i2i webinar December 2021: "From ticking the box, to thinking outside of it - Moving towards active participation of OPDs in disability decision making"

Douglas set the scene by giving a brief introduction of the i2i programme and went on to introduce the speakers for the event. Hena and Douglas discussed perspectives of organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs/DPOs) from both Bangladesh and Kenya on progress towards meaningful participation. Engagement of OPDs in the new disability strategy of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) were provided by Harriet and Rachel, and then Jose followed this with insights of OPD engagement ahead of the 2022 Global Disability Summit.

Hena highlighted some of the biggest challenges OPDs face when they try to participate, such as information on inaccessible websites, limited financial resources to allow long term engagement in addition to COVID-19 restrictions. When asked ‘what do you think are the next step to ensure meaningful participation’, Hena stressed on the importance of OPDs working in unison to ensure duty bearers of the CRPD, thus government, involve OPDs in decision making about their rights.

Rachel and Harriet gave insightful thoughts on how consultations with OPDs and disability partner organisations helped in the preparation of the UK FCDO’s new Disability Strategy. They also highlighted that the central focus of the 2030 strategy was to move to a two-way participation where FCDO recognises and prioritises the perspectives of persons with disability and their representative organisations.

Regarding the Global Disability Summit, bringing together OPDs as key partners for inclusive development was recognised as one of the main priorities of the event. As the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) Article 4.3 mandates the meaningful participation of OPDs in implementation of the CRPD, the Global Disability Summit was conceived as a platform to enable OPDs to interact with development actors to advance the agenda of disability rights, particularly in the global south. Jose Viera stressed how the Global Disability Summit has and seeks to continually improve the skill set of OPDs and give them power to implement the CRPD and the SDGs.

Addressing these observations and taking these initiatives are essential if OPDs are to become meaningfully involved in the disability rights agenda.

Some questions came from the audience to the panel to address how best to achieve data on persons with disability in other to meet the vision of disability inclusion and sustainability in our public participation.

The session came to an end with each panellist giving one priority action to ensure that consultation of OPDs moves forward and becomes a natural part of all policymaking and implementation.

Watch the video


  • Douglas Otieno


  • Jahan Ara Begum (Hena) – General Secretary of the Alliance of Urban DPOs Chittagong (AUDC)
  • Harriet Knowles – Programme Manager on Disability Capacity Building for United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Rachel Kean – Lead Technical Advisor on Disability Inclusion for United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Jose Viera – Senior Manager with International Disability Alliance (IDA) and Chief Executive Officer of the World Blind Union