UNESCO Flagship to Promote Education Access for Disabled Children

Posted on 12 November 2008. Filed under: Children, Education, Inclusion, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has created a Flagship devoted to improving the reach and quality of inclusive education for students with disabilities in developing countries. As many as 90 percent of children with disabilities in developing countries are denied the opportunity to obtain an education. The Flagship program works in partnership with other United Nations agencies, international and national disability organizations, and donors. It promotes the need for policy makers and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to work in partnership with organizations of, or representing, people with disabilities and their families. The Flagship also promotes the inclusion of education rights for people with disabilities in National Education Plans.

Read more about the Flagship at

Read more about inclusive education at

Download a brochure on the Flagship program (PDF format, 432 Kb) at

People who are interested in promoting educational opportunities for people with disabilities in developing countries will also want to explore the web site for the Enabling Education Network (EENET), an information-sharing resource on inclusive education.

If you have a specific interest in Eastern Africa, then you might wish to learn about an on-line discussion group on inclusive education in Eastern Africa. Select the category education from the pull-down menu under “Categories” to see more We Can Do posts related to education for people with disabilities.

I first learned of the Flagship via the mailing list for the Centre for Services and Information on Disability.

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Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) Holds First Membership Meeting

Posted on 26 May 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, News, Opportunities, Poverty, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Washington DC, 9 May 2008

First Membership Meeting of the GPDD in Eschborn, Germany

World leaders from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Oceania representing civil society organizations, governments, and multilateral agencies including the World Bank and UNESCO unanimously approved a Charter and elected the First Board of Directors for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD). Meeting at the headquarters and as the guests of the German Technical Corporation (GTZ) in Eschborn, Germany, the assembled agencies and organizations made a core commitment to a world of inclusive communities where individuals with disabilities regardless of age, gender, or type of disability enjoy their rights and have access to opportunities on an equal basis with others.

With a commitment to partnership to combat the social and economic exclusion and impoverishment of people with disabilities and their families in developing countries worldwide, the GPDD represents an unprecedented alliance of agencies, organizations, and resources to accelerate change within and outside of government that targets development activities to include and promote social and economic rights of individuals with disabilities.

Four years of planning by a Coordinating Task Force culminated in the historical formalization of GPDD with the election of the First Board of Directors in Eschborn, Germany, last Wednesday. The 12 members elected to the Board of Directors are:

  • Mr. Khandaker Jahurul Alam, Asia Pacific Disability Forum
  • Ms. Tanya Barron, Leonard Cheshire Disability
  • Mr. A.K. Dube – African Decade Secretariat (Chair of the GPDD Interim Board)
  • Ms. Sangita Gairola, Representative of the Government of India
  • Ms. Celia Siphokazi Gcaza, African CBR Network (CAN)
  • Mr. Kalle Könkkölä, Disabled Peoples’ International
  • Mr. Rudiger Krech, GTZ
  • Ms. Euphrasia Mbewe, World Federation of the Deaf
  • Mr. James Mwandha, Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Forum
  • Mr. Andreas Pruisken, Christian Blind Mission
  • Ms. Indumathi Rao, CBR Network South Asia
  • Dr. William Rowland, World Blind Union

This unique Global Partnership will bring important world attention to the needs and aspirations of people with disabilities in developing countries. The assembled GPDD members agreed on a beginning plan of action to expand the membership base of GPDD, promote data collection and analysis that identifies more accurately the living conditions of and barriers faced by people with disabilities in developing countries; to facilitate information sharing on effective inclusive development policies and programs; to support the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in cooperation with partners and member organizations; and mobilize resources to build the capacity of the GPDD broad constituency through alliances and networks to become a reliable and effective expert disability and development platform.

With support from the World Bank and the governments of Italy, Finland, and Norway as donors to a Multi Donor Trust Fund, the GPDD will bring much needed attention to reduce poverty and eliminate barriers to full social and and economic participation.

For more information about GPDD and how you may become involved, please contact Maria Reina, Executive Director at mvreina@law.syr.edu

Individuals may also contact Maria Reina (mvreina@law.syr.edu) to inquire about subscribing to the free GPDD listserv.

This announcement is slightly modified from text that Maria Reina recently circulated on the GPDD listserv.

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RESOURCE, FUNDING: Network to Exchange Success Stories

Posted on 6 March 2008. Filed under: Case Studies, Funding, News, Opportunities, Poverty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Organizations that have “success stories” to share now have a way to reach a wider audience. And organizations that wish to learn from other successful projects now have a resource to which they can turn.

A few of the very best, most innovative participating projects might also obtain funding. (If interested in funding, submit stories to IFAP by March 31, 2008.)

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has launched an Information for All Programme (IFAP) whose purpose is to encourage communities to share their success stories with each other. All organizations are invited to submit their stories about successful projects to its online platform. Others can then read about these projects and perhaps replicate them or adapt them to their own local situations.

The IFAP is particularly interested in stories that involve using information to support development. The aim of IFAP is to promote good practices in using information for development in all parts of the world.

If you submit your story before March 31, 2008, then it may be considered for grant funding. IFAP will choose up to five of the most innovative success stories to receive funding support of $5,000.

Stories may be submitted at any time, including after March 31, to be shared with others. But late submissions cannot be considered for the grant funding competition. Instead, they will simply be made available for others to read and learn from. Submitting your stories, even if you do not win funding support, can be a way to help make more people aware about your organization and your projects.

IFAP wants stories in the following thematic areas:

  • Poverty reduction,
  • Health,
  • Education,
  • Disaster prevention,
  • Governance,
  • and Human Development.

IFAP asks that each story submitted to their database should include the following information (note that the last one specifically references people with disabilities):

  • identify the community that has benefitted from the use of information
  • explain what difference access to information has made for this community
  • focus on content and not on technology
  • describe how the initiative could be replicated
  • take account of any gender issues, noting that UNESCO’s priority focus is on women
  • identify any benefits for disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities

IFAP also wants stories to follow a standard format:

  • Between 250 and 500 words in English or French
  • Respond to the questions: who, when, where, what, how and why?
  • Upload up to 3 photos of at least 300 dpi in .jpg format
  • Upload a short (5 minutes) video clip if available
  • Provide links to any related web sites

Learn more about the IFAP initiative at:


At the IFAP website, you can register your organization; submit your own story for the IFAP database (after registration); and read, rate, and comment on other people’s stories.

IFAP Accessibility for blind people
Blind people will need to note that, unfortunately, the IFAP site does not seem to be fully accessible. It might be possible to at least read their information, including the stories that other people have left there. However, in order to register your organization, submit a story, or contact IFAP through their contact form, you need to fill out a “visual captcha.” This means they want people to prove they are human beings (not automated robots) by reading a visual image and typing the letters they see in the image. The image is not accessible to screen readers.

If you are blind, you may need to recruit a sighted person to assist you in filling out the IFAP registration form. If you do this, you may also wish to ask the sighted person to help you submit an email to IFAP urging them to make their web site more accessible to you.

I have already submitted two complaints of my own (one using the “support” button and the “contact” button). But they might listen harder if they realize that there are actual blind people out there who are trying to use their site. (Yes. Blind people with ideas to offer. Imagine that. Please read this in a scarcastic tone of voice.) Unfortunately, both the “support” button and the “contact” button also use visual captchas, so those aren’t directly accessible to blind people either.

Further comments about accessibility at the <a href=”IFAP website“>IFAP web site are invited in the comments area below. I will try to pass along any additional concerns I receive here to IFAP, especially if you have trouble submitting your own comments to them.

We Can Do learned about the IFAP intiative through the Disabled People International (DPI) email newsletter.

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