Report: Pacific Sisters with Disabilities at the Intersection of Discrimination

Posted on 4 June 2009. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Education, Employment, Health, Human Rights, Inclusion, News, Policy & Legislation, Rehabilitation, Reports, Resources, signed languages, Violence, Women | Tags: , , , , |

Both people with disabilities and also women experience discrimination in countries around the world, including within the Pacific region. Women with disabilities experience a double dose of discrimination. A newly released report, entitled Pacific Sisters with Disabilities: at the Intersection of Discrimination (PDF format, 981 Kb), reviews the situation of women with disabilities in the Pacific region. It includes discussion on the challenges of discrimination against women with disabilities; laws among Pacific Island governments; and policies and programs within disabled people’s organizations (DPOs), women’s organizations, and mainstream international development partners. The report concludes with recommendations for improving the situation of women with disabilities in the Pacific region. This April 2009 report, by authors Daniel Stubbs and Sainimili Tawake, covers the situation of 22 Pacific countries and territories. It was published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pacific Center.

The research leading to this report found that a few helpful laws, policies, and systems of practice do exist in some countries. However, disabled women do still tend to fare more poorly compared to disabled men or compared to non-disabled women. Specifically, they are often less educated, experience more unemployment, face more violence and abuse, encounter more poverty, are more isolated, have less access to health care, and have lower social status. Women with disabilities also have less access to information about education, health care, their reproductive rights, recreation, politics, or even the weather.

Unfortunately, very limited documentation on the situation of women with disabilities exist in any region, including the Pacific. This report relies partly on extrapolation from what is known about women with disabilities in other regions. This information is supplemented, where possible, with local data, statistics, anecdotes, and other information specific to disabled women in the Pacific.

The full 90-page report can be downloaded for free, in PDF format (981 Kb) at:

I learned about this report via the Global Partnership on Disability and Development email discussion list.

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New Global Email Network of Women with Disabilities Launches

Posted on 30 October 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Networking Opportunities, Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Dear friends,

As you may know, a group of over 50 participants from 20 countries and various sectors (civil society, governments, academia, international organizations and private sector) met in Quebec, Canada on August 26-27 for a Global Summit on the Rights of Women with Disabilities. All Interational Disability Alliance organizations were invited to send a representative, and were actively engaged in the discussions.

The Summit was a great opportunity to talk about the key challenges facing women with disabilities worldwide, network, exchange ideas and take actions for us to “claim our rights”. Together, the Summit participants decided to form a new global network of women with disabilities and allies, charged with raising awareness and carrying out advocacy.. Attached and below is the Call for Action presented at the close of the Summit.
As the Call to Action say, this network aims to be inclusive of women of all ages from all parts of the world with ALL types of disabilities.

In order to move forward, an email list for the “International Network of Women With Disabilities” (INWWD) has been set up, and interested individuals are invited to join the email list by sending a message to: In this email, please include your name, affiliation and whether you agree to following principles:

Provisional guidelines for membership in the INWWD email list:
– Members accept the principle that this is a network OF women with all types of disabilities from all over the world, led by women with disabilities.
– Members of this email list are committed to the philosophy of women with disabilities advocating for themselves and identifying the issues of women with disabilities.
– Members support the principles in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
– Members of this email list support the goals of this network, which include sharing our knowledge and experiences, speaking up for our rights, bringing about change and inclusion in our communities, and empowering women with disabilities to be leaders of today and tomorrow.
– Members agree that the work of the network should be equally relevant to all women with disabilities irrespective of the type of disability or geographical location.
– Members agree to be respectful and constructive.

If you’d like to join an allied group of men with disabilities, please email

The Summit participants also created a Working Group to develop the terms of reference for our network – to be finalized by the network over email by the end of the year. We are now reaching out to other networks, interested women and allies, and look forward to this partnership to promote the rights of women with disabilities around the world!

Shantha (a member of the INWWD)

GLOBAL SUMMIT on the Rights of Women with Disabilities
A Call for Action: Claiming Our Rights

Women with disabilities have been the world’s forgotten sisters. There are over 300 million women with disabilities around the world, representing a huge and important part of society. We face multiple forms of discrimination.

We, the participants in a global Summit on the Rights of Women with Disabilities, held in Quebec, Canada, in August 2008, have come together to claim our rights, through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the human rights framework. Today, we take the first, historic step by creating a global network of women with disabilities, which must include women with ALL types of disabilities from ALL over the world.

We will use this network to share our knowledge and experiences, speak up for our rights, bring about change and inclusion in our communities, and empower women with disabilities to be leaders of today and tomorrow. We invite ALL women with disabilities to join us and we will achieve these goals TOGETHER.

Adopted on August 27, 2008, Quebec, Canada

This announcement was circulated by Shanta Rau of Rehabilitation International via the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) email list. Queries about the new email network of women with disabilities, and allied men, should please be directed to or to, NOT to We Can Do.

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NEWS: Disability Advocate, Gladys Charowa, Dies

Posted on 21 April 2008. Filed under: Children, Education, Human Rights, News, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The following email was recently circulated on the AdHoc_IDC listserv, an email discussion group devoted to disability rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as a tribute to fellow listserv member and disability rights advocate, Gladys Charowa.

Hi folks,

The vast majority of you will have seen many posts here from Gladys Charowa from the DWSO. She was a great supporter of the Convention and worked hard to ensure that her group were not going to be excluded from the Convention nor from the process.

It is with great sadness to that I have to inform you of Gladys Charowa who was the Executive Director of Disabled Women Support Organisation (Zimbabwe). Gladys suffered a stroke on the 6th of March and her health subsequently deteriorated leading to her death on the 7th of March, 2008 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Gladys Charowa was involved in the disability movement since February 2002 during her rehabilitation in Harare after breaking her back in a car crash in December 2001. She was released from hospital in April 2002 after experiencing the conditions tolerated by the women who were also being rehabilitated. She decided to set up the Disabled Women Support Organisation (DWSO) after helping some of the service users at the centre; for example, she successfully petitioned an education examination board to allow a student with disabilities additional time to sit her examinations. Gladys wanted to challenge the traditional view that there is nothing that can be done to support women and girls who are spinally injured.

DWSO works alongside hospitals, often in rural areas, to provide support for individuals and their families to become both physically and financially independent; this includes training to sensitise the community, peer group education and micro-finance projects. DWSO is one of the first disability organisations to have projects in each of the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.

DWSO also works with schools, setting up Disability Clubs and projects to help children and parents to increase their understanding of the needs of disabled people. Since 2002, she worked tirelessly as a disability activist fighting for poverty reduction, particularly among disabled women. Gladys was an active disability activist at both national and international level, and contributed immensely to disability related literature. Gladys will be greatly missed in disability activism and may her soul rest in peace after working so hard for a good cause.

Some of Gladys Charowa’s publications

(i) Reply to a statememt for discussion: investing in education for children with disabilities is economically not interesting

March 1, 2006 – Published by: Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD), Available at

(ii) Body blows: in the thick of Zimbabwe’s current turmoil, women with disabilities face hellish prejudice, hunger and rape. Gladys Charowa bears witness.(POVERTY & GENDER)(Column) – Published in New Internationalist, November 1, 2005

Best wishes,


Frank Mulcahy

Thank you to Frank Mulcahy of Ireland for sharing this sad news with the AdHoc_IDC listserv.

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RESOURCE: Disabled Women’s Organizations in Pacific-Asia

Posted on 7 April 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The following list of Disabled Women’s Organizations, Groups, and Committees in the Asia/Pacific Region (plus a few in Africa) was developed at the International Labour Organisation in Bangkok in December 2007. We Can Do readers should note that contact information can change quickly. If you try contacting an organization and cannot seem to reach them with the contact information given here, try googling the name of the contact person, or the name of the organization, or both. You can also consult other resources that can help you find more disability-oriented organizations around the world.

List of Disabled Women’ Organizations/Groups/Committee
Date: 19-12-2007

Annie Parkinson
President of Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
Post Office Box 605 Rosny Park, Tasmania 7018 Australia
Tel: + 61 3 62448288
Fax: + 61 3 62448255

Sabina Hossain Kochi
Chair Person of
Women with Disabilities Development Foundation BPKS complex, Dhakkhinkhan, Uttara, Dhaka 1230. Bangladesh
Tel: + 880-8923915,8960077

Ashrafun Nahar Misti
Deputy coordinator of Women with Disabilities Development Network
BPKS complex, Dhakkhinkhan, Uttara, Dhaka 1230, Bangladesh
Tel: +880-8923915,8960077
Champa Dash
Chairperson of
Disabled Women’ Development Committee
PSID center Narail
Moheshkhola Narail PSID Center
Post: Narail, Upzilla & dist: Narail, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Mob: +880-8901713196017

Shucithra Rani Shaha
Chairperson of Disabled Women ‘s Development Committee,
Nagarpur Disabled Peoples Organizations Tangail Bangladesh
Vill & Post : Mamud Nagar
Upazilla: Nagarpur, District: Tangail
Mob: +880-01711`512295, 01712078249

Mah,uda Khatun
Chairperson of Disabled Women Committee Narshindi
Narshindi Disabled People Organization to Development
Vill: Ashrafpur (Near Sub registry Office )
Upazilla: Shibpur, District : Narshingdi
Mob: +880-01712078247, 01713196024

Hafsa Akter
Chairperson of
Disabled Women Development Committee
Chandpur Disabled People Organizations to Development
Vill: Charbashanto, Upazilla: Faridgonj
District Chandpur, Bangladesh
Mob: +8801712o78245

Soyada Shahina
Disabled Women’s Development Committee
NDDS Protibandhi Kallayan Society (PKS)
24, R K Mission Road, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Naznin Nahar
Coordinator of
Disabled Women’s Development Committee, Meherpur
SPD Complex, Post: Mujibnagar
Dist: Meherpur-7100
Fax: +880-2-8332924

Nasima khatun
Chairperson of Disabled Women’s Development Committee, Disabled People Organizations to Development Moulovibazar, Bangladesh
Vill: natissar, Post: Giash Nagar ,
Upazilla & Dist: Moulovibazar , Bangladesh
Mob: +880-01712078248

Lovely akter Shapla
Chairperson of Disabled Women’s Development Committee, Monmanshingh Disabled Peoples Organizations to Development
Vill: Voradoba Klab bazaar, Upazilla: Valuka
Dist: Moimanshingh, Bangladesh
Mob: +880-01713196029

Women with Disabilities Project Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID)
House # 715, Road # 10,
Baitul Aman Housing Society
Dhaka- 1207 Bangladesh
Tel: 9129727, 8143882
Fax: 8125669

Disabled Women’s Committee
Fiji Disabled People Association 355 Waimanu Road, Suva G.P.O. Box 15178, Suva, Fiji
Phone: +679- 331-1203
Fax: +679- 330-1161.

Association of Women with Disabilities Hong Kong
Room 11-12, G/F, Wang Cho House
Wang Tau Hom Estate Kowloon,
Hong Kong, China
Fax: +852-2337-1549
For all disabilities.

Miss Berhane Daba
President of Ethiopian Women with Disabilities National Association (EWDNA)
P.o. Box 43128
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: + 252-1-0911-451717
Email address

Secretary of Sadhana Women with Disabilities Association Tamil Nadu
ADD India
Kallukadai Steet, Sathyamoorthy Nagar
Keeranur Pudukottai District
Tamil Nadu, India
All disabilities

Kuhu Das,
Director of Association of Women with Disabilities 6/J, Surah 2nd Lane, Phoolbagan, Kolkata-700010, India
Tel: +91-64535802
Fax: +91-23639115
Mobile: +91-9830226718

Shampa Sengupta
Representative of Women with Disability, Sruti Disability Rights Centre
Sruti disAbility Rights centre
5A R.K. Ghosal Road
Kolkata 700 042, India
Tel: +91- 9433174978

Sobhagya Goyal
Vice President of National Forum for Visually Impaired Women
All India Confederation of the Blind Ghasety Bazar Ajmer
Rajasthan, India
Tel. : +91- 0145-2621185
Mob. : +91 – 9414708018

Ms. Lidya Miranita
Indonesian Association of Women with Disabilities (HWPCI)
Jl. Cempaka Putih raya No. 1, Jakarta – Pusat
Jakarta – 10510 – Indonesia
Tel/Fax : +62-21-42879844
E-mail :
website :

Indonesian Blind Women Union (PERTUNI)
Gedung Inkoppol, Gd II, lt. 2
Jl. Tambak No. 2, Jakarta – Pusat
Jakarta – 10320, Indonesia
Tel/fax : +62-21-31931704
email :

Ms. Kimie Nagumo
President of DPI Women with Disabilities Network Japan

Kim, Mi Joo
Representative of Women with Disabilities Arts and Culture and Network
Seoul Women’s Plaza 3F NGO Center 345-1
Daebang-dong Dongjak-gu Seoul 156-808 Korea
Tel: +82-02-823-8360
Cell: 011-746-2196

Koo Gwi Hoi
Coordinator of Organizing Committee for the Global Summit of Women with Disabilities
Swon Bdg, IF, 877-13, Shinjeong5-dong, Yangcheon-gu,
Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82-2-2692-2293
Mobile: +82-19-285-5447

Lee Ye-ja
Korean Differently Abled Women United Organization
Rm 811, Chritian Building
136-46 Yonci-dong, Chongno-Ku, Seoul
Korea (110-736)
Tel: +82-2-3675-9935

Catherine Mwayoga
Women’s Committee
United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) Waiyaki Way; P.O. box 13488; Nairobi, Kenya
Tel.: +254-2-443915
Fax: +254-2-446065,

Ms. Daloonny Souvannavong
Director of Lao Disabled Women Development Center
Ban Dongphosy, Hatsayfong District Vientiane
PO Box 6751, Thadeua Rd, Hatsayfong District
Vientiane Capital, Lao
Tel : +21 812282
Fax : +21 812282
Email :

Shusila Poudel
President of Nepal Disabled Women Society (NDWS)
Pulchowk, Lalitpur:3; PO Box 5445, Nepal
Tel: +997-1- 535770, 531324
Fax: +997-1- 535770, 535142

Indira Chapagain
President of Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA)
NPC 8973,00560
Kathmandu, Putalisadak, Nepal
Tel: +977-1-6635926
Nara Kumari Karki
President of National Association for Disabled Women-Nepal (NADW-Nepal)
P.O. Box 7268 Koteshwor
Kathmandu Nepal
Tel: +977-14496664

Shrijana Singh
President of Deaf Women Development Committee (DWDC)
P.O. Box 4601 Putalisadak Kathmandu
Tel: +977-1-415-568
Fax: +977-1-416-200 Deaf and hard of hearing

Ola Abu Alghaib
Stars Of Hope Center ‘Empowerment of women with Disabilities’ Palestine
Palestine-Mamalloh-Al Elsal-Bazar Commercial Center-4th Floor
Tel: +972-2-2972345
Mobile: +972-599-026260

Miss N.G. Kamalawathie,
President of Association of Women with Disabilities (AKASA)
Pahalagama Road , Kongollewa,
Talawa, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 25 5670329
Fax : +94 25 2275022
Mobile :+94 773121062
E-mail :

Savina Nongebatu
Member of Disabled Women’s Committee Solomon
Disabled People Organization Solomon DPASI(DPO) Solomon
Tel: +677- 24863, 677- 36062

Association of Blind Women Thailand 94/4 Moo 13 Sihaburanukit Road
Minburi, Bangkok, 10510, Thailand
Tel: +66-2-233-6079

Ms. Supattraporn Tanatikom
Disabled Peoples’ International Asia Pacific Regional Office
92 Phaholyothin 5 Road, Samsennai, Phayathai Bangkok 10400 THAILAND
Telephone numbers: (662) 271 2123
Fax : (662) 2712124

Ms. Hellen Asamo
African Women with Disabilities
P.O. Box 8567, Kampala, Uganda
Tel.: +256-41-540179
Fax: +256-41-540178

Ms. Duong Thi Van
Women’s Committee of Bright Future Group for People with Disabilities
124 A Dai La Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +844 628-0527

Ms. Nguyen Hong Oanh
Director of Hanoi Women with Disabilities Club 112B5, 46B Pham Ngoc Thach alley, Hanoi (the front gate), Vietnam
Tel: +84-4-8522 778

Thank you to Bishnu Maya Dhungana for passing along this list.

Do YOU have a list of disability-oriented organizations in developing nations or regions? Please share with We Can Do readers by submitting it to me at ashettle [at]

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PUBLICATION: Human Rights Africa Newsletter

Posted on 13 February 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Media & Journalism, Poverty, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Violence, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Readers interested in human rights issues affecting Africans with disabilities can catch up with past issues of the newsletter Human Rights Africa. Issues are available in both English and French, and in both Word format and PDF format. This publication from the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities was published four times in 2006 and two times in 2007.

All past issues may be worth browsing for people with a special interest in disabled Africans. But readers may particularly want to note the following (this is NOT a comprehensive list of articles):

The first issue of 2006 has an article that lists five challenges and seven opportunities for the Secretariat of the African Decade on Persons with Disabilities.

The second issue of 2006 focuses on HIV/AIDS among people with disabilties. This includes a story about how genocide helped spread HIV in Rwanda, and a story about efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS among women in Ethiopia. There is also a story about a new African Network of Women with Disabilities that is meant to help regional and national organizations share experiences in improving the lives of disabled women. Also see the article on how you can help influence development projects in your area so they will better include poor people with disabilities.

The third issue of 2006 has an article that lists practical tips for how you can approach journalists and persuade them to cover issues that matter to the disability community in your country. Another article discusses how sports can be used to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.

The fourth issue of 2006 has many articles about war and conflict in Africa with a focus on disability issues. Also see the article on how you can become involved in helping your country develop a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) that is inclusive of people with disabilties.

The first issue of 2007 provides more information about the campaign against HIV/AIDS among people with disabilities in Africa and an article about violence against women.

The second issue of 2007 contains articles on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; a new African Federation of the Deafblind; and
lessons learned from lobbying in Uganda.

You can download copies of Human Rights Africa for free at:

We Can Do first learned about this newsletter after reading the Disabled People International (DPI) newsletter and exploring the web site for the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities.

A modified version of this article has now been posted at RatifyNow with permission of author.

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

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

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CASE STUDY: Strengthening Disabled Women Organizations in Nicaragua

Posted on 26 January 2008. Filed under: Capacity Building and Leadership, Case Studies, Cross-Disability, Latin America & Caribbean, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A publication entitled “Learning from experience: strengthening organisations of women with disabilities” (PDF format, 1.3 Mb) shares lessons learned about organizing, personal empowerment, awareness raising, and incorporating a gender perspective. The publication focuses on work done by a Nicaraguan non-governmental organization (NGO), Solidez, that works to strengthen the capacity of local disabled women’s organizations and integrate women with disabilities into society. Solidez aims to help independent organizations improve their ability to manage their own decisions and self development.

In particular, this profile about Solidez is meant to analyze the lessons they have learned in organizational work and projects, empowerment and personal growth, awareness raising, and advocacy. It describes some of the barriers that Solidez has encountered in its work, for example in overcoming negative, religion-based attitudes toward gender or disabilities. Solidez also explains some of the strategies they used and their results: for example, they attribute part of their success to the use of home visits and meetings in women’s homes. The publication offers frank discussion of some of the challenges Solidez has confronted, such as finding ways to support groups in resolving sometimes very emotional inter-personal conflicts. It concludes with recommendations for how Solidez could further improve upon its efforts.

The publication is available from One World Action, an NGO based in the United Kingdom that works to create opportunities for the world’s poorest people.

You can download “Learning from experience: strengthening organisations of women with disabilities” in PDF format (1.3 Mb) at

We Can Do learned about this case study through contacts at Mobility International USA and from the Siyanda database of resources on gender and development.

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RESOURCE: How to Include Disabled Women in Your Organizations

Posted on 23 January 2008. Filed under: Case Studies, Cross-Disability, Inclusion, Resources, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Originally published at (We Can Do) at]

Certain resources can help women’s organizations and international development agencies better include disabled women in their program activities. Skip to the resource list.

Women with disabilities confront many of the same challenges that other women in developing countries face, such as gender-based discrimination. But they also face some additional challenges, such as discrimination based on their disability. Some women’s organizations would like to advocate for the needs of disabled women in the same way that they advocate for all women. And international development agencies also want to ensure that they meet the needs of disabled women in the same way that they strive to meet the needs of all the poor people in the countries where they work.

But sometimes mainstream organizations aren’t sure how to begin. What barriers might they unknowingly create that make it harder for disabled women to participate in their programs’ activities or to make their needs known to their organization? What further barriers exist in society that may need to be overcome before an organization can more effectively serve women with disabilities? How can women’s organizations and international development agencies remove these barriers?

Several resources, listed below, can help. Mainstream organizations may wish to use these as guides to make their programs more accessible. Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) may wish to use these when communicating with mainstream organizations to persuade them to make change.

MIUSA’s “Checklist for Inclusion”
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) has a free checklist available (PDF format, 10 Mb). This 19-page self-assessment guide is written for mainstream international development agencies. It provides a series of questions that women’s organizations and international development agencies can use to help them identify what they’re already doing right and what things could be improved upon. For example: when you choose a meeting location, do you make sure that it is wheelchair accessible (ground-floor location with doors wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, etc.)? Does your organization make its print materials available in non-print (Braille; diskette) and also large-print versions? Does your organization make qualified sign language interpreters available for its training, conference, and other program activities?

MIUSA’s International Development and Disability (IDD) Program
MIUSA’s International Development and Disability (IDD) program strives to bridge the disability community and the international development community in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities as leaders and participants in development. It provides technical assistance and advice to both disabled people’s organizations and development agencies on gender and disability inclusion. In addition to their Checklist for Inclusion, organizations may wish to learn more about MIUSA activities, publications, videos, and other resources at MIUSA’s IDD web site:

In particular, note that the checklist on inclusion was originally written as part of a more comprehensive guidebook on disability inclusion entitled Building an Inclusive Development Community: A Manual on Including People with Disabilities in International Development Programs.

Can’t afford the book? Or want to supplement it with free resources? Consult MIUSA’s page of links to free resources:

Also, read some “best practice” stories (case studies) of other organizations that have successfully promoted disability inclusion in their activities:

Another item that might be of interest is an article written by Sarah Rosenhek at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) about her experience learning about gender and disability through participating in MIUSA’s August 2006 Gender Disability and Development Institute (GDDI). Her article, entitled “Strengthening Women’s Rights Organizations through Inclusion: Lessons Learned from the Gender, Disability and Development Institute,” includes pragmatic advice for other women’s organizations that Rosenhek learned at the institute.

VSO’s Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability
Volunteer Service Overseas has a publication available on-line for free entitled A Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability (PDF format, 2 Mb). This handbook guides mainstream international development organizations in finding ways to overcome the stigma that can be associated with disability; how to actively integrate more disabled workers in the workplace; how to integrate more disabled participants in program activities; and how to integrate disability into organizational policy. Each chapter has case studies that describe how other organizations have implemented the advice given in this handbook. Download the handbook itself at (PDF format, 2 Mb)

The VSO’s Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability was previously featured at We Can Do, with an overview of its contents.

Siyanda On-line Database of Gender and Development Materials
Siyanda is targeted at development specialists who want to integrate gender equality issues into their work,whether or not they specialize in gender issues. This database makes iteasy to search for, and locate, full-length materials, that can bedownloaded for free. Its library of documents includes items in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, and others. Try a key word search for “disabilities.”

We Can Do learned about the MIUSA resources and the Siyanda on-line database through contacts at MIUSA.

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

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TRAINING: 4th Int’l Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability

Posted on 13 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Fellowships & Scholarships, Funding, Health, Human Rights, Inclusion, Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Mobility International USA’s (MIUSA)
4th International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD)

August 12 – September 2, 2008
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.

Application deadline: FRIDAY APRIL 4, 2008
Generous scholarships available.

American Sign Language interpretation*

MIUSA is currently accepting applications from emerging and established
women leaders with disabilities who are:

  • From Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America, the Middle East, and
  • First time visitors to the USA and have NOT participated in a MIUSA WILD
  • From 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 employed in a business or program committed to inclusion of women and girls with disabilities
  • **Women with disabilities who are from rural areas and/or indigenous backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply**
  • Generous scholarships are available for this program.

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

  • Leadership for economic empowerment, including employment policy, legislation, private sector partnerships and coalition building
  • Educational rights and opportunities including specialized and inclusive schools, policy and legal rights, services and accommodations for accessibility
  • Career planning and higher education, including policies and support systems for women and girls with disabilities
  • Employment strategies for women with disabilities including training models, supported employment, microenterprise, private sector partnerships, career mentorship and skill-building
  • Health and family issues including parenting, health care and violence prevention
  • Accessible transportation and communities including policy and implementation, public advocacy, model transport systems, solutions for accessibility
  • Using the media and coalition building
  • Organizational development and sustainability, including funding resources and strategies, and fostering partnerships with community organizations and businesses
  • Cultural, team-building and community service experiences
  • Goals and action plans to strengthen collaborative relationships with other organizations and/or businesses and to implement plans for the employment of women with disabilities locally, regionally or internationally

The official languages of WILD are English and American Sign Language (ASL). However, some language translation may be provided during formal program workshops and activities only. Specific languages (e.g. Arabic, French, Russian, and/or Spanish) will be determined based on need and availability of resources.

Materials in alternative formats will be provided. Other disability-related accessibility arrangements will be negotiated to ensure full participation of all program participants.

APPLY EARLY! Limited space available!

Application deadline is April 4, 2008. Late applications will be accepted as space permits. Application materials are available in alternative formats upon request.

Applications can be downloaded at or requested via e-mail at:

Application forms are currently available in English, Spanish, or Arabic. Translations into French and Russian are forthcoming.

Since 1981, MIUSA has been pioneering short-term international exchange programs for people with and without disabilities from over 90 countries. As a non-profit organization, MIUSA is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

Contact information:
Mobility International USA
WILD 2008

We Can Do learned about this opportunity from MIUSA.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to participate in the 2nd International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability in 2003. I had a great time getting to know a group of 30 brilliant, ambitious, hard working women with different disabilities from nearly 30 developing countries around the world. It was a good reminder to me, as someone in a developed country, how much talent, energy, and creativity there is among disabled people in some of the poorest countries in the world.

To any Deaf (or deaf) people reading this: When I participated in 2003, there were six of us women who were Deaf/deaf. One besides me was fluent in ASL and used the ASL interpreter; another did not know ASL but could lipread in English and used an interpreter who signed in English word order while mouthing the words in English; another came with someone bilingual in Spanish and Panama Sign Language who listened to the Spanish interpreters and translated to Panama signs for her; another lipread one of the Spanish interpreters who was assigned to her for this purpose; another did not know any of the primary languages used in the workshop, so a deaf interpreter was assigned to her to translate from ASL to their own pidgeon mixture of international signs.

If you are deaf, then you will probably get the most of the workshops if you either know ASL or are able to lipread well in one of the primary languages used during the training program. But if you have other communication needs, then please do talk with the people with MIUSA and see what can be arranged. Contact MIUSA directly at the website or email addresses provided above. We Can Do is NOT responsible for WILD and cannot assist with your inquiries.

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CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: Successful Disabled Women Entrepreneurs

Posted on 8 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Employment, News, Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do you know of a successful disabled woman enterpreneur in a developing country? A World Bank annual publication, Doing Business would like to learn more about her, what has made her business successful, and what legal, regulatory, and practical barriers she has encountered along the way. Doing Business is published by the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation.

The Doing Business project is currently doing research in 178 countries to identify what legal and regulatory barriers make it harder for businesswomen to become successful. As part of this two-year research project, the Doing Business team is collecting stories about women entrepreneurs that describe why they are successful and highlight what obstacles they have needed to overcome. Gathering these case studies will help the team understand what strategies are needed to remove these barriers for all businesswomen. This will help them make better recommendations to country governments that want to encourage more women to start and expand their own businesses. A few of the case studies may be featured in a future Doing Business publication. Nominations need to be submitted by January 22, 2008, in order to be considered.

Each year, Doing Business evaluates 178 countries in terms of how their laws and regulations help, or prevent, enterpreneurs from starting and expanding businesses. Many countries use the Doing Business guide to identify where their strengths and weaknesses are in promoting private sector growth. They make reforms based on its recommendations, which has helped more entrepreneurs start businesses, create jobs, and escape poverty.

Each candidate for nominations should be the founder or owner of a business; active in her community; and have an experience that can offer lessons that can inform reform efforts. When submitting nominations, please send the following information:

  • Full name of Nominee
  • Name and type of business
  • Business address, phone number, and e-mail
  • Month and year business was started
  • A brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur
  • A brief description of the business
  • A brief summary of the obstacles overcome, discoveries made, and outcomes

Read more about the desired criteria and how to nominate business women to be profiled at:

Individuals may make inquiries or nominate women entrepreneurs they know in developing countries, with or without disabilities, by sending an email to:

Read more information about this project at:

The Doing Business project will select women from among the nominations, contact them, and prepare profiles on each woman. The chosen profiles will be published in Doing Business 2009.

We Can Do learned about this call for nominations through the World Bank Doing Business blog. Please note that We Can Do is not associated with the Doing Business project. Any inquiries, as requested above, should be directed to or to

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PAPER: Violence Against Women with Disabilities in South Africa

Posted on 18 November 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Violence, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some studies suggest that nearly one in three women are the targets of violence from their intimate partners. Women with disabilities are no exception. In fact, some studies suggest that violence against disabled women may happen even more frequently than does violence against non-disabled women. Yet, violence against women with disabilities is rarely studied at all even in rich countries–and studied even less often in developing countries.

One exception is a small-scale exploratory research project on gender-based violence and disabled women conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in South Africa entitled “On the Margins: Violence Against Women with Disabilities,” (PDF format, 341 Kb) written by Ereshnee Naidu, Sadiyya Haffejee, Lisa Vetten, and Samantha Hargreaves.

Although this research project was small, it helps highlight what has often been an ignored problem perpetuated against an ignored population:

“This exploratory research study on violence against women with disabilities strongly indicates that women with disabilities are extremely vulnerable to gender-based violence, that the violence and abuse they confront is shaped by the nature and form of their particular disability, and that they are especially disadvantaged in their access to the criminal justice system and gender-based violence support services, as compared to women without disabilities.”

Yet, when the researchers asked what services are available to women with disabilities who are the target of violence, the result, although not surprising, was nevertheless worrying:

“While many of the informants from service organisations reached through this survey were aware of and concerned about violence against women with disabilities, their organisations were, in the main, failing to address the needs of this specific, and very neglected, constituency.”

Interested We Can Do visitors can follow the link to download “On the Margins” (PDF format, 341 Kb) for themselves. The paper offers a more detailed discussion of how and why women with disabilities in South Africa are vulnerable to violence. It also describes the barriers they experience both in finding help to escape violence and in seeking justice in the legal system. Finally, the authors make recommendations for what action should be taken in South Africa to address the problem including advocacy and awareness; networking and collaboration; promoting accessible services; and policy, monitoring, and research.

The paper is available in PDF format (341 Kb) at:

For more We Can Do articles related to violence, click on the word “violence” under “categories” in the right hand navigation bar.

[Edit 17 June 2008: Edited to update the link to the paper, which had moved. Apologies for the inconvenience to people who had clicked on the old, incorrect link.]

We Can Do learned of this paper through a bi-monthly newsletter from AskSource offers an extensive, on-line library of materials and resources related to health or to disability in developing countries. Their bi-monthly newsletter alerts subscribers to the newest resources available at their web site.

We Can Do readers who would like to subscribe to the AskSource newsletter for themselves can do so by filling out the form at Or you can email and type SUBSCRIBE
SOURCE in the subject line, and state your name, organisation and email address. Additional information, such as your subject interests or activities, will help AskSource tailor their communications to your needs.

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Funding for Disabled Women NGOs

Posted on 3 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Funding, Opportunities, Resources, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A new resource has become available that may be able to help organizations focused on the rights of disabled women in developing countries seek out the funding they need to do their work.

Finding funds to start or maintain beneficial projects can be an enormous challenge for any NGO (non-governmental organization). Women with disabilities may face a special set of challenges because both women and disabled people may be devalued in their society. Also, due to lack of access to education and training, disabled women may lack awareness of how to locate funding sources or how to apply for funding.

A new report has been released that can instruct NGOs on where and how they can look for funding. Most funders, of course, do not specialize in supporting disability-related organizations. However, some do nevertheless include disability-run NGOs among the organizations they support. And most are willing to consider any well-developed project plan provided that the organization is trust-worthy, has the skills and capacity to carry out the activities they propose, and meets their criteria. It may take several tries to find the right match between funder and project, but for some organizations it can be well worth the effort.

We Can Do received the announcement below via my contacts at Mobility International USA (MIUSA). MIUSA, in turn, received this announcement by way of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID).

AWID: Where is the money for women’s rights? The 2007 Second Fundher Report “Financial Sustainability for Women’s Movements Worldwide”, Now Online!

Where is the money for women’s rights? The Second Fundher Report “Financial Sustainability for Women’s Movements Worldwide” By Joanna Kerr 2007

AWID is delighted to announce that our 2007 Second Fundher Report, “Financial Sustainability for Women’s Movement’s Worldwide”, is now available online for download either in sections or in its entirety. Building on the achievements/impact of our 1st Fundher Report, “Where is the Money for Women’s Rights? Assessing the resources and the role of
donors in the promotion of women’s rights and the support of women’s rights organizations”, this Report probes deeper into fundamental questions related to resource mobilization and movement-building. How are women’s organizations and movements growing worldwide? Why do we need strong women’s movements and organizations? Where is the money for women’s rights? How should we mobilize new resources to build stronger feminist movements in order to advance women’s rights worldwide?

The Report is second in a series of publications resulting from AWID’s multi-year action research initiative “Where is the Money for Women’s Rights”, set up to not only offer insights and strategies for achieving a significant increase in access to and amount of funding available to support women’ rights work, but also to improve the effectiveness of women’s organizations to raise more funds and utilize them to build stronger movements and progress gender equality globally.

For further information and to download the report, please visit

Seeking funds? Then PLEASE note that We Can Do is NOT a funding agency. Leaving comments here will NOT help you apply for funding. Instead, please download the above report (click on the link) to learn of places where you CAN apply for funding for women’s NGOs. Thank you.


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