Including Everybody: Website on Disability and MDGs Launched

Posted on 26 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Children, Cross-Disability, Education, Health, HIV/AIDS, Inclusion, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), News, Opinion, Policy & Legislation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
End poverty and hunger. Put all children in school. Empower women. Stop children from dying. Keep pregnant and birthing mothers healthy. Fight AIDS, malaria, and other disease. Create a sustainable environment. And promote global cooperation. These are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)–an important set of goals agreed upon by key leaders and heads of state from around the world in September 2000. No, they don’t mention people with disabilities at all–and I will come back to this point in a few paragraphs. Or you can ignore me and go straight to the new website on disability and the MDGs. But in theory, the MDGs are meant to help everyone.

Each goal has a set of specific targets to be achieved, most with the deadline set for 2015. For example, the poverty goal includes a target to cut the number of people living on less than $1 a day in half by 2015. And the goal on child mortality includes a target to cut the child mortality rate by two-thirds among children below age 5. Many country governments, multi-lateral development banks, international development organizations, and donors have invested billions of dollars into projects meant to help more countries and regions meet the Millennium Development Goals.

What has the results been? Mixed. Some of the goals, such as the targets for reducing poverty and hunger, or in putting all children in primary school, have been met–and exceeded in many countries particularly in eastern Asia. Progress in southern Asia has helped also. But many countries in sub-Saharan Africa lag far behind in meeting many of the MDGs.

You can read more about the overall progress–or lack of it–at http://www.undp.org/mdg/basics_ontrack.shtml. Or if you only want to look up the progress in the country where you live, work, or care about the most, go to http://www.undp.org/mdg/tracking_countryreports2.shtml.

People with Disabilities and the MDGs
But what about people with disabilities? Unfortunately, they have been so invisible that most programs and governments don’t even count them. That means it’s hard to find reliable numbers that measure whether people with disabilities are included–or left behind–in the haphazard progress that has been made toward the MDGs. But, we can make some educated guesses.

For example, what limited numbers do exist estimate that possibly as many as 98% of children with disabilities in some developing countries never go to school. Personally, I doubt this number is universally true. For one thing, there is a great deal of variation from country to country in how proactive they are about finding creative ways to include children with disabilities in school. Read Making Schools Inclusive: How Change Can Happen: Save the Children’s Experience (PDF format, 4.14 Mb) for examples of progress.

Then, there is probably some variation depending on the disability. A child with a relatively mild walking-related disability, for example, might have only minor difficulty reaching school if it is not too far. Or a child with undiagnosed and unaccommodated dyslexia might sometimes make it through a few years of school, and even learn a little, before they quit in frustration.

But if that 98% figure is anywhere close to the mark, then it is safe to say that the MDG target on universal primary education has failed disabled children miserably. We do know that they are very disproportionately left behind: the UK Department of International Development (DFID) says that one-third of the 72 million children who are out of school have disabilities, even though people with disabilities are only an estimated 10 percent of the world population in general. And this only covers the education-related target of the MDGs; the new website on disability and the MDGs points out gaps in all the rest.

Disability Inclusion is Everyone’s Business
So what’s the answer to this problem? A thorough response to this question would fill a book. One thing, however, is clear: It will not be resolved by any one government or organization working in isolation. And it certainly will not happen if resource-strapped disability-oriented organizations are left to tackle the problem alone. It will take many governments, agencies, and organizations working together–including those that do not normally specialize in disability issues. In short, everybody who is doing anything to address the MDGs needs to identify better ways to include people with disabilities in the work they’re already doing.

This begins by increasing everyone’s awareness of the complex relationship between disability and the MDGs. By “everyone” I mean both disability advocates (so they can help advocate the issue) and also mainstream international development professionals (so they can find ways to ensure their programs are not inadvertently leaving disabled people behind). Either way, you can start learning at the new website on disability and the Millennium Development Goals, Include Everybody, at:

http://www.includeeverybody.org/

What Do I Think of “Include Everybody”?
When you consider that this website is brand new, I think it makes an excellent start at covering the issues. In the long run, as with any new endeavor, I see room for them to expand. For example, their page on achieving universal primary school education or the page on promoting gender equality and empowering women could usefully link to publications such as Education for All: a gender and disability perspective (PDF format, 151 Kb). Or their page on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases could link to the on-line global survey on disability and HIV/AIDS.

They also could consider eventually developing a one to two page, attractive looking, factsheet on disability and the MDGs that advocates could print out and disseminate when educating others about the topic. They also could consider developing a similarly attractive, one-page factsheet for each of the MDGs individually. The latter could be useful, for example, for passing along to a specialist who only wants to read the information on child mortality without also having to wade through a lot of detail on environmental sustainability. Or vice versa.

But, for now, this web site is a good place to start learning.

http://www.includeeverybody.org/links.php



The Include Everybody website has been publicized in several different locations by now, including the GPDD mailing list, the Intl-Dev mailing list, Joan Durocher’s mailing list, and others.

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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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