Guideline for Writers

We Can Do wants to receive submissions from YOU–We Can Do readers–to be published at this blog. Listed below are examples of materials or information that I would like to publish at We Can Do. It may be revised at any time. If you can assist, then PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. Email me at ashettle at patriot dot netor leave a short note in the comment area and I’ll contact you.

Please be aware that I work on We Can Do in my free time outside of my full time employment, schooling, and volunteer activities. This means that I often get very far behind in answering my emails from people. Please do send me multiple follow-up emails if I don’t respond right away, and be patient.

Below, you will see some ideas for the kind of content I want. Further below that, you will see some general guidelines for writers (such as word length; use of tables/graphics; languages other than English, etc.).

Top Priority for We Can Do

I am especially interested in materials that grassroots advocates with disabilities in developing countries can put to immediate use in the field to start making a pragmatic difference in the lives of poor people with disabilities. For example, training materials; sources of funding; toolkits that help organizations learn how to effectively raise funds, plan and implement projects, and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities; etc.

“Wishes” For We Can Do

  • “Best Practice” Case Studies: Are you involved with a project or program that has made a difference in the lives of poor people with disabilities in developing countries? This can be a program that is targeted at disabled people, or it can be a mainstream program that pro-actively and successfully includes disabled people in its activities. Please help other organizations learn from your success. What did you do right that similar projects or programs in other countries may want to emulate? What barriers did you face, and how did you overcome them? What mistakes did you make along the way, how did you fix them, and how could other projects avoid them?
  • “Failed Practice” Case Studies: People love to brag about projects they have done well. But sometimes we can learn just as much–or more–from projects done poorly. Have you ever been involved in a project or program that FAILED to help disabled people in developing countries? What went wrong? Why? How can other people establishing similar projects in other places avoid your mistakes?
  • Checklists: How can mainstream programs or projects become more inclusive of people with disabilities? Sometimes checklists can be a helpful guide of issues to think about and address.
  • Fund Raising: The one thing every organization needs the most is MONEY. Are you aware of helpful funding sources that would be thrilled to work with grassroots disability advocacy organizations in developing countries? Or do you have insightful advice on how to write a successful funding proposal?
  • Other Pragmatic Resources: My strongest interest is in any resource, guide, or advice that disabled advocates or international development professionals can put to IMMEDIATE use in the field. Do you know of a resource that already exists? Please tell me about it (ashettle @ patriot dot net) so I can link to it. Do you have advice to share, based on your own real-world experience in the field? Write up an essay sharing your advice.

    Topics could include, as just a few possible examples: HIV/AIDS educational outreach to the disabled community; improving the quality of education for disabled students; advocacy for the human rights of people with disabilities; fund raising; improving inclusion efforts in mainstream development programs; making water and sanitation infrastructure more accessible; including disabled people in disaster planning and mitigation efforts; delivering micro-finance services to people with disabilities; and many many more. Use your imagination–and your past professional or grassroots advocacy experience–as your guide.

  • Academic Papers or Reports: These should be relevant to the concerns of disabled people in developing countries, especially those who are poor, have been deprived of common resources (such as education or health services), or who have had their human rights violated. Yes, I am happy to republish papers, provided that both the author and the original publisher grant copyright permission.
  • Student Projects: In some circumstances, I might consider publishing certain undergraduate or graduate student papers or projects on relevant topics even if they would normally be inappropriate for peer-reviewed publications or conferences elsewhere. These should generally bring to light information, knowledge, or analysis that does not exist elsewhere or is difficult to find.
  • News Releases: Please send press releases from your organization about fast-breaking news or announcements relevant to disability advocates in developing countries or international development professionals. Yes, bi-lingual (and tri-lingual, etc.) announcements are warmly welcome.
  • Opinion Pieces: Do you have a strong opinion on a topic related to disability issues in developing countries? Tell us about it! Opinion pieces should generally be well supported with facts and references; or else, they should at least have a clear philosophical basis. As just a few possible examples: What, in your view, are the pros and cons of delivering western-style wheelchairs to developing countries versus making them locally? Should Deaf-run organizations work closely with cross-disability organizations and vice versa? If you are a grassroots disabled advocate, then what do you wish that mainstream development organizations would do differently in order to better meet the needs of the people you represent? People with mental, cognitive, or psychiatric disabilities are often excluded from organizations that represent people with mobility or sensory disabilities: how does that make you feel, and how do you think that could be fixed? If you are an international development professional, what do you wish disabled advocates would or could do to help you learn how to meet their needs? And many, many more.
  • Announcements about Up-Coming Conferences and Events, Job posts, etc.: When possible, I prefer to receive announcements a minimum of one month in advance. That gives me more time to post it, and readers more time to respond. Your conference, event, fellowship opportunity, job post, volunteer position, etc. should be directly relevant to the concerns of people with disabilities in developing nations, or to the people who work with them.
  • I will warmly consider offers of translation assistance for some of my more popular blog posts so that more We Can Do content can be made more accessible to people who don’t read English as their primary language.
  • For more ideas read About We Can Do and Why We Can Do. Also browse through the archives (see the right hand navigation bar) to see what else I have posted here. Chances are, if I have posted something similar to what you have in mind, I might be open to receiving your submission–as long you have fresh information, content, advice, or opinions to share.
  • Still not sure? Ask!

Other Criteria for Submissions

  • I am unlikely to want to publish papers that incorporate graphics and tables for the simple reason that I don’t know how to create tables or certain kinds of graphics in html format! And if I did know how to create them, then I also don’t know how to make them accessible to people who access We Can Do via screen readers. If you know how to create tables in html, and how to make them accessible to blind people, then we can discuss it further.
  • I very strongly prefer to link readers to FREE resources that they can download or read on-line. I am not likely to publicize your latest book for sale unless people have a way to access it for free.
  • The ideal length for a We Can Do blog post depends a great deal on the content. For example, 1500 words is probably too long for your description of a newly released resource for disability advocates, or for most news pieces. But it may be the perfect length for an opinion piece. Or it may be far too short for a thoughtful, analatical academic paper. But as a very broad guideline, I am not likely to want to publish anything more than 10,000 words. And even 5,000 words is probably pushing it. If your published piece is that long, then I suggest you seek out another way to make it available on line. If it is relevant to We Can Do, then I might summarize and link to it. (If you can provide an abstract and–where relevant–a table of contents, that would help.)
  • If you are able to provide materials in both English and also a second (or third, or fourth language!), then please do.
  • I will warmly consider offers of translation assistance for some of my more popular blog posts so that more We Can Do content can be made more accessible to people who don’t read English as their primary language.

If you have written something that you think would be relevant to We Can Do readers, please share via email at: ashettle at Or, leave a note for me in the comments area below with a summary of what you have in mind and I will get in touch with you. Just be sure to put your email address in the space provided for that purpose.

Thank you for helping make We Can Do become a strong, good-quality resource for people with disabilities in developing countries and the people who are working hard to meet their needs.

I do not post my full email address because any recognizable email address posted on the web then immediately becomes the target of “spam harvesters” and starts receiving tons of unwanted, unsolicited commercial emails. But I spelled it out a few times above and spell it out again here. But this time I’m amplifying it because I realize that not all people have learned how to parse spelled out email addresses–or even to recognize them when they see them!:

My username is: ashettle

Every email address has an @ at sign @ between the user name and the domain name, thus ashettle@

My email domain is

Put it all together and you have my email address.

Or if that is still too confusing–or if it’s just easier for you–then feel free to leave a note below (with your email address in the area provided for it) and I’ll get in touch. Thanks again for your help in making We Can Do become a better blog.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

Looking for something specific at the We Can Do blog site? Consult the Navigating We Can Do page for tips on finding what you need.

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13 Responses to “Guideline for Writers”

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[…] press releases; opinion pieces; announcements; and more. For more detail, please click on “Wish List for Written Materials and Resources” at the top navigation […]

I am a person who became disabled through losing her lower left leg and I now wear a prosthetic leg these past 8 yrs.
I have been in the medical field all my life of nursing and since not working because of my disability, I use all my free time to give freely of resources I find through research to anyone who is trying to find ways to improve their way of life beyond their disability..
I think you are doing something wonderful here, i AM IN THE U.S. but I would be very happy to offer any suggestions and helps to you in furthering the improvements of anyone with disability.. I tell anyone with disability, that life was meant to be lived to the fullest and disability just makes us stronger and wiser in learning to live a little differently then the rest of the world, but in Gods eyes we are all the same..

Is it possible to receive the IDH 1980 document?

i want to receive information about your work regularly.
Qualitative magazine is a quarterly publication designed to redirect and reposition the mindset of the persons with disabilities and that of the able bodied people to bring about courage and motivation on that part of physically challenged people and attitudinal change towards people with disabilities on the part of the able bodied people. It is an advocacy in the form of having collections of success stories of persons with disabilities in different works of lives in Africa.A

Thank you so very much for the supportive information on this web page. I am truly grateful to find it and would like you to read the project being proposed for Puerto Rico. INFORME DE ACTIVIDADES Y HISTORIA
Prior to arriving to Puerto Rico, I worked as a Producer/Director and wrote “Gaam Saan” presented at the Pasadena Asian Museum. I also Produced/Directed “Unbinding Our Lives” at the Pasadena Asian Museum. (See attachment). Prior to that I co-wrote “Dia De Los Muertos” for the Nosotros Theatre in 2002. Then in March of 2001 I directed “The Moz” in Tampa Bay. “The Hostage” for the LART in 2000. In 2002, I worked with the CIVIC THEATRE on “The Senator Wore Pantyhose” in 2004. (See Attachment). I have worked in the entertainment industry for well over forty years in California.
For the past three years, I have worked on a Senate Campaign here in Puerto Rico; promoted the American Disability Association and its Mentorship Day.
The projection for the next two years is to continue with the promotion of ADA Mentorship Day and with the help of the arts community to produce “GUIT” into a full length feature film that will ignite national awareness for autism and demonstrate that the Puerto Rican arts and artists are alive and well; and are being recognized for the excellent work they produce.

“GUIT” is a film/stage project that presents to the audience a piece of real life. It is about a condition that at this current time has no cure and occurring every day. 1 in every 150 children is born with autism every day.

The people of Puerto Rico are in the dark about autism. Because of perhaps their lack of concern to get involved, lack of social awareness, lack of information, lack of engagement in their community and government social services this condition is not recognized.

“GUIT” will be an artistic film/stage presentation project that is based on a fictional story but factual information; and evidence about the shortfall and later demise of a family that lives on the edge of violence with autism.
The setting takes place anywhere in every local community and is occurring rapidly at the rate of 1 in every 150 children are born with autism.
“GUIT” is a performance piece meant to educate and insight the audience into a dialog about autism. It will move the audience to actively participate in a discourse about what autism is and how close in proximity it lives among us.
It is meant to impact and create awareness. The information shown will ignite a spark of the real experiences that are taking place in the lives of families who have an autistic child with this condition. The number of autistic children here in Puerto Rico is higher than in the states per capita.
Autism is a life threatening condition that needs solution. I know of no better way to educate, inform, inspire insight and ignite the people of Puerto Rico into action. Given that this project must be shown free of charge so that all the communities will go to see it.


There is a tremendous lack of information, education, and stimulus to create awareness to help the children who have autism here in Puerto Rico. Autism is a complex development disability that appears during the first three years of life. It is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.
The prevalence report put out by the Centers for Disease Control reports that 1 in every 150 American children and almost 1 in 94 boys are born with autism. Puerto Rico is in the dark as to the opportunities and how to serve these families facing a lifetime of trials and tribulations with this condition.
The ASA currently estimates that the cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs).
In this presentation, the clinics now working to support these families will be given the opportunity to share their informational brochures and participate after the presentation about their facilities. They will be able to talk about the signs of early identification and how it can change the lives of these autistic children and their families.
The clinics, hospitals, educational institutions, educators, and individuals who are living with this family situation will be able to participate. They will support and supply the activity with possible donations to informational and support materials about autism.
“GUIT” introduces that autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but early intervention significantly improves their life. The presentation will introduce the signs of autism:
• Lack of or delay in spoken language
• Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
• Little or no eye contact
• Lack of interest in peer relationships
• Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
• Persistent fixation on parts of objects


• It will develop a dialog about autism
• It insights a discourse about what is not going on here in Puerto Rico.
• It will show what autism is and how it affects the family.
• It will show the atmosphere of the subliminal effects of violence in the household.
• It will create a discourse whereby each individual in the audience will become the catalyst of information to help ignite and spread the word about autism.
• It will build community awareness so that Puerto Rico will take care of its own children.
• It will share the benefits of what Puerto Rico can learn from the children who have autism.
• It insights Puerto Rico to take action to get involved and to help the many children and their families who have suffered violence and autism.


The promotional and mass media portion of this project will be to put out several news releases, press packets, communiqués, blogs, and internet search engine sites; and to inform all the local news papers, print, TV, internet and radio stations.

Those specifically invited will be the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centro de Terapia Luna, Centro de Evaluacion e Intervencion Pasos, other clinics of autism, the various University Departments & Program Heads on Autism and Disabilities, The Department of Rehabilitation, the mental health educators and providers, the Children’s Hospitals, the various hospitals around Puerto Rico, the clinicians and counselors who work with autistic children, the 78 clinics for autism, the American Disabilities Association, the Department of Rehabilitation, numerous clinics who participate in job opportunities for the disabled; and the general population.

“GUIT” is a project that everyone will be interested in seeing and enjoy interacting with the actors during a question and answer period after the video is presented.

I pray that you can help.

this is really a good initiative and We Can Do is a great window. I am little bit surprised that from long we are working on disability issue but i was not at all aware about this blog. I find it might be a good way to have a network of collecting the materials and also the case studies.

Mostly the critique and failure cases so that in near future a good plan can be developed. We Can Do might be a good platform for advocacy of the disabled people of the developing countries.

Hi Ashettle..
I hope this finds you well.
Am Ruth from Nairobi and am impressed by your work according to the website,and would like to work as a volunteer in the organization,..Kindly let me know how to go about it and if you would require my CV.
I can volunteer in photography or any other thing required.

Kind Regards,

Many thanks to your commitment to help the disabled and the vulnerable in the developing countries. I am a Kenyan citizen , I work in one of the slums in Nairobi Kenya, with children with disability and orphans. These children are abandoned by their parents (mostly teens due to poverty). Some even are aged from just days old, currently we have managed to rescue about 70 of the kids, but finding it difficult to help with basic needs and education, How can this program be helpful to these children. I will be glad to hear from you.

Hello! I can translate into & from English and Marathi. I can also translate from Hindi into English and Marathi. I’d like to assist you in translating blogs etc. Regards.

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