19 July 2018
Posteado en : Opinion
Civil society plays a key role in the inclusion of people with disabilities, especially women, in Sudan. The main challenge is that they become aware of their rights, also at institutional level
6% of all Sudanese citizens are disabled. Although there are specific policies and laws aimed at this group, they continue to be discriminated in their communities in relation to accessing services or their rights.
The main challenge they face is the limited awareness of these specific rights. Therefore, at present, civil society associations are actively working to make people with disabilities in Sudan aware of their rights and how to obtain them, while promoting policies and laws to boost them.
For example, the right to a better education or access to the labour market are two of the main challenges that they face. Universities and schools in Sudan are not well equipped for people with disabilities. Jobs are available, but there are accessibility issues in the work environment.
In Sudan, in addition to associations for each type of disability, the Organization of Women with Disabilities includes all women, regardless of the type of disability they have. This organization works as a network that promotes the exchange of experiences among women with disabilities, which allows them to understand the needs of their colleagues and work together to help and support each other. The organization’s main objective is the social inclusion of women with disabilities in their communities.
One of the success stories of this project was the case of a girl with visual impairment who stopped going to school and stayed at home for 14 years. The organization has now helped her to finish her school education. They sent her to a specialized institution for blind people, they paid her fees and she has now passed the exam to go to university.
Another woman asked for our help to go to university because the Faculty of Education refused entry because she had a hearing disability: how was she going to work as a school teacher if she could not hear the students? Faced with this situation, the organization went to the University to solve the problem and allow the woman to continue studying, which we hope will allow her to develop her professional career as a teacher in the future.
The fact is that access to employment for women with disabilities is still limited in Sudan. Hence, here at the organization we place a lot of importance on the work we are doing together with Bridging the Gap, a project funded by the European Union, coordinated by the FIIAPP and implemented in Sudan through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS, for its initials in Spanish). In particular, we work in the state of Gedaref to strengthen the capacities of women with disabilities from rural areas and thereby increase their chances of finding a job or creating business opportunities and cooperatives.
These training activities promote the awareness of teachers, families and people with disabilities about the right to education and the inclusion of women with disabilities in the labour market, which benefits society as a whole. They also work to create a better environment, better accessibility and equipment, and to correctly deal with people with different types of disabilities.
In general, the Sudanese community considers disability as a stigma, although views differ. While some people are accepting of disability, others hide their children from friends and family. They are afraid of having children with disabilities, especially girls, because they believe that they will not be able to protect themselves when they are walking down the street from sexual abuse, for example. Therefore, they keep them inside the house, which becomes a prison for them. Access to education and, subsequently, to the world of work, therefore becomes a liberating experience for them.
Bridging the Gap is a good project because it works with both Government authorities and with people with disabilities themselves. This helps Sudanese society to reduce the gap between people with and without disabilities and for this to be reflected in policies and laws.
In this sense, the role of civil society is key since the country’s institutions usually request their support when they have to address disability issues because officials are not prepared to deal with people with disabilities. Nevertheless, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities is working on a Strategic Plan for People with Disabilities in Sudan that, once approved by the Government, should be adopted by all Ministries.
In the past, women have been poorly represented in organizations related to disability in Sudan. But now it is considered that women have the ability and are prepared within communities to talk about their rights.
Akhyar Omar, President of the Organization of Women with Disabilities in Sudan
About the Project
Bridging the Gap has the backing of Sudanese national institutions and is in line with the country’s development strategy, which includes support for the social inclusion of people with disabilities. The project seeks to help strengthen the participation of national civil society organizations and organizations for people with disabilities in policy formulation processes. The Organization of Women with Disabilities continues to work so that these inclusive policies pay special attention to women with disabilities.
31 May 2018
Posteado en : Reportage
A number of projects managed by FIAPP are taking part in the European Development Days 2018, with gender equality as the overarching theme
“Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest” is the slogan chosen for the European Development Days 2018, which will be held next week in Brussels. On 5 and 6 June, the capital of Europe will also be the capital of development.
This is because, this year, the days organized by the European Commission have gender equality as their central theme. As well as promoting the participation of women in the various forums, this edition hopes to make this a safer, more open and more inclusive world for all of them.
The most important development event in the world, which is open to the public, will pack 500 meetings into two days, in which more than 2,600 speakers will take part. Among them will be 7 Nobel laureates and 100 world leaders. FIAPP will also be attending the European Development Days (EDD) to represent four of the projects that it manages: EUROsociAL+, Bridging the Gap, Triangular Cooperation and EUROCLIMA+.
The EUROsociAL+ programme promotes cooperation and dialogue between the European Union and Latin America on promoting public policies to improve social cohesion and reduce inequality in Latin America.
However, for Enrique Martínez, Communication technician for the programme, “these public policies are only effective when they attack the inequality gap between men and women, a challenge and a goal that are strongly etched into the EUROsociAL+ DNA”.
This is why, in Brussels, the programme is sharing three advances in gender equality policies, in Paraguay and Mexico and, at the regional level, in Latin America. In addition European transfer on this subject.
The executive director of the Social Cabinet of the Office of the President of Paraguay, Mirta Denis, the executive secretary of the Mexican Institute for Women, Marcela Eternod, the director of Fundación Género y Sociedad, Ana Isabel García Quesada, and the French State Counsellor, Marisol Touraine, make up “100% female EUROsociAL+ panel as a contribution to this collective journey to full equality”, said Martínez. In addition, the round table discussion will be opened and closed by Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.
The Bridging the gap project is also taking part in the 2018 European Development Days, with a session on Women on the rise – no one left behind!, organized jointly by the EU Social Protection Systems Programme and the NGO Light for the World. This is the presentation video:
The aim of this session, according to Carmen Serrano, the project’s communications technician, is to “show that, in spite of the two-fold discrimination that disabled women face, they are spearheading sustainable development in low-income countries”. Four women will therefore share their experiences of gender and disability issues based on the different viewpoints tackled by the three viewpoints structuring the session: Social protection, leadership and entrepreneurship, and access to work and economic empowerment. It will be moderated by Hisayo Katsui, a researcher into and expert teacher on disabilities.
However, said Serrano, “The aim of presenting “Bridging the Gap” at this great European event is not just to share experiences but to create a dialogue and reflection on the role of women with disabilities in their communities”. This is why they have chosen to use the format of a Brainstorming lab. For 75 minutes, there will be constant interaction between the speakers and the audience so as to collect inputs and ideas on how everyone can create awareness among those around them of the contribution that women with disabilities can make to society.
The Evalúa project, which seeks to promote Public Policy Evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean, will attend the EDD’s for the first time to talk about some of the results obtained since its inception in 2014.
The project coordination team will attend this international cooperation forum to present one of its most recent projects, the results of the evaluation of the Costa Rican Gender Equality Policy. Also, the management, led by the Ministry of Planning (MIDEPLAN) evaluation team, will be represented by Ericka Valerio, from the Evaluation and Monitoring department.
The project is part of the ADELANTE programme, which aims to improve integration in Latin American and Caribbean countries and to contribute to their reaching their development goals (SDG). The EDD will be an important place for presenting the major conclusions and recommendations of that public policy evaluation and the planned use of this evaluation as an input to the following stages.
According to Alina Orrico, a project technician, “It is especially important to take part in this event, in which there are much fewer Latin American experiences than from other continents and, above all, because it is taking place in a year filled with emotions, demands and allusions to the need to present tangible answers that will guarantee gender equality.”
EUROCLIMA+ is the European Commission’s regional programme to promote environmentally sustainable development in Latin America. This action benefits the most vulnerable population groups, focusing in particular on gender, the impoverished rural population and indigenous peoples.
During the event, a video will be projected on Gender and Climate Change and an information map of Latin America will be drawn using gender-related information.
EUROCLIMA+ helps countries to develop their Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs to the Paris Agreement. NDCs reflect the commitment of the international community to facing up to the effects of climate change.
According to Alexandra Cortés, an expert in Communication and Visibility for the programme, NDCs “promote the inclusion of climate action in a policy framework that can lead to economic growth and social development, in addition to protecting the environment and climatic resilience”.
30 November 2017
Posteado en : Opinion
The Bridging the Gap project aims to contribute to the effective implementation of inclusive policies for people with disabilities in five middle and low income countries: Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Sudan
According to the World Report on Disability published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank (WB), disabled people make up 15% of the world population and 80% of these people live in developing countries. These figures make the link between disability and poverty more than evident. However, inclusive development, with its focus on disability, is not yet sufficiently integrated into international cooperation projects.
While developing countries are making great efforts to include the disabled population in the design of their public policies, in practice they still find many difficulties in implementing these policies due to a lack of economic and professional resources.
It is precisely this objective of contributing to the effective implementation of inclusive policies for people with disabilities that Bridging the Gap is pursuing. It is a European Union-funded project to promote the rights and effective inclusion of people with disabilities in five middle and lower income countries (Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Sudan).
To do this, the project proposes specific actions in each of the beneficiary countries in accordance with the needs raised by public institutions and disability organisations in each country. In Burkina Faso it will focus on improving universal access to health for people with disabilities; in Ecuador, on the right to inclusive education for children with disabilities; in Ethiopia, on promoting an adequate standard of living and social protection for people with disabilities; in Paraguay, on improving the collection and processing of data on disabilities and on promoting inclusive education; and in Sudan on improving universal access to employment for people with disabilities.
The fact that five specific country actions are planned means that it will be possible to obtain visible results and, more importantly, it will allow all the countries to appropriate the results. Bridging the Gap hopes that the good practices generated by this project will be replicable, that they will be taken up thanks to a knowledge management strategy and could be projected at a global transversal level, promoting the mainstreaming of the inclusion of people with disabilities in international cooperation.
The five areas which the project is focussing on are included in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the international instrument for the protection of the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. Article 32 of the Convention establishes that the party States must ensure that all their actions within the framework of international cooperation, including development programmes, are inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities is reinforced by the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new EU approved European Consensus on Development.
The inclusion of a focus on disability in international cooperation is, therefore, an urgent matter if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be effectively fulfilled and if nobody is to be left behind. Bridging the Gap will work to lay solid foundations to enable it.
The Bridging the Gap project will be officially presented next Tuesday 5 December in Brussels, as part of European Disability and Development Week (EDDW).
Carmen Serrano is the Communication Technician for Bridging the Gap II
07 September 2017
Posteado en : Interview
Olga Montúfar, president of the Fundación Paso a Paso and of the Global Network of Indigenous Persons with Disabilities, talks to us about her experience as an advocate for the rights of indigenous persons with disabilities
Olga was born 38 years ago in Mexico in the heart of the indigenous community of San Miguel Totolapan in the state of Guerrero. Polio left her with a motor disability that prevents her from walking.
An engineer by training, the difficulties she had to face in finding a job in her field led her to decide to dedicate herself to working to defend the rights of people with disabilities.
In July of this year she participated as an external expert in the opening seminar of Bridging the Gap II, a project funded by the European Union and led by FIIAPP aimed at contributing to socio-economic inclusion, equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries through institutional strengthening and more inclusive and responsible policies.
Participating in the project are three cooperation agencies of the European Union (Austria, Italy and Spain), a European organisation of persons with disabilities (EDF), a network of disability and development organisations (IDDC), the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation of the European Commission (DG DEVCO), as well as the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, as observers.
What are the main problems faced by indigenous people with disabilities?
The main problem we face is that this dual identity often makes it unclear which administration is responsible for developing the public policies or the programmes to benefit indigenous people with disabilities. The indigenous people with disabilities themselves also experience this same confusion. Many people within the movement of indigenous peoples identify themselves only as indigenous and not as persons with disabilities, and vice versa.
In addition, our active participation is not highly visible, and often family members, lack of economic resources and lack of accessibility limit our participation.
In the case of women, there is also a situation of triple intersectionality and the risk of multiple discrimination based on gender, indigenous identity and disability. What are the specific challenges of this group? What progress has been made in the situation of indigenous women with disabilities?
Indigenous women mainly face the chauvinistic structures of our autonomous governments, educational backwardness and scant support from other indigenous women. These limitations are multiplied in the case of indigenous women with disabilities because the negotiations regarding their participation in society are initiated in their family environment, where our right to autonomy is often not understood.
What measures need to be taken to ensure that indigenous people with disabilities benefit from the protection of the CDPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) in the same ways as other persons with disabilities?
The most important challenge is understanding the legal pluralism that exists within the indigenous systems and not falling into the trap of identifying indigenous communities with rural areas, because this is not always the case and leads, for example, to policies being designed for rural areas that cannot always be applied to indigenous communities living in urban settings.
The rural areas are governed by the legal instruments the State designs. In contrast, indigenous communities are governed by uses and customs established by their ancestors from their origins, and, over time, they gradually add new agreements for social coexistence suitable for new generations.
Additionally, it is necessary to make a rigorous interpretation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding the rights established by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For example, the Declaration does not mention the issue of accessibility, but it does talk about the right to enjoy our territories, which requires that we have mechanisms that guarantee access to them.
Bridging the Gap II involves the participation of a European organisation for persons with disabilities (EDF) and a network of disability and development organisations (IDDC). How do you feel about the incorporation of civil society organisations in international cooperation projects?
Generally the organisations of persons with disabilities are consulted when the projects require our participation, but we rarely have the economic capacity to get to the places where the information and projects are centralised. That makes it more difficult not only to be consulted but also to participate as direct stakeholders in those processes. Therefore I think that it is a very good thing for civil society organisations to accompany the process or to somehow provide input on the life experience and solutions closest to reality.
You participated as an external guest in the opening seminar of Bridging the Gap II. Tell me about your experience at this meeting. What do you think the main challenges of this project are?
For me it was a wonderful experience because it was the first time I had been able to be present at the kick-off of a major project. I consider the main challenge of this and other projects that work on disability and development issues to be the ability to get good information from the fundamental stakeholders. That’s why it’s very important that the organisations of persons with disabilities or of indigenous peoples include indigenous people with disabilities who are still living in their communities of origin, because many of the social organisations and leaders in this field have never been in an indigenous community and they assume that the needs are the same in all of them. But every community is different, just as an indigenous community is not the same thing as a rural area or an urban setting.