Change for People with Disabilities: Time to Email Obama!

Posted on 7 November 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Comments or Information, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Inclusion, News, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Change for People with Disabilities: Time to Email Obama!

[Addendum, 21 January 2009: Please note that this blog site has no association with the Obama administration or the US government. This means that comments left here will NOT be passed along to the White House.  People who wish to contact Obama’s administration will wish to try the White House web site, or you may wish to communicate with the White House Office of Public Liaison.]

On November 4, 2008, millions of people with disabilities across the United States and around the world joined our non-disabled peers in watching the United States election results. Obama supporters cheered or wept to learn that the next US president would be Obama. Then we cheered or wept again when Obama mentioned people with disabilities in his acceptance speech. History was made–not only for America, not only for Black people, not only for Kenya and all of Africa, not only for Indigenous peoples, but also for people with disabilities.

But we cannot afford to allow the moment to end here. Whether we supported Obama, McCain, or another candidate, we all know there is far too much work ahead before we can say, “Yes, we have made real change for people with disabilities.”

It is time for people with disabilities, our loved ones, our neighbors, and colleagues to join together, across ideological divides, to reach out to Obama. We should all send an email to Kareem Dale, Obama’s National Disability Vote Director (at kdale@barackobama.com), WITH COPIES TO Anne Hayes, a volunteer on the Obama Disability Policy Committee (at ahayesku@hotmail.com).

First, we should thank Obama — and also Kareem Dale — for mentioning people with disabilities in Obama’s acceptance speech on November 4. Ensure that they understand how much it matters simply for us to be included. How did you feel when Obama mentioned us? Share your story.

Second, we should tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are aware of Obama’s disability platform. He promised to increase educational opportunities; end discrimination; increase employment opportunities; and support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities. And he promised to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the first international, legally-binding human rights treaty for people with disabilities. Tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are ready to call Obama to account if he fails us. But more importantly, we are ready to work with him for change for people with disabilities.

It is important to send your disability-related emails to BOTH Kareem Dale AND Anne Hayes (kdale@barackobama.com AND ahayesku@hotmail.com) between now and inauguration day. Kareem Dale’s email address may change between now and January 20, 2009. Anne Hayes can help ensure that emails sent to Kareem Dale are not lost during this time of transition.

Both Kareem Dale and others who have worked on disability issues within the Obama campaign are ready to receive YOUR emails on disability-related issues for US President-elect Obama. Emails are welcome from across the United States and around the world. If you are a US citizen, then please say so in your email.

Learn more about Obama’s plan for people with disabilities at: http://origin.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/

Yes, the video is captioned. And if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can download Obama’s Full Plan for people with disabilities in PDF format (62 Kb).

Read Obama’s acceptance speech at: http://www.barackobama.com/2008/11/04/remarks_of_presidentelect_bara.php

Want to read someone else’s letter to Obama before you write your own? Some links to a few letters to Obama are posted at: http://reunifygally.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/emails-to-obama-creating-change-for-people-with-disabilities/

Learn more about the CRPD at http://ratifynow.org/ratifynow-faq/

If you wish to contact Obama’s staff on some topic other than disability, then you can send an email via his web page at http://www.change.gov/page/s/ofthepeople

Please circulate this email freely, or post this at your own blog, web site, or Facebook page.

This text was first posted at https://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/disabilities-email-obama/ The most updated version will be here, so please consult before cross-posting.

“It is the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, DISABLED and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
–President-Elect Barack Obama
Acceptance speech, November 4, 2008; emphasis added

The above text, with some alterations, is also available in this slide show:


_________________
The above text was written by me, Andrea Shettle. Please do copy/paste and circulate the text above the line among other people. Let’s send as many letters as we can to Obama and his staff to ensure they know that people with disabilities around the world are looking to him to stand by us during his tenure as US president.

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NETWORK on Emergency and Disability

Posted on 18 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

*Call For Participation In New Network On Emergency And Disability*

Deadline: No deadline and no charges

An informal network is being set up with the objective of providing a platform for dialogue and exchange of information amongst stakeholders interested in issues relating to disability and disaster.

The creation of this network was established as part of the European Union (EU)’s “Rescuing Injured Disabled Persons in Case of Disaster” and “Flooding: Response and Simulation Schemes for Safety of Disabled” projects. Building a solid network of stakeholders in Europe and strengthening the dialogue between experts, researchers and existing networks on the subject will establish a foundation for the sustainability of these projects and its achievements.

For information, please email madamoli@ulss20.verona.it



We Can Do first learned about this network through the Disabled People International newsletter.



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 (wecando.wordpress.com).



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

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Human Security, Social Cohesion and Disability

Posted on 29 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Cross-Disability, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Human Rights, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, technology, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Call for Papers – Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (www.rds.hawaii.edu)

Human Security, Social Cohesion and Disability

Guest Editors: Gregor Wolbring, Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary;

Anita Ghai, Department of Psychology Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi;

Kirk Allison, Program in Human Rights and Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota;

Human security and social cohesion are two central requisites for the medical and social well being of disabled people. Science and technology (S&T) advances often seen as essential for disabled people also impact on human security and on social cohesion. Human security according to the Commission on Human Security is concerned with safeguarding and expanding people’s vital freedoms. It requires both shielding people from acute threats and empowering people to take charge of their own lives. The Commission identified economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, political security, freedom from fear, and freedom from want as primary concerns.

Social cohesion in very general terms means: All that which brings people together (European New Towns Platform). In Canada the following description is in use: “Social cohesion is the ongoing process of developing a community of shared values, shared challenges and equal opportunity within Canada, based on a sense of trust, hope and reciprocity among all Canadians.” (Jeannotte and Sharon, 2001). This has also been articulated complementarily in terms of social capital which has been defined among others as “features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit” (Putnam 1995).

More about the concepts can be found in the below references:

  • Gregor Wolbring (2006). Human Security and NBICS http://www.innovationwatch.com/choiceisyours/choiceisyours.2006.12.30.htm
  • Gregor Wolbring (2007). NBICS and Social Cohesion http://www.innovationwatch.com/choiceisyours/choiceisyours-2007-01-15.htm
  • Caroline Beauvais and Jane Jenson.(2002) Social Cohesion: Updating the State of Research. Canadian Policy, Research Networks, Canadian Heritage, Ottawa. http://www.cprn.com/doc.cfm?doc=167&l=en
  • European New Towns Platform. (2005). “The Top 8 Specific Challenges for Social Cohesion in New Towns.” http://www.newtowns.net/themes
  • Definitions of Social Capital http://www.analytictech.com/networks/definitions_of_social_capital.htm
  • Social Captial Initiative, Working Paper 1, 1998, http://go.worldbank.org/W8FMEK6FR0
  • We are honored that the theme for an issue of The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal will be human security, social cohesion and disability. This topic is chosen because the discourse around human security and social cohesion is of central importance for disability studies and for the well-being of persons with disabilities. At the same time discourses in disability studies can crucially clarify and test the discourses of human security and social cohesion.

    Thus, we urge potential contributors, regardless of their fields of training, to articulate their ideas about human security, social cohesion and disability. We especially encourage contributors to envision:

    • Future threats to human security and social cohesion including threats linked to new and emerging sciences and technologies processes and products and their impact on disabled people.
    • How disability studies discourses have generated tools and will continue to generate tools which can be used to minimize future threats to social cohesion and human security.
    • Other possible prevention strategies and fixes to possible future threat to human security and social cohesion.

    We encourage the submission of empirical case studies and theoretical models and we especially encourage contributions which cover the topic from a low income country background.

    Potential contributors to this Special Issue might consider:

    1. What is the “disability,” the discrimination angle of human security and social cohesion?
    2. What is the body image angle of human security and social cohesion?
    3. What is the importance of the disability studies angle on human security and social cohesion for other marginalized groups, for the marginalized majority of the world?
    4. What are potential future threats to human security and social cohesion and what would the impact be on disabled people?
    5. What are the cultural angles of human security and social cohesion?
    6. What is the role and potential of law?
    7. What empirical evidence and theoretical models illuminate the processes and effects?
    8. What is the impact of emerging social concepts such as transhumanism, which is?
    9. What is the impact of new and emerging sciences and technologies?
    10. What role does or could disability studies be playing in the interaction between new and emerging sciences and technologies and human security and social cohesion?
    11. How do or do not the human security and social cohesion discourses serve the needs of disabled people?
    12. What are the connections between human security and violent conflict?
    13. What are the relationships between development and poverty reduction, human security, and the prevention of violent conflict?
    14. What is the impact of natural disasters on those with disabilities in terms of security and cohesion
    15. How can social capital be discussed in context of disabled people, human security and social cohesion?

    Send via email 250-word abstracts, by March 31st, 2008 to Guest Editors Gregor Wolbring gwolbrin@ucalgary.ca ; Anita Ghai anita.satyapal@gmail.com and Kirk Allison alli0001@umn.edu. Please be sure to send abstracts to all editors. For those abstracts that are selected, we will request completed articles of approximately 3000-5000 words two months after the note of invitation to submit a full article was sent. Note that an invitation to submit an article based on an abstract 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



    We Can Do received this announcement via the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) email distribution list, which can be joined for free.

    The Review of Disability Studies journal has been featured before at We Can Do: see an earlier, more generic call for papers at RDS, or see a listing of previous RDS articles relevant to people with disabilities in developing countries, with abstracts.

    Check for other calls for papers.



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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 wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do) at http://tinyurl.com/yv5ouo]

    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:

    http://www.miusa.org/idd/index_html

    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:

    http://www.miusa.org/idd/keyresources

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

    http://www.miusa.org/publications/freeresources/mti

    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

    http://www.asksource.info/pdf/33903_vsomainstreamingdisability_2006.pdf (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.



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    REPORT: State of Disabled People’s Rights in Kenya (2007)

    Posted on 17 January 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Blind, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, Reports, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    [Originally published at wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do) at http://tinyurl.com/27gxpy]

    A recent publication, entitled “State of Disabled People’s Rights in Kenya (2007) Report,” analyzes national and regional Kenyan legislation on disability; government programs and policies on disability, and case law in disability. The report also presents the results of interviews with disabled people in three selected regions within Kenya about their human rights situation, in respect to dignity, autonomy, equality, and inclusion. Deaf people, blind people, and people with mobility impairments, and intellectual disabilities were interviewed. An overview of the disability rights movement in Kenya is given.

    The examination of legislation and policies found that the Constitution of Kenya guarantees the human rights and liberties of all citizens. However, although the constitution outlaws discrimination on grounds such as race, tribe, or color, it does not specifically outlaw discrimination on the basis of disability. Further, anti-discrimination laws have not been enforced in cases where disability-related discrimination has occurred.

    Interviews with individual disabled people in Kenya found that nearly three-quarters had been denied the right to make decisions affecting their own lives. Also, 80% report experiencing segregation, isolation, and lack of support for their needs. More than one-third reported that their own families had committed abuse or violence on them, and more than 45 percent said their families did not allow them to participate in family activities on the same basis as other family members.

    The report recommends strengthening the capacity of Disabled People’s Organizations to address human rights issues; mainstreaming disability rights issues into government bodies and the national development strategy; involving disabled people and their organization in improving anti-discrimination legislation; and making the court process more accessible to disabled people so they can more effectively challenge disability-based discrimination.

    The “State of Disabled People’s Rights in Kenya (2007) Report” was commissioned by the African Union of the Blind in collaboration with the Kenyan Union of the Blind, the World Blind Union, and the Centre for Disability Rights Education and Advocacy (CREAD), with support from the Swedish International Development Agency, the Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired, and Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI).

    The report can be read on-line at http://www.yorku.ca/drpi/Kenya07.html#startContent

    The report also can be downloaded in PDF format (1.2 Mb) at http://www.yorku.ca/drpi/files/KenyaReport07.pdf



    This article has been reposted at the RatifyNow.org web site with permission of author. RatifyNow is an organization working to maximize the number of countries signing, ratifying, and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).



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    RESOURCE: Finding Disability-Related Laws and Policies

    Posted on 15 January 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Policy & Legislation, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    [Original publication at wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do) at http://tinyurl.com/24xans.]

    Sometimes it is not “impairments” that disable people, but our environment. And sometimes we are disabled most when law, policy, judicial precedents, or regulations remain silent while others discriminate against disabled people. Or worse, some policies may actively strip away the rights of people with disabilities.

    Legislators, policy makers, policy analysts, lawyers, human rights specialists, and grassroots disability advocates may need to work together to remove barriers created by law or policy. But to do so, they must first understand what their law says. And before they can create better laws for their country, they may wish to understand what other, similar laws in other countries already say. Or they may find it helpful to review other legal literature and documents from around the world. Several resources are available that can help advocates and policy makers find the materials they are looking for.

    Disabilities Rights and Education Defense Fund (DREDF)
    The Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund (DREDF) website has links to many international resources on international laws and international conventions. Go to
    http://www.dredf.org/international/resources.shtml

    DREDF’s Country Law Index
    Of particular interest for people who wish to compare national laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities is DREDF’s country law index. Users will want to note that this listing of national laws is not comprehensive. The entry for the United States, for example, lists the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but does not mention several other important US federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). But the country law index can be a good starting point. At http://www.dredf.org/international/lawindex.shtml

    Global Legal Information Network
    Researchers and advocates may also wish to try a search at the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN). GLIN is a public database of official texts of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations. Texts are submitted in the original language, usually with a summary in English. Try a key word search for laws related to people with disabilities. A few hundred options turn up for words such as “disabilities,” “disabled,” or “discapacidad” (Spanish for “disability”). Try other synonyms or translations, too. Click on “More Search Options” to narrow down your search by country, or to narrow down your search to laws, judicial decisions, legislative records, or legal literature. http://www.glin.gov/search.action

    FindLaw
    At FindLaw, you can find a range of articles, news, commentaries, and case summaries related to legal issues in countries all around the world. Search by country, or try a key word search. This is not a disability-specific resource, though some of the materials at this site may be relevant. http://www.findlaw.com/12international/countries/

    Have I missed any key, international law-related resources? Please let me know via the comments area below.



    Thank you to Stephanie Gray at Mobility International USA (MIUSA) for helping alert me to the resources at DREDF. I found the other web sites listed here by browsing the DREDF website and subsequent links.



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    TRAINING: Community-Based Rehabilitation Training and Management

    Posted on 9 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Education and Training Opportunities, Opportunities, Rehabilitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Please note that this blog post contains two separate announcements for two separate training opportunities from the same Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) training program in the Netherlands. Read carefully to determine which is best suited to your needs. Inquiries should be made directly to Huib Cornielje.

    Two week Training of Trainers in CBR programme in The Netherlands
    Enablement (Alphen aan den Rijn) in collaboration with a number of training experts are in currently developing a new course: TOT in CBR. The course is scheduled for the 25th of August to the 5th of September. This course is of particular importance if you want to know more about training and education with a special focus on training staff in CBR. Besides some theoretical background the course in particular will focus on practical applications; participatory methodologies; case study writing; group dynamics and facilitation skills.
    More information will follow. If you do have an interest to participate please do contact Huib Cornielje at h.cornielje@enablement.nl

    Announcement of the 2008 CBR Management course in The Netherlands
    Enablement is pleased to inform you that in 2008 (from September 15 to October 10) again a 4-week International Course in Management of Disability and Rehabilitation is being offered to rehabilitation professionals and disability and development workers and activists. Serious candidates should apply well in advance and if you intend to attend this course or intend to send someone to this course please fill out the online application form at www.enablement.nl

    Participants who attended the 2007 course came from a number of interesting projects in the following countries: Malawi, Rwanda, China, Japan, Germany, Nicaragua, The Philippines, Mexico, Cambodia, Indonesia and The Netherlands.

    The courses are conducted under the leadership of Huib Cornielje and Roelie Wolting. Besides, a number of Dutch trainers and international experts will play an important role in the training. The following international disability and CBR experts and trainers are on a regular basis involved in the course:

    • Prof. Patrick. Devlieger, University of Leuven, Belgium
    • Dr. M. Miles, Birmingham, UK
    • Dr Maya Thomas, senior consultant, India
    • Mr David Werner, CBR expert, USA
    • Mr Peter Coleridge, consultant, UK
    • Mrs Susie Miles, specialist in special needs education, UK
    • Mr Nick Heeren, CIEDEL, France

    Huib Cornielje
    Enablement
    h.cornielje@enablement.nl



    We Can Do learned about this opportunity through 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 may receive announcements like this one via the CSID mailing list for free by sending an email to csid@bdmail.net, csid@bdonline.com, or info@csididnet.org with the word “join” in the subject line.



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    RESOURCE, NEWS: Making the XO Laptop Accessible

    Posted on 5 January 2008. Filed under: Children, Cross-Disability, Education, News, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    If you’ve seen the media hype about it, then you know that the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project wants to put a low-cost laptop into the hands of every child in primary schools in developing countries. The idea is to give children a tool for taking their own education into their own hands so they will learn more. Now people on an email list called “accessibility”, and people in the on-line wiki community, are working on ways to ensure that these laptops will be more accessible and usable for children with disabilities.

    In November, I wrote an opinion piece about the XO Laptop project. Basically I said I thought it was a great concept. And I still think that–in fact, I have now bought one of the XO laptops for myself through a short-term “Get one, Give one” program that ended in December 2007. One laptop is being shipped to me (meaning, no, it hasn’t arrived yet). Another laptop is being shipped to a child in a developing country somewhere. But I had, and still have, concerns about its accessibility for disabled children. And I find it disappointing that OLPC has not made it a stronger, and clearer, priority to make it usable by children with various vision, mobility, and other impairments.

    But the good news is that an on-line community exists for people who want to help make the XO laptop more accessible to children with disabilities in developing countries. Specifically, the Accessibility mailing list at:

    http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/accessibility

    And there is also a “wiki” web site devoted to accessibility issues for the XO laptop. A “wiki” site enables people from around the world to collaborate with each other, via the web, on a common goal. In this case, the wiki laptop accessibility community enables people with the needed technical skills to work together to make the XO laptop more usable for users with disabilities. Start here to see a list of specific problems that have been identified with the XO for children with various disabilities:

    http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Accessibility

    Both on-line communities appear to be relatively small. But both would surely welcome new members with fresh energy and ideas. People with disabilities could share feedback about the features they need that would make the XO more accessible to them. If you have an XO of your own, you could play around with it to identify accessibility barriers that need more work. This is especially important if you discover that the barriers you identify, or the ideas you have for fixing it, have not already been listed at the wiki community page.

    Even better: if you have an XO, and you know a disabled child, you could watch them while they try out all the different features of the XO. Ask them for their reactions, and observe where they run into problems. Share the results with the on-line community.

    And, of course, if you have computer design, programming, or other relevant skills, then maybe you could help develop a way to improve the XO. And not just in terms of software. Also think about the needs of children with mobility impairments who might have trouble physically operating the XO as it is currently designed.

    Before becoming active in the on-line OLPC accessibility discussion/brainstorming groups, you may wish to browse through the archives of past discussions:

    http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/accessibility/



    Thank you to the anonymous individual who left a comment at my opinion essay to alert me to the mailing list on XO accessibility.



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    RESOURCE: Listening to Poor People with Intellectual Disabilities

    Posted on 5 January 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cognitive Impairments, Families, Inclusion, Poverty, Reports, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    In Their Own Words
    A report from Inclusion International can help people better understand poverty among people with intellectual disabilities in developing countries.

    Nobody knows more than a poor person what it means to live with poverty or what the biggest barriers are to escaping it. And nobody knows more than a person who is excluded how devastating it can be to be constantly pushed to the margins of society. And it is poor, excluded people who see most clearly exactly what needs to change to bring them out of poverty and into the mainstream.

    It is the obligation of anyone who wants to improve the living conditions of the poor and the excluded to listen to their stories–and their proposed solutions–in their own words. If we fail to listen, we will inevitably fail to help.

    Documented Information = A Tool for Advocates
    For some We Can Do readers, listening to the poor and marginalized in developing countries can be as easy as stepping out their front door and talking to the people in their local communities. But even the most knowledgeable advocates may struggle to communicate what they know to non-disabled people in their country in a way that others will both understand and believe. In particular, they may need a way to strengthen their voices when educating funding agencies that have the power to support or turn away their organization. Advocates can use published research or reports to help others understand that poverty and exclusion among people with disabilities are not just “isolated cases” or “too few in number” to be worth targeted efforts.

    A report entitled “Hear Our Voices: A Global Report: People with an Intellectual Disabilities and their Families Speak Out on Poverty and Exclusion,” published by Inclusion International in November 2006, helps share insights into how intellectual disability can lead to poverty and exclusion. “Hear Our Voices” also makes recommendations for action. The report was made possible with the partnership and financial support of the Norwegian Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, NFU, and the Atlas Alliance of Norway.

    How “Hear Our Voices” Was Made
    Inclusion International (II) is a global federation of family-based organizations advocating for the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide. It spoke with people with intellectual disabilities, their families, and supporters in more than 80 countries about the experience of intellectual disability and poverty. “Hear Our Voices” combines personal with secondary research sources to analyze how well each of the eight Millennium Development Goals for fighting poverty are being met for people with intellectual disabilities. The report makes recommendations for how civil society organizations, governments and donor and international agencies can each play a role in ending poverty and exclusion among people with intellectual disabilities.

    In the acknowledgments page of their report, Inclusion International points out that people with intellectual disabilities “are too often invisible,” which means that “their stories are not influencing decisions that affect their lives.” Inclusion International explains, “We wanted to bring about change on a global scale – by convincing governments, multi-lateral institutions, and communities of the current injustice of exclusion. Where before our members’ voices were not being heard because they were isolated, we wanted to bring them together into a loud chorus. We wanted to link those local voices to bring about global change.” (p. viii)

    What Next?
    Here, Inclusion International’s focus is on people with intellectual disabilities. But people who are deaf, blind, have mobility impairments, autism, psycho-social disabilities, or other disabilities are also “invisible” in society—whether or not they are poor. And all poor people also are invisible–whether or not they have disabilities. Disabled poor people, their stories, and their ideas for how to solve their own problems, are too rarely heard when people with power make choices that affect their lives.

    Perhaps Inclusion International’s report could inspire other global organizations to do the research for more reports like it. Advocates could then use these reports to help amplify the voices (and signs) of disabled (and deaf/Deaf) people living in poverty around the world.

    Read the Report, Watch the Video
    The full 79 page report can be downloaded for free in English in PDF format (500 Kb) at

    http://www.inclusion-international.org/report/Hear_Our_Voices_English.pdf

    The report is also available in a 10-minute DVD (video). This video is not captioned. There are many pictures and only an occasional line of text on the screen that is used to highlight key statistics or other information. I’m guessing there is also some kind of narration–but this is not accessible to deaf viewers. I’m not in a position to evaluate whether this DVD would be accessible or usable to hearing people with vision impairments. If you are, please do comment below.

    The DVD can be viewed at:

    http://s80.photobucket.com/albums/j194/raqueldejuan/?action=view&current=PhotoStory8.flv

    The report and DVD are also available in Spanish at:

    http://www.inclusion-international.org/sp/report/index.html



    We Can Do learned about the “Hear Our Voices” report by browsing Inclusion International’s web site. The information for this blog post was gathered from their web site and particularly from the report itself.

    Find more information about disabled poor people around the world by click on “reports” or “resources” under “categories” in the right-hand navigation bar on this page. Or consult the recent Retrospective post under “Finding sources of information.”



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    CONFERENCE: Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV & AIDS

    Posted on 5 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Events and Conferences, Health, HIV/AIDS, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    2nd General Meeting
    Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV & AIDS

    Kampala, Uganda
    March 11-13, 2008

    Preliminary agenda for the 3 days:

    • Overview of progress toward Campaign goals
    • Tools and Resources Exchange Fair : “Marketplace” for display and exchange of Guidelines, Toolkits, and experiences
    • Launching of Working Groups
      1. Communications Working Group
      2. Research Working Group
      3. International Conference Accessibility Working Group
      4. Access to HIV Services Working Group

    More detailed information about the Africa Campaign and the Kampala meeting will soon be available on the Africa Campaign website (www.africacampaign.info) on the News page.



    We Can Do first learned about this conference through the Disabled People International email newsletter. Thank you to the conference organizers at Africa Campaign for sending the details posted above.



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    JOB POST (short term): Training for Sign Language News Program in Albania

    Posted on 4 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Training for Albanian Sign Language News Programme

    From: Colin Allen <colinja20@hotmail.com>
    Subject: Training for Albanian Sign Language News Programme

    Dear friends,

    Albanian National Association is looking for the trainers (Deaf and Hearing) to provide a short term training for the Sign Language News Programme in Albania.

    Please note the application closing date is on Friday, 14th January 2008.

    Wish you a very joyful year!

    Warm regards

    Colin

    Trainers:
    ANAD is looking for two trainers to work as a team – one Deaf person and one sign language interpreter. The trainer team is jointly responsible for creating a training plan appropriate for the setting and for training of each specific target group

    The Deaf Trainer shall be responsible to work with the team of Deaf News Presenters to prepare the news bulletin presentation from the written language to Albanian Sign Language. The Deaf News Presenter will be responsible to present the news in Albanian Sign Language. Before his/her presentation the Deaf presenter needs to work with the Sign Language Interpreter for better understanding of the given written material by the TV editors.

    The Sign Language Interpreter shall be responsible to work with the team of Albanian Sign Language Interpreters to prepare the news bulletin presentation from the spoken language to Albanian Sign Language. The Sign language Interpreter will be responsible to work together with the Deaf presenter on the written news prepared and given by the News editors on Albanian Television.

    Assignment Contract

    ANAD will prepare a contract with each trainer including compensation of:

    Travel Expenses:
    ANAD will pay for an economy class travel between the trainer’s home city and the city of Tirana by using the most economic carrier; visa and passport charges; and airport tax will be covered by the project.

    Accommodation:
    ANAD will provide with accommodation during the assignment period. Trainers will share an apartment with electricity, heating and warm water.

    Financial Benefits:
    The Trainers are responsible for payment of taxes and social security including Trainer’s pension and travel insurance for the trip.

    Assignment Fee:
    The applicants are asked to send ANAD their propositions for fee calculated for the entire period of six weeks. The fee request need be announced as a total payment as the candidates are responsible for the payments of any taxes, social security or pension payments of their home country. Please note that ANAD is an organization with very limited funding and relies on voluntary assistance. As a result ANAD is incapable of offering payments on the level of the European consultancy fees.

    BACKGROUND
    Organizational Name
    Albanian National Association of the Deaf (ANAD)

    Street Address
    Bulevardi “Zhan D’Ark”, Kulla 4, Shkalla 1, Ap. 9,
    Tirana, Albania

    Postal Address
    P.O.Box: 2401/1
    Tirane, Albania

    Email Addresses
    anad@abissnet.com.al
    anad.organisation@gmail.com

    Contact Person(s)
    Eduard Ajas, Manager: anad.organisation@gmail.com

    Albana Izeti Project Co-ordinator: albana.izeti@gmail.com

    Project Consultant, Colin Allen: deafbalkan@hotmail.com

    ANAD GOALS
    The goals of the Albanian National Association of the Deaf (ANAD) are as follows:

    1. To achieve equal opportunities and full participation in Society for people who are Deaf in accordance with the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other general acts and recommendations of the United Nations Organisation and its specialised agencies.
    2. To become and remain an ordinary member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and to operate in accordance with its principles and objectives.
    3. To ensure that Albanian Government observes all international and national declarations, recommendations on human rights and rights of Deaf people and people with other disabilities.
    4. To promote the creation and development of Provincial Clubs of Deaf people and organisations providing services to Deaf people where such organisations do not already exist in the Republic of Albania.
    5. To promote the unification of Provincial Clubs for Deaf people in the Republic of Albania.
    6. To organise and stimulate the exchange of information and experiences among organisations of and for Deaf people and among professionals specialising in the study of deafness in the Republic of Albania.
    7. To provide advice, assistance and support either directly or indirectly to organisations of and for Deaf people, upon their request whenever appropriate, in the Republic of Albania.
    8. To distribute relevant information about deafness and the current needs of Deaf people through a variety of media and to the government of the Republic of Albania.
    9. To promote the conduct of research and studies in all fields of deafness, including the Albanian Deaf Community, its language and culture.
    10. To promote the establishment, development and maintenance of education programmes and support services which recognise the specific requirements of Deaf children and adults.
    11. To ensure adequate funding of services for Deaf people by governments and/or other relevant institutions and agencies.
    12. To promote the recognition and acceptance of methods of communication preferred by Deaf people in the Republic of Albania.
    13. To encourage the development and availability of appropriate technology for Deaf people in the Republic of Albania.
    14. To provide a forum where Deaf people can come together as equals to learn about and discuss relevant issues and express their ideas and aspirations in the Republic of Albania.
    15. To foster pride in the Deaf Community, its language and culture.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE ALBANIAN SIGN LANGUAGE NEWS TRAINING PROGRAMME

    Brief Summary
    The Albanian National Association of the Deaf has initiated this project based on the big need of Albanian Deaf Community for access to information.

    Lately The Albanian Government and the Albanian Public Television -TVSH have committed to introduce the News Edition in Albanian Sign Language during the peak hour. The signed language news will be a news bulletin of fifteen minutes during the weekdays.

    The reading and writing skills of Deaf people in Albania are limited. There are a small number of Albanian Sign Language Interpreters who are currently receiving the training under the organisation’s Interpreter Training Programme.

    ANAD secured a limited funding from the Finnish Association of the Deaf and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland to implement six week training. ANAD is seeking for two trainers’ one deaf and one hearing that have a good knowledge and experience in the environment of TV news bulletin in signed language.

    After the training, ANAD is seeking to appoint preferably three teams consisting of a Deaf person and a sign language interpreter working together. The teams will rotate by presenting the 15-minute daily news bulletin for 5 days in a row.

    Suggested Components of the Training:
    The suggested training is outlined as follows:
    Translation Process of the News Bulletin:
    For Hearing Sign Language Interpreters:
    The hearing sign language interpreter should work together with the Deaf presenter before the filming of the TV news and he/she will be responsible for translating the news bulletin prepared by the TV editors from the spoken language to the Albanian Sign Language for the Deaf presenter; different techniques of translation; the ways of news bulletin delivery; grammatical adaptations etc.

    For Deaf News Presenters: The TV signed news will be signed by Deaf people after doing some practise on the given material. The Deaf people will need some training on how to sign the news bulletin from auto cue to the Albanian Sign Language; different techniques of translation; the ways of news bulletin delivery; grammatical adaptations etc.

    Timing:
    The time for presenting a news bulletin is radically limited; the News Sign Language Interpreters should know how to deliver the news bulletin in a well managed manner

    Clothes:
    Suitable outfit to contrast between clothes and hands, make –up etc.

    Presentation:
    Present a professional image role of the News Sign Language Interpreter on camera.

    Please note: Both Deaf and hearing trainers are responsible to prepare a training component in their respective area.

    The trainers will capacitate the News Bulletin Teams including the hearing camera crew on how to shoot the footage in appropriate angles so that the presentation in sign language is visually optimal for Deaf viewers. The capacitating includes technical advice on how to arrange appropriate sign language presentation during inserted news stories etc.

    Time frame of the training
    At least two weeks prior to the workshop, the Workshop Announcement shall be distributed to the members of the Albanian Deaf Community and the Interpreter Training Programme. The Announcement will seek for interested team members and it describes the selection process that will take place during the workshop. At the end of the workshop, a team of evaluators will review each participant and discuss the best candidates to be invited attend to the Intensive Training for at least two weeks.

    The aim of the intensive training is to have at least 5-6 candidates from both Deaf and hearing target groups, i.e. maximum 12 persons to work in the Sign Language News program.

    At the end of two weeks intensive training each team i.e. a working pair – a Deaf person and a sign language interpreter would need to prepare 15-minute news bulletin presentation for the evaluator team’s review. Out of the projected six candidate teams the evaluators would then select three teams to be appointed for the program work.
    The selected three teams would need to attend a week of further training.

    During the final training week, all teams need to have an opportunity to rehearse their presentations at the News Television Studio with the studio crew before the actual broadcasts start.

    The proposed training plan:

    Week One (28 January – 1 February 2008)

    • Arrival and preparation for the meetings with the Television Station, Project Co-ordinator and ANAD staff members
    • Workshop
    • Evaluation to select 6 Potential Deaf and 6 Potential Hearing people for the Intensive Training.

    Week Two and Three (4 – 15 February 2008)

    • Intensive Training for two weeks (hours/days)

    Suggested training hours:

    Monday – Friday from 16.00 – 20.00

    Saturday from 10.00 – 17.00

    Week Four (18 – 22 February 2008)

    • Select three teams of Deaf person and Sign Language Interpreter to attend the further training.

    Week Five (25 – 29 February 2008)

    • One week training at the Television News Station.

    Week Six (3 -7 March 2008)

    • Final evaluation of the teams’ capacities and organizing of further training if necessary
    • Training Project Report

    Commencement Date:

    Monday, 28th January 2008 – Friday, 7th March 2008 negotiable

    APPLICATION
    ANAD welcomes anyone who wishes to apply for the position of Deaf Trainer and Sign Language Interpreting News Trainer.

    Please, do address ANAD a letter with following information: reason(s) for applying, contact details, Curriculum Vitae, tentative training plan/program corresponding to the post you are seeking.

    Please send your application package to:

    Ms Albana Izeti
    Project Co-ordinator
    Albanian National Association of the Deaf
    P.O.Box: 2401/1
    Tirane, Albania
    anad@abissnet.com.al
    anad.organisation@gmail.com

    Ms Inkeri Lahtinen
    Project Home Coordinator
    The Finnish Association of the Deaf, FAD
    inkeri.lahtinen@kl-deafl.fi

    Mr Colin Allen
    Project Consultant
    The Finnish Association of the Deaf, FAD
    deafbalkan@hotmail.com

    CLOSING DATE OF APPLICATION: MONDAY, 14 JANUARY 2008



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    Free Rice for the Hungry, Free Vocabulary Fun for You

    Posted on 1 January 2008. Filed under: Poverty, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    URL for this page: http://tinyurl.com/255u9a
    The Fun Part
    You can give free rice to hungry people, play a free game, and improve your vocabulary, all in the same key stroke at a new web site called FreeRice.

    234_60_banner2.jpg

    If you’re one of my regular readers at We Can Do: my apologies. I know you usually come here to find new resources, information, news, or announcements related to poverty and human rights among disabled people in developing countries. Usually I do try to stay very tightly focused on issues of disability and international development at this blog. But this post IS still about poverty, even though it’s not specific to disabled people. And, more importantly, it IS still a holiday for most readers. So what the heck. I’ll indulge, this once. And I hope you’ll indulge with me.

    (For those of you who have been paying attention to the last few posts at this blog: the holiday season in general is one reason why I have been posting fewer new resources and devoting more time in the past week to long-term improvements to this web site. For example, see the new pages on accessibility; announcements for conferences, events, call for papers, and training opportunities; navigating We Can Do to help new readers quickly find the resources they need at this blog site; and news. I WILL start posting more fresh content soon, so do stay tuned. And consider subscribing to We Can Do so you don’t miss anything.)

    If you’ve been reading the right blogs lately, then the image near the top of this page might look familiar. For those of you who are not able to view this image, I’ll describe it: this is a horizontal “banner.” At the left-hand side is a brown wooden bowl with a few grains of white rice in it. (Hm. Wouldn’t brown rice be healthier?) At the right-hand side, the text says: “Free Rice” on the first line in large letters and “Play and Help!” on the second line in medium sized letters. The background on the left side is a medium/dark green; on the right side, it’s a lighter shade of green with what I think is supposed to be a blurry image of rice plants. FreeRice has a number of other similar-looking banners available. [Sorry–I’m describing the image here instead of using alt tags because I don’t have a clue how to use alt tags. If you do, please take a few moments to advise me in the comments area below and I’ll fix it.]

    So how does FreeRice work? Simple. Go to www.freerice.com. You will see a vocabulary word at the top of the screen and four possible definitions or synonyms. Choose the one you think is the closest match. If you guess correctly, FreeRice will give 20 grains of rice to hungry people. Then, if you like, you can continue playing. If you’re sighted and able to view images with your computer equipment, then you’ll also see a picture of a bowl of rice filling up each time free rice is given.

    This game is tailored to the vocabulary skill of each player who participates. If you answer three vocabulary questions in a row correctly then it gives you a more challenging word. If you continue to guess correctly, the words become harder and harder. If you miss one, it gives you an easier word. If you keep missing, the words become easier and easier. Until you start to answer correctly again. There are 50 vocabulary levels. So nearly all people should be able to find a level that is comfortable for them whether you’re learning English as a second language or whether you’re a vocabulary geek.

    You might wonder: if this game is free, then where does the money come from to pay for all the rice that’s going to hungry people? It comes from advertisers. There is an advertisement banner at the bottom of the screen. The ad in this banner changes every time you guess a new word. The more you play, the more ads you see. And the advertisers are obviously hoping that more people playing FreeRice will translate into more sales for their products, or more donations to their charitable causes.

    You can guess one word or guess a million. Play for just one day or play every day the rest of your life. Or anything in between. It’s all up to you. The more you play, the more rice you give–and, in theory, the more vocabulary you learn. I say “in theory” because I’ve read some criticism somewhere (sorry, don’t remember where) that says vocabulary games like this one may not be necessarily the best way to learn vocabulary. But I’m sure it can’t hurt. And if you’re serious about it, you could use the game to develop a vocabulary study list and find other ways to rehearse the words you see. (Hint: double check your understanding with a dictionary. And use it in a sentence.)

    Accessibility for Blind People
    I’m not able to evaluate whether the FreeRice site is accessible to people who use screen readers. If this is you, I would be curious to learn about your experience there. Since the game itself is text-based, I’m guessing there should not be any major problems with it. Though I’m also guessing that the ads won’t be very accessible, unless a given advertiser thinks to use the alt tag for their images. And you won’t see that rice bowl filling up.

    The Serious Part
    This blog post deviates from the usual We Can Do post in two ways. One, as noted above, it’s not about disability. (Though disabled people do certainly starve also. In fact, given that disabled people are more likely to experience poverty, it’s probably safe to assume that people with disabilities are also more likely to go hungry.) Two, my normal focus in this blog is on finding long-term solutions to long-standing problems. Thus, things like how to better include disabled people in large-scale, long-term poverty reduction strategies. Or how to ensure that disabled children in developing countries are not left behind when their governments try to bring more children into the classroom.

    In this view: one criticism I do have for the FreeRice site is that it offers a temporary fix for something that is, for far too many people, a chronic problem. In the long run, it’s not enough to keep shipping free rice to hungry people. That feeds them today, but it doesn’t help them feed themselves tomorrow or next year. That means we also need to invest in more long-term strategies for fighting poverty. That means more schools so that the 77 million children out of school can enter the classroom for the first time. And we need more textbooks and better quality teachers–and possibly more computers–so that children already in the classroom will learn something while they’re there. Poor people who have entrepreneurial skills need small business loans so they can lift themselves out of poverty with their own hard work. And we need to give more aid dollars directly to organizations based in developing countries who are running great projects to fight HIV/AIDS, deliver clean drinking water, or abolish poverty.

    But this is not a slam against FreeRice, per se. In fact, I sometimes play this game myself. Yes, more chronic forms of hunger do need a long-term fix. But hunger can also be a short-term emergency, such as during a time of war (though wars, unfortunately, can sometimes be long-term) or in the first few months after a natural disaster. And short-term emergencies, unfortunately, will always happen. Therefore, we will always, to some extent, actually need short-term fixes like FreeRice.

    I just feel compelled to point out the need for long-term solutions because I worry that some people in industrialized countries are too quick to donate time (or money) to easy, “feel-good” causes that don’t actually solve problems. If you really want to help, then don’t just help. Instead, make it possible for people to help themselves.

    But, there’s nothing wrong with also having a little fun at freerice.com.

    In that spirit: Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year. May the year 2008 be delightful and fruitful for you. And for those of you who work to ensure that disabled people are not left out when governments and organizations fight poverty and speak out for human rights: I hope all your endeavors this year will be successful ones.



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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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    Finding What You Want at We Can Do

    Posted on 28 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Introduction to "We Can Do" | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

    We Can Do has a growing collection of information on resources, funding sources, academic papers and research, case studies, conferences and other events, call for papers, education and training opportunities, job and internship opportunities, and volunteer opportunities. But how do you find everything that might be helpful to you in the work you do with disability communities in developing countries?

    I have now created a new page to help guide you. Click on Navigating We Can Do in the top navigation bar for some quick tips on:

    • finding particular types of information
    • finding information by theme or topic
    • consulting an overview of all We Can Do posts
    • finding announcements for upcoming (or on-going) conferences, events, call for papers, education, and training opportunities
    • making sure you haven’t overlooked any recent posts at We Can Do
    • browsing all past posts in the We Can Do Archives; finding the most popular–and the most under-rated–We Can Do posts
    • finding information and resources elsewhere; making sure you don’t miss future information posted at We Can Do

    Please do share any ideas you may have for how I can make it easier for you to “navigate” We Can Do. I want you to be able to quickly find the information you need to help you fight poverty among disabled people in developing countries and advocate for human rights. I also welcome feedback on making We Can Do more accessible to readers with disabilities, including people who use screen readers or screen magnifiers.



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    RESOURCE: Atlas on Country Resources in Intellectual Disabilities

    Posted on 27 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cognitive Impairments, Education, Employment, Families, Health, Human Rights, News, Reports, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Montreal PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health have released an atlas that presents global data on intellectual disabilities. The Atlas: Global Resources for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: 2007 (PDF format, 5.6 Mb) was launched during the Second International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities held in November 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand.

    WHO initiated the Atlas in recognition that “global data collection in the field of intellectual disabilities has long been neglected” (Preface, p. 11). The Atlas gives an overview of the extent to which resources and services for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual disabilities are available throughout all the member states of WHO. This includes information on health services; education; services specific to intellectual disabilities; work-related services such as sheltered or supported employment and vocational training; services to families; and other types of services such as leisure activities, transportation, assistive technology, rights or advocacy support, or food/meal supplies. Data is also given for how these resources and services are distributed by region and by income level.

    This information was gathered in the hope that it can be used to help stimulate advocacy and planning efforts in support of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Specifically, it helps identify specific gaps and needs in the resources and services available for people with intellectual disabilities and their families throughout the world. This information could be used to advocate with governments or foundations for the resources needed to fill these gaps. The Atlas also has developed two instruments that can be used at the country or the regional level to help map where intellectual disability services are available (in Appendix III and IV of the Atlas). Furthermore, the Atlas has helped produce a network of contacts in the intellectual disability field (in Appendix II of the Atlas).

    The Atlas also was developed in acknowledgment that disability is increasingly recognized as a human rights issue. Health and other public services for people with intellectual disabilities are a human right, as recognized by the new international disabilities rights treaty. The Atlas was enabled by a new linkage between WHO and the intellectual disability field, via the Montreal PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research in Mental Health and its associated partners, the Lisette-Dupras and the West Montreal Readaptation centres for persons with intellectual disabilities.

    This new resource is primarily targeted at individuals and agencies responsible for planning health and social policy and services within countries. However, it also is meant for those who provide services to people with intellectual disabilities; for international and national NGOs active in the intellectual disability field; human rights advocates and activists; public health professionals and students; and for civil society in general.

    The entire Atlas is available for free in PDF format (5.6 Mb). You can download it by clicking on the link to:

    http://www.who.int/entity/mental_health/evidence/atlas_id_2007.pdf

    You can also read more background information on the Atlas, including the contact person at WHO, at:

    http://bangkok-id-conference.org/program-documentation-ressources/project-atlas



    We Can Do first learned of this resource through the web site for the International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation. The information in this blog post was gathered partly from



    What other resources are available via We Can Do that you might have overlooked? See the We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some) for an overview.

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    Finding Conferences, Training Opportunities, and Call for Papers

    Posted on 24 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Education and Training Opportunities, Events and Conferences, Introduction to "We Can Do" | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Until now, the only way someone could quickly look up all conference and event announcements, or training opportunities, or call for papers was to look under “Categories” in the right hand navigation bar and click on “Events and Conferences, “<a href=”Education and training opportunities, or “Call for Papers.

    This probably worked fine for people who monitor We Can Do on a regular basis. When a new announcement went up on the site, you could be sure it wasn’t too late to apply (because, after all, it was a new announcement). And you could see at a glance if it was of interest to you. But for someone new to the site, I imagine it might have been more difficult to browse through the large, and growing backlog of various types of announcements. Some of the newer announcements are already dated–for events that have now come and gone. But some of the older announcements are still perfectly valid–for events that still won’t take place for many more months.

    Now there’s a better way to quickly locate announcements for upcoming events, conferences, call for papers, and education or training opportunities. If you look up at the top of this page, you will see there is a new link entitled Conferences, Events, Call for Papers, Training Opportunities. You can click on that page at any time to see events organized by date. You might notice that I cribbed most of this new page from the work I did on my Retrospective post, which links to the first 100-plus posts at We Can Do.

    I will still post announcements for events, education and training opportunities and so forth as I receive them. But from now on, I will also try to link to these announcements from the new page. And from time to time, I will remove links to dated announcements.

    If you subscribe to We Can Do, then you can receive a free email alert each time a new post goes up at We Can Do. That way, you can be sure you won’t miss any new announcements or other material of interest at We Can Do.

    Please let me know what you think of this new feature. Also please do let me know of any suggestions you may have for other ways I can improve We Can Do.



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    We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some)

    Posted on 22 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Arts, autism, Blind, Call for Papers, Case Studies, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Commonwealth Nations, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Democratic Participation, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Events and Conferences, Families, Fellowships & Scholarships, Funding, Guest Blogger, Health, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigration, Inclusion, Interpreting, Introduction to "We Can Do", Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Opinion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Remittances, Reports, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology, Violence, Volunteer Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Skip introduction, go straight to the Table of Contents

    If you’re new to We Can Do, what interesting information, news, or resources might you have overlooked from the past few months? Although some older items may no longer be interesting, others may still be relevant and helpful a year or three from now. This post can help guide you through the first 100-plus posts at this blog. You can click from the table of contents below to any section of this page that interests you–and then another click on “table of contents” can take you back to the contents, or “top of this page” takes you back to this introduction.

    Top of this page


    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    About We Can Do

    To learn more about the purpose of We Can Do, see About We Can Do. For more on its guiding philosophy, go to Why We Can Do.

    Thinking about submitting your own written materials, job posts, conference announcements, or resources to We Can Do? Check the Wish list for written materials and resources.

    Want to receive an alert in email when a new post goes up at We Can Do? You can Subscribe to We Can Do for free.

    I changed the organization and appearance of We Can Do in early October to its present format.

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    The Five Most Popular We Can Do posts

    The five listed here are the ones that have attracted the most “page views” since We Can Do began in late July. You may notice that not all of these are featured in the 10 “most popular posts” listed in the right-hand navigation bar. That’s because the navigation bar only lists posts that have received a lot of traffic very recently (I think within the past few days; its done automatically by wordpress so I’m not sure how it works). But here I’m listing the five that have the highest TOTAL page views.

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    The Five Most Under-Rated We Can Do posts

    Are these posts really under-rated? You’ll have to read them and decide for yourself. But in choosing these five, I used two criteria: 1. These are posts that have received fewer than 100 visitors–sometimes far fewer. 2. These are posts that I think could be helpful or interesting to readers and maybe deserve more attention than they have gotten. These are in no particular order:

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    Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies or Helpful Organizations

    Finding organizations; Resources for inclusive development; Human rights resources; Case studies; Other helpful resources

    Finding organizations
    Mainstream international development agencies sometimes say that they don’t know how to find people with disabilities, or their representative organizations, in the developing countries where they work. Reviewing the July post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations may help point you in the right direction. Also see Disability Organizations in Afghanistan, Asia, Kenya, Uganda.

    Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) sometimes aren’t sure where to find mainstream development organizations and resources that might be willing to collaborate with them.

    There is an international network of organizations for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome.

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Resources for Inclusive Development
    Both disability advocates and mainstream development organizations want to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when countries and organizations fight poverty or improve public health, education, water, and other services. But it can be a challenge to figure out how to make projects and government policies more inclusive. The following resources can help:

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Resources on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    By now, you may be aware that a global movement is taking place to ratify the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Many relevant resources are now being produced in relation to the CRPD, some of which have been posted or featured here at We Can Do:

  • Read the CRPD “translated” into plain English.
  • UNICEF has developed a child-friendly version of the CRPD to help children understand disability rights
  • Disabled People International offers two toolkits on ratifying and implementing the CRPD for disability advocates who want to help ensure that all disabled people have their human rights recognized.
  • A handbook on disability rights targeted at parliamentarians can help parliamentarians, people who work in close contact with government agencies, and disability advocates in general, better understand the CRPD.
  • The United Nations’ new web site, UN Enable, is one of the best, and most official, places to find information on the CRPD.
  • Handicap International has produced its own Teaching Kit on the CRPD.
  • The International Disability Equality Agency (IDEA) has issued Equalize It! A Manifesto for Disability Equality in Development Cooperation that expresses their position on how to ensure disability equality in the international development field.
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    Case Studies
    Reviewing case studies of projects implemented elsewhere can be a valuable source of ideas that could help you figure out how to run or implement your own projects. I would love to post many more best-practice and failed-practice case studies than I have available right now. If you think you have something worth sharing, please check my Wish List of Written Materials and Resource and contact me at ashettle [at] patriot.net.

    But for now, here are two case studies:

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Other Helpful Resources

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Finding Useful Sources of Information and Research

    Finding academic research, papers, resources, or statistics
    Looking for academic research and academic papers; resources that can be used by people working in the field; or sources of statistics? Some of the following posts may be helpful:

    Information on people with disabilities
    Interested in learning about the living conditions of people with disabilities in specific nations, or in specific thematic areas? Some of the following may be of interest:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Funding Sources

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Academic Papers

    We Can Do has published, or re-published, academic papers, or linked to same, on a range of subjects, including:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    News

    September 2007; October 2007; November 2007; Early December 2007

    September 2007
    At one point in September, the international disability community prematurely thought we might be On the Verge of Making History by ratifying the disability rights community.

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    October 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    November 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Early December 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Opinion Pieces

    So far, the opinion pieces here are all by me. But I would like for We Can Do to be host to an active exchange of ideas and differing perspectives. If you have a strong opinion about something, please consider submitting it. Yes, that includes opinions that disagree with mine! Consult the Wish list for written materials and resources for ideas of the kinds of topics I’m trying to cover at We Can Do.

    Meanwhile, here are a few of my own opinion pieces:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Call for Papers (for Conferences, Journals, Other)

    You might be just now starting your academic career as an undergraduate or graduate student. Or perhaps you have been doing quantitative or qualitative research, or writing policy analysis, or case studies, or social analysis, for years. Either way, if you’re looking for opportunities to present, publish, or otherwise disseminate your papers or run a workshop, then check out these upcoming or ongoing opportunities:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    International Conferences and Events

    Looking for a conference to attend? Here are a few upcoming events:
    January 2008; February 2008; March 2008; April 2008; May 2008; August 2008; September 2008; November 2008

    January 2008
    The South Asian Conference on Autism is being held in New Delhi, India in January 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    February 2008

  • The Disabilities Initiatives in Development Seminar, also in Bangladesh also in February 2008.
  • One for all: Persons with Disabilities Initiative in Development, again in Bangladesh in February 2008.
  • The International Centre for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK is holding a conference on sign language research in the UK in February 2008.
  • A conference on the deaf community, sign languages, social issues, civil rights, and creativity will be held on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • The Techshare India 2008 Conference on accessibility will be held in New Delhi, India, in February 2008.
  • Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    March 2008
    The 8th annual meeting of the Gulf Disability Society will meet in United Arab Emirates in March 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    April 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    May 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    August 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    September 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    November 2008
    The Association on Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)’s International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2008. A call for proposals is open until January 28, 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities

    We Can Do will probably never be a comprehensive job-board. Serious job, internship, or volunteer placement hunters will want to explore other means of finding opportunities. For example, jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the international field generally, or in the disability field generally, can sometimes be found at www.idealist.org. But I do occasionally happen to come across a job announcement. Here are a few that may still be open to applications:

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    Education and Training Opportunities

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Opportunities

    Missed call for papers; Missed training opportunities; Missed job, internship, and volunteer opportunities; Missed events and conferences

    Some of the material I post at We Can Do is time-sensitive material. That means the conferences announced here have come and gone; job posts have been filled; and deadlines are over. So, if it’s too late for you to do anything about any of the following announcements, then why bother listing them? First, some conference organizers issue compilations of papers and presentations or other interesting materials after their event is over. If a topic interests you, it may be worth communicating with event organizers to see if any follow-up publications are available. Second, organizations that offer one conference, job opportunity, call for papers, etc., may offer something similar in the future. Many conferences, for example, meet every one, two, three, or four years. Monitoring, joining, or communicating with organizations of interest to you could help ensure that you learn about the next opportunity in time to plan for it.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Call for Papers
    The German Journal for Disability and Development called for papers on art and disabilities to be submitted by the end of November 2007.

    Also browse through the listing of upcoming conferences and missed conferences.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Training Opportunities

    In October 2007, the International Labour Organisation had a training course for professionals from developing countries.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities
    Remember that it is too late to apply for these specific opportunities. These are listed here in case you want to check out the sponsoring organizations for future opportunities like these:

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Event and Conference Opportunities

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    What’s Next for We Can Do?

    I am not yet satisfied with We Can Do. I still see many gaps that I want to repair. I want to find, and post, more materials of a pragmatic nature. By which I mean, material that people in the field can put to immediate use in improving the lives of disabled people in developing countries. If you think you can help me locate helpful materials, please review my Wish list for written materials and resources and contact me.

    I also want to reach more development professionals at mainstream development organizations and more employees and volunteers at international disability organizations. And I want to reach more small DPOs and individual advocates in more developing countries. The knowledge shared at We Can Do cannot help until it is brought to people with disabilities living in poverty in developing countries. That “final mile” can only be bridged by readers like YOU.

    If you want to help, I hope you will consider telling your colleagues and contacts about We Can Do. If you run a web site or a blog, please consider linking to We Can Do at https://wecando.wordpress.com. If you have the skills, the time, and the commitment to launch a We Can Do mirror site translation into some other language, please talk to me (leave a comment or email me at ashettle [at] patriot.net). And please do feel free to print out the more helpful We Can Do posts to share with people you know in developing countries who do not have easy access to the Internet.

    For those of you who like numbers: We Can Do had 285 page views in July; 851 in August; 1305 in September; 2936 in October; 4862 in November; and more than 5100 in the first three weeks of December. And who is responsible for making these numbers happen? Why—you, of course! So, thank you for visiting We Can Do.

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

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    NEWS: El Salvador, Mexico Ratify Disability Rights Treaty

    Posted on 21 December 2007. Filed under: Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Press Release from Rehabilitation International (RI)
    Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention
    RI Calls on Governments to Recognize the Human Rights of All by Ratifying the CRPD

    (United Nations, New York, USA, 17 December 2007): RI congratulates the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), bringing the number to 14 States Parties. Mexico also ratified the Optional Protocol. RI calls on all governments which have not yet ratified the CRPD and its Optional Protocol to do so as a matter of priority and without reservations and declarations. Furthermore, RI urges all States Parties to begin the process of implementation by developing laws, programs and policies to ensure that ALL persons with disabilities, regardless of the type of disability, enjoy all of the rights in the Convention.

    Libre Acceso President Federico Fleischmann said, “We recognize the great efforts of the Government of Mexico for being a leader in promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities, as embodied in the Convention. RI and its member in Mexico, Libre Acceso, are committed to working within its broad network to ensure that Mexican laws are strengthened to comply with the high standards set by the Convention.”

    As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI partnered with Libre Acceso, representatives of the Mexican government, the Mexican law firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa, S.C., the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and local disability experts to develop recommendations on how Mexico’s National Disability Law can comply with the Convention. These recommendations, presented to the Mexican Government on October 18, 2007, were formally adopted by Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the political party of the Mexican President, as the official proposed amendments to this national law. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies will now discuss the amendments, which may be adopted as early as next year. This RI project has been made possible because of the generous support of an anonymous donor and Irish Aid.

    “We are very happy today to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Setting up the legal framework is only the first step. The real challenge is to build a culture where the human rights of every person are fully respected,” said Senator Guillermo Tamborrel, President of the Commission on Vulnerable

    Groups and a member of PAN. Senator Tamborrel, together with Senator Maria los Angeles Moreno Uriegas of Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), were present when Mexico deposited its ratification instrument today.

    The CRPD, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, represents an essential legal instrument prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services, among others. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. The Convention will become international law after 20 ratifications.

    For more information, also consult the recent We Can Do post entitled “12 Countries Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty. Background information on the CRPD, a list of signatories, and a visual map of ratifying countries, can also be found at the United Nations Enable web site. Resources and ideas for how to become involved with the global campaign to ratify the treaty can be found at the RatifyNow organization web site.

    # # #

    For more information on the UN Convention and contact details of experts within the RI membership, please contact Tomas Lagerwall (sg@riglobal.org), RI Secretary General, or Shantha Rau (shantha@riglobal.org), Senior Program Officer, at +1-212-420-1500.

    About RI
    Founded in 1922, RI is a global and diverse organization bringing together expertise from different sectors in the disability field, to advance and implement the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 93 nations, in all regions of the world.

    RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and was an active member of the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.

    For more information about RI, please visit their accessible website: http://www.riglobal.org



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    Accessibility CONFERENCE: Techshare India 2008

    Posted on 18 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Events and Conferences, Inclusion, South Asian Region, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Techshare India 2008 Conference titled “Breaking the Barriers” is a conference and exhibition on accessibility targeted at people with disabilities, the corporate and government sectors, non-government organizations (NGOs), educators, and product producers. The conference will be held February 4 and 5, 2008, at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

    The conference is meant to allow participants to share insights and knowledge; network with professionals in the field from around the world; and meet people with disabilities working with assistive technology at the first known Experiential Lab at Techshare India. This is a pan-disability (i.e., all disabilities) conference and exhibition aimed at addressing barriers present in the mindset of people; infrastructure; education; and technology. The goal is to break down barriers and include people with disabilities into mainstream society.

    To learn more, please go to http://www.barrierbreak.com/conferenceregistration.php

    Need funding to attend conferences like this one? Be aware that available funding will be limited and cannot help everyone. Each funding source has its own criteria for determining who is or isn’t eligible for possible funding and for what purposes, so read carefully. Information at https://wecando.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/funding-for-conference-participation-from-developing-nations/



    We Can Do learned about this conference via the free, weekly electronic newsletter from Disabled People International (DPI).



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    NEWS: 12 Countries Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty (CRPD)

    Posted on 17 December 2007. Filed under: Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The United Nations (UN) has announced that 12 countries have now ratified the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Six of these countries also have ratified the optional protocol.

    This international disability rights treaty is meant to “promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities,” including self-determination, physical and programmatic access, personal mobility, health, education, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation, participation in political life, and equality and non-discrimination. (Source: RatifyNow.) The CRPD will become legally binding after 20 countries have ratified it. The optional protocol is a separate document that would allow individuals to seek redress (justice or compensation) for treaty violations internationally after they have exhausted everything that can be done at the national level. The optional protocol will be legally binding after 10 countries have ratified it.

    The most recent four countries to ratify the convention (treaty) are: Bangladesh (November 30); Spain, for both the convention and the optional protocol (December 3); Namibia, for both the convention and the optional protocol (December 4); and Nicaragua (December 7). The other eight ratifying countries are Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Panama, and South Africa; of these, Croatia, Hungary, Panama, and South Africa also ratified the optional protocol.

    A total of 118 countries have signed the convention, and 67 countries have signed the optional protocol. Signing the convention and optional protocol does not legally bind a country to obey them. However, signing these documents does commit the country to take no action that would conflict with the goals of the CRPD.

    If you are sighted, you can view a global map that shows visually which countries have signed or ratified the CRPD or the optional protocol. I am not sure if this map is accessible to people with visual impairments. If not, then please consult the UN Enable web site accessibility statement, which encourages people to contact them regarding accessibility issues at their web site.

    More information on the CRPD is available in the RatifyNow factsheet and the RatifyNow FAQ. More information on the optional protocol is also available at the RatifyNow website.



    We Can Do learned about these ratifications in part through the AdHoc_IDC (International Disability Caucus) email list. This on-line, email-based news and discussion service can be joined for free. I also gathered additional background information from the RatifyNow and UN Enable web sites.



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    JOB POST: Senior Social Affairs Officer, P-5

    Posted on 16 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The United Nations has a job opening for a Senior Social Affairs Officer, who would be focused on issues related to people with disabilities. This position is located in the UN Division for Social Policy for Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Senior Social Affairs Officer reports to the Director of the Division. Responsibilities would include social analyses, intergovernmental support, technical cooperation, and program support. The application deadline is January 14, 2008.

    For more detail on the nature of this job, the entailed responsibilities, the required skills and background, and how to apply, please review the job post at:

    https://jobs.un.org/Galaxy/Release3/vacancy/Display_Vac.aspx?lang=1200&VACID=f03d8407-39ec-4269-aeb4-7931609daafe



    We Can Do learned about this opportunity via the email distribution list for the Global Partnership on Disability and Development (GPDD), which can be subscribed to for free. Thanks to Rosangela Berman Bieler for alerting the GPDD list to this opportunity!



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    CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Forum on Women’s Rights and Development

    Posted on 16 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The 11th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development

    The Power of Movements

    November 14-17, 2008
    Cape Town, South Africa
    www.awid.org/forum08

    (Click here to download the PDF of the full Call for Proposals)

    From November 14-17, 2008, up to 1,500 women’s rights activists from around the world will gather in Cape Town, South Africa to debate and strategize about how to build stronger women’s movements globally. The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) invites you to contribute to this urgent discussion by submitting a proposal to organize a session at the 11th AWID forum: The Power of Movements.

    We Can Do readers will note that this forum is not specifically focused on disability issues. However, it would be an opportunity for Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and other interested parties to introduce topics of relevance to movements among women with disabilities in developing countries. We Can Do readers may also wish to consider submitting proposals for sessions on including women with disabilities among the wider women’s movements generally. You could also explore how to build bridges between women’s movements and disability movements, or explore what lessons each movement has to learn from the other.

    Session proposals should consider one of the following questions:

    Understanding social movements and collective power

    • What is a movement and what is movement building? What are the diverse ways in which movements can be built?
    • What are the strengths and limitations of movements? How do you recognize a movement in decline?
    • What role does constituency building play in movements? How do you build constituencies?
    • What makes a movement “feminist”, and how do its character, approaches and strategies differ from other movements, even if they are led and constituted by women?

    Unpacking the architecture of feminist and women’s movements

    • What kinds of organizational structures have evolved through time to successfully support feminist and women’s movements? What other structures do we need to strengthen or build in order to build up the institutional capacity and impact of women’s movements?
    • What role (formal and informal) do organizations play in movements? How can the relationship between women’s organizations and movements be understood?
    • What forms of organizing have appeared in recent years, both in women’s movements and in other social movements? What can we learn from these forms, and what other forms do we still need to develop?

    Challenges to effective movement building work

    • What are the key obstacles to movement building today? What are some innovative and effective responses to these obstacles?
    • How can we strengthen and build new and innovative leadership styles and models that contribute to movement building? Which models obstruct or impede movement building?
    • How do we deal collectively and constructively with the politics and tensions within our movements over issues such as over-specialization, North-South/East-West tensions, unequal access to resources, leadership, succession, competition, etc.?
    • What are the movement building challenges faced by social movements in areas or countries under occupation, armed conflict or war? What are examples of effective ways to support their efforts? What are alternatives to movement building in countries where social movements are routinely targeted with threats and intimidation?

    Overcoming fragmentation and building inclusive movements

    • How do we build more inclusive movements? What mistakes have we made in the past, and how do avoid them going forward? What have been key lessons learnt in dealing with issues such as class, race, age, religion, ethnicity and other conditions in trying to build inclusive movements?
    • How do we overcome the fragmentation and overspecialization in our movements-e.g. the increasing specialization on particular issues, sectors or themes-to build bridges, common political agendas and shared strategies?
    • How can we build better linkages and do more effective strategizing across levels of activism-e.g., between those doing grassroots work and those doing advocacy at the public-policy level?
    • What other linkages do we urgently need to build, and how do we build them?

    Building sustainable, multi-generational movements

    • What are the diverse needs and contributions of different generations of women, and how can we draw upon them to create stronger and more sustainable movements?
    • How can multi-generational dialogues work to strengthen our movements? What are some good experiences of such dialogues and what impacts-good or bad-have they had?
    • How can women’s movements build spaces that significantly incorporate and support-rather than tokenize-young women’s contributions to gender equality and women’s rights struggles?
    • How do we create more sustainable models of activism? How do we renew and sustain our movements and ourselves (and each other)?

    Building effective alliances with and learning from other social movements

    • How do we move beyond women’s movements to identify, build and expand solidarities and collective actions with other social movements – and why should we do so? What is the cost of remaining insular?
    • In working with other social movements, where do we draw the line between strategic compromise and marginalization of a women’s rights agenda?
    • What are other movements doing right? What can we learn from them?
    • What have been some organizational experiences in local, national, regional and global joint work with members of other social movements your organization has had? Tell us about your challenges and achievements.

    Mobilizing resources for movement building

    • What does funding for movement building look like? Are there any specific examples of experiences that demonstrate how this might be done in an effective way?
    • How does the way in which money is given by donors support or undermine movement building work? What changes are needed in donor policies and strategies to strengthen women’s movements?
    • What changes do we need to make in how we mobilize resources for movement building work? What are the successful strategies that we can learn from?
    • How do we expand the resources for our movement building and for our work in general?

    Measuring the success of movements

    • How do we know when we’ve achieved our goals? What constitutes “success”? And how do we measure our impact?
    • What kinds of evaluation methodologies contribute to movement building? How can we use the data from these methodologies to strengthen our movement building work?
    • How do we capture and evaluate the movement building aspects of our work? What are some examples of innovative indicators and evaluation frameworks?

    New directions in movement building

    • What new tools, processes, methodologies and innovations are available for movement building? What are their benefits as well as some of their pitfalls?
    • What new language, terminology and ideas around women’s rights can we build that are accessible, make sense to and motivate larger numbers of women, and will increase our political impact? What are other innovative ways of reaching out to the broader public and having greater societal impact?
    • What are some innovative ways that movements can deal effectively with emerging challenges, such the rise of religious fundamentalisms, the potential abuses of new technologies, the feminization of HIV and AIDS, the emerging environmental crisis, etc.?

    The Power of Movements

    Submit your proposal online at www.awid.org/forum08

    Email or call AWID for more information or a
    Word version/hard copy of the application form
    forum08@awid.org
    +1 416 594 3773

    SUBMISSION DEADLINE:
    JANUARY 28, 2008



    Are you a person from a developing country who would need funding in order to attend this or other conferences? Learn about possible limited funding sources for participating in conferences at:

    https://wecando.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/funding-for-conference-participation-from-developing-nations/



    We Can Do learned of this opportunity through contacts at Women Leaders at Mobility International USA (MIUSA). Most of the text in this announcement originates with AWID, except for the paragraph targeted at We Can Do readers.



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    Equalize It! A Manifesto for Disability Equality in Development Cooperation

    Posted on 15 December 2007. Filed under: Guest Blogger, Human Rights, Inclusion, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    From the International Disability Equality Agency (IDEA):

    Equalise It ! A Manifesto for Disability Equality in Development Cooperation

    This manifesto has been written to identify the issues for the disability movement, clarify any confusion there may be for disability and development professionals and set out a programme for change in order to create real equality for disabled people and our democratic, representative organisations (DPOs) in the development process. The adoption of the UN Convention on the rights of People with Disabilities by a growing number of countries makes the implementation of the principles in this manifesto a matter of urgency.

    Disability, Poverty and Development Charities.

    As disabled people….
    Throughout the world we face discrimination.
    Throughout the world we are socially excluded.
    Throughout the world we cannot get equal access or any access at all to education, employment or decent health care.
    Throughout the world we are ignored in development programmes
    And so…

    Throughout the world we, disabled people, remain the poorest of the poor!

    The fact of this poverty has been used by global development organisations and charities to raise millions of dollars both from the public and from development agencies. However, only a small proportion of this money ever filters down to us or our organisations, DPOs. Even a smaller proportion ever succeeds in effecting sustained improvement in our lives.

    At the same time we often have little or no control over what is being done ‘to us’ ‘for us’ or ‘on our behalf.’ There tends, therefore, to be little agreement between what many non-disabled professionals and charities think disabled people need and what we actually want. As a consequence, development projects can leave behind little but disappointment. Because of this the big development organisations and disability charities are frequently seen by disabled people as part of the problem, not part of the solution. Nonetheless, disabled people in the South and Southern DPOs have had little choice but to continue working with them and to smile while doing it. The disability businesses, charities and generalist development organisations have access to the money and with that comes power and control.

    These organisations retain control because they are corporate organisations alive to a new funding environment which is demanding that boxes are ticked for such things as ‘human rights’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘listening to the voice of disabled people.’ They have all ticked the boxes, adopted the appropriate language and changed their public image. This is part of their corporate funding strategy. However, the reality is that their operations have not changed very much at all. They continue to be managed by non-disabled people and employ few, if any disabled people.

    This reality on the ground is that for us, especially in the South, non-disabled professionals from the North continue to come and to go. Projects come and projects go. Through this never-ending process the disability organisations and charities go from strength to strength, while our DPOs continue to live from hand to mouth.

    This manifesto sets out how to begin to overturn this situation and the unequal power relations which feed it.

    “Nothing About Us Without Us”

    “Nothing About Us Without Us” was the slogan adopted by Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) at its founding in 1981. DPI was established after Rehabilitation International (RI), then the world’s leading disability charity, refused to permit adequate representation by disabled people. This slogan has been particularly effective in capturing a key idea of our struggle for human rights – self determination is essential for achieving true equality.

    This was clearly acknowledged in the 1993 UN Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. Rule 18 says, “States should recognise the rights of persons with disabilities to represent persons with disabilities at national, regional and local levels. States should also recognise the advisory role of organisations of persons with disabilities in decision-making on disability matters”.

    “Nothing About Us Without Us” is also in line with the more general human rights approach to development cooperation. For example the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) holds that “The human rights approach to development means empowering people to take their own decisions, rather than being the passive objects of choices made on their behalf.’

    The ideas of self-determination and human rights developed and fought for by us in our international disability movement and encapsulated in “Nothing About Us Without Us” are also at the very heart of the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    Disability – a Human Rights Issue

    UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises that ‘disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.’
    http://www.un.org/disabilities

    There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention and each one of its specific articles:
    1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of person
    2. Non-discrimination
    3. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
    4. Respect for difference and acceptance of disabled people as part of human diversity and humanity
    5. Equality of opportunity
    6. Accessibility
    7. Equality between men and women
    8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

    In particular the Convention emphasises the importance of self-representation through DPOs and commits State Parties to working “in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities” (Article 32).

    The Office of the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights

    Four core values of human rights law that are of particular importance in the context of disability.

    • the dignity of each individual, who is deemed to be of inestimable value because of his/her inherent self-worth, and not because s/he is economically or otherwise “useful”;
    • the concept of autonomy or self-determination, which is based on the presumption of a capacity for self-directed action and behaviour, and requires that the person be placed at the centre of all decisions affecting him/her;
    • the inherent equality of all regardless of difference;
    • and the ethic of solidarity, which requires society to sustain the freedom of the person with appropriate social supports.

    http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/disability/intro.htm#human

    As participation is a legal right which we can claim, it is the duty of states and society to ensure that right. Our participation and inclusion must not only be in the systems, structures and services of society, but in the policy-making process as well.

    As can be seen, the UN Convention calls for disabled people and our organisations to be in the driving seat. However, this will not happen unless there is a fundamental change in the unequal, neo-colonial relationship which currently exists between disabled people and the large corporate charities, government agencies and international development institutions.

    It seems clear that at this phase of our struggle for equality and human rights “Nothing About Us Without Us” is no longer enough. As disabled people we and our organisations need not only to be included, we need to assume the leading role.

    Professionals On Tap, Not On Top

    Some time ago, David Werner, one of the founders of the Projimo Project in Mexico, wrote:

    “Women in most countries are now demanding their right to leadership in the institutions that represent their concerns. It is high time for disabled people everywhere to make similar demands. It is time for planners and administrators to provide the necessary opportunity, encouragement and appropriate skills training.

    “And, most urgently of all, it is time for non-disabled professionals to recognise the right of disabled persons to self control, and therefore to gracefully step to one side, into a role where they, as professionals, are no longer on top but rather on tap – as allies.

    This was an attempt to understand the real relationship between disabled people and non-disabled professionals and to alter it. Redefining the relationship is an essential step to achieving a human rights based, empowering and emancipatory approach to disability and development. Without it we will remain no more than the passive raw material for international and national NGOs.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. As with other social movements such as black power in the USA, women’s equality or the anti-imperialist struggles, as disabled people we must assume real leadership in our own liberation. We must fight to realise the promise of the UN Convention. And, those non-disabled professionals and organisations who want to help, need to move over and accept a new, more appropriate and equitable relationship. They need to be on tap, not on top. They need to become our genuine allies.

    A Check List for Allies

    To become genuine allies in the liberation of disabled people funders, development agencies, disability organisations, INGOs and other intermediaries must take steps to transform themselves and how they operate. Among other things, they need to:

    • Ensure that the need for programmes and policies are identified by disabled people and that we are not included simply to legitimise funding applications.
    • Ensure that disabled people are involved in all areas of the programme, not just as recipients or beneficiaries, and preferably through our own democratically run organisations (DPOs).
    • Ensure programmes are committed at every stage to full human rights and equality of opportunity.
    • Ensure that resources are transferred to DPOs in order to build capacity and sustainability.
    • Empower and resource disabled people to represent ourselves through our own organisations.
    • Champion disabled leadership both inside and outside your organisation.
    • Be prepared to change your internal and external policies and practices through engaging with the authentic voice of disabled people in the North and South.
    • If you are a disability organisation or charity, to reform your governance, staffing and operations structures to move towards disabled people being in the majority positions at all levels of the organisation.
    • If you are a donor or generalist development agency, ensure that your governance, staffing and advisory bodies are representative of society and you have at least 20% representation of disabled people at all levels of your organisation.

    The signatories to this manifesto are ready and willing to work with, support and assist any organisation that wishes to travel this road with disabled people. At the same time we will continue to challenge those who ignore our legitimate demands for control of our own destiny.



    Thank you to Mark Harrison at the International Disabilities Equality Agency (IDEA) for permission to publish the Equalize It! Manifesto at We Can Do.

    IDEA is looking for more organizations to sign the manifesto and join their campaign. For more details, see the IDEA web site. For questions related to this manifesto, or to ask about your organization signing it, please contact Mark Harrison directly at Mark.Harrison@uea.ac.uk.

    The text of the Equalize It! manifesto can also be viewed at the IDEA web site at:

    http://disabilityequality.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20

    Or, you can download the Equalize It! Manifesto in PDF format at:

    http://disabilityequality.org/Equalise%20It%21.pdf



    People interested in learning more about the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) may also wish to follow the link to the RatifyNow web site at

    http://www.ratifynow.org

    RatifyNow is a global campaign to maximize the number of countries that ratify the CRPD.



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    THREE JOB POSTS, Luanda, Angola

    Posted on 15 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Jobs & Internships, Rehabilitation, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Read carefully. This post contain THREE separate job announcements, all in Luanda, Angola. The first is for a Technical Expert who is experienced in social and health projects. The second is for a Project Coordinator who is a technical expert in severe disability rehabilitaiton. The third is for an expert in the identification of sanitation and hospital services, services of continous support to target group. All job posts are meant to begin in February 2008 and continue for 12 months. The deadline for all three job posts is December 31, 2007.


    Technical Expert – Experienced in social and health projects

    Country of assignment and location
    Angola, Luanda

    GTZ International Services in consortium with MundiServiços has been shortlisted for this World Bank-financed project.

    The project
    In the sequence of the Lwena Memorandum of Understanding complementary to Lusaka Protocol, the Angola Government has prepared the Angolan Program for Demobilization and Reintegration which is being implemented at National level by The Institute of Socio-Professional Reintegration for Ex-combatants (IRSEM). In the scope of this program assistance is been delivered to facilitate economic and social reintegration of 138.000 Ex-combatants. 105.000 are from Ex-FMU (Unita Forces) and 33.000 from FAA (Angolan Armed Forces).
    Among the program beneficiaries can be distinguished special groups as follows:
    Female Ex-combatants, Widows of Ex-combatants eligible for PGDR (Minors whose parents are Ex-combatants or their guardian, Ex-combatants with disabilities, designated as a “Vulnerable Group” to whom PGDR has designed a specific strategy to assist them.

    Estimated are that 1750-2000 of the 28000 disabled who will be demobilised are severely disabled: para-, hemi-, tetraplegic, multiple limb amputees, deaf, blind, mentally disabled,… They are the specific target group of this project.

    The objective of the project is to deliver technical assistance to IRSEM to create conditions for social reintegration and physical rehabilitation in order to prevent or minimise the dependency for specialised services for ex-combatants with severe disabilities.

    Your tasks
    Provide TA, organise and identify specialists for the following activities which will be defined by the results of the needs assessments of each Person with a Disability and of the service provision sector:

    1. PREPARATION PHASE

    • Identification of failure in terms of social services, psychological support and human support.
    • Formulating an action plan to improve Angolan service delivery to target group

    2. IMPLEMENTATION OF ACTION PLAN, TRAINING AND SUPERVISION

    • Contracting out social reintegration of the disabled person taking in the account the actual and future living environment
    • Contracting out vocational trainings for disabled to perform professional activities. Special stock for small lending, creation of adapted micro enterprises and / or work opportunities.
    • Organizing training of Angolan institutions for psychological support to families and availability of resources in order beneficiaries can develop income generation activities taking advantage of existing economic opportunities.
    • Organizing training in occupational activities adapted to the disabled and to avail them of affordable opportunities
    • Orientation of contracted social services to refer family members to the existing projects for the development of economic activities.
    • Assuring access to distribution of tools for those having a viable idea of self employment

    • Providing technical support to create micro and small companies
    • Organizing training of Angolan institutions for economic capacity building to provide income generation/salaries for the People with Disability and/or family / relatives caring for the severe disabled

    Your qualification
    University degree in Public Health or Social Science or relevant field

    • Minimum of 5 years professional experience, of which 3 years in international projects
    • At least 3 years of experience in the provision of social services for vulnerable groups of population
    • Work experience in technical assistance projects funded by WB or other development agencies advantageous
    • Relevant work experience in the region
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Excellent command of Portuguese and English
    • Excellent degree of stress tolerance and flexibility

    Commencement
    Expected date of commencement is February 2008. The period of execution will be 12 months.

    Contact
    For further information please contact
    Mrs. Annette Mueller-Roth
    Phone: +49 61 96 79-1483
    e-mail: Annette.Mueller-Roth@gtz.de

    Annette.Mueller-Roth@gtz.de


    Project Coordinator – Technical expert in severe disability rehabilitation

    Country of assignment and location
    Angola, Luanda

    GTZ International Services in consortium with MundiServiços has been shortlisted for this World Bank-financed project.

    The project
    In the sequence of the Lwena Memorandum of Understanding complementary to Lusaka Protocol, the Angola Government has prepared the Angolan Program for Demobilization and Reintegration which is being implemented at National level by The Institute of Socio-Professional Reintegration for Ex-combatants (IRSEM). In the scope of this program assistance is been delivered to facilitate economic and social reintegration of 138.000 Ex-combatants. 105.000 are from Ex-FMU (Unita Forces) and 33.000 from FAA (Angolan Armed Forces).
    Among the program beneficiaries can be distinguished special groups as follows:
    Female Ex-combatants, Widows of Ex-combatants eligible for PGDR, Minors whose parents are Ex-combatants or their guardian, Ex-combatants with disabilities, designated as a “Vulnerable Group” to whom PGDR has designed a specific strategy to assist them.

    Estimated are that 1750-2000 of the 28000 disabled who will be demobilised are severely disabled: para-, hemi-, tetraplegic, multiple limb amputees, deaf, blind, mentally disabled,… They are the specific target group of this project.

    The objective of the project is to deliver technical assistance to IRSEM to create conditions for social reintegration and physical rehabilitation of this severely disabled subgroup in order to prevent or minimise the dependency for specialised services for ex-combatants with severe disabilities

    Your tasks

    Provide TA in order to:

    1. PREPARATORY PHASE:

    • organize a needs assessments (from each individual and from the capacity of the service delivery sector),
    • elaborate an individualized action plan and a disability sector plan

    2. IMPLEMENTATION OF ACTION PLAN, TRAINING AND SUPERVISION

    • the implementation of training to the local service delivery sector
    • assisting IRSEM in contracting out the local service delivery
    • supervision

    The following activities have to be organized for the target group

  • Advise to IRSEM on the supply of auxiliary means for physical rehabilitation
  • Elaboration of recommendations for the modalities of collaboration between IRSEM and National and Local agencies involved in long term programs, assisting the reintegration process of severely People with a 100 % Disability
  • Identify and train appropriate partners for the delivery of special services and assistance, necessary to physical rehabilitation and social-economic reintegration of the target group:
  • Medical (surgery, ophtalmology, ENT,…), disability nursing, physiotherapy, prosthetic – orthotic devices and mobility aids,
  • psychosocial support
  • Professional support and economic capacity building (Agriculture activities and creation of micro and small business, Micro finance assistance) to provide income generation
  • Support to communities where disabled live to implement several social initiatives (schools, community centre, irrigation channels, healthcare post etc.) that facilitate the reintegration in shelter communities
  • Your qualification

  • University degree in Social Science or Public Health, with experience in disability
  • Minimum of 10 years professional experience, of which 7 years in international projects
  • At least five years of experience in the provision of social services for vulnerable groups of population
  • Work experience in technical assistance projects funded by WB or other development agencies very advantageous
  • Relevant international work experience in the region highly desirable, intercultural competence required
  • At least five years of experience in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of projects in the social sector
  • Excellent managerial and communication skills
  • Excellent command of Portuguese (written and spoken) and English
  • Excellent degree of stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Commencement

    Expected date of commencement is February 2008. The period of execution will be 12 months.

    Contact
    For further information please contact
    Mrs. Annette Mueller-Roth
    Phone: +49 61 96 79-1483
    e-mail: Annette.Mueller-Roth@gtz.de

    Annette.Mueller-Roth@gtz.de


    Expert in Identification of sanitation and hospital services, services of continuous support to target group

    Country of assignment and location
    Angola, Luanda

    GTZ International Services in consortium with MundiServiços has been shortlisted for this World Bank-financed project.

    The project
    In the sequence of the Lwena Memorandum of Understanding complementary to Lusaka Protocol, the Angola Government has prepared the Angolan Program for Demobilization and Reintegration which is being implemented at National level by The Institute of Socio-Professional Reintegration for Ex-combatants (IRSEM). In the scope of this program assistance is been delivered to facilitate economic and social reintegration of 138.000 Ex-combatants. 105.000 are from Ex-FMU (Unita Forces) and 33.000 from FAA (Angolan Armed Forces).
    Among the program beneficiaries can be distinguished special groups as follows:
    Female Ex-combatants, Widows of Ex-combatants eligible for PGDR, Minors whose parents are Ex-combatants or their guardian, Ex-combatants with disabilities, designated as a “Vulnerable Group” to whom PGDR has designed a specific strategy to assist them.

    Estimated are that 1750-2000 of the 28000 disabled who will be demobilised are severely disabled: para-, hemi-, tetraplegic, multiple limb amputees, deaf, blind, mentally disabled,… They are the specific target group of this project.

    The objective of the project is to deliver technical assistance to IRSEM to create conditions for social reintegration and physical rehabilitation in order to prevent or minimise the dependency for specialised services for ex-combatants with severe disabilities

    Your tasks
    Provide TA, organise and identify specialists for the following activities which will be reviewed by the results of the needs assessments:

    PREPARATION PHASE

    • Organizing contracted out medical, psychological and social (environmental) assessment of beneficiaries in order to come to an individual screening plan
    • Training of the assessment teams
    • Identification of failure in terms of specialised medical and rehabilitation care, specialised training, psychological support and supply of technical and human support.
    • Formulating an action plan to improve Angolan service delivery to target group

    IMPLEMENTATION OF ACTION PLAN, TRAINING AND SUPERVISION

    • Contracting partners to supply of auxiliary means for physical rehabilitation, including prosthesis, crutch/walking-stick, wheelchairs, tricycles, hearing devices, visual aids or others which may be considered necessary
    • Contracting of special services (or to strengthen existing services) such as eye care services, consultants for psychology support, hearing device delivery and consultants, orthopedic and esthetic surgery and neurology services.
    • Development of occupational therapy activities and special tools
    • Contracting supplementary assistance for daily activities
    • Contracting long term medical care (home care and sanitary education of the disabled). Access to specialised consultations, supply of medical and pharmaceutical assistance and/or daily technical support
    • Organizing specialised nursing training (to the disabled person, his/her family or others) by professional Health personnel in: transfers at home, urine and stool evacuation, physiotherapeutic exercises, warning signals, circulation problems, epilepsy crises orientation, orientation for psychological and psychiatrist disorder.
    • Contracting of specific training for persons with lacking sensorial sensitivity, such as sign language for the deaf, improvement of tactile habits and blind orientation and other communication techniques.

    Your qualification

    • University degree in physical or neurological rehab or relevant field
    • Minimum of 7 years professional experience, of which 3 years in international projects
    • At least 3 years of experience in the provision of social services for People with disability
    • Work experience in technical assistance projects funded by WB or other development agencies advantageous
    • Relevant work experience in the region
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Excellent command of Portuguese and English
    • Excellent degree of stress tolerance and flexibility

    Commencement
    Expected date of commencement is February 2008. The period of execution will be 12 months.

    Contact
    For further information please contact
    Mrs. Annette Mueller-Roth
    Phone: +49 61 96 79-1483
    e-mail: Annette.Mueller-Roth@gtz.de



    We Can Do learned about these three job opportunities through the email distribution list for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), which can be subscribed to for free.


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    NEWS: Statement by Rosangela Berman Bieler – International Services Human Rights Award

    Posted on 14 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Guest Blogger, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    In late November, We Can Do shared the news that Rosangela Berman Bieler, a Brazilian journalist and disability advocate was to receive an International Services Human Rights Award on December 5, 2007. Berman Bieler was unable to make the trip to London, but a friend of hers–Catalina Devandas–received the award on her behalf. Devandas read a statement from Berman Bieler at the awards ceremony. Rosangela has graciously given permission to publish her statement here.

    Statement by Rosangela Berman Bieler – International Services Human Rights Award

    First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation to International Services for establishing this Human Rights Award and to including Disability Rights as a relevant area. I humbly thank the IS selection panel and supporters for considering my name amongst such a distinguished group of Human Rights Champions from around the world. It is for me a huge honor to be part of the IS partnership.

    This award comes in a unique moment, when Disability rights advocates from all over the planet are working together to give visibility and to maximize the number of nations that ratify the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    This twenty-first century’s first human rights treaty was adopted by the United Nations a year ago and opened for signatures on March 30, 2007. To date, 118 nations have indicated support of the treaty and interest in ratification. As of today, 10 nations have ratified (Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Spain, Bangladesh, South Africa, Jamaica, and Panama). The treaty becomes legally binding 30 days after the 20th nation ratifies it.

    According to the UN, approximately 10 percent of the world’s population has a disability. This translates into over 600 millions disabled people living around the world, being more than 400 million in developing countries. For every disabled person, there are at least three other members of the household indirectly affected by disability. The largest increase in the number of people with disabilities will happen in the age bracket of 65 years or more. And the world population is aging…

    Today Disability is understood as the result of the interaction between people with different levels of functioning and an environment that does not take these differences into account. Disability is part of each and every individual’s life cycle. Beyond the typical areas of disability (motor, hearing, visual, and mental/intellectual), persons in general face “disabling” conditions in a society that is unprepared to recognize and respond to human diversity.

    People with physical, sensory or mental limitations are often disabled not because of a diagnosable condition, but because they are denied access to education, labor markets, and public services. This exclusion leads to poverty and, in a vicious circle, poverty leads to more disability by increasing people’s vulnerability to malnutrition, disease, and unsafe living and working conditions.

    Accordingly to the World Bank, it is expected that the number of people with disabilities will increase by 120%, in the next 30 years in developing countries. The increase is of 40% in more developed countries. It is estimated that 100 million people in the world acquired a disability due to malnutrition.

    About 80-90% of disabled people in the Latin-American Region are unemployed or outside the work force. Most of those who have jobs receive little or no monetary remuneration. In my native country, Brazil, the 2000 Census shows that, of the 24.650.000 Brazilians with disability, 27% live in situation of extreme poverty and 53% are poor.

    Universal inclusion is not only a human rights issue and a principle for equity, but also an operational strategy to general a better and sustainable society for all. To improve the efficacy of social and economic development actions and to reach all manifestations of human diversity, public policies, from design to implementation, must take all human characteristics and needs into account.

    Human Rights are exercised in the mainstream society, in the daily life of each one of us. The means for this full exercise are provided by fair and equitable public policies for all. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a strong and effective instrument to orient and assist governments to implement policies and actions under an inclusive development approach.

    The UN Convention recognizes the fundamental importance of getting disabled people ourselves involved in the process of our emancipation and reinforces the concept of “Nothing About Us, Without US”, used by the disability field to claim full participation. Under this premises, together with my peers and supporters of the Disability field, I would like to call all governments to immediately ratify the CRPD and start making the ideal of an inclusive Society, into a reality.

    Thank you very much for this opportunity and let’s continue working together for a planet and a society where life is valued, diversity is celebrated and dignity is for all.

    Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development
    Instituto Interamericano sobre Discapacidad y Desarrollo Inclusivo
    Instituto Inter-Americano sobre Deficiência & Desenvolvimento Inclusivo

    Rosangela Berman Bieler
    Executive Director
    IIDI Inter-American Office:
    New Address:
    27-37 27th Street, #1B,
    New York, NY 11102
    Tel: 1(347) 738-6472


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    Intl CONFERENCE on Rehab Engineering & Assistive Technology

    Posted on 14 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Events and Conferences, Rehabilitation, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Announcing i-CREATe 2008, 2nd International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology – will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 13 – 15 May, 2008. Visit the i-CREATe 2008 http://www.start-centre.com/i-create2008/ for more information.

    i-CREATe has a Conference element, and all accepted full conference papers will be published and indexed in the ACM Digital Library and Electronic Indexed. Selected best papers will also be included in the Special Issue of Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology Journal published by Taylor & Francis ( http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/17483107.asp). Papers and proposals can be submitted through January 31, 2008.

    The inaugural i-CREATe 2007 ( http://www.start-centre.com/i-create2007) was formally launched by Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Kingdom of Thailand, and Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Republic of Singapore, on 24th April 2007; for i-CREATe 2008, HRH will also be gracing the event as GOH and to launch the event.

    Need funding assistance to attend conferences like this one? See information on Funding for Conference Participation from Developing Nations. Be aware that for any foundation, money will be limited. This means probably only a few applicants will be able to obtain funding.


    We Can Do received this conference announcement via Mr. Ghulam Nabi Nizamani, Vice Chair of DPI-AP and Co-Founder and President of SDF Pakistan. I have slightly modified it from the original.


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    TRAINING for Women with Disabilities in South Asia

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

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

    REGIONAL LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CONTENT OF TRAINING:

    Regional Leadership Training: (TOT): 7 days.

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

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

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

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

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

    Closing date for applications: January 5th 2008.

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

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

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


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


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    NEWS: Enabling Blind to Read Computers in Africa, Other Developing Regions

    Posted on 11 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Blind, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Latin America & Caribbean, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Sightsavers Dolphin Pen – For developing countries

    What is Sightsavers Dolphin Pen?

    The Sightsavers Dolphin Pen is a low-cost, lightweight pen drive with a screen magnifier and screen reader, designed to benefit those living in some of the world’s poorest communities. It enables visually impaired people in Africa and other developing regions to gain the same access to computers as sighted people – and so to develop their skills and employment prospects.

    This is an exciting venture because it is the first time a world-ranked assistive technology manufacturer has collaborated with an NGO (non-government organisation) to make high-quality product such as this available at cost price to eligible overseas projects.

    Robin Spinks of Sightsavers International says: “Blind and low vision computer users can now carry their assistive software on a pen drive and use it on any PC. This represents a huge step forward for visually impaired computer users in developing countries.”

    Users can take magnification and speech with them to any PC.
    Easy to use and quick to set up. Simply plug in and go.
    Lightweight yet robust. Fits in a pocket.
    Gives independence to produce documents, send email and surf the web.
    Will be made available in schools and universities wherever possible.

    The pen will be available in eligible African countries and in other eligible countries in Asia (both Eastern Asia and Southern Asia); Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and Latin America and the Caribbean.

    For more information:

    http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?id=27&utm_source=SSdolphinpenKenya&utm_medium=email


    Most of the text for this blog post is taken from the Dolphin Pen web site. We Can Do first learned about the Dolphin Pen through an announcement distributed on the Intl-Dev email news distribution list.


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    NEWS: Disabled in India Celebrate World Disability Day

    Posted on 11 December 2007. Filed under: Employment, News, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    People in India recently celebrated World Disability Day. An article about their celebrations talks about the challenges that disabled people still face in finding employment. The story also quotes a blind man who works as a teacher and a deaf woman who works as a lab assistant in India:

    http://in.news.yahoo.com/071203/43/6nzl1.html

    Individuals interested in disabled people in India may also wish to read about a recent report from the World Bank on employment, education, health, social protection, and other issues related to people with disabilities in India.

    For still more posts about disabled people in India or other South Asian countries, click on “South Asian Region” under “categories” in the right-hand navigation bar.


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    SURVEY and FORUM on Successful Family Planning Programs

    Posted on 11 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Families, Health, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    What makes a family planning program successful? The Information and Knowledge for Optimal Health (INFO) Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in collaboration with the the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Implementing Best Practices(IBP) Initiative, invites you to
    share your opinions in a short survey on Elements of Successful Family Planning Programs; follow the link to:

    http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB22786ZF78CZ

    This survey is not focused specifically on disability issues in family planning. However, survey participants can use the open-ended questions to explain their own perspectives on familiy planning issues. This could be an opportunity to help ensure that the people conducting the survey are aware of the importance of disability inclusion in family planning
    efforts.

    Interested in the survey results? What more information on this topic? You may also wish to register for a free online discussion forum, entitled “Elements of Successful Family Planning Programs,” from Monday, December 10th through December 21, 2007.

    Read more about the forum at: http://my.ibpinitiative.org/public/ElementsofFPSuccess/

    Again, this forum is not focused specifically on disability issues in developing countries. But for people who are interested in family planning among disabled people internationally, this forum could be an opportunity to ensure that your voices are heard (or read!) among mainstream professionals.

    Register for the forum at: http://my.ibpinitiative.org/public/Register.aspx?c=2d6a569b-e335-4e83-ba34-3b8366761cfe

    After you register for the forum, you can participate in the forum at: http://my.ibpinitiative.org/community.aspx?c=2d6a569b-e335-4e83-ba34-3b8366761cfe

    Please share this announcement with your friends and colleagues. Thank you for your participation!


    We Can Do received this announcement via the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Persons with Disabilities forum that was recently sponsored through the (IBP) Initiative. I modified it slightly.


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    RESOURCE: Sri Lankan Sign Language Dictionary Published

    Posted on 6 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Deaf, News, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    A new Sri Lankan Sign Language dictionary has been published with pictures of 350 different signs and short conversational phrases. Sri Lankan Sign Language has different dialects in different parts of the country. The new dictionary focuses on the dialect used at the Rohana Special School community and with deaf people across the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. You can download the entire dictionary for free on-line at the link from this sentence. It is the first known conversational dictionary to be developed for Sri Lankan sign language.

    I learned about this dictionary from the blog, Found in Ceylon. The blog is written by a deaf American man, Adam. Adam was a volunteer at the Rohana Special School in Sri Lanka. His blog was originally meant to chronicle his experiences at the school. But he has now returned to the United States and continues to blog about news relevant to the school and his contacts in Sri Lanka.

    Learn about the dictionary at:

    http://www.foundinceylon.com/blog/2007/12/05/introducing-sri-lankan-sign-language-the-dictionary/

    Or download it from:

    http://www.rohanaspecialschool.org/Rohana_Special_School_in_Sri_Lanka/Sri_Lankan_Sign_Language_Dictionary.html


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    TRAINING in Int’l Leadership, Employment and Disability in Latin America

    Posted on 6 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Events and Conferences, Fellowships & Scholarships, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Mobility International USA (MIUSA) seeks women and men with disabilities from Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua,and Peru to apply for a 21-day leadership exchange program in March 2008, in Eugene, Oregon.

    The International Leadership, Employment and Disability (I-LEAD) program will focus on expanding opportunities for employment for people with disabilities in Latin America. We are seeking individuals with leadership experience and potential in these areas. All program activities will include Spanish translation, and substantial scholarships are available.

    Information about the I-LEAD program is available on the MIUSA website in both English and Spanish.

    Thank you for your support and assistance.

    Sincerely,

    Susan Sygall
    CEO
    Mobility International USA
    132 E. Broadway, Suite 343
    Eugene, Oregon 97401 USA
    Tel/TTY: 1+ (541) 343-1284
    Fax: 1+ (541) 343-6812
    <http://www.miusa.org>

    Jamie Kinsel
    Program Assistant
    International Exchange Programs
    Mobility International USA
    132 E. Broadway, Suite 343
    Eugene, Oregon 97401 USA
    Tel/TTY: 1+ (541) 343-1284
    Fax: 1+ (541) 343-6812
    <http://www.miusa.org>

    Empowering people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.


    We Can Do learned about this opportunity via the Intl-Dev email distribution list on international development.


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    ILO Report Says, Disabled People Deserve Jobs

    Posted on 5 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Employment, News, Reports, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    ILO report calls for new efforts to support people with disabilities in the world of work

    Type Press release
    Date issued 03 December 2007
    Reference ILO/07/61
    Unit responsible Communication and Public Information
    Subjects disability benefits, employment accident benefits, disabilities, disabled workers

    GENEVA (ILO News) – Despite significant progress in recent years in improving their livelihoods, new efforts are needed to break down barriers that still prevent millions of people with disabilities from working and contributing to the economic growth of their societies, according to a new ILO report released for the International Day of Disabled Persons on 3 December.

    What’s more, the new report, entitled “The right to decent work of persons with disabilities”, says such significant and sustained efforts are vital, not only to promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in employment, rural development and poverty reduction programmes, but also in moving toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for halving poverty by the year 2015.

    The ILO estimates that some 650 million people – or one out of every 10 people in the world – has a disability, and that of these, approximately 470 million are of working age. While many are successfully employed and fully integrated into society, people with disabilities as a group often face disproportionate levels of poverty and unemployment.

    The good news, according to the report, is that “countries around the world are increasingly recognizing that disabled people represent enormous potential, frequently untapped; that they have a valuable contribution to make to the national economy; that their employment reduces the cost of disability benefits and may reduce poverty; and that concerted action is needed to dismantle the barriers which prevent many disabled people from taking part in the economy and society” (Preface, p. vii).

    However, too many barriers remain that stop disabled people from realizing their full potential “There is a strong link between disability and poverty”, the new ILO report says, adding that an estimated 80 per cent of all people with disabilities in the world live in developing countries. Of these, it says some 426 million live below the poverty line and often represent the 15-to-20 per cent most vulnerable and marginalized poor in such countries (Note 1).

    “Decent work is the ILO’s primary goal for everyone, including people with disabilities”, says ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “When we promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities, we are empowering individuals, enriching societies and strengthening economies. We must intensify our efforts to step up the pace of change.”

    Citing World Bank studies estimating that social exclusion from the workplace costs the global economy between US$ 1.37 to US$ 1.94 trillion in estimated annual loss in GDP (Note 2), the ILO Skills and Employability Department added that “providing decent work for people with disabilities thus makes social as well as economic sense”.

    The new ILO report highlights many challenges faced by people with disabilities in the world of work, including: concentration in low-level, low-paid jobs; lack of adequate representation at higher levels; problems of access to workplace areas, transportation and housing; the risk of losing benefits on starting work; and prejudices among co-workers, employers and the general public. It also says people with disabilities in the world of work tend to experience higher unemployment and have lower earnings than persons without disabilities, or are often underemployed.

    “This is not to suggest that there has been no improvement”, the ILO report says. “The significant growth in domestic anti-discrimination legislation in recent years is encouraging, even though adoption of a law does not guarantee its enforcement. The persistent efforts of international agencies and in particular the ILO, in promoting equal opportunity and treatment in employment continue to make important inroads into the economic and social exclusion of persons with disabilities.”

    The ILO said the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) adopted in December of last year will reinforce national and international efforts and provide a renewed impetus in eliminating discrimination on the basis of disability and in positively promoting inclusion. The principles of the new UN Convention are in line with relevant ILO standards, including Convention No. 159 on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons).

    Convention No. 159 has been ratified by 80 countries. It requires that representative organizations of employers and workers, as well as those of disabled persons, be consulted on the implementation of national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment for disabled people. This theme of consultation with key stakeholders is also emphasized in the new Convention.

    Besides anti-discrimination measures by governments, employers and trade unions play an important role in managing disability in the workplace, the report says.

    This year’s International Day marks a new effort by the ILO to promote the principle of decent work among people with disabilities. The ILO said it hopes the event would help foster greater understanding of issues affecting people with disabilities in the world of work and help mobilize new support for their rights at work.

    The new ILO report can be downloaded for free in PDF format in English (follow the link and scroll down the screen until you see the title, “The right to decent work of persons with disabilities“; 393 Kb). The report will eventually be made available in French (Le droit des personnes handicapees au travail decent), Spanish (El derecho al trabajo decente de las personas con discapacidades), Amharic, Arabic, Bahasa, German, Hindi, Japanese, Kiswahili, Mandarin, Mongolian, Portugese, Russian, Thai, and Vietnamese.

    Note 1 – The right to decent work of persons with disabilities, by Arthur O’Reilly. International Labour Office, Geneva, 2007. ISBN 9778-92-2-120144-1. To order a copy, please visit: http://www.ilo.org/publns.

    Note 2 – Robert L. Metts (2000) Disability Issues, Trends and Recommendations for the World Bank, World Bank Washington..


    Most of the text for this blog post is taken from an ILO press release. We Can Do has modified it slightly to add a quote from the report and to link to where you can download the report (when you reach the ILO page, scroll down a little to find the report). I first learned of this report via the “UN News by Email” distribution list.


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    UN Secretary General Encourages Employment of Disabled People

    Posted on 4 December 2007. Filed under: Employment, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Secretary-General
    SG/SM/11305
    HR/4934
    OBV/673

    Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

    ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DISABLED PERSONS, SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES PLEDGE
    BY ALL TO ENSURE DISABLED PERSONS’ FULL PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY LIFE

    Following is the text of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December:

    This year’s International Day of Disabled Persons focuses on the goal of decent work for persons with disabilities, and reminds us that every person deserves opportunities for productive employment inconditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

    Persons with disabilities are deprived of adequate employment opportunities in nearly every society. Estimates show that at least half of all disabled people in developed nations, and the vast majority of those with disabilities in developing countries, are unemployed. Most others are underemployed, or will never have full access to the labour market. This situation is deplorable.

    Persons with disabilities have the ability to make valuable contributions in the workforce as employees, entrepreneurs and employers. But they face numerous barriers that prevent them from fulfilling their potential. Early in life, they encounter difficulties gaining access to an education or acquisition of employable skills. Later on, fears and prejudices about their abilities deny them the work opportunities available to others. Inaccessible workplaces, explicit and implicit discriminatory legislation and practices, and unfavourable work conditions pose additional hurdles.

    Yet, whenever the opportunity arises, persons with disabilities prove their worth as productive members of the workforce. That is why more and more employers are slowly coming to the realization that employing persons with disabilities makes good sense. Changing workplace environments and advances in information and communications technology are also giving persons with disabilities new avenues for seeking decent work.

    Most States do not have legislation protecting persons with disabilities in the workplace. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is expected to enter into force early next year, recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities to work and employment on an equal basis with others. It stresses their right to earn a living from freely chosen work, and to work in an environment that is both accessible and accepting.

    On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to seeking equal rights for all, and let us pledge to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities in the lives of their communities.


    The text for this blog post is taken from a press release from the United Nations. The United Nations has a web page on the International Day of Disabled Persons. Also see what the International Labour Organization (ILO) did to celebrate the day and review their resources.

    More information about the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is available at the UN Enable web site. Information about a global campaign to ratify the convention is at the RatifyNow web site.


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    NEWS: Disability Advocates Launch Treaty Ratification Campaign

    Posted on 2 December 2007. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    RatifyNow Logo: a pair of laurel leaves wraps around a map of the world. Overlaid on the map is the acronym CRPD (which stands for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). To the right of the map is the URL for the RatifyNow.org web site.
    Advocates Celebrate International Disabled Persons Day
    by Launching Treaty Ratification Campaign

    Disability rights advocates are marking December 3, 2007 – International Disabled Persons Day – by launching RatifyNow, a global campaign based in the U.S. to maximize the number of nations that ratify the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. RatifyNow (www.RatifyNow.org) is a unique blend of grassroots activists, disability civil rights organizations, and human rights groups who work in tandem to make sure the Convention’s safeguards benefit people with disabilities worldwide.

    The twenty-first century’s first human rights treaty was adopted by the United Nations a year ago and opened for ratification on March 30, 2007. To date, 118 nations have indicated support of the treaty and interest in ratification. Seven nations have ratified (Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, and Panama). The treaty becomes legally binding 30 days after the 20th nation ratifies it.

    “This treaty will dramatically improve the lives of people with disabilities – but only if we achieve broad worldwide participation,” said San Francisco disability rights attorney Michele Magar. “RatifyNow is asking enlightened people everywhere to join in persuading their governments to ratify this treaty.”

    “Ninety percent of children with disabilities in developing countries receive no education. In far too many nations, people with disabilities lack basic rights, such as the right to own property, marry, work, and retain custody of their children,” said Magar. “Because disability discrimination also affects families of individuals with disabilities, the United Nations estimates that this treaty, if broadly implemented, will improve the lives of one quarter of the world’s population.”

    “RatifyNow will provide information and support to the disability community, government officials, journalists, and advocates interested in learning more about the treaty, and why it’s so important for nations to ratify it,” said Washington, D.C. disability rights attorney Jeff Rosen. “RatifyNow’s website will serve as a clearinghouse for information about treaty ratification campaigns, and will provide ratification toolkits and strategies advocates can adapt for use in their own countries. We’ll also provide links to information and tools developed by other advocates, as well as relevant studies and reports written by university professors and investigative journalists.”

    “President Bush’s failure to sign and promote the treaty has had a significant impact on people with disabilities.” said Rosen. “But we’re already working to make sure the next president signs the treaty within the first year of the new administration, and that the Senate ratifies it shortly thereafter.”

    “We have had good success in starting to get local governments in the U.S. to adopt resolutions endorsing the Convention,” said Portland, Oregon disability rights advocate Pam VanderVeer. “We expect RatifyNow to be a resource disability advocates can use to push their government representatives to support treaty ratification.”

    “We’re hoping to work closely with journalists, because the first step is letting the world know this treaty exists,” said Magar. “It’s a story that deserves broad dissemination, because this treaty guarantees people with disabilities access to education, and the rights to marry, enter into contracts, own property, work, vote, receive information in accessible formats, live in integrated communities instead of institutions, participate fully in cultural and civil life, and be free from discrimination on the basis of disability.”

    RatifyNow welcomes both individuals and organizations as members, and it costs nothing to join. Organizational members include: the American Association of Persons with Disabilities, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Mental Disabilities Rights International, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Organization on Disability, People Who, Respectful Interfaces, TheUnderRepresented, and the United States International Council on Disability.

    Although RatifyNow was begun in the United States, membership is open to individuals and organizations worldwide.

    Contact: RatifyNow@gmail.com
    Website: http://www.RatifyNow.org


    This press release was disseminated by RatifyNow; the full text of this release is also available at http://press.ratifynow-admin.info.

    Regular readers will note that this post marks the very first time that I have incorporated a graphic into this site–in this case, the logo for RatifyNow at the top. I did try to add a description for people who use screen readers but I’m not sure if I did it properly. If you use a screen reader (voice or Braille), please tell me if you “saw” the full description up above. The description SHOULD read as follows: “RatifyNow Logo: a pair of laurel leaves wraps around a map of the world. Overlaid on the map is the acronym CRPD (which stands for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). To the right of the map is the URL for the RatifyNow.org web site.”

    Please use the comments area below to give me any feedback related to accessibility issues. Thanks for helping me make We Can Do more accessible.


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    FELLOWSHIP: Inter-American Foundation’s Grassroots Development Fellowship Program

    Posted on 2 December 2007. Filed under: Fellowships & Scholarships, Latin America & Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Institute of International Education (IIE) has partnered with the Inter-American Foundation to administer its Grassroots Development Fellowship Program. IAF’s fellowships are targeted at increasing awareness of grassroots development efforts and cuilding a community of professionals and scholars. Fellows study grassroots efforts among rural and urban poor people to organize themselves, as well as policies and programs meant to reduce their poverty. Research findings are disseminated to people involved with development.

    This fellowship could be an opportunity for Ph.D students to make fellow professionals and scholars more aware of grassroots efforts among disabled poor people in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    The Inter-American Foundation expects to award up to 11 Doctoral Field Research Fellowships in 2008. The application deadline is January 22, 2008. The Fellowship award includes:

    • round-trip economy international transportation to the field research site;
    • round-trip economy international transportation to the field research site;
    • a $3,000 research allowance, paid in a one-time, lump sum;
    • a $1,500 monthly stipend covering a maximum grant period of 12 months–IAF-supported research under the 2008 competition must be initiated between June 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009;
    • attendance at a required mid-year Grassroots Development Conference to discuss each Fellow’s progress with members of the IAF’s academic review committee.

    Applicants must be currently registered as students who have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the social sciences, physical sciences, technical fields and the professions as related to grassroots development issues. The competition is open to U.S. citizens and citizens of independent Latin American and Caribbean countries (except Cuba).

    Interested individuals should follow the link to the IAF web site and review their entire site carefully before applying.


    The information and some of the text for this announcement was gathered from the IAF web site. We Can Do first learned of this opportunity through contacts at Mobility International USA (MIUSA).


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    South Asian CONFERENCE on Autism

    Posted on 1 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, autism, Education, Employment, Events and Conferences, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Invitation for Participation in Conference & Training on Autism

    SOUTH ASIAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON AUTISM: BUILDING BRIDGES
    TRAINING WORKSHOP IN STRUCTURED TEACHING

    15 – 18 Janaury 2008 NEW DELHI

    Action For Autism with support from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is proud to host the South Asian Conference on Autism in New Delhi over 15 and 16 January 2008. This will be followed by a two-day practical hands-on training workshop in Structured Teaching on the TEACCH approach over 17 and 18 January 2008.

    THE CONFERENCE will have a number of speakers who have Autism and who will speak on growing up and living with autism. There will be national and international presenters on Social Understanding, Adolescent Issues, Employment, Communication, Education, Marriage and Sexuality, among others.

    The conference will also provide a professional platform to share and exchange knowledge and learning about various issues affecting the Autism community in South Asia. Academicians, researchers, professionals from the UK, USA, Denmark, Germany and India and SAARC countries from a range of fields have been invited to share and exchange the latest in research and practice.

    THE WORKSHOP following the conference will aim to train mainstream teachers, special needs teachers, OTs, SLPs, vocational trainers, Parents, and anyone involved in helping individuals with autism receive an education and life skills training. The training on the TEACCH approach out of North Carolina will address the need for structure in a lifespan perspective, from the classroom right up to employment and future life.

    The training workshop only has space for 40 participants.

    We would like to invite all of you, researchers, professionals, parents, students, as well as anybody interested in knowing more about the field of Autism to attend the conference and the post conference workshop in Structured Methods.

    Details about the conference and the post conference workshop can be viewed at our website www.autism-india.org as well as the August 2007 issue of our journal ‘Autism Network.’ Registration forms may be downloaded from the website.

    The list of presenters along with their topics will be posted on our website shortly. For outstation participants, January is a busy season in Delhi, so please book your accommodation well in advance.

    Looking forward to welcoming you to Delhi in January!

    Warm regards
    The Conference Coordination Team
    Action For Autism (AFA)
    Sector 5 Jasola Vihar, Behind Sai Niketan
    New Delhi 110025 Tel: 91 11 40540991, 91 11 40540992, 91 11 65347422
    Email: actionforautism@gmail.com autism@vsnl.com
    Website: http://www.autism-india.org

    Even those unable to attend the conference may wish to follow the link to the Action for Autism web site to explore their information and resources related to autism in India, including links to material in Hindi, Tamil, and other Indian languages.


    We Can Do learned about this conference through the Intl-Dev email news distribution service, which people can subscribe to for free by following the link.


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    PAPER; NEWS: World Bank Report on Disabled in India

    Posted on 1 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Education, Employment, Health, News, Reports, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    New World Bank Report Finds People with Disabilities among the Most Excluded in Indian Society
    Disabled adults have far lower employment rates than others – reduced from 43 % in 1991 to 38% in 2002

    Contact : in New Delhi
    Kiran Negiknegi@worldbank.org

    New Delhi, November 20, 2007: A new World Bank report finds people with disabilities among the most excluded in Indian society Low literacy and employment rates and widespread social stigma are leaving disabled people behind. With better education and more access to jobs, India’s 40 to 90 million disabled people will generate higher growth which will benefit the country as a whole.

    The report entitled People with Disabilities in India: From Commitments to Outcomes, says that as the country makes economic progress, the incidence of communicable disease-induced disabilities such as polio are likely to fall, whereas age and lifestyle-related disabilities and those due to traffic accidents are expected to rise sharply. For example, internationally, the lowest reported disability rates are in sub-Saharan Africa while the highest are in the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) countries. The report therefore highlights the need for a multi-faceted approach so that disabled people realize their full individual potential and maximize their social and economic contribution to society.

    The report finds that people with disabilities are subject to multiple deprivations. Households with disabled members are significantly poorer than average, with lower consumption and fewer assets. Children living with disability are around 4 to 5 times less likely to be in school than Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste children. Disabled adults also have far lower employment rates than the general population – and this fell from 43 % in 1991 to 38% in 2002, even in the midst of economic growth.

    Social attitudes and stigma play an important role in limiting the opportunities of disabled people for full participation in social and economic life, often even within their own families. For example, in surveys carried out for the report, around 50 percent of households saw the cause of disability as a “curse of God”. Women with disabilities face numerous additional challenges.

    “India has an impressive set of policy commitments to its citizens with disabilities”, said Isabel Guerrero, World Bank Country Director for India. “The challenge facing Indian society now is to translate those commitments into better lives for disabled people. This includes identifying disabilities in young children, getting more disabled children into school and preparing them for the workplace and family life, and most importantly working to reduce the social stigma which disabled people face”.

    Despite the many challenges, concerted efforts by the Government, civil society, the private sector, and disabled people themselves, the untapped potential of this large group of citizens can be released for their own benefit as well as for society at large.

    “Increasing the status and social and economic participation of people with disabilities would have positive effects on everyone, not just disabled people” said Philip O’Keefe, Lead Social Protection Specialist and main author of the report. “A simple example is increasing accessibility of public transport and buildings for disabled people – a measure which would benefit a wide range of people including the elderly, pregnant women and children. More broadly, people with disabilities who are better educated and more economically active will generate higher growth in which everyone will share,” he added.

    India’s implementation capacity is generally weak in a number of areas of service delivery which are most critical to improving the situation of disabled people. It is thus not realistic to expect that all the actions needed by many public and non-public actors can be taken all at once. The report highlights the need for prioritization of the most critical interventions to maximize the benefit for people living with disability:

    (i) Preventive care – both for mothers through nutritional interventions, and infants through nutrition and basic immunization coverage
    (ii) Identifying people with disabilities as soon as possible after onset – the system needs major improvements in this most basic function
    (iii) Major improvements in early intervention, which can cost-effectively transform the lives of disabled people, their families, and the communities they live and work in
    (iv) Getting all children with special needs into school and giving them the skills to participate fully in family and economic life
    (v) Expanding the under-developed efforts to improve societal attitudes to people with disabilities, relying on public-private partnerships that build on successful models already operating in India.

    The study points out that it is neither possible nor desirable for the public sector to “do it all”. Instead, partnerships with NGOs, civil society, and the private sector are critical to achieve effective and lasting results. The key step in such partnerships is brining disabled people themselves into the policymaking process along with public and non-governmental institutions.

    Some other findings of the report:

    • There are substantial differences in socio-economic outcomes, social stigma, and access to services by disability type, with those with mental illness and mental retardation in a particularly poor position. There are also major urban/rural differences in outcomes, Gender, class and regional variations are also significant in many cases
    • Estimates vary, there is growing evidence that people with disabilities comprise between 4 and 8 percent of the Indian population (around 40-90 million individuals)
    • Between 1990 and 2020, there is predicted to be a halving of disability due to communicable diseases, a doubling of disability due to injuries/accidents, and a more than 40 percent increase in the share of disability due to non-communicable diseases
    • Disabled people have much lower educational attainment rates, with 52 percent illiteracy against a 35 percent average for the general population.
    • Illiteracy is high among children across all categories, in even the best performing major states, a significant share of out of school children are those with disabilities – Kerala, 27 percent, in Tamil Nadu over 33 percent
    • Private sector employment incentives for hiring disabled people are few and piecemeal. In the late 1990s, employment of People with Disability (PWD) among large private firms was only 0.3 percent of their workforce. Among multinational companies, the situation was far worse, with only 0.05 percent being PWD
    • In early 2006, a National Policy on Persons with Disabilities was approved by Government of India. To date, the only states that have draft disability policies are Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. The Chhattisgarh draft state disability policy can be considered “best practice”, and could provide a model for future national and state-level policy development.

    People can follow this link to learn more about the report, or download individual chapters, at:
    http://go.worldbank.org/48NBTTBRJ0

    Individual chapters include: Socio-Economic Profile of Persons with Disabilities; Attitudes; Health; Education; Employment; Social Protection; Policies and Institutions; and Access

    Or follow this link to download the full report in PDF format (1.8Mb).


    The text for this blog post is taken from a press release from the World Bank.


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    NEWS: Brazilian Journalist, Disability Advocate Recognized

    Posted on 29 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Human Rights, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Brazilian activist awarded with the International Service Human Rights Award

    Brazilian journalist, Rosangela Berman Bieler, director of the Interamerican Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development, will be awarded on 5th of December with the International Service Human Rights Award in the category Defense of Human Rights of People with Disabilities. The award ceremony will take place at the House of Commons in London (UK).

    Rosangela Berman Bieler has been recognized for her 30-years achievements for the promotion of an inclusive society which promotes and respects the diversity, the inclusion, the equality of opportunities and the independent living for all.

    “In the midst of the historical approval of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities”, declared Matthew Snell, Chief Executive of International Service, the British development agency, the award promoter, “we recognize the strategic importance of the disability perspective, associated to the core human rights issues and challenges of the present times”.

    For more information, please contact International Service Field Director in Brazil, Luca Sinesi: luca@isbrasil.org.br

    International Site: www.internationalservice.org.uk

    International Service Human Rights Awards
    The first International Service human rights awards were held in 2003 as part of International Service 50th anniversary celebrations. Since then the ceremony has become one of the key events in the British overseas development calendar.


    We Can Do received this press release via the Intl-Dev email distribution list.

    On a personal note, I used to work for Rosangela Berman Bieler as a writer/editor and am both pleased and proud to see her receive this award. And, of course, I am not at all surprised. Congrats, Rosangela!


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    FUNDING for Conference Participation from Developing Nations

    Posted on 29 November 2007. Filed under: East Asia Pacific Region, Events and Conferences, Funding, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Opportunities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    [You can reach this post directly with this short URL: http://tinyurl.com/yvhakm]

    Every year there are dozens of international disability-related conferences. These conferences allow thousands of participants to network with colleagues around the world, forge partnerships across national and professional boundaries, and enrich their knowledge and understanding of the work they do with disabled people in their home countries.

    But every year, there are also thousands of people from developing countries who are cut off from these opportunities because most conferences do not take their financial limitations into account. Usually the easiest expense for conference organizers to control are the registration fees. But many do not even have discounted fees for participants from developing countries. Even those that do usually don’t, or cannot, help reduce the cost of travel or lodging. So where can would be conference-participants from developing countries turn for assistance?

    Although limited, a few options may be available to you depending on your country of origin, the location of the conference, the goals of the organization that you represent, or the purpose of your trip. Try exploring one of the following three organizations. (Note that the AJ Muste Memorial Institute and the Inter-American Foundation are primarily for people in the Latin American region. Only the Ford Foundation addresses the needs of people from all or most regions.).

    Please note that any requests or applications for funding should be directed to these three organizations, NOT to We Can Do. Leaving a comment here will NOT help you contact these three organizations. Instead, please follow the link to the official web sites for each of the three organizations below.

    Ford Foundation
    The Ford Foundation has 12 country offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Russia. The country offices have travel grant monies which may be usable for attending international conferences. Go to their contact us page to find and contact a regional office near you. Also try looking at their grants page for more information on applying for Ford Foundation grants in general.

    AJ Muste Memorial Institute
    The AJ Muste Memorial Institute has a number of different grants for projects that promote nonviolence means for achieving social justice, particularly in areas such as peace and disarmament; social and economic justice; racial and sexual equality; and labor rights.

    This includes the NOVA Travel Fund (in Spanish), which makes grants of up to $1,500 to help base-level activists from Latin America and the Caribbean attend regional conferences and meetings. Grant recommendations are made by a committee of advisors representing different regions of Latin America. Their next deadline is October 1, 2008 for trips that would begin after November 15, 2008–but check back at their web site for future deadlines.

    Follow the links for the NOVA application form in html format or to download the NOVA application form in RTF format (in Spanish).

    Inter-American Foundation (IAF)
    The IAF funds the self-help efforts of grassroots groups in Latin America and the Caribbean to improve living conditions of the disadvantaged and the excluded, enhance their capacity for decision-making and self-governance, and develop partnerships with the public sector, business and civil society. The IAF does not identify problems or suggest projects; instead it responds to initiatives presented. Projects are selected for funding on their merits rather than by sector. IMPORTANT: The IAF only supports projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    The above links to the IAF web site in English, but their web site is also available in Spanish, Portuguese, and Creole:

    IAF in Spanish
    IAF in Portuguese
    IAF in Creole

    Also see the web page on IAF’s involvement with Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs).

    Grant requests need to come from organizations, not from individuals. The IAF has supported disability rights activists from Latin America in attending the Ad-Hoc Commitee meetings at the United Nations and also in attending meetings in Panama for the Latin America Decade.

     


     

    Some of the text in this blog entry is taken from the relevant web sites describing the grant funds in question. Thank you to Diana Samarasan at the Fund for Global Human Rights–Disability Rights Initiative for alerting We Can Do to these funding sources. Anyone who is aware of additional resources relevant to DPOs in developing countries is urged to please let me know. You can leave a comment in the comments area below, or you can email me at ashettle [at] patriot [dot] net.

    [Edited 16 January 2008 to correct links to Ford Foundation web site and to add a sentence amplifying that two of these foundations are primarily oriented at the Latin American region. People from other regions will want to look at the Ford Foundation.]
    [Edited 19 October 2008 to add a line emphasizing that people interested in applying for any of these opportunities should please contact the relevant organization, NOT We Can Do. In other words, leaving a comment here will NOT help you apply for funding. Instead, please follow the relevant link from the organization you think is most likely to be able to help you. Then read their official web site carefully and apply directly with the relevant organization.]

     


     


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