The 10-year long process of implementing the European disability strategy ends in 2020. Evaluations of this implementation have highlighted some of the shortcomings of the strategy, in particular regarding data availability.
The work to obtain frequent, useful, disability-inclusive, desegregated data is a big focus for the new strategy in 2021. In this webinar, we see evidence that the involvement of DPOs enhances the collection and use of data, while also highlighting some of the challenges being faced in this arena.
Katarina Ivankovic-Knezevic hosts the session, introducing us to the situation as it is at the end of 2020. She then introduced the first speaker, Maureen Piggot.
Maureen starts off by highlighting some of the work EDF has done in promoting the participation of persons with disabilities in international development. In particular, she explains the purpose and utility of the EDF in the World strategic document and the Guidance Note on the Role of European DPOs in International Cooperation. She then introduces the Innovation to Inclusion (i2i) project, working in Kenya and Bangladesh. The project provides an excellent example of how the involvement of DPOs in designing assessments and collecting data was invaluable, especially as the project rapidly refocused to address the sudden problems created by COVID-19.
We then hear from Derik Shimoli, who provides on-the-ground insight into the project in Kenya. He displays how the reports developed by organisations of persons with disabilities have had a direct impact in altering policies and legislation affecting persons with disabilities. He also shares how the data has been processed to make it useful in developing advocacy strategies, enhancing dissemination of information, improving product development, and setting goals and timelines for organisations.
Albert Mollah then shares how i2i has helped with addressing COVID-19 in Bangladesh, highlighting the involvement of persons with disabilities and DPOs from the beginning and throughout. They produced a rapid study, getting data from the ground, which included persons representing a wide diversity of disabilities. In sharing the findings of this study, he illustrates how important this process is in formulating evidence-based advocacy. The tangible result is the powerful Disability and COVID-19 Influencer Pack that was created directly from the results of the study.
Diana Dalton then shares what the newly formed Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)’s Inclusive Society Department in the UK has been working on and the upcoming strategy. She strongly emphasises the importance of organisations closer to the communities of persons with disabilities having meaningful involvement so that their perspectives and data informed decisions. She indicates that priorities going forward are getting effective desegregated data, nurturing networks of disability champions across all departments, and ensuring inclusion discussions are intersectional.
As we run out of time, Jazz Shaban guides us through a quick Q&A, with some important questions posed about how we address the data collection within partners or agencies, and also how to include the most marginalised people in data collection.
Jazz rounds off the webinar with a summary of the key takeaways: persons with disabilities must be involved in preparedness, and the importance of implementing the lessons learned when considering next steps – especially the lesson that involving persons with disabilities in putting together those next steps is essential.
i2i COSP 2020 slides