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International Day for Disaster Reduction - Five inclusive NGOs in action

A weelchair user in a destroyed house
Rommel, who survived the floods caused by a typhoon in the Philippines, is showing what is left from his house

On 13 October, CBM celebrates International Day for Disaster Reduction. Before this date, we are highlighting stories from the DiDRR network's publication 'Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management'. Discover five NGOs that decided to introduce disability inclusive strategy in their work.

What is International Day for Disaster Reduction?

13 October: A not so obvious conversation. Living with disability and disasters ©UN ISDR
International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) started in 1989 with the approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees International Day as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. International Day for Disaster Reduction is now celebrated on 13th October: a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). It's also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

The 2013 theme for the day is Living with Disability & Disasters. Persons living with disabilities have unique contributions, often overlooked, to help reduce the risk of disasters. IDDR 2013 intends to switch on and amplify this critical issue of including the needs of persons living with disabilities now and for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

What is the publication about?

cover of the publication: Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management ©CBM
This publication presents disability inclusive disaster risk reduction by relating stories and testimonials of persons with disabilities acting as effective agents. This publication has been produced with the Disability-inclusive DRR Network for Asia and the Pacific (DiDRRN).

The document discloses good practices that illustrate the results of effective participation of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction activities. It also unveils how some organisations decided to include disability as an integral part of their policies and programmes.

Organisation working for disability inclusive disaster risk reduction

Persons with disabilities were rarely thought of as possible contributors to the communities and therefore seldom included in either disaster planning or recovery projects. Through the work of organisations and networks such as the DiDRR, some national and international organisations providing emergency relief and working on DRR have decided to join the journey of becoming disability inclusive. They are finding ways to commit to the articles 11 and 32 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to make sure that all people have the same chance to benefit and participate in their activities, including persons with disabilities.

These organisations have introduced disability inclusive strategies in their work in interesting ways:

Intermon Oxfam in Ethiopia

Intermom Oxfam logo ©Oxfam
During the 2012 drought and food crisis in Ethiopia, which severely affected part of the Somali region, CBM proposed to Intermon Oxfam to support technically and financially the inclusion of disability within their food security and early recovery projects.
The collaboration aimed at enhancing the resilience capacity of the targeted population and specifically to improve the awareness of the local communities and authorities to answer to the needs of persons with disabilities.  Throughout the implementation of this project, Intermon Oxfam in Ethiopia decided to bring disability inclusion further in their organisation. From their office in Ethiopia they decided to start thinking on how to introduce disability as a crosscutting theme, using the already available gender mainstreaming as an example. What’s more, with the support of CBM, a workshop was organised with a number of humanitarian actors in Ethiopia on the topic of promoting inclusion of disability in emergency and recovery response. One major result of the workshop was the establishment of learning and sharing platform between the disabilities specialised and non-specialised organisations as well as governmental entities.

More information: www.intermonoxfam.org

Merlin in Kenya

Merlin logo ©
Merlin is another international humanitarian organisation that partnered with CBM during the food crisis in Kenya. The project aimed at ensuring support and empowerment of persons with disabilities within on-going emergency and recovery related interventions in Turkana County. This made necessary an overall increase of knowledge and understanding on disability among Merlin staff, in order to be able to promote and build capacity on disability when working with local health workers, local authorities, and distribution of medical supplies and technical aids. These are just a few of the changes Merlin has realized thanks to this cooperation:
  • Inclusion of disability messages on some of the IEC materials developed for example on importance of immunization and micro-nutrient supplementation in preventing disabilities in children. Organisations of persons with disabilties (DPOs) and theatre groups were guides on the kind of messages to deliver during awareness campaigns
  • Inclusion of disability as part of the package of the Ministry of Health’s reporting tools delivered to health workers at health facility and outreach sites
  • Merlin mainstreamed disability in its community strategy: Community Health Extension Workers, Community Health Workers and Community Health Committees were sensitised on disability, reporting and referral.
  • Merlin started to work with DPOs in identification, community mobilization and advocacy-health promotion. This has improved community linkage and networking.
  • Community outreach venues are made more accessible to persons with disabilities, which means that health services are now possible to access closer to their homes.

More information: www.merlin.org.uk/kenya

Emmanuel Hospital Association in India

With the technical and financial support of CBM, Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) started its journey in making their Emergency Response Framework disability inclusive through the experiences acquired from implementing the pilot project on disaster preparedness in northeast India in 2010. Learning from this successful project, EHA has now launched a new program with special focus on disability inclusive DRR. This new program would attempt to pro-actively engage with different disability groups and elderly associations as well as individuals in the region's disaster response network, initially in the two crucial areas of disaster management: Disaster Management Plans and Emergency Response. Following this, EHA has developed an Emergency Response Framework, which ensures that persons with disabilities are taken into consideration right from the formation of disaster relief teams/committees to needs assessment and distribution planning.

More information: www.ehausa.org

Gayo Pastoralist Development Initiative (GPDI) in Ethiopia

GPDI is a local indigenous organisation set-up by pastoralists in the Oromia region, Borana zone. They are working together with the communities in finding sustainable and culturally acceptable mechanisms to development and also finding ways to build more resilient communities towards the negative effects of the climate change. They are well respected and integrated among the population and have been awarded several times as a model organisation in development and humanitarian work among the pastoralist rural communities. While initiating disability specific projects, mainly with a Community Based Rrehabilitation (CBR) approach, they had not mainstreamed disability throughout all its programs until the implementation of the CBM supported project of mainstreaming disability in early recovery and resilience in 2011.

During the implementation of this project, GPDI realised that it had to revise its procedures and protocols to accommodate the participation and inclusion of disability. As the project provided for building the capacity of their staff on disability and development as well as disability and disasters, staff are now aware about the need to include persons with disabilities in assessments, discussions, distribution and trainings at all levels. They are also modifying their monitoring and evaluation system to make sure that data is reflecting the situation of persons with disabilities.

More information: gpdi-ethio.org


WaterAid logo ©
WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. WaterAid is committed to issues of equity and has, since its establishment in 1981, chosen to work in some of the world’s poorest countries in Africa and Asia and the Pacific and with the world’s most marginalized people.

WaterAid has adopted equity and inclusion as core principles, intrinsic to a rights based approach, to ensure they address issues of marginalisation and exclusion. In 2009 WaterAid launched its equity and inclusion framework to guide this work and to ensure that their programs meet the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs of marginalised people including persons with disabilities, those living with HIV and AIDS and other groups typically excluded due to their gender, religion, caste, employment or age. WaterAid’s approach is to ensure marginalised people are included in decision-making and leadership processes and that new WASH infrastructure meets the needs of a variety of people.

The resource website -Inclusive Wash-  is an online initiative of the Australian WASH Reference Group supported by AusAID. This project shares practical skills and evidence to support practitioners’ implementation of WASH projects that address the needs of all in the community. More than 60 papers, manuals, case studies, guidelines and general resources on disability inclusive development and WASH are available.

More information: www.inclusivewash.org.au

More information

Disaster Reduction - meet Rashedul from Bangladesh

Leading up to 13 October, International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR 2013), CBM celebrates disability inclusive practices from around the world


Publication on Inclusive Disaster Risk Management

CBM and DiDRRN launch a key publication on Inclusive Disaster Risk Management, including good practice examples and 'voices from the field'


Disaster risk - CBM working to build more resilience

CBM is part of the DiDRR network to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in building resilience for the communities


GP DRR outcome statement includes disability

In May 2013 CBM and partners participated in the 4th session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva


Humanitarian Action

CBM working with local partners to ensure that people with disabilities are included at all levels of disaster preparedness and response



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