AHP Bangladesh Consortium making disability inclusion a reality

Iag, Stories | August 14, 2023

Our Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) and partner organisation Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) provide technical advisory  support to the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) Bangladesh Consortium, a three-year program implemented by six NGOs (CARE Bangladesh, EKOTA (CAN DO), Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children, World Vision International) and funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in recognition of a joint responsibility to address humanitarian and medium-term recovery needs in one of the world’s largest refugee camps, Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. 

During a recent visit, IAG and CBM Australia met with the AHP Disability Inclusion Working Group, the Disability Inclusion Technical Unit, and implementing partner CDD, and joined field visits with Save the Children and World Vision. The purpose of the visit was to gather evidence on the successes, challenges, and impact and outcomes of the AHP Bangladesh Consortium in terms of disability inclusion.  

Learnings explored:

  • Outcomes of the project for beneficiaries
  • Enablers and barriers for disability inclusion in the AHP consortium project 
  • Lessons for CBM on how we support a project like AHP Bangladesh
  • Learnings for the sector on disability inclusion.  

Our visit included:

  • A field visit with the Disability Inclusion Working Group, hosted by Save the Children, into camps 13 and 4 to visit a health and learning centre. Here we saw the ways Save the Children has modified their Health Post to be disability inclusive and how they support children with disabilities in their learning centre. 
  • A field visit with World Vision into a host community to visit an Early Childhood Development Centre and Youth Club. Here we saw the ways World Vision has taken on disability inclusion to make their centre more inclusive and accessible, and the ways they are raising awareness in the community on disability inclusion and child protection through youth club drama performance activities.
  • Meetings with all Disability Inclusion Focal Points of the six AHP agencies.
  • Reflection with the Disability Inclusion Technical Unit at the CDD office in Ukhiya.
  • Joining the last Disability Inclusion Working Group meeting, and facilitating a reflection on outcomes, priorities and what achievements the team was most proud of.

During the trip, Sander Schot from IAG’s Global team and Chantelle Di Battista from CBM Australia saw an impressive uptake of disability inclusion by AHP agencies in a challenging environment where many barriers exist. The agencies came together to learn and exchange their knowledge, including how CBM’s IAG and CDD have supported field-level and high-level engagement, the expertise they brought to the table, and most importantly, having Mr. Ahsan, our Disability Rights Advocate working to continue to bring to the forefront the engagement and empowerment of people with disabilities through Self-Help Groups and Disability Support Committees. 

Field visit to Early Childhood Development Learning Centre

On a field visit to a host community with World Vision, Chantelle and Sander visited an Early Childhood Development Learning Centre where they met Yasmina, a young girl with a physical disability, and her mother. Her mother shared with them that World Vision has made such an impact. World Vision sourced a wheelchair for Yasmina and her mother, so her mother did not have to carry Yasmina to the centre, and further saw that she needed another assistive device in the classroom and sourced a custom chair for her to use. They have trained the teachers/facilitators to teach and include Yasmina in the centre. Parents also have the opportunity to volunteer and support the children in the classroom. It was wonderful to see the community that has been created.  

“All the children are my children. There is safety and security here. They are safe here. They learn here. They are all our children.” A mother in the community who supports the learning centre. 

Yasmina’s mother reflected that her daughter is happy at the Early Childhood Centre. Yasmina rushes her mum out the door to take her there. One other parent reflected that the children like school more than they like their parents.  

“We needed this 10 years ago. The centre has been so important for the children, but also for the parents and the community.” A parent of one of the children attending the centre. 

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