Statement on the Millennium Development Goals and Disability, from the Africa Regional Conference

Posted on 26 September 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Education, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Inclusion, News, Poverty, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

THE STATEMENT OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND DISABILITY AFRICA REGIONAL CONFERENCE, HELD AT THE PANAFRIC HOTEL, NAIROBI, KENYA 15TH TO 17TH SEPTEMBER, 2008

We, the 200 delegates of the Millennium Development Goals and Disability Conference from the, Central, Eastern, Northern, Western and Southern sub regions of Africa met in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Panafric Hotel on 15th to 17th September 2008, to examine the status of MDGs in respect to the inclusion and mainstreaming of disability;

And further to enhance the capacity of leaders from the disability and development sectors on effective mainstreaming of disability in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in African countries;

Noting that MDGs have no specific reference to persons with disabilities and therefore their continued exclusion in the campaign processes, policies, planning, programmes and implementation;

Concerned also that disability has not been mentioned in the midway Millennium Development Goals Report;

Further acknowledging that the convention on the rights of PWDs has recently come into effect, to among other things strengthen the resolve for inclusion of people with disabilities;
We note with dismay the continued categorisation of people with disabilities as vulnerable which further marginalises us and consigns us to invisibility, we state that we wish to be recognised as actors in the development processes;

We Resolve As Delegates That We Shall;
• Communicate the outcome of this conference to our governments to review, prioritise and include issues of disability in their Country Statements during their high level meetings on MDGs in New York, in the September 2008 Summit
• Call on our Governments to move and support a motion during the UN General Assembly, calling for the establishment of a new UN Special Agency on Disability; to provide leadership, coordination, harmonisation and enhanced monitoring and reporting.
• Engage our Governments to ensure that People with Disabilities are protected from adverse effects from rising costs and related vulnerabilities and participate and benefit from existing social protection schemes
• Lobby Governments through the African Development Bank and related partners to establish an African Disability Equity Fund to support economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and business of people with disabilities
• Encourage the use of professional campaigners including goodwill ambassadors in promoting disability inclusion
• Recognise the efforts of parents, friends and guardians of people with disabilities and recognise them as part of the wider disability movement
• Uphold the principle of gender equity in disability
• Promote the use of positive language in reference to people with disabilities
We Urge The UN Through Member States;
• To establish a Specialist Agency on Disability in the league of UNICEF and UNIFEM to provide leadership and global accountability on matters related to the disabled people
• To prioritise include and partner with the disability movement in its entire millennium campaign initiatives and develop the strategies for doing so in the September summit
We Urge The AU And Related Bodies To;
• Set up a Disability Desk within all African regional bodies to monitor the implementation of both the convention and human rights violation of people with disabilities within the respective regions.
• Mainstream disability into their programmes and performance management systems
• Establish peer review mechanism and performance management system for disability in Africa
• Ensure political and social economic representation of people with disabilities in NEPAD and develop terms of reference for their participation.
• Work with DPOs to urgently review the structure and mandate of the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI)
• Extend the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities for another ten years by means of a proclamation by the meeting of the African Heads of State planned for January 2009
• Facilitate self- representation of PWDs in all commissions, Pan Africa Parliament and other structures

We Call On The Secretariat Of African Decade Of Persons With Disability to;
• Establish a programme to develop human resource capacity for policy analysis to act as a watch dog in monitoring disability inclusion
• Allocate responsibilities, roles and duties to the regional federations and other partners in order to ensure effective, well – monitored follow up and implementation strategies
We urge all Government to;
• Ratify, domesticate and implement the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
• Work with DPOs in nominating the members of the panel of experts in convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
• Recognise DPOs as agents of change and therefore as partners in development planning and programmes
• Include people with disabilities and disability into their poverty reduction and development programmes
• Put into place affirmative action to enhance participation in political social and economic sectors
• Include disability data collection within the general national data collection systems recognising diversity in disability
• Use data to inform planning and service delivery and monitoring and evaluation
• Highlight and include disability in the existing MDG indicators in partnership with the disability movement.

We Call On Development Partners To;
• Prioritise disability as a tool for planning and analysis for development assistance and international cooperation in all their international cooperation and assistance (aid, debt relieve and trade)
• Include and consult people with disabilities and their respective organisations in planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting
• Include disability as a requirement / condition for funding development programmes

We Resolve That As Disabled Peoples Organisations We Shall;
• Advocate to ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed in all government, UN agencies and development partners policies, plans and programmes particularly those related to MDGs
• Endeavour to understand the structures of various government, UN agencies and development partners with a view to engaging with them more effectively for full inclusion of people with disabilities
• Advocate development partners to include disability as a requirement / condition for funding development programmes
• Engage and influence the social development process
• Participate in the Social Protection processes to ensure people with disabilities are included
• Advocate and lobby to be included in national poverty reduction strategies and other national development plans and initiatives
• Explore avenues of partnership with private sector in their economic empowerment programes
• Utilize our individual and collective capacity to cause the implementation of programmes related to the MDGs for the benefit of people with disabilities
• Build our own capacity to engage with our government on their commitments and agreement at national and international levels
• Ensure that whatever is agreed at regional or national workshops cascades downward to people with disabilities at the grassroots and rural areas
• Familiarise ourselves with the disability policies of different development agencies and ensure that they benefit us
• Strengthen our unity and common voice in planning, implementation and monitoring processes whilst at the same time recognising diversity in disability
• Restructure and reform our internal governance structures to adopt modern management and good governance systems and increase transparency and accountability to our members
• Nurture and mentor youth with disabilities into leadership succession plans and support them towards social economic empowerment
• Make a paradigm shift from the charity model to the human rights and social development model
• Strategically engage with media for both awareness and advocacy and built our capacity to engage with media
• Sensitise and capacitate the media to various disability needs and to urge them to be inclusive in their presentation and reporting
• Link with African Universities to promote evidence based disability research and to promote disability inclusive academic programmes
• Review through our Governments the Accra Development Plan of Action and cause its implementation for the benefit of PWDs in Africa

These resolutions are the outcomes of the conference, formulated and spoken by the delegates at this esteemed Millennium Development Goals and Disability Conference.



This statement from the Africa Regional Conference was recently circulated on the AdHoc_IDC email discussion group.

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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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RESOURCE: VSO Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability

Posted on 17 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Case Studies, Cross-Disability, Inclusion, Poverty, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A publication from Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) offers practical advice to mainstream international development organizations on how they can better include disabled people in the programs they run in developing countries. It is entitled A Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability (PDF format, 1.9 Mb) and can be retrieved from the asksource.info web site at http://www.asksource.info/pdf/33903_vsomainstreamingdisability_2006.pdf.

VSO recommends that all readers begin with chapter 1, which provides an overview of disabilities; what it means to “mainstream” disability; and why it is important. This chapter strives to ease readers into what can initially seem a daunting task:

“Mainstreaming is an ongoing process of including disability into all our work. However, this process can seem so huge that we never start. Looking at the experiences gathered for this handbook, we found it was most helpful to think about mainstreaming as a project. Like any other project, it is important to plan and budget first, carry out some activities, then review progress and make a new plan to follow up.” (VSO, 2006, “A Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability,” p. 12)

VSO also encourages all users to read chapter 2 no matter what other, more specific interests they may have. This chapter explains how to challenge discrimination toward disabled people on an individual basis and provides practical hints and tips on interacting with people with disabilities and what language is appropriate. At the end of the chapter are two case studies on how people have challenged discrimination toward people with disabilities in developing countries.

Subsequent chapters can be read in any order, according to an organization’s interests and priorities in relation to gradually increasing how much they include disabled people in their activities. Once an organization becomes comfortable with tackling one challenge, users can then select another chapter in the handbook to read. Each chapter contains an introduction to the topic with key messages; practical advice and lessons, illustrated with examples; case studies from VSO’s mainstreaming experience; and key resources on the Internet.

  • Chapter 3 discusses why it is important to have both the commitment of individual staff members and management support in mainstreaming disability; the importance of including disabled people and their organizations in building your organization’s commitment to inclusion; and developing a clear rationale for mainstreaming that is linked to your organization’s existing mission and values.
  • Chapter 4 covers the process of sensitization; here, the term refers to engaging each individual with the organization’s commitment to disability.
  • On the philosophy that “mainstreaming starts with us,” Chapter 5 discusses how an organization can actively include disabled workers among its own staff.
  • Chapter 6 addresses how to include disabled people in your organization’s program planning, implementation, management and review processes as the best way of ensuring that your programs will not be discriminatory.
  • Chapter 7 describes how to include disabled people across various programs and sectors such as education programs, HIV/AIDS programs, and so forth.
  • Chapter 8 argues that, without a policy framework,”mainstreaming will remain small-scale, local and unsustainable”; here, organizations can find guidance on addressing policy and institutional barriers that prevent disabled people from equal participation.

In addition to VSO’s Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability, international development professionals may also wish to consult my earlier blog post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations for help with finding people with disabilities and their organizations in developing countries. Note that one of the resources listed, Mobility International USA, provides free consultation service and training to international development organizations that are working to be more inclusive of disabled people.

Organizations that already have some experience in mainstreaming disability, and that are ready for more ambitious challenges, may also wish to view Including the Disabled in Poverty Reduction Strategies. The resource linked from this post could help you support grassroots disability advocacy efforts in negotiating with country governments to include disabled people in their poverty reduction efforts.

The paper Disability Movement from Charity to Empowerment by Kishor Bhanushali may be an interesting read for people new to disability.

Also click on “resources” under “categories” in the right-hand navigation bar to see what other resources are listed at We Can Do that might be useful to you.


I learned about this resource through a bi-monthly email newsbulletin from the AskSource website. AskSource is targeted at people who share an interest in health or disability issues in developing countries. People who wish to subscribe themselves to their mailing list to be alerted of future new resources like this one can fill out the form at www.asksource.info. Or, you can email source@ich.ucl.ac.uk, type SUBSCRIBE SOURCE in the subject line, and state your name, organisation and email address. Additional information, such as your subject interests or activities, will help AskSource tailor their communications to your needs.


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