Explained: International cooperation and DPO's role

20 September 2019

The following are international cooperation projects run by or with our members around the world. A recurring challenge when working with DPOs in developing countries is their small capacity and reliance on volunteer work for time-intensive processes such as application and report writing. Limitations in support from local government and institutions can result in disregarded agreements, and corruption by both national and international institutions may exacerbate difficulties. However, through a growing network of DPO cooperation, international partnerships are vectors of advocacy, capacity building, and knowledge production.

Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD)

Based on the experience of their 15 000 members and from more than 35 years’ involvement in international development co-operation, the Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD) supports DPOs to become experts on the UNCRPD, with a particular focus on disability inclusion in education and early childhood development, economic empowerment and disaster risk reduction. NAD support DPOs in these three thematic areas : strengthening capacity in the UNCRPD and SDGs, advocacy, training/facilitation as well as monitoring and evaluation. NAD supports the development of models that promote disability mainstreaming, in particular, at district and community level, and can be replicated in-country and/or adapted for implementation in other contexts. You can read more about NAD’s approach to disability inclusion in economic empowerment here

Contact: Eirin Næss-Sørensen – eirin.naess-sorensen@nhf.no

Commonwealth Disabled People's Forum

Developing the Capacity of DPOs in the Commonwealth Countries South Pacific to implement the UNCRPD was a project conducted by UK-based World of Inclusion in cooperation with the Pacific Forum and the Papua New Guinea Assembly of Disabled Persons (PNGADP). It was funded by Commonwealth Foundation and ran from September 2010 to September 2011.

Through the project, 8 Commonwealth countries were supported to adapt and ratify the CRPD and/or provide technical support where implemented – this was done through orientation and assessing DPO locations and capacities before identifying other supporting partners and stakeholders. A regional young disabled leader network was developed across countries for peer-to-peer support on ensuring compliance with the Convention, and each DPO was assisted with the development of a strategy to ensure post-project sustainability.

Contact: Richard Rieser - rlrieser@gmail.com

Disabled People’s International (DPI) Italy

«Emancipation Research on Women with Disabilities in Gaza and Palestine West » is a project funded by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency within the Project “PARTICIP - ACTION: Active participation and social inclusion of disabled people in Palestine through the empowerment of local DPOs » and managed by EducAid with support of other stakeholders such as Italian network on disability and development (RIDS) which DPI (Disabled People’s International) Italy is member and AIFO. Three local DPOs were involved: The Palestinian General Union of People with Disability (GUPWD), Stars of Hope (Ramallah) and Answat– Palestinian Feminist Centre for Gender and Sexual Freedoms.

The project –based on theory illustrated by Mark Oliver and Robert Chambers - took place in Palestine between 2014 and 2016, and involved women with disabilities, their mothers and sisters, and community-based rehabilitation volunteers. This type of research provides a valuable tool to foster the production of transferable knowledge on disability (particularly on women with disabilities).

As a result, the number of persons with disabilities involved with DPOs increased, training on managerial skills improved activities and visibility of DPOs, and media activists provided training to 120 women with disabilities in DPOs. Following its success, the initiative was re-conducted in the West Bank. The Emancipation Disability Research (EDR) are based on the art. 31 of CRPD stressing that the data collection should “to identify and address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights”. Currently the RIDS conduct the EDR in Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mongolia, Mozambique.

More information:

Circle Association for International Cooperation and Development

Circle Association for International Cooperation and Development is an Italian voluntary association established in 2013 which supports two projects in Kenya with local partners. St Claire Primary and Secondary School for the Deaf, the only school for students with hearing impairment in Kenya’s Vihiga County (612.000 inhabitants) is supported through the construction of its infrastructure and resources such as a well. St. Joseph Rehabilitation Center in Luanda, Western Kenya deals with the recruitment, hospitality, education and family reintegration of neighborhood children living in the street. The Center was opened in 2008, and fully renovated with the support of Circle Association in 2016 through a permanent support program of construction assistance funded by group of permanent private donors who also provide ordinary expenses such as school fees, didactic material, and cloth. It can host up to 30 children who may stay a year during which they start attending school again or suited informal education before being reintegrated into their families. The center has a 60% reintegration success rate.

Contact: Maurizio Marrone: maurizio_marrone@fastwebnet.it

Before and after photo of a classroom
Before and after photo of a building

Fundación ONCE in America Latina (FOAL)

Fundacion ONCE America Latina (FOAL) was created in 1998 by ONCE a Spanish association of services for the blind established in 1938 and funded by the Spanish lottery. While ONCE now includes a range of disabilities in its praxis, FOAL focuses specifically on blind people, and have supported the consolidation of the Latin American Movement of Blind People. Their programs are always cofounded by local partners, as their aim is to create sustainable support services. They engage in a range of project including the following:

  • Their program Agora aims to improve the employability of blind persons through expertise based in local authorities or within civil society depending on the country.
  • Through the creation of special education centers in Uruguay and Paraguay, they centralize funding distribution and staff training in order to ensure mainstream schools can access resources to accommodate blind children after schools for blind children close.
  • In Brazil they worked with a company to make their internal software accessible to blind users and said company has now hired over a dozen blind employees. In Argentina they worked with Santander Bank implementing programs to include blind people within their staff.

Contact: Javier Guemes Pedraza - Jagup@once.es

Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark (DPOD)

Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark (DPOD) cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which funds partnerships between Danish DPOs and DPOs and federations in developing countries. Collaboration and cooperation with federations or unions of DPOs makes it easier to attract funding. In Uganda they work closely with the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPO) and have influenced the parliament to secure seats for persons with disabilities. In Nepal, they have strengthened organisational and technical capacities of DPOs, where there is a sustained effort to support the district or provincial structures.

Contact: Mette Müller Kristensen - mmk@handicap.dk

Disability Partnership Finland

Disability Partnership Finland work is three-folded. Firstly, DPF has eight Finnish member organizations who represent different disability groups and which implement disability specific development projects in around 20 countries. Secondly, currently DPF provides regular support and consultancy for 10 Finnish mainstream development organisations and other actors to ensure disability inclusion in their development projects and programs in eight countries. Thirdly, DPF advocates and does awareness raising for fulfilment of human rights of the persons with disabilities in the Global South. To ensure disability inclusion in the mainstream development projects, tailored training with and by local DPOs with their expertise plays key role in both Global South and North. Further, networking and co-operation between implementers and local DPOs during the whole project cycle is supported.

Contact: Matleena Järviö - matleena.jarvio@vammaiskumppanuus.fi

Access Israel

Access Israel, the biggest organisation in Israel representing persons with disabilities, and Hilfsgemeinschaft (HGB), the Austrian Association in support of the blind and visually impaired, have organised various joint activities with the support of the Austrian Embassy, to bring Austrian entrepreneurs to Israel for an exchange of ideas and projects. 21 persons who run their own business came together to participate in conferences in Vienna, TelAviv and Düsseldorf. It also included organising side events at the Conference of State Parties in New York together. The objective is to work collectively to bring together companies working in ICT and persons with disabilities Israel, Austria, and the USA. In the Access Israel Convention every year, there are Austrian Companies presenting their work and how it could be replicated in Israel and vice versa. Also they work collectively to bring companies and DPOs to the Zero Project Conference every year in Vienna and work together to organise and participate in M-Enabling Summit.

Contact: Klaus Hockner - hoeckner@hilfsgemeinschaft.at

Latvian DPOs involved in human rights training in Russian speaking countries

SUSTENTO is the umbrella organisation of persons with disabilities in Latvia and has been involved in human rights trainings based on the CRPD in a range of Russian-speaking countries. There are challenges in this region such as restricted freedom of information, and limits to the amount of external funding DPOs can receive. In cooperation with the International Disability Alliance, DPO-DPO cooperation/training helps share examples from countries with similar national contexts. DPOs have participated in the review process to the CRPD in Geneva supported by the International Disability Alliance (also supported by IDA to produce reports to the Committee). One theme in the region is the difference between rights and reality, e.g., one may have the right to board a train, but it may still be inaccessible.
Contact: Gunta Anca – gunta.anca@gmail.com

Four participants of Sustento

CBM - DPO engagement case studies

5 CBM projects across the world:

  • W-DARE: A partnership between the University of Melbourne, De La Salle University in the Philippines, Philippine DPO to undertake a participatory research project which aimed to improve access to sexual and reproductive health for women with disabilities.
  • WASH: DPOs engaged in 5 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects run by World Vision Australia and WaterAid. Each project was able to engage with local DPOs to support disability inclusion within WASH programming, across the program cycle.
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: DPOs have been involved in short-term disability inclusive capacity development visits to Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Posts, as co-facilitators, speakers and advisors.
  • DFAT recruited a disability advisor to support implementing partners develop and implement disability inclusion strategies within the health program in Timor-Leste.
  • Collaboration with universities and DPOs to undertake research

Women with disabilities are empowered through research participation, which gives them visibility and produces knowledge which can be used for advocacy and lobbying. This can result in a broader reach of more people with disabilities. A strong focus of CBM is the strengthened capacity in the engagement between DPOs and civil society organisations.

Contact: Charlotte Alexsson - Charlotte.Axelsson@cbm.org

My Rights – Sweden

MyRights is a network of 23 Swedish DPOs (members) who partner with DPOs in developing countries. There is a head office in Stockholm, Sweden and country offices in in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Partner organisations in developing countries receive financial support and capacity building from both a member DPO and from MyRights (mostly from the Country Office). Partner organisations engage in advocacy to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and provide different types of services such as Braille and ISL trainings, and networking opportunities between persons with disabilities and/or guardians of persons with disabilities, treatments (haemophilia), and educational activities (children with autism) amongst others.

Contact: Jesper Hansen - jesper.hansen@myright.se

European Guide Dog Federation (EGDF)

The European Guide Dog Federation supports guide dog users in ensuring their rights are respected. In one case, a woman was informed by an airline which she was flying with the next day that they would not allow her guide dog to accompany her on her flight from Stuttgart, Germany. EGDF was contacted, verified the dog’s credentials and a comprehensive letter was written to the airline's office in Stuttgart explaining the possible consequences of refusing to take the dog. The airline changed its position and allowed the woman to board with the dog.

Contact: David Adams - DavidAdams@egdfed.org

Woman standing at the borrom of airplane stairs with a guide dog

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