RESOURCE: How to Develop Civil Rights Law for Disabled People in Your Country

Posted on 25 March 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Democratic Participation, Human Rights, Policy & Legislation, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Every day in your country, people with disabilities experience discrimination and human rights violations. This discrimination prevents disabled people from obtaining an education, receiving health care, finding jobs, and participating in community events. You know that some countries have civil rights laws that make it illegal to discriminate against disabled people. Would these kinds of civil rights laws be useful for your country as well? If so, how do you write an effective law and persuade your government to pass it?

A guide from the UK-based Disability Awareness in Action (DAA), entitled Civil Rights Law and Disabled People, can help you answer these and other associated questions. The answers may not be what you think. For example, some people assume a law will be helpful in their country because it has worked well in another country. But different historical and cultural contexts can mean that different countries may need different combinations of approaches to ending discrimination. Civil rights law is not the only approach.

If you do decide that your country needs a civil rights law, then the DAA guide offers advice on how you can campaign to make other people recognize disability as an important issue. If your country allows citizens to write legislation, then the Civil Rights Law and Disabled People guide can advise on how to write an effective law. It is important, for example, to offer a clear definition of who is “disabled,” or what it means to “discriminate,” or how a business, government agency, or other entity can stop discriminating against disabled people.

Toward the end of the guide, you can read several examples of how civil rights laws from several different countries have defined “disability” or “disabled person.”

You can read the complete guide at

In addition, it may also be helpful to read civil rights laws protecting people with disabilities from other countries around the world. There are several resources on-line that can help you find out what other the law says about people with disabilities in other countries:

Has your country ratified the international disability rights treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? If so, your country may be legally obligated to abolish laws that discriminate against disabled people, or to create laws that protect your human rights.

Signing the CRPD is not the same as ratifying it. When a country signs the CRPD, it is not legally bound by it. But, signing the CRPD does show that a country is interested in ratifying it later. It also commits the country to avoiding any actions that would be against the spirit of the CRPD. Also, in some cases, the country may need or want to change its laws before it ratifies the CRPD.

If your country has signed or ratified the CRPD, you may be able to use this information to help you campaign for better laws in your country. Find out if your country has signed or ratified the CRPD at disabilities/countries.asp?navid=12&pid=166.

Also, learn more about the CRPD and how it can help you at and also at

We Can Do first discovered the Civil Rights Law and Disabled People guide through the database on disability and development.

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RESOURCE: How to Raise Funds for Your Organization

Posted on 18 March 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Funding, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Whenever I communicate with anyone involved with Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) in developing countries, the most common question they have is, “Where and how do I raise the money we need so we can help disabled people in our country?” The United Kingdom-based international disability and human rights network, Disability Awareness in Action (DAA), has some suggestions in their fund-raising resource kit, which advises DPOs on different strategies they can use to raise funds.

This fund-raising toolkit was written in 1996, but much of its information and advice is still very much relevant for DPOs in developing countries today.

The first section gives several broad ideas for what types of entities are likely to give money. Business companies, for example, may sometimes give cash, or in-kind donations (non-cash resources such as free photocopying services, food, etc.), or training workshops to non-profit organizations. Depending on their circumstances, organizations may also wish to consider asking for membership subscription fees, or soliciting donations from individual donors, approaching funding agencies, or starting their own income-generating activities.

The section on “effective fund-raising” emphasizes the importance of researching what funding agencies are available; understanding each funder’s exact criteria for funding proposals; and matching funding agencies to your project. (For example, don’t send a project proposal for an HIV/AIDS prevention project to a funder that only supports malaria-prevention projects.)

For organizations that are inexperienced with fund raising, it can be worthwhile to read the section entitled “It All Takes Time.” It can take months or even years to prepare a good-quality proposal, send it to a funding agency, answer all their questions, and be considered for their funding.

The section entitled “Funding Applications” gives advice on writing your first letter of inquiry to funding sources; what kind of information you should put into your funding proposal; and the best way to organize and present this information.

After your organization receives funding, it is important to submit regular “reports to funders. The agency funding your current project may pass along your reports, or a summary of them, to other funders seeking to learn more about your organization. Comprehensive, honest, accurate reports about your activities, and the results of these activities, can encourage funders to give to you again in the future.

The Disability Awareness in Action fund-raising toolkit may be helpful as a starting point for organizations that are relatively new to fund-raising. One helpful characteristic of this toolkit is that it is written in simple language that is easy to understand even for people who do not read English very well. It also explains basic concepts that similar guides for well-educated or more experienced readers may not cover.

However, DPOs that are serious about fund-raising will also want to read other guides or toolkits on related topics, such as how to plan projects, develop budgets, evaluate projects, etc. I hope to be able to post information about other resources helpful to DPOs seeking funds in the future. If you subscribe to We Can Do then you can learn about these resources within hours after they are posted.

In the mean time, read the full fund-raising toolkit by following the link to:

We Can Do found this toolkit by browsing the list of Disability Awareness in Action publications at the Disability Awareness in Action web site.

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