Countries and communities across the globe are grappling with practical questions about how to put into place effective independent living systems that truly place the ownership where independent living belongs – with people with disabilities.
Armenia is a small country with a powerful and organized disability community that is committed to doing it right. How? By drawing on existing laws and treaties, influencing policy reform, holding governments accountable, advising UN agencies, collaborating with other advocates (including parent-led groups), and partnering with disability leaders to exchange and draw on lessons learned.
This is where MIUSA comes in.
With support from USAID/Armenia, MIUSA partnered with two WILD alumni/disabled women-led organizations, Agate Rights Defense Center for Women with Disabilities (Agate) and Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities (EREO), to establish disability-led Independent Living Resource Centers (ILRCs), which are successfully operating in two regions of Armenia outside of the capital.
Now, the growing independent living movement in Armenia, led by the two ILRCs and disability community leaders, is working with government and civil society agencies to take another momentous step, by implementing a national Personal Assistance Services (PAS) system.
In 2022, Armenia adopted an order on the establishment of PAS. Our partners, Agate and EREO, are the driving force advocating and educating government about what those services should look like. MIUSA and our partners are collaborating to bring together experts from Armenia and the U.S. to explore different PAS systems, and tease out critical components for success as well as lessons learned about what to avoid.
Through advocacy actions, media campaigns, and strengthening disability leadership, our partners are influencing policy and changing public opinion toward equipping Armenians with disabilities with resources to live independently. Stay tuned for the impact of their efforts!