Disability Inclusion for Better Child Protection
80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries. Many NGOs are not aware of this fact and they don't reach people with disabilities in their programs, despite their role to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion. Civic Engagement Alliance aims to decrease inequality by empowering organizations including people with disabilities.
One of the organizations of Civic Engagement Alliance is Ratana Metta Organization (RMO), an organization which implements child protection programs. Another organization of the alliance is TLM, which builds capacity on disability inclusion for each organization of the Alliance.
RMO, as a local Myanmar organization, transformed as an organization from awareness on disability towards developing an own disability inclusion policy. The reasons to develop this policy were:
- Issues related with disability are being identified in all their projects and they felt concerned;
- Lack of inclusive M&E tools which makes it difficult for them to have data on disability inclusion;
- They realized that some of their partners and donors like UNICEF and ILO are asking for disability data for new projects.
Therefore, with a disability inclusion policy in place, they intended to create their own inclusive M&E tools. What's more, they wanted to sustain the process of disability inclusion beyond the Civic Engagement Alliance program.
Disability Inclusion Score Card
As Disability Inclusion Advisor (DIA) in the Civic Engagement Alliance, TLMM introduced the Disability Inclusion Score Card (DISC) to the Alliance. DISC is a needs assessment tool to identify ‘gaps’ between current conditions and desired conditions or 'wants'. Each organization can use this tool to reflect on how to include marginalized groups, especially people with disabilities, in their development projects. As part of the Civic Engagement Alliance program, RMO completed the baseline DISC in 2018 and invited TLMM to give a one-day disability awareness training in October 2018.
The Vice-President of RMO attended the training. She said: ‘We are now aware of disability and poverty and why mainstream organizations need to include people with disability in the projects or organizations.’ After the training, TLMM and RMO created a good working relationship when it comes to disability issues. In 2019, TLMM and RMO reviewed a mid-term (progress line) DISC and a policy on disability was being drafted.
No One Left Behind
On 2nd September 2019, TLMM and RMO conducted another one-day disability awareness training for RMO staff in ShweKyin Township, Bago. Myo Aung, a man with visual impairment, facilitated activities on many disability topics and participants actively participated and discussed their perceptions towards people with disabilities in society. Due to good feedback from the staff, RMO included children with disabilities in their vocational training and RMO is aiming for “No One Left Behind.” Including people with disabilities in mainstream projects was not easy, however it went well in RMO projects with the inclusion ethos of RMO staff members.
Without TLMM in the CEA project, RMO could walk this inclusion journey with a low speed. Walking together as an Alliance on this journey seems to rapidly promote the rights of people with disabilities by addressing barriers they face.