On September 12, the annual Regional Learning and Sharing Event for the We are Able! programme took place in Burundi. From seven countries, participants came together for one week to reflect on the past year, share experiences, learn, discover and further develop plans for 2023. All with one mission: to bring change in societies so that people with disabilities can fully participate.
What do you hope to learn and what can you contribute? At the start of the conference, these two questions were posed. Participants were asked to map clear expectations for the event and also to contribute actively in discussions to create a positive learning environment.
We are Able! runs projects in Burundi, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan, in a consortium with six organisations: ZOA, VNG International, ADF, SeeYou, The Hague Academy and Leprosy Mission International. Country coordinators and representatives of all organisations were present during the conference. Over forty participants attended several plenary sessions and workshops.
Inclusive PIP approach
Inge Vos, Sector Specialist Livelihood & Food Security for consortium partner ZOA, spoke about inclusive food security and the PIP (Plan Intégré Paysan) approach. With the PIP approach, households are challenged to improve agricultural production by visualizing their ideas for the coming years. In Burundi, We are Able! applies this for people living with a disability.
During the conference, participants visited project sites in two villages: Muremera and Karurama, to learn from experiences there. We are Able! adapted the PIP approach to include people with disabilities, so that they can actively take part in realizing a joint vision for the livelihood of their household. This visit highlighted the positive change in the position of people with disabilities within the community.
Furthermore, the event included key sessions on topics such as the shift of power, inclusive women leadership, storytelling (regarding Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning), lobby and advocacy, and the application of the Local Inclusion Agenda. A roadmap for implementing this agenda was presented during the event.
Another key component was the presentation of new communication guidelines, created to help everyone involved in We are Able! to communicate in a disability inclusive manner. The participants emphasized that the exercises and group work during the sessions helped a lot to understand and apply new knowledge they gained. Teams from the different countries shared their experiences and collectively made new plans for 2023, based on the knowledge shared.