On October 10-12, 2022, DCDD organised the kick-off of a 3-year ‘Power of Disability Inclusion’ trajectory for Uganda-based civil society partners of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This training was organised in collaboration with Light for the World Uganda and SeeYou Foundation, as part of the We Are Able! programme (funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
The trajectory in Uganda complements the trajectory DCDD started earlier this year with a live session in The Hague and several online sessions (on the meaning of inclusion and on participatory grantmaking). The trajectory enables learning and exchange for consortia that receive funding from the Dutch Ministry under the Strengthening Civil Society (SCS) framework (e.g. Power of Voices, Power of Women, SRHR partnerships, WPS programmes, VOICE, Leading from the South). By offering on-the-ground training and technical support, we aim to create very practical opportunities for learning and directly implementing these lessons in the consortia programmes.
With over 45 participants from 8 consortia joining the training, we look back at a successful kick-off training with fruitful exchanges and great action plans for follow-up. It was uplifting to see the commitment and eagerness to be inclusive among the participating consortia.
Monday morning the training was opened by Judith Adocorach of the Dutch Embassy, Deborah Iyute of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) and Silvester Kasozi, country director of Light for the World Uganda. Day 1 was all about disability awareness. What does disability actually mean and how do you take into account the respectful approach of people with disabilities in your use of language? Musa Mwambu, a visually impaired advisor, inspired many participants with his work as Disability Inclusion Advisor at Light for the World Uganda. He clearly stated that “Disability = impairment x barrier” as people are only disabled by society denying their rights. By removing the barriers, disability will no longer exist and only the impairment will remain. Multi-stakeholder collaboration is needed to remove the barriers and achieve an inclusive society.
How do we remove those barriers?
Facilitator Paulien Bruijn (Into Inclusion) explained clearly that it is first of all and most important to look at disability from a Rights-Based approach. Just like any other person, people with disabilities are persons who have the right to education, health and protection and who can decide for themselves. Society has the duty to remove the barriers that block participation, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Facilitator Ambrose Murangira (Thematic Director Disability Inclusion at Light for the World Uganda) adds from his own experience as a Deaf person that he can perfectly communicate having his personal Sign Language Interpreter around. It is only a matter of having the right conditions in place in order to participate fully in society. The same was exemplified by the various Disability Inclusion Facilitators who shared their valuable knowledge and experience throughout the training!
What are Disability Inclusion Facilitators?
To involve and create opportunities for young people with disabilities, Light for the World Uganda has developed a Disability Inclusion Facilitator (DIF) mentorship programme to train young people to become professional inclusion experts. After a 6 to 9 month mentorship period, they are ready to train and advise organisations at community and district level on how to become more disability inclusive. Thus, they are trained professionals that support awareness and implementation of disability inclusion in mainstream programmes, services, organisations and workplaces. All DIFs have a disability themselves and as such speak from experience and are change makers and role models. They create awareness and urgency in the community for disability inclusion and help organisations with monitoring, evaluation, action planning and technical support regarding their disability inclusion process. During the training in Kampala, around 15 Disability Inclusion Facilitators joined (parts of) the training to interact and share their experiences with participants and to discuss about follow-up and action planning after the training, as they will be closely involved in further guidance.
Action plans after the training
The last day of the training was devoted to assessing how inclusive the participating organisations currently are and which actions can contribute to improved inclusion in the short or long term. All consortia made an action plan and indicated on which topics LFTW Uganda and the DIFs can support them. Great plans have come up!
We are very much looking forward to seeing the implementation of the plans made in the near future, because we believe that together #WeAreAble to make disability inclusion work!