New fellowship building inclusion capacity in the disability movement

Iag, Stories | August 28, 2023

An investment from an Australian Philanthropist is changing the way we are building disability inclusion capacity across Asia and the Pacific.

CBM Australia’s own Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) is working together with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) to deliver a new fellowship supporting six individuals from the disability movement in Asia. The fellowship is part of a larger project focusing on building disability inclusion in the Asia Pacific region and is funded by CBM Australia’s philanthropic partner, Equity Trustees.

People with disabilities are often among the poorest and most at risk members of the global community. They have a right to essential services like health, education, employment, and transportation but are often denied access due to barriers and discrimination. Governments agree and have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) however there is often a gap between policy commitment and change on the ground. This project will build capacity within Organisations of People with Disabilities (OPDs) to advise governments and international development partners to address this chasm. Only then will millions of lives be impacted by the positive ripple effect.

Over the two years of the project, CBM’s IAG is working alongside peak OPDs to ensure our activities complement and catalyse on existing initiatives in the Disability Movement and strengthen the Disability Movement as a whole. Together we will train people with disabilities across Asia and the Pacific to advise and build others’ capacity to drive lasting systemic change in the region.

In the Asia component of the project, CBM’s IAG is working with the International Disability Alliance (IDA), training people with disabilities from across the Asia region to provide localised advice on the issues that matter to them. In doing this, we will provoke a sustained positive ripple of change in development and humanitarian efforts.

The six fellows, Aikeo Koomanivong and Samnieng Thammavong from Lao PDR, Ida Puji Astuti Maryono Putri and Sholih Muhdlor from Indonesia, Janine Cruzet and Mona Liza J. Labitoria-Visperas from the Philippines, all have extensive and diverse experience in the disability movement within their own country context. Over the one-year fellowship, they will be supported by both IAG and IDA to translate disability inclusion into practice, providing inclusion advice to international development stakeholders, such as UN agencies, Development Banks, International NGOs, and bilateral donors. The cadre of skilled advisors we are training will then implement systemic change through supporting governments and international aid organisations to address inequalities and injustices faced by people with disabilities.

So far, the fellows have already completed several learning activities including webinars, assignments, mentoring and individual reflection and goal setting exercises, and recently attended a five-day face-to-face workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia.

CBM has been working for over 115 years to address the link between poverty and disability. We work in over 20 countries, investing in long-term, authentic partnerships with the Disability Movement and multiplying our impact by delivering a combination of inclusive community-based programmes, advocacy for national and global policy change and inclusion advice to other organisations. We specialise in disability inclusion in development and humanitarian programs, and since 2008, CBM’s IAG has provided ongoing technical input to the $4 billion Australian aid program and supported many organisations including World Vision, Plan and Oxfam. Our IAG is made up of a global network of advisors, OPDs and researchers working in partnership with the disability movement to spark systemic change for inclusion.

Millions of people with disabilities and their families in the Asia Pacific region will potentially benefit from the eventual policy and program changes resulting from the advice provided by the Fellows. The training of the fellows within Asia is complemented by additional capacity development activities with nine OPDs in the Pacific, co-delivered with our partner the Pacific Disability Forum. The project will result in the fellows using their advisory skills and lived experience of disability to inform and agitate for change through providing advice to a minimum of 10 international governments, aid organisations, and major partners (such as UNICEF and the World Food Programme) who are urgently seeking this expertise. When governments and organisations like UN agencies are equipped with disability inclusion know-how, they in turn can drive this wave of change to ensure better outcomes for people with disabilities across the region. As capacity builds so will the change, leading to a more inclusive, equal, and just Asia Pacific region.

Thanks to CBM Australia’s partner Equity Trustees for the foundational funding that has enabled this program to come to fruition.

For more information

Visit our Fellowship page

Visit our project page

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