Empower Partnerships for Inclusive Communities Program
Reducing barriers and forging sustainable international partnerships to promote inclusive communities.
About Empower Partnerships
The Empower Partnerships program is a prestigious, two-way international exchange program for organizations working on or interested in working on disability-related issues and inclusion as articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This program aims to create sustainable organizational partnerships between organizations in the U.S. and overseas, expanding the capacity of each organization to promote disability inclusive communities, and to advance disability rights.
The objectives of the Empower Partnerships program are to:
- Remove barriers to community opportunities and resources;
- Support the ability of individuals and organizations to serve as leading disability advocates and promote policies and programs benefiting people with disabilities;
- Promote civil society by enabling individuals and organizations working with people with disabilities to share best practices and facilitate cross-sector cooperation through two-way professional exchanges;
- Ensure that people with diverse disabilities and their families and communities benefit from the transformational power of international exchanges; and,
- Build or expand sustainable networks of individuals and organizations serving people with disabilities.
Nineteen partnership teams have been formed to work together to promote disability inclusion and advance disability rights globally. Click on the map (left) to access an interactive map of teams located around the world.
Each partnership team includes three organizations:
- U.S. Partner: One organization in the U.S. with expertise in inclusive programming and practices.
- In-country Partners: Two organizations from another country including one disability advocacy organization and one civil society institution for which disability inclusion is a priority.
In-country partners are located in 19 different countries including:
Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia,
India, Israel, Kenya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Serbia,
South Korea, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Click the map below for details on the partnership teams.
The 19 partnership teams will share knowledge and expertise through reciprocal exchange programs, plan collaborative projects aimed to increase disability inclusion and access in in-country partner communities, and foster long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
In-country Exchange Visits
Dates: 7 - 10 days between June and September, 2013
Who: 19 U.S. partner representatives
Agenda: Interactive site visits and meetings with stakeholders and community members will enhance learning and add context for deeper understanding of in-country partner communities.
Dates: October 14 - November 2, 2013
Who: 38 in-country partner representatives, one from organization
Agenda: In-country partner representatives will travel to the U.S. for a three week program in three U.S. cities as outlined below:Eugene, Oregon
A one-week program with MIUSA that serves as an orientation to U.S. disability rights and a foundation for the overall experience in the U.S. Note: U.S. partners will not attend the Eugene program.U.S. Partner Communities
A 10-day exchange visit to U.S. partner host communities to share professional experiences, strengthen relationships, and plan or develop collaborative projects.Washington, D.C.
A 3-day closing conference to be attended by U.S. and in-country partner representatives.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was created to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. The Empower Partnerships program will have a particularly strong impact on partner organizations in less developed countries by assisting the efforts of people with disabilities to form alliances and leverage the commitments made by their governments to the CRPD to address barriers to inclusion. Learn more about the CRPD at www.un.org/disabilities/.
The Empower Partnerships program is sponsored by the Office of Citizen Exchanges, Professional Exchanges Division, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
In 2013, a total of four EMPOWER programs, designed to strengthen disability rights around the world, will take place. Each program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by different organizations as described below.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) EMPOWER Programs supports two-way professional exchanges designed to bolster disability rights in more than 20 countries from all geographic regions. ECA’s Professional Fellows Division is responsible for the oversight and management of the EMPOWER programs. The framework for EMPOWER was designed in corporation with the Office of the Secretary’s Special Advisor for International Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and supports a key U.S. objective to place disability rights at the heart of our nation’s foreign policy. In partnership with U.S. administrating organizations, American Councils for International Education, Discovering Deaf Worlds, Global Deaf Connections, and Mobility International USA, the EMPOWER programs support the U.S. Department of State’s Human Rights policy that advocates for the universal rights of all persons regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability. At its conclusion in fall 2013, the EMPOWER Programs will have brought an estimated 75 foreign disability rights leaders from every geographic region to the United States for two-to-four week professional development programming, and sent approximately 57 American stakeholders abroad for reciprocal exchanges.
Read first-hand experiences about the transformational power of disability rights advocates in international exchange.
Advocacy, leadership, and grassroots organizing for the rights of women with disabilities, including Dalit women with disabilities in Nepal.
Advocating for women with disabilities in Dominican Republic
Access to legal aid and justice in Ethiopia
Self advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities in Israel
Healthcare delivery and services access in Nigeria
Building awareness of sexual health and reproductive rights for women with disabilities in Macedonia.
@MobilityINTL, #MIUSAchat, @ProFellows, #ProFellows, #DisabilityRights
Contact: Cerise Roth-Vinson, MIUSA Chief Operating Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1(541) 343-1284