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USAID Administrator Delivers Keynote at MIUSA’s Gender and Disability Conference

During MIUSA’s 10th Gender, Disability and Development Institute (GDDI), participants were honored to hear a welcoming keynote delivered remotely from Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

The Administrator’s message, which was read aloud by MIUSA staff at the GDDI retreat and reprinted here with permission, references USAID’s commitment to disability and gender equity.

I’m delighted to welcome you all to the 2022 Global Convening of the Gender, Disability and Development Institute. You have come long distances from three dozen countries to give voice to the importance of building partnerships among the international development community, the global disability community, and the gender equality community to ensure that our mutual efforts are more equitable, more efficient, and more sustainable.

Over the next two days, you will together devise strategies for including women and girls with disabilities across such important thematic areas as political participation, climate change, human rights, education, emergency response, violence prevention, and youth development and leadership.

These are the same concerns and priorities that we are highlighting at USAID through our Disability Program Fund, our greatly expanded Gender Equity and Women’s Empowerment efforts, and our recent commitments at the Global Disability Summit. With leadership from USAID’s Inclusive Development Hub, we are championing an intersectional approach to development that is inclusive of all–including women and girls with disabilities–and furthering our commitment to locally-led development consistent with the principle championed by disability advocates of “Nothing About Us Without Us.”

USAID has been proud to support MIUSA’s important work over the years, from assistance to the WILD program and production of important publications like the “Loud, Proud and Passionate” WILD facilitator’s guide, to MIUSA’s work to empower persons with disabilities in Armenia to live independently, MIUSA is truly transforming lives for the better. As a former WILD participant, Kanika from Cambodia, attested:

“Today, I am a woman in power and a woman with confidence. The WILD program gave me the confidence I needed to do my work.”

Kanika, former WILD participant from Cambodia

Following this convening, we at USAID look forward to learning of your conclusions and recommendations, and benefiting from your leadership, strategic insights, and collaboration in furtherance of equitable development that is driven by women with disabilities.

In conclusion, I want to thank MIUSA, the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability, and in particular the remarkable Susan Sygall and staff at MIUSA for their leadership for more than four decades in steadfast support for the rights of all persons with disabilities, in particular women and girls with disabilities.

As Susan wrote in her moving memoir, No Ordinary Days:

“May the concept of disability rights be embraced by all, so that the possibility it holds to change the world is realized.”

Susan Sygall, in No Ordinary Days

Thank you for your tireless efforts to achieve this important goal.

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