Twenty-five disabled women activists from Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa will convene for the 9th international Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD), to be held July 13 – August 3, 2019. WILD is MIUSA's signature exchange program on disabled women's leadership.
A Diverse Delegation
To date, over 220 women from 83 countries have graduated from the WILD program.
Selected from a pool of over 300 applicants, the 2019 delegates will represent Albania, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cambodia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ghana, Haiti, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Romania, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Turkey, Uruguay, Vanuatu, and Zimbabwe.
These activists, representing diverse disabilities, bring expertise in fields such as law, policy, business, human rights, youth empowerment, education, health, media, HIV/AIDS, and violence prevention.
Building Capacity as Leaders
Embracing the “Loud, Proud and Passionate®” theme, WILD women will move forward in their personal and professional roles as community, national and world leaders. Through a series of intensive seminars and site visits, delegates will focus on using the media, implementing policy and legislation, networking with international allies, and improving employment and educational opportunities. Delegates will also participate in team building activities such as an outdoor challenge course and river rafting, and learn about U.S. culture by staying with local families.
One of the unique components of the WILD program is the Gender, Disability and Development Institute (GDDI), where WILD delegates will meet with representatives from international development agencies. From July 22-25, this innovative retreat will engage participants in direct dialogue about strategies for including women and girls with disabilities in development projects throughout the world.
Words From WILD Women
Envisioning the impact on her work, an activist with a physical disability from Afghanistan shares her goals for participating in the 2019 program:
“During WILD, I expect to learn how others have changed their society for the benefit of women and girls with disabilities, including what was needed to effect change. I would like to hear from the experts about our rights and the advocacy tools we can use to ensure the implementation of the CRPD. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization, I will share the experiences and knowledge I gain from WILD to build the capacity of women and girls with disabilities as well as our stakeholders for daily advocacy activities for changing disability laws.”
Similar, an activist who is Deaf from Burundi states:
“In our country, women have always been relegated to the backyard, and if she is a Deaf woman, she is the victim of double discrimination. Some partners and development actors advocate for [hearing] women but are reluctant to work through communication barriers to integrate Deaf women. As a Deaf leader who works with and for Deaf women, fighting for their rights, it seems to me that participating in the WILD 2019 program will not just benefit me, but all Deaf women in Burundi.”
Be a WILD Supporter!
The WILD program is made possible through the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation, Channel Foundation and the many donors who contributed to MIUSA’s Women’s Leadership Fund. The program is also supported by sponsoring organizations and businesses, as well as homestay families and volunteers.
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