Moving Towards Inclusion: Stories of People with Disabilities in International Development
Moving Towards Inclusion documents success stories of inclusion of people with disabilities in international development. Historically, international development programs have taken a “medical model” approach to working with people with disabilities, concerned with treatment of disability, or care for people with disabilities, through specialized programs. Until now, little attention has been directed toward inclusion of people with disabilities in the full range of development programs: health, literacy, civil society, environmental, microenterprise, education, disaster relief, etc. The stories in this publication illustrate strategies that facilitate inclusion as a matter of human rights, through which people with disabilities can take their rightful place as integral, contributing members to the development of their communities.
Inclusion is often spoken about in general terms, but the stories in this book portray practical examples from the field, by organizations that have embraced inclusive strategies. The examples vary, and come from development practitioners as well as from people with disabilities who are activists. We have titled the book Moving Towards Inclusion in recognition that that there is still a long way to go before people with disabilities are included fully in all stages of the development process. Nevertheless, these stories represent the beginnings of change that will benefit people with and without disabilities alike.
In addition to changes in the field, there has also been progress at the U.S. national policy level. For example, legislation passed in 2003 and 2004 by Congress, under the leadership of Senator Tom Harkin, requires international development organizations to implement inclusive practices as they plan, carry out and report on relief and reconstruction work in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Disability Policy articulates a commitment to equalize opportunities and promote inclusion of people with disabilities within USAID programs, in countries where USAID sponsors programs, and in foreign assistance programs. In 2004, USAID issued an Acquisition and Assistance Policy Directive (AAPD) requiring that a provision supporting USAID’s Disability Policy be incorporated into solicitations and awards for contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.1 Another AAPD issued in 2005 directs that: “contractors and recipients will comply…with the intent of USAID’s Policy on Standards for Accessibility for the Disabled in USAID-Financed Construction.” 2
This publication begins with a summary of lessons learned from the USAID-supported Building an Inclusive Development Community project, through which MIUSA provided technical assistance to five U.S. based international development organizations to develop and implement inclusive development strategies. To broaden the scope of experience represented, MIUSA solicited success stories from other organizations, including from outside the United States. Readers may note variations in wording used by different authors, as disability terminology varies from region to region. We have edited for consistency, but as much as possible we have used the authors’ original terms to keep the voice of those who submitted their stories.
Throughout the publication, we have highlighted lessons to be learned from each story in "what works" boxes. We have also noted which Millennium Development Goals are addressed in each story. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted as part of the United Nations' Millennium Declaration in 2000, have been agreed to by both governments and international development organizations, and provide the framework for development work in the 21st century. These critical targets, set to be met in 2015, will only be accomplished if the 500 million people with disabilities throughout the world are integrally involved in solving the problems that they address.
For more comprehensive information, resources and recommendations on how to include people with disabilities in international development, we invite you to use MIUSA’s Building an Inclusive Development Community: A Manual on Including People with Disabilities in International Development Program and other resources available on our website: www.miusa.org/publications
Moving Towards Inclusion is a work in progress. As we gather new examples of successful inclusion from the field, we will add them to the website. We invite you to assist us in this endeavor by sending examples to MIUSA that will contribute to this body of knowledge.
We appreciate the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development for the Building an Inclusive Development Community project. We would also like to thank the leaders with disabilities and development practitioners around the world who contributed to this resource. We look forward to further collaboration with disability organizations and international development programs as we work together to create a more just and sustainable world in our lifetime.
1Acquisition & Assistance Policy Directive (AAPD) From the Director, Office of Acquisition & Assistance Issued: December 17, 2004; AAPD 04-17 Supporting USAID’s Disability Policy in Contracts, Grants, and Cooperative Agreements. http://www.usaid.gov/business/business_opportunities/cib/pdf/aapd04_17.pdf
2Acquisition & Assistance Policy Directive (AAPD) From the Director, Office of Acquisition & Assistance Issued: June 16, 2005; AAPD 05-07 Supporting USAID’s Standards for Accessibility for the Disabled in Contracts, Grants, and Cooperative Agreements, http://www.usaid.gov/business/business_opportunities/cib/pdf/aapd05_07.pdf