Las alianzas, la Convención de los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad, y los Objetivos para el Desarrollo Sostenible en Centroamérica

Click here for the English version of this blog.

Estuve muy contenta de participar en un taller en la Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá del 25 al 27 de enero. El taller fue organizado por el International Disability Alliance (IDA) y el International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), junto con sus miembros. El taller técnico se centró en el monitoreo de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) en consonancia con la Convención sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) para las organizaciones centroamericanas de personas con discapacidad. Representantes de varias Organizaciones de Personas con Discapacidad procedían de El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Panamá.

Fue un honor ser co-facilitadora en nombre de CBM y IDDC centrado en la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible y los ODS y procesos enlazados (por ejemplo, Financiamiento para el Desarrollo, Indicadores de los ODS). Contamos además con la colaboración de Rosario Galarza (Latin-American Network of Persons with Disabilities and their Families – RIADIS), José Viera (World Blind Union), Victor Baute (RIADIS and World Federation of the Deaf) y Monica Cortez (Inclusion International), con la contribución experta sobre la CDPD de Silvia Quan (ex miembro del Comité de la CDPD)y con Tchaurea Fleury (IDA) como líder del equipo.

El objetivo primordial del taller fue examinar y fortalecer los vínculos entre la CDPD y los ODS, así como apoyar a los representantes de las OPD para compilar la información que será utilizada en los informes nacionales de los ODS y CDPD. Esto fue particularmente estratégico ya que todos los cuatro países mencionados harán informes nacionales voluntarios (VNRs) en el Foro Político de Alto Nivel (HLPF) en julio y tres de los países serán revisados por el Comité de la CDPD en Ginebra.

Alt="Los participantes del taller en Panamá"

Los participantes del taller en Panamá

El taller tuvo varios resultados positivos:

  • Los participantes ampliaron sus conocimientos sobre la CDPD, obtuvieron conocimientos sobre la Agenda 2030 y comprendieron mejor los vínculos entre los dos marcos.
  • Se contribuyó a la creación de redes regionales entre diferentes OPD y grupos de personas con discapacidad.
  • Se fortaleció la conexión entre los procesos nacionales, regionales y mundiales (derechos humanos y los ODS).
  • La información fue difundida a las comunidades después de reforzar su capacitación. Por ejemplo, al día siguiente del entrenamiento, Víctor Baute presentó en la Agenda 2030 a la Asociación de Sordos en Panamá.
  • El taller fue bastante incluyente en términos de materiales, participación, interacción y participantes (entrelos participantes asistieron grupos menos representados, por ejemplo, una activista/self-advocate, jóvenes, personas de áreas rurales y personas indígenas con discapacidades.
  • Actualmente existen diversos materiales en español relacionados con la CDPD y los ODS, los cuales pueden ser difundidos en toda la región.

Quiero expresar mi sincero agradecimiento a IDA por su apoyo y liderazgo, particularmente Tchaurea Fleury y Mariana Sánchez, en la realización de este exitoso taller.

Esta formación ejemplifica el espíritu de la Agenda 2030 como la agenda es para, por, y del pueblo. Como tal, concluiré este blog con algunas palabras clave que los participantes compartieron como sus aspectos más destacados del entrenamiento:

  • Nuevas conexiones
  • Capacidad
  • Profesionalidad y educación
  • Contenido e información en profundidad
  • Fuerzas Unidas
  • Una visión más amplia
  • Derechos
  • Inclusión
  • Igualdad
  • Aprendizaje continuo, trabajo en equipo y facilitación inclusiva
  • Perspectivas diversas
  • Trabajando juntos

Resumen del taller regional en lengua de señas & español por Victor Baute:*

 

Información Adicional

Página web del taller

Fotos del taller

Documentos del Foro Político de Alto Nivel (HLPF) en Español

 

*La intérprete hablada-española es Astrid Arias.

Gracias Alba Gonzalez por las ediciones!

 

The harvest of hope

There are very few things more inspiring and riveting than witnessing individuals strive for dignity, voice, and most importantly,  changing the lives of their community. It becomes even more remarkable, when this change is driven by a social group which has been on the margins.

In my decade-and-half long experience of capturing and telling stories of change, seeing the power of land-based livelihood in creating ripples of change in the entire community have been some of the most fascinating ones.

In India, agriculture continues to be the mainstay of livelihood, food security, and dignity. Though the focus of growth for the national economy and its workforce has been shifting to cities and urban areas, some of the most marginalised sections of society continue to depend on farming for survival. As non-disabled boys, men and even young women migrate for work and opportunities, those left behind – persons with disabilities, single women and elderly – struggle to find ways to tide over poverty.

In the week of 20th to 24th February, CBM India colleagues will be in Vienna at Zero Project Conference and awards to tell this exceptional story of inclusion and empowerment. The blurbs of the story have already gripped attention from online followers, including a popular Bollywood actress.

Pramod is a person with disability who has been supported with training and a grinding machine. He turns wheat into flour before packaging the flour for sale as an organic brand.

Pramod is a person with a disability who has been supported with training and a grinding machine. He turns wheat into flour before packaging it for sale as an organic brand.

I have been following the project for close to eight months now. To be honest it feels much longer than that. Through this blog, I want to share with you some powerful moments that fill my mind when I think about the story and how it has been evolving.

The summer sunlight in the northern India during the months of May and June is so harsh that you could get a heatstroke within a couple of hours. The heatwave conditions, as the weather reports call them, are marked by a warm gust of winds that feel like a coal fired furnace breathing on your face.

It was during this time of the year that I first met a dozen persons with disabilities and their families who are part of an ambitious but equally intuitive project that brings together persons with disabilities and non-disabled in groups to train them on organic farming techniques, supports them in accessing loans, develops accessible tools, supports with assets like shops, grinding machines and packaging of produce for local markets.

Puneeta is confident with her eyes set on changing her life and working to inspire other people with disabilities in her village. She is a part of CBM supported disability inclusive organic farming project

Puneeta is confident with her eyes set on changing her life and working to inspire other people with disabilities in her village. She is a part of CBM supported disability inclusive organic farming project.

I met Puneeta, a shy but confident young woman with a disability, to get a sense of what is the most significant she has been through or expects to have through the project. She not only cited a bank balance, a steady income and respect within the family but also added that she is seen as a person with knowledge about a process that everyone else wants to know as it is changing her life. The power shift from being seen as a dependent to someone who has a voice and potentially life changing technical knowledge is significant. For an inclusive society, the stereotypes need to be challenged, Puneeta knows this will happen with her and other persons with disabilities becoming a central part of the economic empowerment process the project has created. Please read her story by clicking here.

The disability inclusive organic project has also challenged gender stereotypes while developing entrepreneurial skills and strengthening livelihood generation capacity of women with disabilities. As I felt while talking to Maya on two occasions, both separated by six months.

She said: “I am the man of the house.”

Maya’s statement that needs to be seen in the context of her being a single mother with a disability.

Her confidence stems from her ability to grow vegetables and season crops through organic methods, that has reduced the cost of expensive fertilisers, and a small shop through which she sells spices and oil extracted from mustard seeds which grow in abundance.

To Maya, the most significant change that has come from being a part of the project is her emergence as a leader in the community. She is the head of the disabled people’s organisation and president of the farmer interest group formed under the project.

Maya with her daughter inside her new shop. She has recently got this much awaited asset to sell organic produce that she packages.

Maya with her daughter inside her new shop. She has recently got this much awaited asset to sell organic produce that she packages.

The second time that I met Maya, it was an early onset of winter with lush green background characteristic of the region. She had just opened a new shop with support from a community loan. This was a dream come true for her. The first time I had met her; a small table outside her house was her makeshift shop. Please read her story by clicking here.  

The distinguishing aspects of disability inclusive organic farming include: low-cost inputs and high returns, involvement of people with disabilities as asset and knowledge holders of new techniques, creating inclusive farmers groups increasing capacity to take loans and support of government schemes and marketability of the organic produce like vegetables, spices, honey and edible oils. The ownership of this business and decision-making is with the farmers.

Innovation is mostly about localisation and solving problems through the perspective of the user. This to me has been a big part of the project’s success and popularity, and needless to add its sustainability.

Suresh highlights this aspect. He appears much older than his age but his high energy levels soon dispel the impression of old age, as he juggles several small sized wooden boxes that are colored in green paint, creating a contrast with the lush green climbers on the bare walls behind him.

The boxes are models of composting pits used for creating manure for growing vegetables and crops. This becomes clear as he starts explaining each of them through a spirited presentation based on touch and voice. Suresh, 52, is a person with blindness and works as a master trainer with the CBM supported disability inclusive organic farming project. Please read his story by clicking here.

Suresh with his wooden models customized as training material for explaining the process for making composting pits.

Suresh with his wooden models customized as training material for explaining the process for making composting pits.

 

Partnerships, CRPD, and SDGs in Central America

I was very pleased to participate in a workshop in Panama City, Panamá from 25-27 January. The workshop was organized by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), and members. The focus of the technical workshop was on the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for Central American organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs). DPO representatives from various DPOs hailed from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.

I was very pleased to be a co-facilitator on behalf of CBM and IDDC with focus on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs and linked processes (e.g., Financing for Development, SDG Indicators). The other co-facilitators included Rosario Galarza (Latin-American Network of Persons with Disabilities and their Families – RIADIS), José Viera (World Blind Union), Victor Baute (RIADIS and World Federation of the Deaf) and Monica Cortez (Inclusion International), with expert contribution of Silvia Quan (former CRPD Committee member) on the CRPD, and with Tchaurea Fleury (IDA) as the team leader.

Alt="Group shot of participants in the Panama training"

Participants from the training

The overarching objective of the workshop was to examine and strengthen the linkages between the CRPD and the SDGs and support DPO representatives to compile information that will be used in SDG and CRPD national reviews. This was particularly strategic as all of the four aforementioned countries will be giving voluntary national reviews (VNRs) at the HLPF in July and three of the countries will be reviewed by the CRPD Committee in Geneva.

The training had several positive outcomes:

  • Participants further developed their knowledge on the CRPD, gained knowledge on the 2030 Agenda, and better understood the linkages between the two frameworks.
  • The space allowed for regional networking between and among different DPOs and groups of persons with disabilities.
  • The connection between national, regional, and global (human rights and SDG) processes was highlighted and strengthened.
  • Information was further disseminated to communities after the training. For example, the day after the training, Victor Baute presented on the 2030 Agenda to the Deaf Association in Panama.
  • The training was quite inclusive in terms of materials, participation, interaction, and participants (for example, participants attended from less frequently represented groups, including a self-advocate, youth, people from rural areas, and Indigenous persons with disabilities).
  • There are now various materials in Spanish related to the CRPD and the SDGs, which can be disseminated throughout the region.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to IDA for its support and leadership, particularly Tchaurea Fleury and Mariana Sanchez, in carrying out this successful workshop.

This training exemplifies the spirit of the 2030 Agenda as the agenda is for, by, and of the people. As such, I will conclude this blog with some key words that the participants shared as their highlights from the training:

  • New connections
  • Capacity
  • Professionalism and education
  • In-depth content and information
  • United forces
  • A broader vision
  • Rights
  • Inclusion
  • Equality
  • Continued learning, teamwork, and inclusive facilitation
  • Diverse perspectives
  • Working together

 

Summary of the workshop in International Sign by Victor Baute (Spoken-English version*):

Summary of the workshop in International Sign by Victor Baute (Spoken-Spanish version*):

*The spoken-Spanish interpretation was done by Astrid Arias and the spoken-English interpretation was done by Elizabeth Lockwood.

 

Additional Information

IDA web page on the workshop

Photos from the workshop

 

Data and persons with disabilities

The first UN World Data Forum took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 15-18 January 2017, hosted by the Government of South Africa and Statistics South Africa. The Forum brought together key experts from governments, businesses, civil society and the scientific and academic communities to discuss opportunities and challenges and showcase the latest innovations to improve data and statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Why is data important for persons with disabilities?

Data collection can provide the number of persons with disabilities in a location, the barriers, and what policies and programs are needed to eradicate those barriers. Disaggregation of data by disability is a key step in including persons with disabilities who encounter higher rates of poverty and exclusion from society.

To disaggregate by disability status in the SDG indicators, it merely requires the addition of a small set of questions – such as the Washington Group on Disability Statistics Short Set – on already existing data instruments. When disability questions are included in the data systems that produce the SDG indicators, disaggregation of data is not only feasible but can easily be accomplished.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development specifies that data should be disaggregated by “income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national context” (17.18). Overlooking these groups undermines the Agenda’s core concept of leave no one behind.

In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), civil society and other stakeholders, including persons with disabilities, have more space to drive and be involved meaningfully in the SDG indicator framework, particularly at the national level. The main reason for this is because the SDGs are country led, use a multi-stakeholder approach, and employ the principle of leave no one behind.

Alt="Elizabeth Lockwood CBM International, Berhanu Tefera from African Disability Forum, and Sarah Meschenmoser from CBM Germany"

Elizabeth Lockwood from CBM International, Berhanu Tefera from African Disability Forum, and Sarah Meschenmoser from CBM Germany

Disability inclusion at the Forum

Persons with disabilities had a strong presence at the Forum. This included an IDA-IDDC disability-focused side event (more below), having various panelists throughout the Forum highlighting disability (e.g., World Bank, DFID, and WHO) and with many DPO representatives and allies as participants and panelists. Moreover, in the opening session, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of DESA, included the need for data on persons with disabilities in his speech. Similarly, at the end of the Forum, disability was again highlighted as a group that needs to be addressed in data. Particularly relevant, is that in the final session on the IAEG-SDGs, two members included disability in their final conclusions on the Forum (Jamaica and Fiji).

Also, there is a disability reference in the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data that was launched at the World Data Forum. IDA and IDDC were active in advocating for this reference, so we welcome the inclusion of disability language. Specifically, the Plan states “Support the strengthening and further development of methodology and standards for disability statistics” (Objective 3.5). “Accessible” is also used twice in the document. While this is a good first step, the language can be improved from “strengthening” and “development,” to systematic mainstreaming of disability statistics. But as was stated in the closing session, the GAP is only the first step of what needs to get done and the beginning of a process.

GAP background

The Global Action Plan (GAP) was drafted by the High-Level Group on Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building (HLG) as one of the Group’s main objectives (the other was convening the UN World Data Forum). The GAP focuses on monitoring and statistics and calls for a full, active and focused commitment of government, policy leaders and the international community to implement the sustainable development agenda. Furthermore, the GAP calls for policy leaders to achieve a global pact or alliance that recognizes that funding modernization efforts of National Statistical Offices (NSOs) is essential to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The (projected) work plan of the GAP:

  • January 16, 2017 – the GAP was launched at the UN World Data Forum, Cape Town, South Africa
  • March 2017 – Present the GAP to UNSC for endorsement by members
  • May/June 2017 – Endorsement of ECOSOC
  • July 2017 – HLPF: Side event to provide an update on the GAP
  • September 2017 – UNGA: Endorsement of UNGA
  • September 2017 – UNGA: Side event to provide an update on the GAP

Disability data event

The program covered six main themes, one of which was on leaving no one behind. Specifically, this theme looked at innovative approaches for SDG follow-up and review on all groups, data in post-conflict countries, and data and human rights.

I was a focal point organizing the session focused on disability data on “collecting disability data toward implementing the sustainable development goals and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” The key messages and recommendations that jointly emerged from the compelling session are as follows:

  • The inclusion of the Washington Group disability short set of questions in data collections that produce the sustainable development goal (SDG) indicators is a tested and efficient method for disaggregating indicators by disability status for monitoring the SDGs and the overarching objective of leaving no one behind. In addition, a child functioning module has been developed by the Washington Group and UNICEF for monitoring ‎the status of children with disabilities.
  • It is very feasible to disaggregate data by disability status at the primary and secondary levels in a range of health programs and within ministry of health and NGO facilities and outreach. The key is what is next?
  • Collection of disability-related data is greatly improved by involving organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and persons with disabilities in data collection analysis and related programs and policies. NSOs and other organizations responsible for data collection and analysis would benefit by having persons with disabilities on their staff as well.
  • The Washington Group short set endorsed by UN agencies provides a way to leave no person with disabilities behind by disaggregating the SDGs. It is critical to make use of this tool for planning and monitoring, and to go beyond disaggregation to understand how discrimination occurs and how to challenge these, while at the same time engaging with DPOs to hold their governments accountable.

In addition, another IDDC member, Sightsavers, wrote a great blog over the Forum highlighting the importance of using the Washington Group Short Set of Questions and how this is being carried out in their programs.

Next steps and upcoming data-related events

  • A plan will be developed for increasing the data coverage of tier II indicators with the joint working group of the IAEG-SDGs and the HLG.
  • The 8th meeting of the HLG will take place on Sunday, 5 March 2017 in New York to discuss the outcomes of the first UN World Data Forum and plans to develop a short summary document on lessons learned.
  • The IAEG-SDGs will hold two meetings, the first in March 2017 and the second in the fall of 2017.
  • The 9th meeting of the HLG will take place in September/October 2017.
  • The next World Data Forum will take place in Dubai in two years.

This was the first of many UN world data gatherings, so let’s keep working together to ensure that no one is left behind and to build a more inclusive society.

Additional information

IDA and IDDC joint blog for the UN World Data Forum

IDA and IDDC joint blog for the UN World Data Forum in International Sign

World Data Forum Article on persons with disabilities