WILD delegates participated in a Strategic Planning Meeting to address strategies for effective engagement and messaging on disabled women’s issues at the Beijing +25 CSO Forum, including networking, coalition building, and fostering partnerships with other civil society organizations (CSO).
The Forum, organized by the Asia-Pacific Beijing +25 Civil Society Steering Committee with support from UN Women’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), brought together CSOs to celebrate achievements and identify concerns on women’s empowerment. Regional WILD delegates had the opportunity to discuss strategies for deepening engagement of women with disabilities with broader women’s and other social justice movements.
Following are reflections from some of the delegates, about their experience and how it will impact their lives and work:
“It’s so great to work as a team with WILD sisters and interpreters. [They] gave me confidence to go in there and I was able to show other people what Deaf people face in China.”“This is the first time I’m learning about bigger issues for women with disabilities. I learned from [WILD] how to build the momentum. I learned so many things.”“It was my first time attending a Beijing+ conference. It was so helpful for me because this has enhanced my capacity to speak at an international level and build a network with people beyond my expertise areas.”“This time, WILD sisters and MIUSA joined [the Forum] so women with disabilities are mentioned in reports and workshops. It’s very empowering on an international level. I hope my sisters, including me, will go forward together.”
Since the first convening, Regional WILD delegates implemented their own community-level workshops based off the WILD model, MIUSA’s innovative leadership training model for women with disabilities. They have trained over 330 additional women and girls with disabilities in 15 communities.
Building off the momentum of their WILD community workshops, participants engaged in strategic planning sessions to develop their own self-organized initiatives for the final stage of the project. Upon returning to their communities, WILD delegates are now working on collaborative self-organized initiatives in each of their countries.
The self-organized initiatives are based on the strategic priorities identified by women with disabilities, with the aim of creating or strengthening networks of women with disabilities through organizing around a common goal. As part of the grant requirement, WILD delegates must include a strategic partnership component with a non-disability focused, mainstream development or human rights organization in order to ensure women with disabilities are engaged in mainstream networks and initiatives focused on women’s rights, human rights, or other social justice issues.
The Regional WILD-Asia Strategic Planning Forum program was made possible through the generous support of Mobility International USA’s Women’s Leadership Fund and Mill Neck International. The program was also supported by local coordinating partner organization, Disabled Peoples International (DPI) Asia Pacific.