RESOURCE: Deaf Peers’ Education Manual on Sexuality, HIV & AIDS

Posted on 30 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Deaf, Health, HIV/AIDS, Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Research tells us that people with disabilities, and Deaf people, are at higher risk for HIV/AIDS than the general population. But many HIV/AIDS education programs exclude people with disabilities from opportunities to learn how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. Sometimes this exclusion is deliberate: some program managers mistakenly assume that Deaf and disabled people don’t need sexuality education because they don’t have sex. In other cases, programs exclude because they don’t offer sign language interpreters, nor do they offer print materials that are accessible to people who are intelligent but who have lacked access to opportunities for an education.

A training manual has been developed that can be used to help trainers learn how to facilitate workshops on sexual health and HIV/AIDS, entitled the The Deaf Peers’ Education Manual (PDF format, 6.44 Mb). This manual is targeted at members of the Kenyan Deaf community. The signs described in the manual, for example, assume knowledge of Kenyan Sign Language, rather than the many other hundreds of signed languages and dialects used around the world. However, most of the content can be easily adapted for use in Deaf communities in other countries.

The manual offers guidance to facilitators on how they can sensitively handle frank discussion of sexuality; the physical and emotional implications of human sexual development; the difference between friendship, infatuation, and real love; how the HIV virus is transmitted; the difference between HIV and AIDS; and how the HIV virus is NOT transmitted. It suggests a range of activities that can be used with Deaf participants to help them understand these complex and sensitive topics.

The manual was first released in 2007. But the organization that initiated the manual, Sahaya International, is interested in revising and updating the manual based on the feedback of other people who use it around the world. At this time, print copies of the manual are not available, but individuals may print their own copy from the PDF file. Koen Van Rampay with Sahaya International invites feedback on the manual, as well as discussion on printing and distributing the manual, at:

More information about Sahaya International; their manual; and their project to teach Deaf people in Kenya about Sexuality and HIV/AIDS is available at:

Please note that the manual has some separate, companion materials that trainers can use in educating Deaf participants. One set of printed materials can be used to teach participants basic facts on human sexual anatomy and reproduction. The other teaches participants about common myths related to HIV/AIDS. Both use cartoons and are designed to be used by readers who may have had limited opportunity to pursue an education or acquire literacy skills. The link to the main Deaf Peers’ Education Manual is available near the top of, but people will need to scroll down to the very bottom of the page to download the other materials.

The linked web page also shows some videos about the Sahaya International project in Kenya. These videos are in Kenya Sign Language with a voice interpreter (presumably in English). Unfortunately, these videos do not have subtitles. This creates a barrier for Deaf people outside of Kenya who might know other signed languages, but not Kenyan Sign Language. This is a shame because some of the people who are likely to have the strongest interest in the Sahaya International project are other Deaf people in other countries who want to emulate their efforts within their own local Deaf communities.

I hope that Sahaya International will find some low-cost (or no-cost) manner for putting subtitles on their videos. A suggestion: Many vloggers (video bloggers) who post to face similar challenges where they wish to subtitle without high tech skills or financial resources. Perhaps a keyword search there would lead to web pages that offer tips, suggestions, and possible resources. Or, if someone reading this at We Can Do can offer the appropriate expertise or technical guidance, perhaps you could contact Sahaya International directly at

We Can Do learned about the Sahaya International project and manual when Ghulam Nabi Nizamani widely circulated an email originating with Koen Van Rampay.

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RESOURCE: AIFO, DPI Release Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities

Posted on 4 April 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

In recent months, many new training manuals have been released targeted at those who wish to train themselves or others in the human rights of people with disabilities, with a particular focus on the new international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The latest of these, entitled “The Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities,” (PDF format, 617 Kb) was launched in March by AIFO (Italian Association Amici di Raoul Follereau) and DPI (Disabled Peoples International) Italy in collaboration with the Mongolian National Federation of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities, with financial contributions from the United Nations.

The new training manual, available in both English and Mongolian, is meant to promote the participation of people with disabilities and their families in ratifying and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). AIFO and DPI also are supervising the translation of the manual into French, Spanish, and Portuguese. (I was unable to find the Mongolian text on-line; if someone knows of a link, please let me know using the comments area below.)

Some of the front material (foreword, introduction, etc.), to my mind at least, is marred by clumsy writing. Either the foreword or the introduction or both should, for example, clarify precisely the intended audience for the training manual. Yes, the description given by Disabled People International states that the manual is meant to help people with disabilities and their families. But are they meant to read the training manual directly? Or is the manual meant to be read by trainers who then use the manual as a guide in training the target audience? From reading the main body of the manual I would guess the latter. But this information is not made immediately clear for the casual reader.

However, The Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities (PDF format, 617 Kb) does have some redeeming content. For example, it begins with a brief history of the United Nations and other international institutions related to disability and human rights. It then reviews why human rights conventions matter and in what ways they can help create change. It provides a history of people with disabilities and explains how the more modern human rights perspective differs from older attitudes. This kind of information provides helpful background content for the reader that can help in understanding the relevance and importance of the CRPD. It then guides the reader through a summary of the 50 articles of the CRPD with suggested teaching points for each. Perhaps the most helpful part of the manual are its extensive appendices, which point readers at a rich collection of documents and web sites on human rights, including disability rights.

Some of the guidance this manual offers for would-be trainers is very broad. For example, one passage says this, “Underline the importance of statistics concerning disability [….] Illustrate the condition of the people with disabilities of the country in various areas related to rights using the available data, publications and reports.” (Section 2.4.1) However, the manual does not–at least in my admittedly superficial review–point readers to resources that could help them locate statistics relevant to their country. Nor does it suggest how trainers might improvise if relevant statistics for their country are either non-existent or of poor quality.

The vagueness of its advice suggests that this training manual may be most helpful to people who are already very knowledgeable about disability and disability rights, including how to locate additional information relevant to the training they wish to provide. It is probably also most helpful to individuals who already have prior experience in independently designing their own lectures and workshop activities with minimal guidance. Because minimal guidance is all it provides.

Would-be trainers who need concretely detailed teaching content, a suggested training schedule, or other structured guidance may be better off consulting some of the other materials that have become available within the past year. (See further below for suggested links.)

The Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities (617 Kb) can be downloaded for free in PDF format at:

Those of you who prefer to draw upon more structured lesson plans, or who have too little time to develop your own handouts or power point programs, may wish to consider linking to one or both of these (click on the relevant title that you want):

Training Manual in Disability Human Rights
Teaching Kit on International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Also consult the guide to

Resources and Toolkits on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

We Can Do learned about the AIFO/DPI Training Manual on Human Rights for Persons with Disabilities (PDF format, 617 Kb) via the Disabled Peoples International electronic newsletter, which is available for free.

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