Inclusive humanitarian action – Africa leads the way

The 4th Annual International Humanitarian Partnership Conference, organised under the Inter Agency Working Group on Disaster Preparedness for East & Central Africa (IAWG), has just finished in Nairobi. It was a pleasure to attend, and to have the chance to contribute. And it was an inspiration to all who are advocating for meaningful inclusion in humanitarian action.

I embolden the word ‘meaningful’ because I see a difference emerging in the rhetoric at these events. Attendees are now generally aware of the statistics like one billion persons with disabilities worldwide, and the fact that people with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disaster and conflict situations. But now, it seems we are moving on, and really identifying the causes and solutions.

The theme at this year’s conference was ‘Disability and Age Inclusion in Humanitarian Practice: Scaling up progress toward the achievement of Agenda 2030‘. The timing is good: In the last 18 months we’ve seen the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the release of the related Dhaka Declaration, and the launch of the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. And of course we have the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which marks 10 of existence this year.

These documents provide the foundations. We are now ready to build, and I saw evidence of this over the last few days.

Many speakers highlighted in their presentations that if we are to achieve inclusion as an end result, then we need to ensure inclusion from the outset. What does this mean? It means that persons with disabilities – usually through Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) – must be part of policy-making and planning of humanitarian action. And this should not be simply ‘checkbox attendance’, but should be meaningful (that word again) participation.

There was a real appreciation during the event of the various unique skills and knowledge of the individuals present and of the organisations they represent (from humanitarian organisations, to DPOs, to organisations of older people). So much so that hands shot up at the end when asked who has specialist knowledge to share. One participant neatly described it as ‘organisations helping each other through the baby steps of learning inclusion’.  Call it baby steps or not, I’m sure there will be much networking and cross-learning to come.

A regional working group on inclusion was proposed, and widely seconded.

And there was a general acceptance of the fact that to achieve this ‘first phase’ inclusion, organisations need a smarter hiring process and accessible infrastructure. All good news.

For me, I was delighted to present our new Humanitarian Hands-on Tool, which is still a prototype but well on the way to release. Feedback on this was positive. We are at the point where the basic nuts and bolts guidance is necessary for field workers tasked with inclusive preparedness and response initiatives. Watch this space for this one.

Of course, the need for data disaggregated by disability was raised. This is not an afterthought: It is an ongoing concern across all the 2015 agenda fields, an essential prerequisite if we are to deliver aid that works for everyone.

Lastly, a telling point was when asked who is responsible for ensuring inclusion, we came to the conclusion that we all are.  I look forward to the future.

Read some of the social media buzz as it happened

 

 

CBM’s End the Cycle has a new website!

etc_twitter_square

Since September 2015 I’ve the great privilege of coordinating the End the Cycle project. End the Cycle is a CBM International programme that promotes the human rights and lived experience of persons with disabilities in low and middle income countries.

Screen shot of new website www.endthecycle.info

Screen shot of new website www.endthecycle.info

Over time, End the Cycle has become known for producing short, high quality and engaging videos that promote the lived experience of a person with disability. Persons with disability from low or middle income countries tell their own in their own words. Over time, the videos have helped bring the perspectives, opinions and contributions of persons with disabilities into meetings, conferences, trainings and awareness raising events all around the world.

In 2016 End the Cycle has taken a big leap forward to help take the resources even further.

On 20 September 2016 End the Cycle launched a brand new website www.endthecycle.info. For the first time, videos and factsheet are now available online in English, French and Spanish and can be directly downloaded from the website.

It’s really exciting seeing some of the most popular End the Cycle videos and factsheets translated into new languages, making it possible for them to be used in even more places around the world. We are planning to add new stories in the months to come: Starting with stories from Jordan.

To learn more about End the Cycle visit www.endthecycle.info

Los ODS y las personas con discapacidad en Perú

Muchas gracias, Alba de la traducción! (Para la versión inglés clic aquí/For the English versión click here: “The SDGs and persons with disabilities in Peru.”)

El 22 y 23 de Agosto, Alba Gonzalez y yo proporcionamos un curso de capacitación nacional sobre la Agenda 2030 y los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) y la Convención de los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) de la ONU en Lima (Perú), financiado por CBM. La presentación se dirigió a los líderes de las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad y sus aliados, algunos de ellos miembros de CBM. Aunque he dado diversos cursos de capacitación sobre los ODS este año, éste fue el primero en español. Esto es extremadamente importante ya que América Latina a menudo es apartada de los procesos sobre desarrollo a nivel global, particularmente en lo referido a los ODS. Estoy orgullosa de haber llevado a cabo este curso junto con mi compañera Alba quien trabaja desde Bruselas, así como de haber tenido el apoyo de mi compañera Gonna quien trabaja en Guatemala. Muchas gracias a las dos por el magnífico trabajo y apoyo!

Cursos de capacitación a nivel nacional sobre los ODS como este son increíblemente valiosos ya que CBM y otras organizaciones de la sociedad civil que trabajan en la Agenda 2030 tienen la responsabilidad de asegurar que los principales actores están informados y que son capaces de contribuir de una manera significativa. Una manera de conseguir esto es proveer un intercambio de información así como herramientas para las estrategias de incidencia política relativas a la implementación de los ODS.

El curso fue interactivo y ofreció un espacio para un diálogo constructivo en el que las ideas, aprendizajes y sugerencias fueron compartidos. Presentamos una información general sobre cómo los ODS y la CDPD están conectados y cómo éstos se refuerzan y complementan para la incidencia política. Además, dimos información sobre el contexto de seguimiento global y los procesos de revisión con una recapitulación del Foro Político de Alto Nivel (HLPF) de este año, las lecciones aprendidas del proceso de las revisiones voluntarias nacionales (VNR), las estrategias y cómo involucrarse en futuros HLPF. Finalmente, dimos un modelo de incidencia política nacional para la inclusión de las personas con discapacidad en la implementación nacional de los ODS.

Perú es un país estratégico que apoyar, ya que es muy probable que contribuya con una revisión voluntaria nacional en el Foro Político de Alto Nivel de los próximos años y las personas con discapacidad deben involucrarse en el proceso de consultación nacional. Los gobiernos de América Latina que han sido revisados este año en el HLPF – Colombia, México y Venezuela – no contaron con la sociedad civil durante dicho proceso, incluyendo las personas con discapacidad, de forma que ésta es una región con una importancia particular que hay que apoyar.

Alt="Alba, Elizabeth, y líder de la OPD en la formación en Perú"

Alba, Elizabeth, y líder de la OPD en la formación en Perú

Durante el curso, los participantes ofrecieron diferentes ejemplos de las barreras que las personas con discapacidad encuentran en el país para llevar a cabo una incidencia política efectiva:

  • Hay una falta de información accesible sobre incidencia política para las personas con discapacidad y sus familias a nivel nacional y regional
  • La sociedad en general tiene una falta de conocimiento y una actitud negativa o centrada en el modelo médico sobre las personas con discapacidad
  • Hay escasez de estadísticas disponible y fiable sobre las personas con discapacidad
  • Hay una falta de transparencia en el gobierno
  • En áreas rurales, hay acceso limitado a la tecnología e Internet debido a la falta de electricidad
  • Se necesita capacitación sobre estrategias de incidencia política
  • La mayoría de las personas con discapacidad viven en estado de pobreza e incluso pobreza extrema
  • Hay un limitado transporte que sea accesible, asequible y fiable
  • Hay una participación limitada de las personas con discapacidad en redes más generales de la sociedad civil y las organizaciones de la sociedad civil a nivel general no siempre incluyen a las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad
  • Los grupos de personas con discapacidad pueden aislarse centrándose en un tipo de discapacidad y no siempre colaboran como una coalición más amplia
  • Puede existir una falta de empoderamiento y capacidad de liderazgo en las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad

El grupo dio diversas sugerencias sobre cómo efectuar una incidencia política para la inclusión de las personas con discapacidad en la implementación de los ODS:

  • Identificar puntos de entrada para la incidencia política para las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad en diferentes regiones y niveles de gobierno (municipios, distritos, provincias, regiones y a nivel nacional).
  • Colaborar como un movimiento de discapacidad más amplio para conseguir una incidencia política más efectiva a nivel nacional
  • Construir alianzas con Organizaciones No Gubernamentales (ONG) y sociedades de la sociedad civil de diversas áreas temáticas
  • Las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad de Lima se comprometieron a la implementación de los ODS acorde con la CDPD con los líderes de las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad mediante mesas redondas con organizaciones civiles nacionales así como crear un plan nacional de accesibilidad
  • Llevar a cabo un curso sobre accesibilidad e incidencia política para diferentes líderes de organizaciones de personas con discapacidad para reforzar sus capacidades y unificar el movimiento de discapacidad

Fue un gran placer para mí volver a América Latina, donde he vivido y trabajado, para conocer antiguos y nuevos socios de CBM, así como trabajar y aprender de las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad y sus aliados en Perú. Continuemos los vínculos globales!

Donors need to consider gender equality for persons with disabilities

The AWID forum has now come to an end. Day 3 (Sept 10) started with an engagement lab with donors on disability inclusion. CBM and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) co-hosted a panel on how to ensure donor funding  from private foundation is inclusive of women with disabilities. The speakers, Rama, Mia, Madezha, Irene and Rose were supported by CBM and were either founder or leaders of organisations run by women with disabilities from Nepal, Peru, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Women with disabilities got together with donor agencies to discuss funding opportunities

Women with disabilities got together with donor agencies to discuss funding opportunities

A number of private foundations attended the engagement lab and there was a good discussion about how to move forward efforts to make the funding which is available for women’s rights work more inclusive of organisations organised and run by women with disabilities. A set of recommendations were developed by the women’s organisations represented on the panel and these were circulated to the group.

Once the engagement lab was over, we all went our separate ways to attend as many sessions as possible to ensure that the voices of women with disabilities were heard in sessions on climate change, economic resources and SDG implementation.

Women with disabilities self-organised to demand change
Over the opening days of AWID, there was a lot of activity among women with disabilities wanting to meet and discuss the next steps after AWID. On the evening of the 10th, a large group of women with disabilities from all over the world came together to discuss what should be the next steps and created a list of actions for AWID. There was a lively discussion and agreement that a communications platform was needed for coordination among everyone and there was also a list of recommendations for AWID to take forward. The recommendations centred around accessibility. AWID put in a lot of effort to make the conference accessible and inclusive of women with disabilities. For the next session, they need to continue to build this. Participation and representation was also on the list, the group asked the AWID looked at how it can ensure participation and representation of women with disabilities. Finally, research and data, the group asked that for all of AWID’s research and data collection that women with disabilities were included. The list was then presented to AWID at a meeting on the 11th.

Women with disabilities got together at the disability rights hub to brainstorm about their demands and next steps at AWID

Women with disabilities got together at the disability rights hub to brainstorm about their demands and next steps at AWID

This has been a great week for the CBM delegation, many friends have been made and ideas shared. As I write this final blog, I would like to share some of that messages that emerged over the few days we spent together.

•    Women with disabilities have the skills and the expertise to be problem solvers and agents for change in their community.
•    Women with disabilities are already very active and organised but lack access to funding and resources to spread the work further.
•    Women with disabilities need to come together locally, nationally, regional and globally and also work with allies for change.

A big thanks to the CBM team and all the women with disabilities present at AWID! We must keep the momentum going.