One billion people – yes, you read that correctly: one billion – are trapped in a cycle of exclusion and poverty. Why? About 15 % of the world’s population lives with a disability. In most countries, children with disabilities are excluded from school. If they are prevented from exercising their right to an education now, they will remain excluded as adults: excluded from the labour market, from political participation, from medical aid – in fact, from any realistic chance of security and prosperity. Their children in turn will be more likely to develop a disability themselves and thus become caught up in the vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion. If we want to tackle systemic poverty, we must first ensure that persons with disabilities are fully included in development efforts.
Against this background, ICCO Cooperation organized a disability inclusion training from 5th – 7th June 2017 at Pearl of the Nile Hotel in Jinja. The training which brought together about 15 participants aimed at building capacity of ICCO partners in disability inclusion in their programs. ICCO under a Consortium with other CSO’s based in the Netherlands is currently implementing a Program in Uganda called the Civic engagement Alliance. In Uganda, the program is being implemented based on three path ways; Creating space for civil society organizations, Realizing inclusive and sustainable food systems as well as Small-producers empowerment and access to markets. In order to achieve the objectives of the program ICCO found it essential to identify resource persons who would be trained in the area of Disability inclusion so that they can in turn be used to train the local partners that are implementing the Program in Uganda.
The training that was entirely facilitated by Persons with Disabilities focused on topics like understanding disability, rationale for disability inclusion, how to relate with PWDs, disability and inclusion from a rights based perspective, facilitation style and inclusion skills, how to ensure inclusion of people from different impairment groups among others.
Mr. Murali Padmanabhan the Gender and Disability inclusion Advisor at LIGHT FOR THE WORLD was the lead facilitator at the training called for respectful behavior while dealing with PWDs. Additionally, Mr. Manishimwe Emilian the Program Officer East, Central and Southern Region-ICCO said “The ultimate test of civilization is on how you treat fellow human beings”. He stressed that PWDs do not need special treatment but rather equal treatment to allow them be productive because disability does not necessarily mean inability.
From the training, participants committed to acquire basic knowledge on sign language, advocate for disability policies in Organizations, involve PWDs in all engagement meetings and trainings, always ensure that venues of meetings are accessible by all and treating PWDs with respect.
Together with persons with disabilities, we can work towards a fairer world for everybody. Let’s promote equal rights and chances for all. The only chance of success in tackling the systemic inequality, and poverty levels of disabled people throughout the world, is the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all components of society. By way of exclusion, disability causes poverty – and poverty causes disability.