Building champions for change

Stories | February 16, 2024

Joanina and Ida are just two of many people with disability who, with the support of CBM Australia and its donors, are working to transform communities and governments to become more inclusive.  
 
In Kenya, through one of CBM’s community-based projects, leaders like Joanina have emerged.  Joanina first got involved in the project through a savings group which helped her build up a small business in beaded jewellery. But more than this, through the group she has connected and learnt from other women with disabilities. Women who are champions for change in their community, working with local government to improve people’s access to health care and social services.  
 
In 2023, Joanina joined and became a valuable member of the team evaluating the project. She helped gather insights around how local government has supported communities to improve sanitation and hygiene, and how people with disabilities are less stigmatised.  
 
What will continue, even when CBM’s project work is finished? A network of women with disabilities who are confident to talk to government about justice issues, sexual and gender-based violence, property rights and access to education. 

A woman smiling sitting on a desk in an outdoor field

Image caption: As a member of a savings group, Joanina has been able to set up a small business selling beaded jewellery. She also became a valuable member of the project evaluation team, bringing local knowledge and a deep understanding of disability issues.  

In the Asia-Pacific region, Ida is part of a project that has brought together people with disabilities from the Philippines, Indonesia and Laos who want to engage more deeply in inclusion advisory work. This is a fellowship programme for disability activists, led by CBM’s Inclusion Advisory Group, with the support of the International Disability Alliance.  
 
In Indonesia, despite graduating from one of the country’s most prestigious universities, Ida found it difficult to get a job. 

 
 “Discrimination still exists, and I don’t want any other people to experience that,” Ida says. “At least I can do something to make a change. Maybe not a big difference because I am just an individual part of this big world, but at least I can do something.”  

 
She is excited to connect with other disability activists as part of the fellowship, which provides specific and on-the-job training about how to influence and advise organisations to better address disability issues.  
 
Through the fellowship, Ida is working on an advisory project that involves a complex process of consultation and planning around how Indonesia collects, stores, and uses data about people with disabilities.  

 
“I have a lot of chances to improve my skills, having discussions with peers and having mentors.  I believe without this fellowship it would take me another 3-5 years before I was ready for this kind of work. “ 
-Ida 

A woman waving and smiling

Photo caption: Through the Advisory Capacity Development and Exchange ACE fellowship, Ida is building her own skills while improving the collection and use of disability data in Indonesia. 

 
Joanina was supported through the Meru Inclusive Trachoma WASH-plus Project. CBM Australia acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). 
 
Ida is involved in the Advisory Capacity Development and Exchange (ACE) Fellowship. 
Thanks to CBM Australia’s partner Equity Trustees for the foundational funding that has enabled this program to come to fruition, along with project partners the International Disability Alliance and UNFPA. 

 

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