Tag Archives: human rights

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


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.

Human Rights and Development Cooperation

During day 3, June 12th, of COSP CBM was actively involved in three side events. See — for the side event we co-sponsored. Read below for the other two.

Diane Mulligan and our partner Risna Utami, Risnawati Utami, Chair, Indonesian Consortium for Disability Rights both presented at the side event “Linking Human Rights, Disability and Development.” The event was Co-Sponsored by Human Rights Watch and Light for the World.

Iain Levine, Deputy Executive Director, Program, Human Rights moderated the event and in addition to Diane and Risna, other panellists included:

  • Yetnebersh Nigussie, Executive Director, Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development, and Global Ambassador, Light for the World
  • Francesca Corbacho, Fellow, Business and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch

The event presented an interactive dialogue, including a discussion of concrete strategies for disability-inclusive development policies and was engaging and interesting.

Alt="Diane at the side event on human rights"

Diane at the side event on human rights

Directly afterward, Diane presented at another side event. This event covered the theme of  “European external action – continuing the opportunity to promote the Human Rights of persons with disabilities in the world through development cooperation.” The European Union and European Disability Forum co-sponsored the event and CBM was very grateful to be invited to speak and be involved in this work.

Diane elaborated on the European Union’s external action service with the African Union, which CBM has been supporting in conjunction with the African Decade. Judith van der Veen who is actively involved in this project graciously provided background and detailed information.

Countries in the project include Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Project summary points:

  • It has been easy to work with all of the countries in the project
  • Malawi and Zambia have had the quickest progress because of coordinated disability groups and strong coalitions, as well as different funding sources

Learning experiences from the project:

  • The main partner in the project is the African Decade (with DPOs) and CBM plays a supporting role. This collaboration is going well and CBM is strategically learning from this experience
  • It takes time to build trust with some countries in order to collaborate

Challenges of the project:

  • The entire structure is a bit slow and bureaucratic and there is a need for a significant lobbying efforts
  • The continental DPOs need capacity building to engage at the continental level, but there is a lack of resources at the regional DPO level. Thus there is a need to focus on capacity building of these DPOs.

Diane closed with pearls of wisdom: “Let’s ask for a bigger cake than fight over smaller pieces of the cake.”


Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities at UNICEF

On 9 June, International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA) organised a lunchtime side event during the President of General Assembly’s High-Level Event (PGA HLE) on Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The topic of the event was over “the intersection of human rights and development within the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)” and took place at UNICEF House. Atlas Alliance generously funded the event with food (including cookies!) with the support of ILO, OHCHR, and UNICEF.

Over 130 participants attended the side event and actively interacted with the dynamic panellists and charismatic moderator Ignacio Saiz, Executive Director, Center for Economic and Social Rights. The dialogue was held in “Davos Style” and included engaging speakers including:

  • Diane Mulligan, Deputy Director of International Advocacy and Alliances, CBM International who spoke as a Member of the CRPD Committee and as the IDDC representative
  • Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, Deputy Head of Office, OHCHR, New York
  • Paul Gulleik Larsen, Senior Advisor, Project Manager on Post-2015 Agenda in the Norwegian MFA
  • Yannis Vardakastanis, Chair of IDA
  • Nicholas K. Alipui, Director of Programmes, Senior Advisor- Post 2015 Development Agenda, UNICEF
  • Vinicius Pinheiro, Deputy Director, ILO New York
  • Hyung-shik Kim, Professor, Korea University of International Studies
Alt="Diane Mulligan speaking at IDDC-IDA PGA side event"

Diane Mulligan speaking at IDDC-IDA PGA side event

The PGA HLE plays an important role in encouraging Member States to further develop their perspectives on the human rights-based approach in the post-2015 development agenda. As such our side event was timely in drawing the attention of Member States to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda from both human rights and development perspectives. The side event also connected the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

This was a wonderful side event and another fantastic example of fruitful collaboration between IDDC and IDA.

Additional Resources:

Open Working Group on SDGs Session 11

President of General Assembly website

Blog on Open Working Group on SDGs session 11 Summary

Blog on OWG 11 official statements that included persons with disabilities

Moving towards a rights based approach to EU development cooperation

It has been a long time since I wrote my last blog. I think it was exactly one year ago when I attended the 66th World Health Assembly. And now one year later I’m in Brussels and I would love to talk you through the biggest EU spring forum on human rights!

Each year the European Commission organizes a spring forum dedicated to the reality of human rights on the ground and in particular to the implementation of the European Instrument for Human Rights and democracy (EIDHR).

This year the forum was once again an excellent opportunity to exchange with the EU institutions and meet more than 300 NGOs from all over the world.

It is always so powerful to hear and feel the passion and the vibrating energy of each discussion across this Forum!

This year’s forum saw in particular the launch of the “EU Toolbox on a Rights Based Approach encompassing all human rights in EU development”. On behalf of Concord and as co-Chair of the Task Force on a Human Rights Based Approach, I was one of the panelist during the presentation of the toolbox. Other panelists included:

  • Ms. Wan-Hea Lee, Head of OHCHR Cambodia
  • Ms. Paola Simonetti, International Trade Union federation
  • Ms. Nele Meyer, Amnesty International

The lively debate, which followed the presentation of the toolbox, brought on the table interesting points on the implementation of the toolbox, amongst others: how do we ensure the participation of rights holders beyond Europe? And how do we empower them? And what’s the role for advocacy in the implementation of the toolbox?

All the panelists stressed the crucial role that the advocacy component can and will play in its implementation. In particular, it will be central to raise awareness and build the capacities of both duty bearers and rights holders. Although the toolbox gives a prominent role to transparency and accountability, we all called on the importance of holding duty bearers accountable, including Member States, and to define how and in how far.

2016 is foreseen as the first assessment of the toolbox.

Finally, the toolbox will be a great tool that will allow the further implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In fact, the CRPD is not only referenced in the document, but I am also pleased to see that participation and non discrimination, access to information – including in accessible formats – and equal access to development are central to the document and its core principles.

Now I very much look forward to see how this tool, which for the time being is not yet binding, will be turned into practice and to what extent the focus on inclusive development will be kept in future trainings and workshops on the toolbox.

This is all by now, but you will read from me very soon, and next time around it will be from another part of the world…