finland

Posted on 17 February 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Education and Training Opportunities, Human Rights, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The Institute for Human Rights and the Department of Law at Abo
Akademi University offer a two-year Master’s Degree Programme in
International Human Rights Law
. The application deadline for the 2009-2011 program is: 27 February 2009 at 4 pm (CET+1). Both the application and all supporting documents must be submitted by this time. Applications arriving past the deadline will not be considered.

The 120-credit program is taught in English. The a official website for the master’s program does not clarify whether offers content specific to the human rights issues of disabled people in developing countries. However, their provided information on the structure of the program indicates that students must take 15 to 35 credits in optional courses in order to achieve the total 120 credits required for the program. Students interested in disability rights in developing countries may wish to communicate directly with the program at hrm-coordinator@abo.fi to explore options for incorporating an emphasis on disability rights into the standard program.

Admission to the program is very competitive: only 15 students will be accepted to the 2009-2011 program. This means that not all students who meet the eligibility requirements will be able to enter the program. Students must have a law degree or other bachelor’s degree with at least 45 credits in law or relevant subjects.

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JOB POST: External Consultant, Gender and Disabilities, Afghanistan

Posted on 30 January 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

TERMS OF REFERENCE

To identify best practices on how to include women with disabilities in the design of projects on disability

1. Introduction:

In 2005 and 2006 Handicap International has conducted a national survey on disability (NDSA, National Disability Survey in Afghanistan). In this study the number of persons with disability (PwD) in Afghanistan was estimated between 747,500 and 867,100, considering 2.7% as a prevalence rate of Afghan with disabilities. An average of 1 out of 5 households has at least one person with disability. More than half of persons with disabilities in Afghanistan are living in Central, Western and Southern regions of Afghanistan. The number of PwDs in Herat, Kabul and Kandahar Provinces are among the highest in the country. Many years of war, landmines, but also impairments acquired from birth, inadequate healthcare, congenital disabilities, accidents or malnutrition and preventable diseases such as polio or tuberculosis made hundred of thousands of Afghans disabled.

Considering Afghanistan contest Women with Disabilities (WWDs) suffer double vulnerability: first they are Women and second they are disabled

The government has limited programme interventions in addressing issues related with Disability and for the PwDs. For the last few years, a number of organizations in the non government sector have come up with programs and projects to the benefits of the PwDs. Little is know about Women with Disability and the constraints they face in their daily lives and the quality of life they enjoy in Afghanistan. That can be reliably need for designing understand projects.

2. Background

Handicap International is an international organization specialized in the field of disability. Non-governmental, non-religious, non-political and non-profit making, it works alongside people with disabilities, whatever the context, offering them assistance and supporting them in their efforts to become self-reliant. Since its creation, the organization has set up programs in approximately 60 countries and intervened in many emergency situations. It has a network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and USA) which provide human and financial resources, manage projects and raise awareness of Handicap International’s actions and campaigns.

Handicap International has been working for Afghan people since the mid-1980’s when it started its activities for the Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The Belgium branch of Handicap International started implementing projects in Afghanistan in the early 1990’s while the French one started in the beginning of 2002. In April 2006, the two programs merged under the leadership of HI France.

Today, in response to the pressing needs of persons with disabilities, Handicap International Afghanistan works in the Southern (Kandahar), Western (Herat) and Central (Kabul) regions of Afghanistan, which covers more than half of the people with disabilities in the country. Handicap International in Afghanistan currently operates 8 development projects managed by more than 200 national staff and 7 expatriates. Hl works in four main sectors:

• Disability advocacy and awareness
• Physical rehabilitation and physiotherapy
• Socio-economic inclusion
• Mine risk education

At the advocacy level, HI coordinates its activities with the major international organizations working on disability issues in Afghanistan: Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), SERVE, and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). At the local level, HI provides technical assistance to CCD (Community Center for Disabled), is a member of the advocacy committee of the Afghan Civil Society Forum, and supports local DPOs in Herat by providing them technical support and materials, and conducting joint projects on disability awareness.

For the past three years, Handicap International provided rehabilitation services (physiotherapy and orthopedic devices) to an average of 20 000 individuals per year in the Southern region and Herat Province. Our inclusion programs in Herat and Kabul directly provided working opportunities, trainings and referral to other relevant services to an average of more than 3000 persons with disabilities per year. Our teams in Helmand and Kandahar provinces delivered awareness sessions on mine and UXOs related risks to over 200 000 persons at community level, in IDP camps, encashment centers and to Kochies populations (nomads). HI conducted awareness campaigns all over the country to raise awareness on the situation of people with disabilities through photo exhibitions, radio programs and TV spots broadcasted on the main national Medias.

3. Justification of support

Due to lack of expertise in HI Afghanistan and the time needed to complete this work an expert in Gender and Disability is needed to identify best practices on how to include women in the design and implementations of projects on disability”.

4. Ideal candidate

The ideal candidate
• An expert in Gender and Disability. Due to cultural sensitivities, the consultant must be female.
• Teaching, production of guideline and Capacity building supervision experience with DPOs/PwDs,
• Working experience in developing country (preferable)

5. Objectives:

5.1 General objective
To provide a guidelines on best practices on how to include women in the design and implementations of projects on disability

5.2 Activities:
• Review documentations on the situation of women with disabilities (WWDs) in Afghanistan
• Review HI Afghanistan projects documents
• To meet different stakeholders relevant to this study
• To visit Hi projects according to security.
• Assess the attitude and perception of the WWDs by Women with Disabilities themselves, their relatives, Communities and local authorities
• Identify the opportunities and barriers WWD face when accessing services.

6. Expected result:

• Guidelines on best practices on how to include women in the design and implementations of projects on disability
• An example of leaflet and booklet on best practices designed in English.

7. Preparation for the Mission
From HI-Afghanistan
1. To sign and send the contract to the resource person
2. To provide the consultancy fee
3. To provide HI projects
4. To organise all logistic and administrative arrangements for the resource person
5. To provide accommodation in the HI guesthouse in Kabul and Herat
6. To provide an HI support letter for the visa
7. To pay for the travel costs
8. To pay for the visa costs

From the consultant
1. To fulfil requirements of the TOR
2. To secure the visa for Afghanistan with the support of the HI letter
3. To provide insurance for herself
4. To sign the contract.

8. Background documentation required

1. All documents to be supplied upon request.

9. Duration of the mission

6 weeks consultancy excluding travel time, 3rd week of February 2009 in agreement with the HI Gender and Disability Consultant

10. Budget
TITLE LOCAL CURRENCY EURO CODE PCAS CODE PCAF
Consultancy fee 125 USD per day of consultancy plus 2 days of travel plus 3 days preparation prior arrival
International Transport HI
Local Transport HI
Accommodation HI
TOTAL

Signature DP Signature Consultant

Sami ul Haq Sami
Advocacy and Awareness Coordinator
Handicap International
Mobile No.: 00 93 (0)799 30 61 32
Add: House # 548, Street # 5th, Qala-e-Fatullah, Kabul, Afghanistan
Email: samiulhaq@hiafgha.org
samiulhaq_sami@hotmail.com
Web: www.handicap-international.org



Thank you to Sami ul Haq Sami for passing along this job post announcement.

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Networking Among People with Disabilities in Developing Countries and Allies

Posted on 30 January 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Networking Opportunities, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

If you’re reading this, then you probably share a passion for promoting human rights and fighting poverty among people with disabilities in developing countries. I know that some We Can Do readers are themselves people with disabilities in developing countries working as grassroots advocates. Other We Can Do readers are professionals, with and without disabilities, in the international development or disability fields.

We don’t all come from the same continent. We don’t all share the same disabilities. We don’t all work in the same sector or for the same cause (education? HIV/AIDS? signed languages? human rights? other?). Some readers are actively working with the disability community in a developing country. Others are far away in a comfortable office in a developed country.

We are all very different from each other. But we all want, ultimately, the same thing. We all believe that people with disabilities in developing countries should not have to confront barriers that exclude them from education, employment, health care services, life in the community, and even the most basic human rights–including the right simply to be alive.

I have now created a new Facebook group entitled Networking Among Disabled People in Developing Countries and Allies. This group is meant to facilitate friendly networking among like-minded people. If you already have a Facebook account, then you can join the group with the click of a button. If you are new to Facebook, then it only takes a few additional moments to create your own first, free Facebook account.

Once you join the group, you can write on the “Wall,” or write in one of the “discussion groups.” Introduce yourself … and find out who else in the group shares experiences, challenges, frustrations, and joys in common with yours. You might think that you only really want to meet people from your own country, or people in the same profession as you. But perhaps you will be surprised to find that someone with a different disability, in a different continent, working in a project completely different from yours, has interesting insights you could learn from.

I hope to meet a few We Can Do readers in the Facebook group! Please join by following the link to:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=58529958419



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ILO Training Course: Labour Market Inclusion of People with Disabilities, April 20-29, 2009, in Turin, Italy

Posted on 19 January 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Cross-Disability, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Fellowships & Scholarships, Inclusion, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“Labour market inclusion of people with disabilities”
International Labour Organization Training course for professionals from developing and transition countries

Dates: 20 – 29 April 2009 – Language: English – Venue: Turin, Italy
Application deadline: 13 March 2009

Turin, 12 January 2009
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have the pleasure of announcing that the ILO International Training Centre is offering a course on “Labour market inclusion of people with disabilities” (course A901286). The course language will be English and registration is open to staff involved in policy making, planning, implementation, research of Ministries, Social Partners and other institutions working on disability and social inclusion. Please note that this course is especially designed for participants from developing and transition countries.

The course programme offers the possibility to learn more about legislation, mechanisms and mechanisms for labour market inclusion of people with disabilities in developing and transition countries and provides the opportunity to get to know different international experience and good practice.

The conditions of participation are the following:

COSTS
The price of the course is EURO 2,950. This amount includes the cost of training and subsistence (full board and lodging at the Turin Centre).

FELLOWSHIPS
The ILO International Training Centre offers a number of partial fellowships to co-finance the costs of the course. If you wish to apply for a fellowship, please contact us as soon as possible. The partial fellowships are for EURO 1,200, the difference is EURO 1,750.

AIR TRAVEL
Not included is the cost of international air travel from the country of origin to Turin, which has to be covered by the participants.

APPLICATION
In order to register and to apply for a partial fellowship, please send us:

1. A completed nomination form (attached);
2. A “letter of commitment” by the participant’s organization (or a donor organization) stating that it will cover:
a) the cost of the course, namely EURO 2,950 – or in case you request a fellowship, the remaining cost of the course of EURO 1,750.-;
b) the international return ticket to Turin.
These documents should be sent to:
Ms. Alessandra MOLZ: a.molz@itcilo.org. Tel: +39011693 6428
Ms. Elisabetta BELLORA: e.bellora@itcilo.org. Tel: +39011-693 6561. Fax: +39011-693 6451
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION
13 March 2009.

Yours sincerely,
Alessandra Molz
Programme Officer



I received this announcement via the Global Partnership for Disability and Development mailing list. People interested in attending this conference will wish to contact the organizers directly (NOT We Can Do) to request that a nomination form be sent to them. (Contact the organizers at a.molz@itcilo.org or e.bellora@itcilo.org.)

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Disability Conferences in 2009

Posted on 18 January 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Cross-Disability, Events and Conferences, Opportunities, Rehabilitation, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

One common reason why many We Can Do readers come to this blog is because they want to learn about upcoming conferences related to disability issues in developing countries. The single most popular page at this blog carries the quite inelegant but pragmatic title of Conferences, Events, Call for Papers, Training Opportunities (which also includes the very few job listings posted here and other things that didn’t fit in the title).

But, there is another page that We Can Do readers can consult to learn about upcoming disability and rehabilitation related conferences for the year 2009:

http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/conference.php

This page, maintained by the Center for International Rehabilitation, Research, Information, and Exchange (CIRRIE), has listings that go as far out as December 2009. People who monitor We Can Do regularly will find a few of these announcements are familiar. But many have never been announced at We Can Do.

In some cases, this may be because they don’t quite fit my parameters. Before I publish a conference announcement, I try to determine whether it would be of genuine interest or use to people living or working in developing countries. This is not to say that I do this perfectly. But I strive to do this. Some conferences may carry the word “international” in their title, but on closer examination, “international” may often mean “North America and Europe.” I often skip over such conference announcements.

But in other cases, I simply had not heard of these conferences. For example, there is Neurorehabilitation 2009, held by the Southern African Rehabilitation Association in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 26-28, 2009. Or a conference being held by World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, One World: Quest for Integration, November 12-15, 2009, in Bangalore, India. And some others.

It is worth exploring the list of conferences on your own at
http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/conference.php
Those who know how to use RSS Feeds can also subscribe to the CIRRIE listing to learn of new conference announcements as they are posted.



I discovered this listing of conferences by browsing the CIRRIE web site.

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Disability in Non-Western Societies: A Bibliography of Bibliographies

Posted on 18 January 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Disability Studies, East Asia Pacific Region, Education, Middle East and North Africa, Poverty, Resources, signed languages, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Researchers who need to locate journal articles and other publications about people with disabilities throughout history in developing countries face significant barriers. People with disabilities outside of North America and Europe tend to be invisible in much of the published literature and throughout history.

Researchers can consult a list of annotated bibliographies at the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) as a starting point in seeking out thousands of articles that may meet their needs.

These bibliographies do not directly link to the articles in question. In many cases, I suspect these articles may not exist on-line. But the bibliographies could be used to help researchers know what publications they should seek out through the inter-library loan program at their university library.

A few examples of annotated bibliographies include: Disability in the Middle East; Disability and Social Responses in Some Southern African Nations; Disability and Social Response in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Disability & Deafness in North East Africa; Disability and Deafness in East Asia: Social and Educational Responses, from Antiquity to Recent Times; Sign, Gesture, and Deafness in South Asia and South-West Asian Histories; Social Responses to Disability & Poverty in Economically Weaker Countries: Research, Trends, Critique, and Lessons Usually Not Learnt; and more.

Researchers may begin exploring the various bibliographies (by author M. Miles) at

http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/bibliography/index.php



I found the page listing M. Miles’ various bibliographies by browsing the CIRRIE web site.

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This page also accessible via http://tinyurl.com/atp4tn

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IntraHealth Seeks Information on Access to Sexual Reproductive Health in Developing Countries

Posted on 16 December 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Comments or Information, Health, Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

IntraHealth International is seeking both facts and personal stories on access to Sexual Reproductive Health in developing countries.

IntraHealth International, a global health organization, wants to increase awareness about the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities in sexual and reproductive health programs in developing countries. They need:

— Facts on what is being done currently to increase access to health care services,
— Information on local disability organizations in developing countries
— What are the specific barriers and problems that limit access to health care services in general and to SRH in particular
— Any relevant data
— Personal stories about disabled persons and their experiences accessing, or trying to access, sexual and reproductive health care services in developing countries

Please send any info or resources you may have to Cornelia Kip Lee, or to Jim McMahan at:

Cornelia Lee: corneliakip@mac.com U.S. phone: 919-428-3335
Jim McMahan: jmcmahan@intrahealth.org



I received this notice via the Global Partnership for Disability and Development mailing list.

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E-Discussion on Disability and Climate Change, 8-12 December 2008, Via Email

Posted on 24 November 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Events and Conferences, Networking Opportunities, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Invitation to Join GPDD Electronic Discussion On DISABILITY & CLIMATE CHANGE
8 – 12 December 2008
Sponsored by: The Global Partnership for Disability & Development (GPDD) and The World Bank (Human Development Network – Social Protection/Disability & Development Team)

The Global Partnership for Disability & Development (GPDD) is pleased to invite you to an e- discussion on Disability & Climate Change.

Climate change causes grave consequences for human well-being, development, and security, by increasing severe weather conditions that raise the risks of disease, food scarcity, loss of livelihoods, migration, violence, and conflict. Climate change threatens the effectiveness of development efforts by disproportionately affecting people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in low- and middle-income countries. In the face of these imminent challenges, people with disabilities and their families require adaptation and robust systems that promote sustainable access to basic necessities, secure livelihoods, health care, and social and civic participation.

This e-discussion will be a week-long electronic exchange among all interested stakeholders to create a shared understanding of how climate change may impact the lives of people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries, and summarize the major themes that must be addressed in future research activities.

The e-discussion will take place from 8 – 12 December, and be facilitated by Dr. Maria Kett, Assistant Director of the LCI Disability and Inclusive Development Centre of Leonard Cheshire Disability, and Valerie Sherrer, Emergency Coordinator of Christian Blind Mission. Discussion topics will center on two primary themes:
1. Disasters, Emergencies, Conflicts and Disability, and
2. Basic Necessities, Health, & Poverty Reduction.

The main objective of the e-discussion is to build on existing knowledge and exchange ideas on developing practical strategies to cope with the diverse effects of climate change, which will directly or indirectly impact the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The information and insight gathered in the discussion will be converted into a report for wide dissemination in multiple formats.

The discussion is open to all interested parties and participation is free. Please be sure to register before 28 November, 2008 to ensure inclusion in the entirety of the discussions.
To register, please submit an email in the following format:
To: listserv@listserv.syr.edu
Subject: GPDD-eDisc2008 [First Name Last Name Country]
*e.g.: GPDD-eDisc2008 Joe Smith Australia
Message Body: Subscribe GPDD-eDisc2008 [First Name Last Name]
*e.g.: Subscribe GPDD-eDisc2008 Joe Smith

For questions or further information regarding this event, please contact Kelly Hamel at kmhamel@law.syr.edu.

We very much look forward to having you join us!



This announcement was recently circulated on the <a href=”http://www.gpdd-online.org/mailinglist”GPDD mailing list.

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UNESCO Flagship to Promote Education Access for Disabled Children

Posted on 12 November 2008. Filed under: Children, Education, Inclusion, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has created a Flagship devoted to improving the reach and quality of inclusive education for students with disabilities in developing countries. As many as 90 percent of children with disabilities in developing countries are denied the opportunity to obtain an education. The Flagship program works in partnership with other United Nations agencies, international and national disability organizations, and donors. It promotes the need for policy makers and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to work in partnership with organizations of, or representing, people with disabilities and their families. The Flagship also promotes the inclusion of education rights for people with disabilities in National Education Plans.

Read more about the Flagship at
http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/know_sharing/flagship_initiatives/disability_last_version.shtml

Read more about inclusive education at
http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=56205&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Download a brochure on the Flagship program (PDF format, 432 Kb) at
http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/know_sharing/flagship_initiatives/depliant_flagship.pdf

People who are interested in promoting educational opportunities for people with disabilities in developing countries will also want to explore the web site for the Enabling Education Network (EENET), an information-sharing resource on inclusive education.

If you have a specific interest in Eastern Africa, then you might wish to learn about an on-line discussion group on inclusive education in Eastern Africa. Select the category education from the pull-down menu under “Categories” to see more We Can Do posts related to education for people with disabilities.



I first learned of the Flagship via the mailing list for the Centre for Services and Information on Disability.

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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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CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Disability and Inclusive Economic Development

Posted on 16 July 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Cross-Disability, Education, Employment, Health, HIV/AIDS, Inclusion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Water and Sanitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Note that, although abstracts are due by August 1, 2008, completed papers will not be due until 2009. This same announcement was posted at We Can Do in April, but the editors are circulating this notice again in an attempt to collect more abstracts for them to choose among.

Call for Papers for the Review of Disability Studies
Special Issue on Disability and Inclusive Economic Development.

The Review of Disability Studies is requesting papers for an upcoming special issue on Disability and Inclusive Development, to be edited by Rosangela Berman Bieler of the Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development and Daniel Mont of The World Bank.

This issue is intended to highlight recent research on the links between disability and socio-economic outcomes in developing countries, as well as evaluate attempts to move towards a more inclusive model of development

In particular, we are soliciting papers about the developing world that answer questions such as:

  • What is the relationship between disability and poverty?
  • How does the presence of a disability affect people’s access to education, training, and employment?
  • What is the relationship between health status, disability, and mortality?
  • What are the key barriers that prevent access to public services such as education, healthcare, transportation, water and sanitation, etc.?
  • What are some examples of programs or policy interventions aimed at including disabled people, and how effective have they been?

We particularly encourage submissions from authors from developing countries. We also encourage submissions across all disciplines, as long as they are aimed at helping to build more effective inclusive policies.

Please send electronic copies of a 1-2 page abstract to both Daniel Mont at dmont@worldbank.org and Rosangela Berman Bieler at RBBieler@aol.com by August 1st.

Completed articles should be approximately 3000-5000 words and should follow all RDS formatting guidelines found at http://www.rds.hawaii.edu/submissions/. Note that an invitation to (submit an abstract or) participate in the forum does not guarantee publication of that article in The Review of Disability Studies.

For more information about The Review of Disability Studies, please go to www.rds.hawaii.edu



This announcement was circulated by Daniel Mont via email. Any inquiries and abstracts should please be directed to Daniel Mont or to Rosangela Berman Bieler as instructed above, NOT to We Can Do.

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NEWS: Advocates urge UN Social Development Commission to Make Development Agenda Disability-Inclusive

Posted on 18 March 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Inclusion, News, Poverty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In February 2008, delegates urged the United Nations Social Development Commission to help ensure that people with disabilities are included in efforts to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in developing countries.

A panel of experts with disabilities pointed out that people who are poor are at higher risk for acquiring disabilities due to poor nutrition, health care, and living conditions. Meanwhile, people who have disabilities are at higher risk for poverty because they encounter barriers to education, employment, and public services.

The Commission also was reminded that people with disabilities have the same desire and rights as everyone else to feel needed and be part of society. This makes it critical to remove barriers to the participation of people with disabilities and mainstream their concern into overall development efforts in developing countries. Doing so improves the lives of people with disabilities and also improves society as a whole by increasing productivity.

A more detailed summary of each speaker’s remarks to the UN Social Development Commission, and the outcome, is available at

http://media-newswire.com/printer_friendly_1061037.html



The information given in this blog post is summarized from the Media-Newswire press release referenced above. We Can Do first learned about this link from the RatifyNow email discussion group.

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NEWS: Intl Deaf Children’s Society Becomes Deaf Child Worldwide

Posted on 6 March 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Children, Deaf, Human Rights, News, Poverty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What was formerly known as the International Deaf Children’s Society (IDCS) has recently circulated the following notice. People who already have turned to what is now known as Deaf Child Worldwide to learn from their database of project case studies and resources will be pleased to know that their organization is continuing to become stronger.



Dear friend ,

IDCS has come a long way since 2003 when we were founded by the National Deaf Children’s Society in the UK. We have learnt much about the situation for deaf children in developing countries and the role that we can play in creating change and supporting our partners.

Our knowledge, confidence and ambition has grown. The time is right to create a new, strong and separate identity for the next steps in our journey. From today 5 March 2008, we will become Deaf Child Worldwide.

(Deaf Child Worldwide logo: features the image of a child’s handprint over the phrase “deafchild worldwide”)

Deaf Child Worldwide is the only UK based international development agency dedicated to enabling deaf children to overcome poverty and isolation. We work with partners in the countries where need is greatest throughout the world and we are the international development agency of the National Deaf Children’s Society (www.ndcs.org.uk) in the UK.

What has changed?
We have a new name and logo which shows our ambition to defend the rights of deaf children around the world. We also have a new focus so that we can maximise our impact.

We will work towards the following six strategic focus areas over the next five years

  • Empowering families to improve communication with their deaf child
  • Ensuring the inclusion of deaf children in their communities
  • Building the capacity of local organisations to meet the needs of deaf children
  • Promoting the development of family led movements to defend the rights of deaf children
  • Ensuring local and national governments respect the rights of deaf children
  • Strengthening Deaf Child Worldwide

We will be working together with our partners to mainstream gender, HIV/AIDS and promote working from a social model of disability.

What is still the same?
We will continue to develop our country programme work in India and in East Africa alongside our Small Grants Programme and our information sharing network. We will also keep sending our newsletter Learning from Each Other to all our network members so you can expect a copy in your inbox soon!

How you can find out more?
Our website for practitioners is still packed with information on work with deaf children and their families in developing countries. You can find out more at www.deafchildworldwide.info



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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.



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RESOURCE: Low-Cost, Mechanical Braille-Writers

Posted on 18 January 2008. Filed under: Blind, News, Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Originally published at wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do) at http://tinyurl.com/26lwyl]

As many as 90% of the world’s 45 million blind people live in developing countries. But only about 10% of them have the tools they need to write in Braille. Even if they had electronic Braille writing equipment, specialized Braille paper is even more rare in developing countries. Also, two billion people still lack access to electricity.

Tim Connell, in writing for the January 2008 issue of the American Foundation of the Blind Access World newsletter says there is a solution to this problem. Two products have recently been developed that can write Braille onto regular paper without using electricity. One is the Jot a Dot, which has been used successfully in a pilot evaluation project in Uganda. The other is the Tatrapoint Braille Writer, which has the additional innovation that the keys can be spaced differently to accommodate different sized hands. (Think of rapidly growing children, with their rapidly growing hands.) Both are designed to be small and portable, like the traditional stylus and slate that also has been used for producing Braille by hand. However, both operate similarly to electronic Braille writers.

Tim Connell criticizes most blindness agencies and organizations for failing to give more support to distributing simple Braille writing technologies in developing countries. It should be noted that Connell works for the Quantam Technology company that sells both the Jot a Dot and the Tatrapoint Braille Writer. This, however, does not invalidate some of his underlying arguments. For example, he points out that blind people deserve to have a wider range of technologies and tools that enable them to write in different situations and contexts–just like sighted people do.

Read more about the Jot a Dot, the Tatrapoint Braille Writer, and Tim Connell’s views on why agencies should be more actively involved in supporting low-tech (and high-tech) solutions for blind people, at http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw090107.

Read more about the Jot a Dot and the Tatrapoint Braille Writer products at the Quantam Technology web site.

If you’re interested in other low-cost, portable technologies for blind people in developing countries, then you might also be interested in reading about the Sightsaver’s Dolphin Pen. The Dolphin Pen is designed to enable blind people in developing countries to read computers.



We Can Do learned about Tim Connell’s article on alternate Braille writing equipment through the Accessibility discussion group. The Accessibility email group is devoted to brainstorming how to make the XO laptop more accessible for disabled children in developing countries. People can join the Accessibility mailing list for free.



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PAPER: Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries by Shoji Nakanishi

Posted on 30 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Guest Blogger, Latin America & Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

URL for this page: http://tinyurl.com/2eeldt

Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries

by Shoji Nakanishi
Disabled People International (DPI) Japan

It has been many years since experts of rehabilitation recommended training and educations to people with disabilities to enable them to get jobs as non disabled people do. The experts believe that independence means only economical independence. As a result, parents think it impossible for their disabled children to live independently in their communities. Parents tend to put these children into a residential institution for them to live permanently. Following these ideas, the government is promoting to build more institutions and to train more experts for people with disabilities.

The Independent living movement by severely disabled people in America denied institutions that lead to isolation and discrimination. In 1972 The First IL center was established in Berkeley, the second one in Houston, in 1974 the third in Boston. A lot of IL centers have come into the world in a very short time. All disabled people in the whole country were united, and then won the amendment of rehabilitation law in 1978. As a result, IL centers got great opportunities to get subsidies from the federal government. “Independent Living: From Social Movement to Analytic Paradigm”, An academic paper written by Gerben DeJong, published in 1978, drastically changed the way of thinking toward disabilities, from rehabilitation to independent living. With this paper, the philosophy of independent living was accepted as a social movement on a academic basis. These two events rapidly promoted the establishment of IL centers nationwide.

Independent Living Movement In Developed countries

The IL movement, which gave dreams and wishes to disabled persons, has grown to service provision systems by disabled peoples themselves and advocacy activities by IL centers in these 30 years in all developed countries, except the Oceania region.

Ed Roberts, the founder of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley and other activists with disabilities said, “People with disabilities should live in communities.” “People with disabilities are neither patients to be cared for, children to be protected, nor Gods to be worshipped.” “People with disabilities themselves can identify their necessary assistance and manage it.” “People with disabilities are the victims of social prejudice rather than victims of disabilities.” This philosophy was soon accepted in many parts of the world. On the grounds of this philosophy, IL centers are providing these services below:

  1. Dispatch of Personal Assistants.
    • There are two ways of dispatching personal assistants; one is the way of direct dispatching like in Japan, another in the way of introducing through IL centers like in the U.S.
  2. Peer Counselling
    • Counselling, talking or sessions among peers who have the same or similar experiences of disabilities.
  3. Independent Living Skill Training
  4. Advocacy Activities
  5. Providing information
    • Housing and social welfare referral are included.

Now the organizations of IL centers are established in each country and region, such as NCIL in America, CAILC in Canada, JIL in Japan, and ENIL in Europe. In 1999 The first summit of World independent Living was held in Washington D.C, U.S.A . Since then, three summits have taken place in different areas where a great number of disabled leaders, including leaders from developing countries became involved.

Conditions concerning Independent Living in developing countries

The Idea of independent living, which insists on self-decision and self-management, also fascinated people with disabilities in developing countries. But because of lack of social resources, it is thought to be difficult in developing countries to achieve environments where there are enough services and accessibilities. Moreover, quite a few people thought by mistake that independence means only economical independence, so that they believed that nobody can live an independent life except for a lightly disabled person. It is nearly impossible for people with disabilities to get jobs in Asia, where only 5 or 10 percent of disabled children can have school education.

As a result, almost all developing countries tried to get disabled people to be independent through CBR (Community based rehabilitation) produced by experts, in the same period of the IL movement. Services based on institutions could be only beneficial for disabled people living in urban areas. The main target of CBR is for disabled people who live in rural areas, occupying 7 or8 percent of the total population. Non-disabled people in their communities were voluntaries trained as CBR workers, and then they did some simple rehabilitation work and help the daily lives for disabled people. Indeed, the quality of life for disabled persons might get improved to some extent, through basic physical training, walking training, sign language education, inclusion by CBR workers, and financial aids of private companies like Micro Credit. But CBR did not necessarily bring independent living for disabled persons though disabled persons had joined as official members since the beginning of providing services. That is because CBR was firstly positioned as extentions of institutions, so that disabled persons were kept under control or management of experts without disabilities.

It is often the case that disabled people who have loved the idea of IL also name their activities IL in some developing countries. For example, a certain disability organization In Mexico established a new organization named “International Organization of Independent Living for People With Disabilities”, arranging the curriculum for disabled people which included lessons about fitness, physiology, swimming, manipulation of wheelchair, driving of remodeled cars, sexuality and family life, urology, training of daily living activities etc. In Thailand, one of the staff with disabilities working at Sirindorn National Medical Rehabilitation Center suggested the Independent Living Unit, providing much the same program as Mexico’s organization did. Even though these trials may not always share the same meaning of original independent living, it indicates that there are also many disabled people having a try at independent living by themselves, in developing countries.

Scheme for spreading IL in developing countries

In 1980, American disabled people who had got involved in the IL movement began to act in other countries to spread the philosophy abroad. Nowadays, Japan is taking charge of propagation of IL in the Asian region, while in America, IL centers or other organizations like Mobility International are inviting other countries’ disabled leaders to their training seminars.

One of 4 activities is often adopted as a way of spreading the IL philosophy in developing countries; first is promoting theoretical framework of IL, second, advocacy, third, participation of severely disabled persons in self-help organizations, and the last, showing a role model as an example of IL.

1. Activity to promote the theoretical framework of IL
  Firstly it is necessary to correct the mistake about IL that independence means doing everything alone without any help. In spite of someone’s help, it is regarded as IL, if only self-decision and self-management can be done. This idea welcomes people with disabilities as “very good news”. But, in most cases, this acceptance does not immediately bring grassroot activities. For instance, a lot of disabled people were excited to meet American activists who came to Japan for an IL promotion tour in 1982, but the IL movement in Japan did not start untill the first IL center was established in 1986. It is very important to follow up on their experiences.

The first IL seminar in Asia was held in Bacolod, the Philippines in 1994, mainly promoted by STIL, Sweden and the Human Care Association, Japan. Three Asian persons with quadriplegia joined this seminar. After the seminar, Motab from Bangladesh tried to expand his job at the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed to the activity of independent living but in vain because of his death 3 years ago. Male participants from the Philippines, all of whom had already married, got quite interested in the IL movement, but they found it difficult to make a movement in their own country, because they had to prepare for their family before they join the movement. On the other hand, Topong from Thailand, on the grounds of the ideals of the IL movement, held a demonstration for better access of Sky Train, and educated other organizations in local areas. The Human Care Association supported his activities, and then offered him to come to Japan for training

Famous disabled activists participated in the 1999’s seminar in Malaysia held by the Asia Disability Institute. One of them was Christine Lee, who had staged a demonstration for access of the mono railway at the risk of being arrested. All participants were wildly enthusiastic on the last day of the seminar, and promised each other to promote the IL movement more actively from now on. But actually, few of them were able to increase their activities in the IL movement. There may be two reasons. One is most of the participants have their own jobs and have no time for the IL movement; the other is that severely disabled persons who really need IL have not joined the movement yet.

Promoting activities are very essential to support and spread the IL movement

2. Advocacy
   The IL movement in Brazil was based on advocacy. Rosangela Berman Bieler, a Brazilian woman with quadriplegic who happened to visit an IL center in America was so impressed with its philosophy that she joined the IL movement. In 1988 CVIRJ, the first IL center in Brazil, was establish by her in Rio de Janeiro. CVIRJ began to start a movement for easy access to the city, such as getting rid of steps on side walks. The problem of accessibility is very meanful not only because it is a problem that applies to all kinds of disabled people, but also because it will bring visible outcomes as advocacy. The IL center in Brazil made the movement more powerful by keeping contact with IL centers in America. Now in Brazil, there are 25 IL centers established, and the national union of IL centers has been united.

In South Korea, the IL movement has made rapid progress in a short time, because the Korean people getting involved with the IL movement have already created activities of advocacy on a large scale. Chon Manfu, a severely disabled person who applied for the role model of IL in 2000, was empowered through the experiences of joining big demonstration in 2001 and a long-term hunger strike in May 2002, triggered by the death of a wheelchair user at a subway station. These events were arranged by Pack Gyoung Souk, the principal of a night school for the disabled people. A lot of his students, who have studied IL, are taking part in the IL movement, which is one of the reasons why the Korean IL movement has such power. Now, the main issue in Korea is to train disabled people as peer counselors. The physical and mental conditions for developing IL in Korea are being prepared; 3 IL centers in Japan, Human Care Association, CIL Tachikawa, and HANDS Setagaya, collaborated with each other to establish a new project team that dispatches peer counselors to Korea several times a year and provides long-term training in Japan for Korean disabled leaders. As a result, some of them have reached the high standard of peer counselors that JIL is setting. There are 5 IL centers in Korea.

3. Participation of severely disabled persons in self-help groups

In Thailand, many disabled people used to sell lottery as a job, which made enough money to prepare for their own family. But because of this job, the disability movement did not grow among people with disabilities in Thailand. Under these circumstances, Topong, as I said before, thought it was only the IL movement that would change the environment of disabled people in Thailand. He tried to promote the IL movement in collaboration with 3 organizations of disabled people, Nontabri,Chonbri,Nakonpatom, three of which were very conscious about the rights of people with disabilities. To support his activities, the Human Care Association invited him to come to Japan for an IL seminar.

Each of these three organizations were democratic self-help groups, which provided home visiting services for disabled persons. Leaders of these organizations were willing to accept the idea of IL. The first step of a three year project is to open a seminar by Japanese disabled leaders, ten participants from three organizations were all studying hard, but none of them were severely disabled. So, the project team gave a task for them that they should find at least five severely disabled persons and take them outside their homes until the next years’ seminar was held.

After this, three organizations began to train students to be a voluntary staff, and ask them to take severely disabled persons outside. Some of disabled persons went outside for the first time in their lives; some of them were strogly opposed by their families, so that they were forced to refuse staff visits; some of them gave up to go outside because of their bad health; some of them had lifters fixed in their bathroom by staff who saw families lift the disabled person with great difficulty. As a result, many of them attended the peer counselling workshop held in 2002 empowered physically and mentally. As they are finished learning skills of managing an IL center in 2003-2004 year, the real activities are ready to start.

4. Showing role model of IL

Young disabled persons who belongs to the MileStone Society in Pakistan came to Japan for the Duskin Training Program, including the 9 month IL seminar at several IL centers, such as Human Care Association and Main Stream Association. It is almost a year since they have gone back to Pakistan and begun to start the IL movement. They looked around Lahore to discover severely disabled persons confined in their homes, and persuade them to attend training workshops held at an office. They asked some promising participants to experience IL in a room in the corner of the office.

In the end, a young girl with muscular dystrophy made a decision to live independently. She learned various IL skills such as how to take proper care from others and how to tell personal assistants what she wanted her PA to do by actually living in a special room arranged in a corner of her house. In the day time, now she works as a member of the Life IL Center the renamed office, riding in a power wheel chair taken from Japan. It is very meaningful that she began to live independently for the first time in Pakistan, moreover in such an Islamic society, where women are likely to be conservative. After her independence, two male disabled persons, who have been encouraged by her, want and even practice now to live independently.

Spreading the correct philosophy of IL

It is true that more and more people have heard about IL, and especially in developing countries, where their expectation toward IL is getting bigger and bigger. Nevertheless, most of them have given up their dreams, making excuses like these: “We have no resources to use in our country.” “Prejudices against disabled people are still deeply rooted.” “Government does not still prepare sufficient welfare systems.”

  One of the strategies to achieve the targets of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action is “Strengthened community-based approaches for the prevention of causes of disability, rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities.” It says that “Many developing countries in the region are now beginning to augment and replace traditional institutional and centralized rehabilitation programmes and projects with approaches better suited to their social and economic environments of poverty, high unemployment and limited resources for social services. Community-based rehabilitation programmes form the hub of such strategies. The community-based approach is particularly appropriate for the prevention of causes of disability, early identification and intervention of children with disabilities, reaching out to persons with disabilities in rural areas, raising awareness and advocacy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all activities in the community, including social, cultural and religious activities. Education, training and employment needs could also be met by this approach. It is essential that persons with disabilities exercise choice and control over initiatives for community-based rehabilitation..” It even recommends in Strategy 10 that “Governments, in collaboration with organizations of persons with disabilities and civil society organizations, should immediately develop national policies, if that has not yet been done, to promote community-based approaches for the prevention of causes of disability, for rehabilitation and for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. Community based rehabilitation (CBR) perspectives should reflect a human rights approach and be modeled on the independent living concept, which includes peer counselling.”

Many people tend to think it nearly impossible to introduce IL to their countries. Naturally the idea of IL can apply to all disabled people in all countries by all ages. The problem is whether you can have the courage of doing what you have not done yet, and whether you have many peers and friends who will support your activity. Pioneers have a lot of difficulties, but have a great impact on other people. Nowadays a variety of IL programs and seminars are prepared for such people. People in developed countries including US are ready to assist you to be a leader of IL movement. We are showing the achievements and good news of IL at all times.



Thank you to author Shoji Nakanishi for granting permission to publish this article at We Can Do. Shoji Nakanishi is currently Chairperson of DPI Asia Pacific and Treasurer DPI World Council. He founded the Japan Council on Independent Living Centers.

I first learned about this paper when Ghulam Nabi Nazimani passed it along.

Have you written an article that you think would be appropriate for publication at We Can Do? Please review the We Can Do Wish List for Written Materials and Resources and contact me. You may either leave a comment somewhere at this blog or sent me an email to ashettle [at] patriot.net.

To find more academic papers or research related to people with disabilities in developing countries, click on Academic Papers and Research under “Categories” in the right-hand navigation bar.



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FUNDING for Small Community Foundations or Support Organizations

Posted on 19 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Funding, Opportunities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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. Most grants are between $5,000 and $30,000. Grants are usually meant to develop the capacity of community foundations or other local philanthropic institutions that are grantmakers and that raise funds from local sources. The WINGS Global Fund focuses on developing countries.

WINGS Global Fund for Community Foundations indicates on their web site that, “The Fund recognizes that communities need not always be geographically defined” and lists women’s organizations and environmental groups as two examples of the types of grant-making foundations they would be willing to support. Although they do not list local disability-oriented grant-making foundations as an example, their concept of “community” seems to be defined in such a way that these, too, could be considered under their criteria.

The WINGS Global Fund for Community Foundations has three deadlines for funding applications each year. The last of these deadlines for 2007 has passed. The deadlines for 2008 will be February 29, June 13, and October 25.

See their web site to find out if your community foundation or support organization might be eligible for funding support. Review their “overview and eligibility“; descriptions of what they fund; instructions for “how to apply“; their “selection criteria“; “frequently asked questions“; and their list of “eligible regions and countries“, all accessible from their left-hand navigation bar.

Their web site is located at: http://www.wings-globalfund.org/apply-overview-eligibility.php

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PAPER: Equalizing Educational Opportunity for the Nigerian-Ghanaian Blind Girl-Child

Posted on 11 November 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Blind, Children, Education, Guest Blogger, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Equalizing Educational Opportunities for the Nigerian-Ghanaian Blind Girl-Child

Florence Banku Obi
Senior Lecturer
Institute of Education
University of Calabar
NIGERIA

[Editorial Note: Please note that the original version of this paper contained tables. We Can Do has converted them to text. Any flaws in this conversion are entirely my own and are not the fault of the author of this paper.]

Introduction
Education is recognised a major instrument of change and development. In recognising this, the Federal Republic of Nigeria Policy on Education aptly adopted education as an instrument par excellence for effecting national development. Education according to the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) is a fundamental human right and the key factor to reducing poverty and child labour as well as promoting sustainable development. It is in the light of this that Nigeria and Ghana have well documented policies on the education of children with special needs. However, despite these policies discrimination still pervades in these societies.

In Africa women generally lack access to education. Girls’ access to education is influenced by traditional considerations and attitudes which make them underrepresented. Girls are usually the first to be pulled out of school when the family suffers some financial lose or constrains. The picture is gloomier when the girl is blind. Girls who are blind in Africa are still to reap the benefit of the fight against gender discrimination which gained popularity in Africa after the Beijing Conference in 1998. They more than their sighted counterpart suffer lots of discrimination especially in the two countries. According to Rannveig Traustadottir as quoted by Bowe (1984) women with disabilities are likely to have received less education than both non-disabled women and men with disabilities. Women with disabilities are five times as likely as women without disabilities to have less than eight years of formal education; 17.4 percent of all women with disabilities have less than eight years of formal education as compared to 3.5 percent of non-disabled women. Only 16 percent of all women with disabilities are likely to have any college education compared to 31 percent of non-disabled women and 28 percent of men with disabilities (Bowe, 1984).

Accordingly, boys who are blind are more likely to have more and better educational opportunities than girls. Bowe (1984) writing on the educational opportunities open to children with disabilities states that boys are likely to be perceived and identified for special education than girls. While disabled boys count for 51% of all students in elementary and secondary schools and up to 75% of students in special education classes (Russo & Jansen, 1988). in developed countries, they are said to count for less than 10% of the total school age children in Nigeria. Although this figure seems low compared to the non-disabled children there are relatively higher when compared to disabled girls who are in schools. Reasons advanced for why boys are more readily identified as needing special education include their disruptive behaviours which made parents to view them and their education as a priority to enable them develop the skills to be able to support themselves and a family later on.

The history of education for the blind in Nigeria and Ghana

Nigeria
Children who are blind did not start to enjoy formal education until the early 1950s. The first school for the blind in Nigeria was established in 1953 at Gindiri in Plateau State by the Sudan United Mission (SUM). The school is now being run by Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN).This was followed up with the establishment of Pacelli School for the Blind at Lagos in 1962 by the Catholic Church and supported by the Federal Government. Oji River Rehabilitation Centre (now Oji River Special Education Centre) in Enugu State was the next in the line. Today there are a number of schools for the blind across the country. Among them include; St Joseph School for the blind, Obudu in Cross River State established in 1972 and supported by the Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM), Ondo State school for the Blind Owo, School for the handicapped (blind unit) Sokoto, School for the blind Umuahia in Abia State, School for the blind, Zuba, Abuja among others (Olukotun, 2003; Skyes and Ozoji, 1992). Interestingly, the functional schools for the blind still have the missionaries as their proprietors.

Ghana
In Ghana, education of children who are blind was initiated by the missionaries and philanthropists (Special Education Division, (SED) 2004). The early attempt according to the SED was made in 1936, when two blind children were taught Braille reading and writing. The success of this experiment led to the establishment of a school for the blind at Akropong-Akuapem in the Eastern Region of the country by the Basel Mission in 1946 (SED, 2004). This became the first school for the blind in West Africa. In 1958, the Methodist Church established the second school for the blind at Wa in the Upper West Region. These two schools till date remain the basic schools for blind children in the country although some children who are blind are also integrated in seven mainstreamed schools across the country.

Equal Educational Opportunities for all Children
The basic reasons for the establishment of schools for the blind across the two countries are to provide educational opportunities to the children who are blind and integrate them into their societies. This was to prepare them to be functional citizens who will be able to contribute to the development of their nations and their families and to help them live as near a normal live as possible. These objectives are in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1949, the United Nations General Assembly Charter of 1959, and the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child of 1989 which saw education as a human right issue (Unicef, 2004). Based on these Rights and Conventions all children including those who are blind are to access education by the year 2015. To make this realistic, Unicef (2004) in the Millennium Development Goals resolve to

“eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieve gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality; expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education for girls and boys especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children; promote innovative programmes that encourage schools and communities to search actively for children who have dropped out of schools especially girls ……children with special needs and children with disabilities and help them enrol, attend and successfully complete their education……and ensure that basic education programmes are accessible, inclusive and responsive to children with special learning needs and for children with various forms of disabilities”
p. 34 & 35.

It must be stated that in developing the Millennium Development Goals, cognizance was taken of the fact that all children (blind and sighted) are born free and equal in dignity and rights; therefore all forms of discrimination affecting them need be stopped.

Research Questions
The study seeks to answer two research questions.
• Is there gender equity in the educational opportunities for children who are blind in Nigeria and Ghana?
• Are girls who are blind negatively affected in the provisions of educational opportunities than boys who are blind?

Subjects and Method
The study involves only blind children in Nigeria and Ghana. The two schools for the blind in Ghana were involved in addition to all schools mainstreaming the blind. In Nigeria, three schools were used for the study. This was to make for easy data collection due to the size and population of the country. The three schools were visited and data collected from the heads of the schools. The schools used were, St Joseph School for the Blind, Obudu in Cross River State; Gindiri School for the Blind, Plateau State and Oji River Special Education Centre Enugu State. These schools happened also to be among the earliest Blind Schools in the country and were all established by the missionaries.

Results

Nigeria

Table 1: Population of Blind Children in three selected schools in Nigeria

Gindiri School for the Blind:
2003/2004: 49 boys; 20 girls
2004/2005: 58 boys; 29 girls
2005/2006: 54 boys; 27 girls
TOTAL: 161 boys; 76 girls

St. Joseph Obudu
2003/2004: 26 boys; 17 girls
2004/2005: 25 boys; 12 girls
2005/2006: 21 boys; 18 girls
TOTAL: 72 boys; 57 girls

Oji River Centre
2003/2004: 32 boys; 28 girls
2004/2005: 28 boys; 23 girls
2005/2006: 35 boys; 27 girls
TOTAL: 95 boys; 78 girls

Table 1 show that for the three years under study, 161 boys representing 67.9% and 76 girls representing 32.1% in Gindiri School for the Blind had access to school. The school records also showed a yearly breakdown of new intakes in primary one in the 2003/2004, academic session to be 9 boys and 8 females; the 2004/2005 had 8 boys and 4 girls while 8 boys and 3 girls were admitted in the 2005/2006 session.

St Joseph’s School for the Visually Impaired results also show that for the three years under study 72 blind boys as against 57 blind girls had access to school representing 55.8% and 44.2% respectively. The population of Oji River Centre shows that more boys are equally having access to education than girls.

Ghana

Table 2: Population of Blind Children in Special Schools in Ghana

School for the blind-Akropong
2003/2004: 162 boys; 111 girls
2004/2005: 164 boys; 101 girls
2005/2006: 175 boys; 104 girls
TOTAL: 501 boys; 316 girls

Wa School for the Blind
2003/2004: 114 boys; 67 girls
2004/2005: 108 boys; 65 girls
2005/2006: 116 boys; 69 girls
TOTAL: 338 boys; 201 girls

The above table shows that 501 boys and 316 girls representing 61% and 39% respectively have access to education in the last three years under study in the School for the Blind, Akropong. Data from Wa School for the Blind reveals that 338 boys representing 63% and 201 girls representing 37% have had access to education in Special settings since 2003/2004 academic session. These figures show that more boys have access to education than girls in the country. In the three years under study, 839 and 517 blind boys and girls were in schools respectively. The figures also revealed that girls are more disadvantaged than boys and that there is no gender equity in the provisional of educational services to blind children in Ghana.

Table 3: Population of blind children mainstreamed in the
2003/2004 academic year
Institution Students Enrolment
Male Female Total

Three Kings-Blind Unit: 10 males; 5 females; 15 total
Wa Secondary School: 4 males; 2 females; 6 total
Presbyterian Training College: 9 males; 6 females; 15 total
Bechem Blind-Unit: 4 males; 2 females; 6 total
Wenchi Seondary School: 14 males; 8 females; 22 total
Cape Coast School for the Deaf-Unit: 9 males; 2 females; 11 total
Wa Training College: 5 males; 2 females; 7 total
TOTAL: 55 males; 27 females; 82 total

The result on the table shows that in the 2003/2004 academic year, 55 males and 27 females who are blind were in mainstreamed schools in Ghana. This represents 67% and 33% boys and girls respectively.

Discussion
In Nigeria, results in table 1 shows that more boys have access to education than girls. Data gathered show that 161, 72, and 95 boys who are blind had access to education in Gindiri, Obudu and Oji River respectively. For the girls 76, 57, and 78 had access to Gindiri, Obudu and Oji River respectively. Of the total number of 529 children who are blind in the study schools, 328 are boys while 201 are girls thus representing 62 and 38 percent respectively.

The result in Ghana is not different either. In tables two and three the data show that more blind boys have access to educational opportunities than the girls. The figures computed show that 839 boys and 517 girls have access to education in segregated special schools. These figures represent 61% for boys and 39% for girls. The results in table three show that they were more boys who are blind in mainstreamed regular schools than girls as at the 2003/2004 academic year. This lopsidedness goes to confirm that there is no gender equity in the provision of educational opportunities to children who are blind in Ghana.

The findings are in conformity with the general trend where girls are denied educational opportunities in favour of boys. The reasons for this inequality are not far fetched. Women are associated with some stereotyped roles that make them feel subservient to the men in the society. For instance, there is the inculcation of the beliefs in both boys and girls in their formative years that there are definite and separate roles for both sexes (Chizea & Njoku, 1991). For instance, the traditional African society believes and teach that men are the bread-winners and at such they should be full of activity including access to education while women are home makers hence they should be home bound and passive. The socio-cultural environment of the two countries is so discriminatory in terms of gender. The Nigerian report under the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women states that women are relegated to the background and stereotyped roles of women drummed into and accepted by them from childhood (Chizea & Njoku, 1991).Abang-Wushishi (2004) pointed out that the different economies and socio-cultural factors affect sex roles and the different socialisation culture of boys and girls and their resulting personality formation. Citing Barry (1959) Abang-Wushishi states that boys were more pressured towards assertiveness, responsibility, achievement and self-reliance. The reasons for this state of affairs are the belief that women would sooner or later marry and their contribution to national development were in the areas of child-bearing, home-making and farming. Obi, (2004) states that the gender stereotyped and socialization process in Nigeria prepared women for domestic roles as housewives even with the introduction of western system of education. Western education was not considered relevant for girls but for boys. The situation is even worse when the girl in question is blind. Most parents have very poor concept of children who are blind especially the blind girl-child. These parents do not think that girls who are blind have bright opportunities in the society. Such parents will rather prefer to spend their money on the boys who have better chances of getting employment, marrying and raising a family. This is because it is not a common occurrence to see women who are blind happily married with children and having paid jobs unlike the case with most men who are blind. Davies (1996) attributed this to the fact that women in the society are still the more nurturing sex and they may be less hesitant to accept date from men who are blind that sighted men will do for girls who are blind. The fact that men find it very difficult to partner a girl who is blind affects the acceptability of such women in the society including the provision of educational services to them. Some informal interactions with some women who are blind revealed that some parents see investment in their education as a double waste of resources and energy for both the girl and the family. Many contend that their parents said they will rather use such monies to cater for their daily needs than school needs. The preference for boys has also to do with the fact that they are seen as those to continue with the family name hence much premium is placed on the birth and education of the boy child even when he is blind.

Conclusion
Education is seen in the society as the process of developing the whole being, physically, mentally, morally, politically and socially. However, despite the benefit and functions of education in the personal development of an individual and society at large cultural and social norms have been used over the years to deny women the opportunity of developing themselves and contributing to the development of their society. Women with disabilities especially the blind ones are one of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in today’s society. We need to develop a better understanding of their lives in order to remove the obstacles that still remain in their way to equality. The constitutions of Ghana and Nigeria guarantee equal rights to citizens their handicapping condition not withstanding. The two countries educational policies equally advocate for non-discriminatory educational opportunities for all children. More importantly the United Nations in her different conventions on human rights has repeatedly emphasized the need for equal educational opportunities and access by all children irrespective of gender or disability. The governments of Ghana and Nigeria must as a matter of urgency put in place measures to ensure that the blind girl-child has unhindered access to education. Parents need to be sensitized on the need for the education of the blind girl-child. Women organizations and civil right activists should integrate the issues of education of the blind girl-child into their programmes and begin to advocate for the implementation of Nigerian and Ghanaian educational policies that emphasized on equality of educational opportunities for children. Defaulters (Heads of Schools, Parents, Guidance etc) should be prosecuted to serve as deterrents for others.

References
Abang-Wushishi, Rose (2004). Perceptions of Female Development. In Oshita O.Oshita (ed) Towards Self-Knowledge: Essays on the Boki Nation. Ibadon. Hope Publications

Bowe, F. (1984). Disabled women in America: A statistical report drawn from census data. Washington, DC: President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.

Chizea, D. O and Njoku, J. (1991) Nigerian Women and the Challenges of our time. Lagos. Malthouse Press Limited.

Davies, J. (1996). Sexuality Education for Children with Visual Impairment. http://www.tsbvi.edu/Education/sexuality-education.htm

Obi, F.B. (2004). Women, Environment and Development in Boki. In Oshita O. Oshita (ed). Towards Self-Knowledge: Essays on the Boki Nation. Ibadon. Hope Publications

Olukotu, J.O. (2003). Teaching Children with Blindness and Visual Impairment: A Basic Text. Ibadon. Codat Publications.

Special Education Department (2004). Special Educational Needs Policy |Framework. Ghana Education Service.

Skyes, K.C. and Ozoji, E.D. (1992). Teaching Blind and Low Vision Children. Zaria. Ahmadu Bello University Press Ltd.

United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) (2004). A World Fit for Children. New York.


Thank you to the author of this paper, Florence Banku Obi, for granting permission to publish it at We Can Do. This paper was previously presented at the presented at the 12th International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairments (ICEVI) World Conference held in Malaysia from 16-21 July 2006 and was also circulated on an email listserv called the “Disability Information Dissemination Network,” which is managed by the ”Centre for Services and Information on Disability”(CSID), Bangladesh and currently sponsored by Sightsavers International. Individuals who wish to join receive papers, news, and announcements like this one relevant to the concerns of people with disabilities in developing countries should send an email to csid@bdmail.net or csid@bdonline.com with the word “join” in the subject line.

For more papers like this one, click “Academic Papers and Research” under “Categories” in the right-hand navigation bar. For more items related to blind people, or children, or education, or Sub-Saharan Africa generally, please click on the appropriate categories.

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