2019 WILD Advances Disabled Women’s Leadership

Two young black women face each other, smiling, as they clasp hands and stroll through a forested green landscape
Photo by Kiefel Photography
This past summer, Mobility International USA convened its ninth cohort of disabled women leaders and grassroots activists from around the world.
July 13, 2019 - August 3, 2019

Twenty-two disabled women activists from Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa convened for the 9th international Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD), held July 13 – August 3, 2019. WILD is MIUSA's signature exchange program on disabled women's leadership.

Discover the ongoing impact of the WILD program.

A Diverse Delegation

To date, over 242 women from 84 countries have graduated from the WILD program.

Selected from a pool of over 300 applicants, the 2019 delegates represented Albania, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cambodia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mongolia, Myanmar, Panama, Philippines, Romania, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Turkey, Uruguay, Vanuatu, and Zimbabwe.

These activists, representing diverse disabilities, brought expertise in fields such as law, policy, business, human rights, youth empowerment, education, health, media, HIV/AIDS, and violence prevention.

Learn how WILD delegates are selected.

Building Capacity as Leaders

Embracing the “Loud, Proud and Passionate®” theme, WILD women moved forward in their personal and professional roles as community, national and world leaders. Through a series of intensive seminars and site visits, delegates focused on using the media, implementing policy and legislation, networking with international allies, and improving employment and educational opportunities. Delegates also participated in team building activities such as an outdoor challenge course and river rafting, and learned about U.S. culture by staying with local families.

One of the unique components of the WILD program was the Gender, Disability and Development Institute (GDDI), where WILD delegates met with representatives from international development agencies. From July 22-25, this innovative retreat engaged participants in direct dialogue about strategies for including women and girls with disabilities in development projects throughout the world.

Find more information about GDDI 2019.

Words From WILD Women

Envisioning the impact on her work, an activist from Malawi who has a physical disability shared her motivation for participating in the program:

“Women and girls with disabilities are often overtly excluded from [international development] programs, or do not participate due to discrimination, lack of accommodations such as sign language interpreters, lack of accessible transportation, inaccessible facilities and materials, etc. Women with disabilities often do not have access to information about the services, and may not believe that they can, or know that they have the right to participate in these programs.”

An activist who is blind and from Albania adds:

“Having the possibility to interact with different strong women united by the same goal, I am sure I would have the chance to learn from amazing women, who just like me, are fighting to improve themselves and make an impact in their communities.”

Thank you to our WILD Sponsors!

Major Sponsors

MacArthur Foundation

Channel Foundation

Rotary Foundation

Community Sponsors

University of Oregon Foundation

Teach a Man to Fish Foundation

Division of Equity and Inclusion, University of Oregon

Nike

Zonta International Foundation

Lane Community College

St. Mary's Catholic Church

Wesley Center Foundation

WILD is also supported by individual donors who contributed to MIUSA’s Women’s Leadership Fund, as well as many local organizations, businesses, homestay families and volunteers in Eugene and Springfield.

You too can support the life-changing WILD program! Make your tax-deductible donation today or contact MIUSA about sponsorship opportunities.

Event location: 

Eugene, Oregon, United States

Photo Gallery: