Training Opportunity: Disability and Development Module, November 23 to December 19, 2009, VU University, Netherlands

Posted on 23 April 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Education and Training Opportunities, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Opportunities, Poverty, Rehabilitation, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Disability and Development Module at the VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University (Amsterdam), together with Enablement (Alphen aan den Rijn) and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT, Amsterdam) are pleased to announce a 4-week module on Disability and Development to be held from November 23th to December 19th 2009 at the VU University. This course, a 4-week elective module, which is part of an academic Master degree programme, is open to external participants also. Students will learn in a highly participatory environment built around a problem-based learning approach. Lecturers have extensive international experience in disability and related fields. An overview of the course content can be found on the VU website: http://studiegids.vu.nl/ (type ‘disability’ as search term). The course was offered for the first time in 2008 and was very positively evaluated by the first batch of students.

The following topics will be covered in Module I:
Disability models and stereotypes, culture and disability, ICF conceptual framework, experience of having a disability, frequencies and distribution of disability, determinants of disability, including stigma and discrimination, poverty, gender and HIV/AIDS, rights of persons with disabilities, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, measurement of disability, disability-relevant research methods, survey methods, examples of disability research and an introduction to community-based rehabilitation.

In 2010, a second elective module will be offered on the subject of Disability & Development. This module will have the same duration as Module I

Module II will cover the following additional topics:
Project planning and management, monitoring and evaluation of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) programmes, management information systems, CBR as a preferred strategy for rehabilitation, organisational and institutional development, Disabled People’s Organisations, educational and economic empowerment of disabled people, the role of specific rehabilitation services, and sports and disability.

Interested candidates should apply well in advance and contact Huib Cornielje as soon as possible.

TARGET GROUP: rehabilitation professionals and professionals with an interest in disability and development.

REQUIREMENTS: good comprehension of the English language; bachelor degree or equivalent (in terms of experience and thinking capacity)

COURSE FEES: Euro 1,000 (excluding board & lodging); students who wish to gain official study credits (ETCS) will have to register as external students at the VU University. This will cost an additional €1,200 for 4 weeks, approximately.

DATES: November 23 to December 18, 2009

FURTHER INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED FROM:

Huib Cornielje
Langenhorst 36
2402PX Alphen aan den Rijn
The Netherlands
Tel: 0031-172-436953
Fax: 0031-172-244976
E-mail: h.cornielje@enablement.nl



Thank you to Huib Cornielje for submitting this announcement for publication at We Can Do. All inquiries about this training opportunity should please be directed to Huib Cornielje at h.cornielje@enablement.nl, NOT to We Can Do. Thanks.

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Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan

Posted on 19 January 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Inclusion, Networking Opportunities, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Pakistan Disabled People’s Organization

Subject: Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan

Respected All,

Greetings from Pakistan Disabled Peoples’ Organization (PDPO/DPI – Pakistan),

The issue of disability is gaining more and more importance all over the world as well as in Pakistan due the disability movement for a “rights based society” initiated by organizations of PWDs themselves since almost two decades. World Bank, World Health Organization and other donor and development agencies have included this issue in their mandates. Governments have framed various policies for PWDs including reservation of jobs, concession facilities in travelling, special training institutions etc. The Government of Pakistan has made efforts to support the rights of Persons with Disabilities in the view of BMF and National Policy on disability and now Alhamdurillah Pakistan has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

However, despite these efforts, the sad fact is that most people with disabilities especially women with disabilities and their families remain completely un-served by government, NGOs and even DPOs.

Women with disabilities are disadvantaged in several key areas when compared with other women, men with disabilities, and the society as a whole. These women face a triple handicap and discrimination due to their disability, gender and developing world status. At the same time, Stigma remains in society at large, within communities, and even, in many cases of uneducated segments of society, within families who see disabled women as a loss of productive potential and a drain on family resources. So, while on the one hand, the strong cultural family network ensures their financial security, on the other, the stigma often results in their remaining invisible members of society.

The major barrier to employment and other socio-economic benefits for Women with Disabilities in our society continues to be attitudinal barriers; stereotypical thinking and assumption about what women with disabilities can and can’t do.

The truth is that, the range of abilities of persons within any disabilities group is enormous, we have a large number of women with disabilities in Pakistan who are taking part in the activities of daily life with courage, there is dire need to involve that women as a role model or highlight their efforts to understand the social and economic realities and possibilities with regards to disability.

We need to get rid of our stereotypical images and view each “individual” as just that “an individual”. Access to and sharing of information resources can build the capacity of local and national disability organizations, promote advocacy by and for people with disability and improve the quality of life experienced by women with disabilities.

The fist humble step of this forum is to bridge the information and communication gap between all the leading women with disabilities in Pakistan.

On behalf of PDPO/DPI – Pakistan, I would like to request you all to share your short profile with us by the end of this week, after the completion of selection process of forum members, we will decide the date for Coordination Meeting.

Your feedback and coordination will assist us to make it successful

Looking forward to hear from you,

Regards,

Abia Akram,
Women Coordinator – PDPO/DPI, Pakistan
Abia.m.ilc@gmail.com
92-321-5278021



This email from Abia Akram came to me via Ghulam Nabi Nizamani. People or organizations who wish to network with the Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan should communicate directly with Abia Akram, NOT We Can Do.

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RESOURCE: The BIAS FREE Framework: A practical tool for identifying and eliminating social biases

Posted on 1 October 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Health, Inclusion, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The worst myth that most good people have about bias, prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion is that only bad people do these things. If only bad people or bad organizations excluded others on the basis of disability status, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or socio-economic class, then the world would be in pretty good shape. And people with disabilities would no longer face frustration when persuading mainstream international development organizations to include their needs and concerns. After all, most of us (or so most of us hope) are good people.

Unfortunately, in the real world, most exclusion is done by good people who don’t even realize that they might be creating barriers simply by carrying on with business as usual. This is because many people simply don’t know enough about the lives, challenges, and strengths of the people in their communities who happen to be different from them. This ignorance is perhaps particularly problematic for people with disabilities because disability is often so profoundly invisible and ignored in many societies. (Did you know, for example, that doorknobs, flourescent lights, and pictures can all create barriers for people with certain disabilities?)

Exclusion caused by good people is often the hardest kind of exclusion to overcome because it first means helping people to understand that “being a good person” and “being a person who excludes others” are not mutually exclusive concepts. Then comes the next big challenge: we can only remove sources of bias in our research, policies, programs, services, and practices if we first learn how to see the bias. So how do we learn to see the biases that are so deeply buried in our environment, in our policies, in our programs, in ourselves?

One possible starting point is a 64-page publication entitled The BIAS FREE Framework: A practical tool for identifying and eliminating social biases in health research. The framework is available in PDF format in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Vietnamese; and it looks like they plan a Chinese translation as well (the button is there but doesn’t lead anywhere yet).

This framework is not specific to international development. In fact, it’s focus is on eliminating bias in health research. But the manual is meant to be used more broadly by, not only researchers, but also students and policy makers, and could also be used by program directors and service providers. It is also meant for use in both high-income and low-income countries. It does not cover every possible area of bias. But it does include a focus on bias related to disability; to gender; and to race. And some of the broad concepts could be carried over to other types of bias, across many of the different sectors of international development.

The BIAS FREE Framework discusses how bias creeps in and serves to perpetuate social hierachies; how we tend to both overlook differences and also to exagerate them; how many of us forget to account for the complex social hierachies within gender, race, and disability issues, as well as across them. It discusses how people can identify and minimize these biases.

Learn more about the publication, or download it in your preferred language, at:

http://www.globalforumhealth.org/Site/002__What%20we%20do/005__Publications/010__BIAS%20FREE.php

Or, if you are looking for shorter, more accessible essays that may help stretch your thinking about disability issues, and why good people may still do bad things even when trying very hard to do only good things, consider a few samples from an excellent blogger named Amanda Baggs:

No Good Guys or Bad Guys Here

The Vehement Defense of Prejudicial Behavior

And this next one should be read by anyone and everyone who thinks their most important mission is to “help” people–whether by “helping” people they mean disabled people; poor people; people in developing countries; or all three. Do be sure to follow all the links and read those as well. It’s well worth your time to work through all of it. Then set aside some more time to think through all the implications. Are you a “Do-Gooder”? Are you sure?

Do-gooderism: Links, quotes, and discussion

Amanda Baggs has influenced my thinking in all kinds of subtle ways I couldn’t even begin to identify. I have read every single post in her entire blog, including all of the comments and most of her links. And it has been time very well spent.

No, Amanda Baggs doesn’t write about international development. Her focus is on disability rights and a broad spectrum of other issues. But she thinks deeply about power imbalances, power structures, and why oppression happens, in all kinds of ways that most people never think about. Much of it could be extended broadly not only to relationships between disabled people and non-disabled people but also to relationships between poor people and the people who deliver services.

If you have time to explore, I encourage you to go to her blog and do so: http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org



I first learned about The BIAS FREE Framework via the AdHoc_IDC email discussion list.

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NEWS: Disabled People in China Face Discrimination, Says Human Rights Watch

Posted on 12 September 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

China has made progress in confronting discrimination toward people with disabilities–but significant problems remain, Human Rights Watch recently told the media. Human Rights Watch is a major international organization that monitors the status of human rights around the world.

Sophie Richardson, a representative of Human Rights Watch, praised China for creating laws that protect people with disabilities and for ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). But the Human Rights Watch website reports her as saying, “So far these protections have meant little to persons with disabilities and their advocates in China who struggle to promote their rights and, in particular, to fairly compete for employment.”

Also according to the Human Rights Watch website, their organization has called upon the Chinese government to ratify the Optional Protocol that accompanies the CRPD. The Optional Protocol can help strengthen the CRPD by giving citizens the option of pursuing justice at the international level if they are unable to address human rights abuses domestically. The Human Rights Watch also has called on China to remove restrictions that make it harder for grassroots organizations to help people with disabilities.

Read the full story on what Human Rights Watch says about the human rights situation for people with disabilities in China at:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/09/04/china19751.htm

Learn more about the CRPD by reading the RatifyNow FAQ; or learn more about the Optional Protocol.



Several people helped alert me to this news story including Diana Samarasan, Joan Durocher, and Catherine Townsend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the complete guide at

http://www.daa.org.uk/publications/Reskit7.htm

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

https://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/resource-finding-disability-related-laws-and-policies/

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

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

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

Also, learn more about the CRPD and how it can help you at www.RatifyNow.org and also at www.un.org/disabilities.



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

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TRAINING: Short Human Rights Courses

Posted on 15 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education and Training Opportunities, Human Rights, Middle East and North Africa, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

People interested in taking courses on human rights may wish to consult a
recently updated page that lists more than 60 short courses and summer schools from 2008 to 2009. Some are very general introductions. Others are very specialized courses on indigenous peoples, discrimination, women’s rights, and more. Courses are available in locations around the world, including Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. All these can be found at the humanrightstool.org web site.

Idowu Ajibade, from Nigeria, who did the hard work of updating this page. She has just joined Human Rights Tool’s small team of dedicated volunteers.

Some very interesting courses that Human Rights Tools would like to highlight:

1. CLOSING SOON: Monitoring economic, social and cultural rights. The Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva (IHEID), in cooperation with HURIDOCS, is organizing a new course on monitoring and documenting economic, social and cultural rights. It will take place in Geneva, 5 – 9 May 2008. This exciting and much-needed course will be timed to match the second week of the ESC Committee, so you should be able to attend both with the same plane ticket! There are still a few slots for paying participants, but you must apply before 3 March 2008. http://www.huridocs.org/training/escr.

2. CLOSING SOON: Video advocacy course. The Video Advocacy Institute, the first of its kind, is an innovative program that trains human rights defenders to successfully integrate video advocacy into their social change campaigns. When: July 19 – August 2 2008, in Montreal, Canada. Application deadline is 2 March 2008. http://www.witness.org/vai

3. CLOSING SOON: Transitional justice francophone Rabat fellowship program. Transitional justice refers to a range of approaches that societies undertake to reckon with legacies of widespread or systematic human rights abuse as they move from a period of violent conflict or oppression towards peace and democracy. The International Center for Transitional Justice’s francophone Rabat fellowship program will be running from May 2nd to the 25th. It runs for 10 weeks and ICTJ takes in charge the full cost of participation of each participant (including the visa and airfare). Application deadline is 25 February 2008. http://www.ictj.org/en/workshops/fellowships/ottawa/index.html

4. Justice sector reform, Human rights fieldwork IHRN is organizing two courses. The first is entitled “Justice Sector Reform: Applying Human Rights Based Approaches” and will take place at the National University of Ireland, in Maynooth. The dates are from 16 to 20 June 2008, and the application deadline is 2 May 2008. http://www.ihrnetwork.org/new-justice-sector-reform.htm

The second IHRN course is entitled “Human Rights Fieldwork – Principles, Strategies and Skills” will be held in the same location, from 26 October to 2 November 2008. http://www.ihrnetwork.org/hr-fieldwork.htm

See the full listing of short courses and summer courses at:

http://www.humanrightstools.org/shortcourses.htm



We Can Do first found this listing on the Adhoc_IDC email list. People can join this email-based discussion group for the International Disability Caucus on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for free.

This article is cross-posted at the RatifyNow web site with permission of We Can Do editor. RatifyNow is an organization working to maximize the number of countries that sign, ratify, and implement the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The manual for training participants can be downloaded at:

http://riglobal.org/advocacy/projects/RI_HIV-AIDS_PARTICIPANTS-MANUAL_10Dec07_FINAL.doc (Word, 700 Kb)

The manual targeted at trainers can be downloaded at:

http://riglobal.org/advocacy/projects/RI_HIV-AIDS_TRAINING-MANUAL_10Dec07_FINAL.doc (Word, 800 Kb)



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



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



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Dying for Employment

Posted on 1 August 2007. Filed under: Employment, News | Tags: , , , , |

Some people want jobs so badly they’re willing to die for them. Literally.

When I have had the opportunity to talk with Deaf or disabled people from developing countries, I usually seize the chance to ask what they think Deaf or disabled people in their country need the most. For a large number of them, the first word out of their mouth (or the first sign on their hands) is: JOBS. In other words, what most Deaf people and people with disabilities want is a way to earn their own living. To put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, and clothes on their back, for themselves and their families. All by their own labor. They don’t want handouts or charity. They want JOBS.

Jobs, however, are rather thin on the ground when you have a disability. Even in rich countries, studies have repeatedly found that unemployment rates among people with disabilities are high. Yes, that’s people who CAN work and WANT to work. Although some disabled people genuinely cannot work, many others would love to have a job — if only they had both the right skills and training and also an employer willing to hire them. And if only the social welfare system that made it easier for them to transition to paid employment without worrying about losing their health insurance. Or if they didn’t need to worry about being cut off from benefits if the job doesn’t pay enough or doesn’t work out.

In some developing countries, finding a decent-paying job may be tough even for non-disabled people. For people with disabilities who must overcome stigma, it can be even tougher. Too many employers–in any country–simply assume that a disabled person will not be productive at all. Or they assume that a disabled person can only appropriately work in certain, limited occupations. Or if the current job description requires a person to spend a few minutes of the day on the phone, then instead of looking at ways to trade off job responsibilities with someone else in the office, an employer may assume that a deaf applicant cannot or should not take the job.

Earlier today, I learned via Lady Bracknell’s post at BBC Ouch that a group of 12 men with disabilities in Varanasi, India, were so desperate to retain their one source of livelihood that they drank pesticide as a form of public protest. It seems their shops had been taken from them. When they tried to speak out in protest, they weren’t heard. So they swallowed pesticide. And five of them have died–so far. It remains to be seen whether the other seven will join them.

When people with disabilities are able to work for a living, everyone wins. Disabled people gain more economic control over their lives. Employers gain talented, ambitious, loyal and productive workers. Governments take in more taxes–which can then be used to invest more in education and health clinics for everyone. People shouldn’t have to kill themselves for a job.

See the links above for the information that is known as of now about the situation in India. If anyone knows more detail about this situation, please post your links or information in the comments area.


Guest bloggers are welcome to submit essays, announcements, resources, articles, case studies, and opinion pieces of their own to “We Can Do.” I encourage you to first read the Introduction to We Can Do.

I don’t have a written set of guidelines for guest bloggers–yet. But I’m working on them. In the meantime, if you’re interested, please contact me at ashettle [at] patriot.net. (Replace [at] with the at sign @ and type the email address as one word with no spaces. Sorry to present my email address in such a cumbersome way. I’m trying to prevent my email address from being hijacked by even more spam harvesters than the five million who have already been flooding my email box.)


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