Mobility International USA (MIUSA) has launched a 9-month project to address community and government responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, Haiti, Mongolia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka. MIUSA reached out to our network of disabled women leaders across the globe, and found reports of increased domestic violence, exclusion, discrimination, and de-prioritization of disabled women and girls during the current pandemic were universal.
This crisis opens an opportunity for disabled women leaders and activists to join forces with leading organizations to collaborate on inclusive gender-based violence (GBV) services and programming to protect and save the lives of disabled women and girls during this immediate emergency. Partnerships with non-disability specific development and organizations will also lead towards long-term connections and relationships that will be sustainable beyond the current pandemic and will lead to more inclusive responses during future crises.
The project, Mobilizing Disabled Women Leaders for Inclusive Responses to Gender-Based Violence during the COVID Pandemic, will take place in two phases. During Phase 1, MIUSA will work with local partners in the six countries to convene stakeholder consultations and will administer small grants for partners to carry out country-specific action plans. MIUSA will also host three webinars during this phase, which will bring international experts to deliver critical information that may support the action plans of partners in all six countries.
Local partners include Associação Amigos Metroviários dos Excepcionais (AME) in Brazil, Filles à Besoins Spéciaux pour la Réforme (FIBESR) in Haiti, Culture Center for the Deaf in Mongolia, Family Centered Initiative for Challenged Persons (FACICP) in Nigeria, Women with Disabilities Yearning for Equal Opportunities (WoDYEO) in Sierra Leone, and Employer’s Federation of Ceylon (EFC) in Sri Lanka.
Action plans will be designed and led by these local partners based on priorities identified in each country. Activities will promote inclusive responses to GBV for women with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed activities include creating a hotline for cases of GBV, hosting workshops or trainings on GBV and inclusion of women with disabilities in initiatives, developing handbooks and audiobooks for women with disabilities and partners, and hosting a radio broadcast, among other activities.
Phase 2 of the project will focus on documentation and dissemination of outcomes and strategies learned throughout the project. This will include production of videos from all six countries, in addition to two more webinars hosted by MIUSA focused on sharing good practices with a global audience. Partners will develop an accessible communications packet and disseminate it publicly and through the use of social media.
MIUSA is in a unique position to leverage the diverse expertise of our global network of disabled women leaders in order to implement solutions during this immediate crisis. This project will continue through April 2021 and is funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL).
As a non-profit organization, the mission of MIUSA is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. Since 1981, MIUSA has offered international exchange programs for over 2,300 youth, adults and professionals with and without disabilities from more than 135 countries.