What’s behind CBM’s ‘End the Cycle’?

 

The End the Cycle team and local film crew collecting stories in Bangladesh using a human-rights based approach.

Have you ever wondered what makes End the Cycle so unique?

Or perhaps you watched one of our short videos and felt there was something different about it?

We frequently receive feedback that End the Cycle videos are insightful, professional and creative, as well as useful in helping people understand how poverty and disability are linked. Our videos help people understand the importance of including everybody.

But the process along the way to create the great result is also worth exploring – in fact, the way we go about End the Cycle’s work is just as important as the finished product. The foundation of all that we do is our principles, based on Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The principles inform our plans and guide our decision-making. In this post, we’ll unpack some of the principles and how they are applied in real situations.

Local Ownership:

When a new set of resources is to be developed, a local partner is identified to work on story collection and development. In many cases, this local partner is a Disabled People’s Organisation, or DPO. In some cases, this has been an existing CBM partner who has people with disabilities in positions of leadership. We want the local ownership to be in the hands of people with disabilities. We draw up a contract with the local partner, clearly setting out roles and responsibilities.

We think it is important that a person with a disability from the local partner is in charge of the process. This means that when the film crew is on the ground, it’s the local person who leads the group and has the final say.

Own story, own words:

In the words of Abena, an End the Cycle self-advocate from Ghana:

“Someone wearing the shoe knows very well how tight it is, how painful it is inside. But because you are not wearing the shoe, you can’t talk for me. So it is better you give us a chance to talk for ourselves.”

This principle relates to the central and consistent role of people with disabilities in defining and directing their own goals. Telling their own story in their own words keeps the person in control of how they are represented. This means ensuring participants understand End the Cycle’s plans for the resources and that consent to be a part of the project is genuinely informed. Later, when videos are being edited and creative elements added, drafts are sent back to participants to check they are still happy with how they are being portrayed. At any stage in the process, or even after the videos are finished, participants can intervene to make changes or even withdraw from the project.

Once everyone is happy, the videos are shared through our global networks, getting the self-advocate’s message out into the world.

Accessibility: increasing all the time

All reasonable measures are taken to ensure End the Cycle resources are accessible to all people. We aim to leave no one behind!

This is an area we always consider and our resources have become more accessible over time, as we learn and grow. At present, key accessibility measures include:

  • All videos are sub-titled
  • Latest videos also have international sign captioning on-screen, as well as audio-description alternative versions
  • Our website can be switched between English, French or Spanish, and many videos are also available in these languages, as well as some in Arabic
  • All documents are available in Word and PDF versions
  • The website has been designed with accessibility in mind and meets AA standard

Accountability

We are committed to being accountable to the people who have shared their story with us. For this reason, we have clear Terms of Use so that anyone who downloads an End the Cycle video is aware that the story must not be edited or changed in any way, without us checking with the person in the story. The Terms of Use state clearly that stories must not be retold or modified, and that photos cannot be used without the story, giving the context that the person provided.

 

What do you think of these principles? Could they be applied to all story collection in the international development sector, or is there more we could do to raise the bar on a rights-based approach? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Send an email to contact@endthecycle.info or check the full set of stories here.

Time an essential Resource

Interpretation in GA RoomOn20th and 21st of June, the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB) held its 5th General Assembly in Benidorm, Spain. Together with Murielle Bertrand, I had the pleasure to attend the GA. While the delegates from 36 countries will stay here to go through a number of thematic workshops over the next five days, it is time for me to go back to Brussels and to share some impressions from the General Assembly with you. Interesting to note that this was my first WFDB meeting and the first-ever meeting where the majority of participants were people with Deafblindness.

 

Without going through the technical details of the GA which focussed very much on statutory matters, all deliberations were really interesting to observe, as they revealed a number of features to me. Firstly, I had never gone through a meeting – and most of you know I am used to attend many of them – where so many different formats and languages were in use! Between Sign Language, Tactile Sign, Braille in addition to all the different spoken World languages, you can imagine the mix of communication in the room. This made the proceedings of the GA very special: Things had to be slowed down, sometimes repeated, but, most importantly, at the end of the day, they got done!

Also wirth sharing with you that WFDB, while in its 17th year of existence, is mostly based on volunteers serving e.g. on its Executive Committee. Similarly, there is no permanent secretariat supporting its activities. All of us who often attend and organise meetings will know how much work it takes to prepare all the documents, reports, voting lists etc. Just then imagine the task of organising a global meeting without such permanent support! Amazing the way that WFDB managed to do all of that, but obviously it is not without its challenges.

Last observation from my side: From the conversations I had and from the atmosfere in the room, I could sense that WFDB members, at least at the global level, seem to have few opportunities to meet between GAs. In comparison to e.g. the World Blind Union that I am more familiar with, people in the room seemed less connected to each other/which is certainly due to the lack of opportunities to gather on a regular basis. But I could feel a great appetite to increase the number of exchanges and encounters, in order to learn from each other and to improve the quality of life of persons who are Deafblind, which is WFDB’s core mandate.

 

Many connections and partnerships do already exist for CBM: WFDB is member of the International Disability Alliance, has strong ties with the World Blind Union and the World Federation of the Deaf. Also strong linkages to Deafblind International and to the International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment are in place. With all those relationships in existence, I feel very much encouraged that CBM can further support the rights of people who are Deafblind in the future.

COSP is kicking off soon!

The 11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD and related events are kicking off soon at the UN in New York (10-15 June). The overarching theme of the session is Leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD with sub-themes including:

  1. National fiscal space, public-private partnerships and international cooperation for strengthening the implementation of the CRPD;
  2. Women and girls with disabilities;
  3. Political participation and equal recognition before the law; and
  1. Promoting high-quality disability statistics and disaggregation of data by disability status for the full realization of the rights of persons with disabilities.

CBM is quite active this year. We are involved in various ways in six side events, a data workshop, and an SDGs training. We are supporting two of our DPO partners, from Palestine and Vietnam, who are panelists at different events throughout the week. Additionally we will present an official CBM statement during the General Debate among Member States and civil society. You can watch events from 11-14 June live here. Please continue reading below for events in which CBM is involved.

Sunday, 10 June

  • Workshop: on the Measurement of Disability organized by UNICEF, ILO, IDA, and IDDC; Elizabeth Lockwood will be co-facilitating this training.

Monday, 11 June

  • Civil society forum / day of general discussion session, Panel on Article 4 (3) of the Convention, our partner from Palestine, Shatha Abu Srour, is a panelist.

Tuesday, 12 June

  • General Debate, David Bainbridge, International Director, CBM International, will present our official CBM statement.
  • Event: Co-sponsored by CBM: Artificial Intelligence 2030: Transformative Inclusion for All event, David Bainbridge will make an official intervention.
  • Event: If I’m not counted I don’t count. better data to improve the lives of persons with disabilities; joint CBM-IDA SDG data work will be presented.
  • Event: Co-sponsored by CBM: Persons with Disabilities in Emergency Settings: Ensuring the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities within humanitarian emergencies and peacebuilding processes; joint CBM-HI-IDA project will be presented.

Wednesday 13 June

  • Event: Co-organized by CBM: Including the most likely to be left behind: Women and Girls with Disabilities in rural and remote settings; our partner from Vietnam, Lan Anh Nguyen, is a panelist.
  • COSP Roundtable 1: National fiscal space, public-private partnerships and international cooperation for strengthening the implementation of the CRPD; our partner from Palestine, Shatha Abu Srour, is a panelist.
  • Event: Co-sponsored by CBM: Financing the implementation of the CRPD: problems of inconsistency and instability with a focus on experiences of women and refugees with disabilities; Emma Pettey, Emergency Response Unit, will present on behalf of CBM.
  • Event: Co-sponsored by CBM: From Recognition to Realisation of Rights: Furthering Effective Partnership for an Inclusive Pacific.

Friday 15 June

  • Follow-up training on SDG implementation and practical advocacy strategies for DPOs for Disability Rights Fund; Elizabeth Lockwood will co-facilitate the training.

Stay tuned for the follow-up web article post COSP with highlights from the aforementioned activities.

Persons with disabilities included in financing for development outcome document

The 2018 Financing for Development (FfD) Forum is currently taking place this week (23-26 April) at the UN Headquarters in New York focusing on the financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum is structured with a ministerial session on the first two days and an expert session during the final two days.

Unlike former Forums, persons with disabilities have been strongly included in this year’s Forum as a result of long-term advocacy. The first presentation in the opening session of the Forum, the President of the Economic and Social Council, Marie Chatardová said that financing for development needs to be accessible and to leave no one behind, including for persons with disabilities.

Additionally, the Forum’s inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations are inclusive with three explicit references to persons with disabilities – for the first time! This outcome document is important as it feeds into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The references are found in paragraphs 15, 27, and 30 highlighting gaps in financial inclusion; the need to strengthen education, employment, and social protection policies; and efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate disaggregated data for persons with disabilities. Exact language is below.

“We recognize recent progress in financial inclusion, but note that gaps still remain for women, people in rural and remote areas, elderly people, youth, migrants, forcibly displaced persons and people with disabilities, as well as for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and businesses and enterprises in the social and solidarity economy operating in both formal and informal sectors” (para 15).

Science, technology, innovation and capacity-building: “We will support lifelong learning and skill acquisition for all, including entrepreneurial skills, adapt and strengthen employment, decent work and social protection policies and measures for all, as appropriate, and make efforts to address continued gender disparities and enhance inclusion of people in vulnerable situations, including for young people and persons with disabilities” (para 27).

Data, monitoring and follow-up: “We will strengthen our efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate data, disaggregated by sex, age, disability and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, including at the national, subnational and local levels, and gender statistics to improve policy design and implementation with regards to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” (para 30).

It is very positive that persons with disabilities are included in the FfD outcome document, although the document lacks solutions on how to address these gaps. As a way forward, we need to focus on practical solutions on addressing these gaps, particularly at the national level, focusing on a full, participatory, and human rights approach.