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Inclusive Education: Global Action Week 2014

A girl is knitting with the help of a woman, she has her eyes closed. Other girls are in the background knitting.
© Thomas Einberger/CM
Mahjan, 11 years, blind (completely blind in one eye, residual vision in the other one). The Afghan girl lost her sight because of a bomb injury during fighting between the American forces and the Taliban in 2001. She was found by a fieldworker and is attending blind school since 2003.

CBM and partners organised activities for Global Action Week last May 2014, an event led by the Global Campaign for Education.

Education For All

CBM is an active member of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a social movement that aims to ensure free and equal access to high quality education for learners worldwide. Every year, GCE encourages all members to join Global Action Week and rally for regional and national grassroots efforts to champion the provision of education for all. In 2014 the Action Week took place 4-10 May, and the theme was “Education and Disability.” 

CBM and Global Action Week 2014

Aruna helps her client (name unknown) play building blocks - to help improve his sensory abilities, during a home visit ©CBM
A little boy plays with his mother.
CBM offices, associations and partners all over the world organised activities in support of Global Action Week. 

You can find information about the events and activities for each region below. 

Latin America

Educators and learners from the Juan Fernando López and Enrique Peñarada schools march for the right to inclusive education in Sorata, Bolivia.
  • Bolivia
CBM partners Fe y Alegría and Caritas planned activities intended to promote inclusive education within Bolivia, which included a rally by educators and learners from local schools in the city of Sorata, a forum about inclusive education held in the city of La Paz, and the distribution of inclusive education materials from booths placed at school fairs in the cities of Sorata, Trinidad, and La Paz. 
  • Colombia
Members of the Colombian GCE’s National Coalition for Education ran workshops about inclusive education for educators and learners in Atlántico, met with local libraries to increase the number of texts available for the study and promotion of inclusive education, and arranged for a local conference to promote diversity in education. 
  • Ecuador
A large forum about inclusive education in Ecuador was held on 14 May at Universidad Politecnician Salesiana (UPS) in the capital city of Quito. Mario Mora, the Coordinator of the Programme Unit of CBM’s Latin America Regional Office, moderated a panel of four speakers, including a learner with a disability in her second semester of studying communications at UPS. More than 200 women and men were present.    
  • Guatemala
A CBM partner, Asociación de Padres y Amigos de Personas con Discapacidad de Santiago Atitlán (ADISA), joined a national team of government authorities, universities and non-profit organisations to arrange activities for GAW. ADISA and the Small People of Guatemala organized and publicised an intercultural workshop about inclusion for approximately 200 learners from a local bilingual Spanish/indigenous language school in the Guatemalan community of Chukmuk. Topics included disability theory, inclusive education, Guatemalan laws about disability and inclusive education, and anecdotes about inclusive education.  
  • Haiti
CBM’s Country Coordinating Office in Haiti partnered with Organisation des Jeunes pour la Protection des Enfants (OJPE) and Jeunes Organisés pour une Société Émancipée (JOSE) to set up activities for Haitian school children from 8-10 May, including performances, songs, dancing, simulation exercises (e.g. wearing a blindfold), and a hand-washing drive (to encourage regular hand-washing to prevent the spread of trachoma and other potentially blinding diseases). 
  • Honduras
CBM partners Instituto Psicopedagógico Juana Leclerc, Prepace and Escuela para Ciegos Pilar Salinas are active participants in the Coordinating Educational Network Committee, or COMCORDE, an organization that is dedicating all of their activities this year solely to inclusive education. 
For Global Action Week, COMCORDE sent out a document to the Ministry of Education demanding legislative and monetary support for inclusive education. On the same day, there was an awards ceremony honouring the winning school or organization of a nationwide contest seeking best practices for inclusion; an article about the winners and their best practices was published in national newspapers. 
Other noteworthy activities included a city walk and a televised debate between members of government and civil society organizations, in which they discussed the merits and importance of inclusive education. 
  • Mexico
Piña Palmera, which leads a well-established CBR programme in Oaxaca, Mexico, and which is a CBM partner, planned activities with input and guidance from persons with disabilities. On 8 May, Piña Palmera hosted a forum in the town of Zipolite. Participants were from a number of cities, including Morelos, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Guanajuato and Puebla, and included members of civil society, educators and representatives of state authorities. Presentations and panels underlined the fact that the exclusion of persons with disabilities occurring in indigenous, rural and urban communities was impeding their right to an inclusive education, and that this needed to change for the future. 
  • Nicaragua
 Global Action Week was launched with a public march and concert in Managua, led by mainstream primary and secondary schools demanding inclusive education. A forum on inclusive education in Nicaragua, held at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, drew more than 400 persons with and without disabilities. CBM Advisor Katharina Pförtner and CBM partner, Association of Inclusive Education and Community Programmes (ASOPIECAD), spoke about their successes with CBR in supporting inclusive education. On the last day of the Global Action Week, a large festival of joyful and inclusive games was held in a big park by several national youth organisations.    

  • Peru
CBM partner, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, a school for persons who are blind, based in Cusco, ran a training in Apurimac from 28 to 30 April in preparation for Global Action Week. They later led activities to promote inclusive education. Another partner, Arariwa, led workshops for specialists and the friends and families of persons with disabilities, conducted interviews with persons with disabilities, and broadcast information about inclusive education on two television channels. Partnering organisation, Centro de Empoderamiento de Personas con Discapacidad (CEMPDIS), led focus groups in discussion about inclusive education in Villa Maria and San Juan de Miraflores. 


Learners who are Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing attending two different schools in Kerugoya, Kenya play a round of volleyball.
  • Burkina Faso
CBM's West Africa office commemorated Global Action Week alongside 11 other international development organizations and with Burkina Faso's National Coalition for Education. Activities focused on both awareness and advocacy: radio and television programmes, public conferences in 12 regions, the production of a documentary film on inclusive education, and opportunities for persons with disabilities who have succeeded in school and in professional fields to share their stories with others. 
A large public ceremony and artwork display drew attention to the need for accessible education. This need was supported by a major review of the government’s promises regarding inclusive education and during a meeting with Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe Tiao. Burkinabe journalists and media were encouraged to cover more stories about persons with disabilities through the creation of a new award for exceptional disability coverage at the 2014 Prix Gallian media awards ceremony.    
  • Ethiopia
On 9 May, the Basic Education Network of Ethiopia (the GCE coalition of Ethiopia) organised an inclusive education panel at the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa. Several national and international organisations attended the panel or shared papers, including CBM, the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development, the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf, the Ethiopian National Association of the Deafblind, Ethiopian National Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy, the Ethiopian National Association of Women with Disability, the Ethiopian Teachers Association, and the Addis Ababa Bureau of Education. A variety of presentations was given on topics such as developing a rights-based approach to education, the understanding that inclusive education is for all learners (not only those with a disability), and that national plans for education need to gain widespread adoption and participation. 
  • Kenya
CBM's East Africa office  participated in Global Action Week in the Kenyan county of Kirinyaga. Activities took place over the course of a week, beginning with a special mass at the Kerugoya School for the Deaf on 11 May and ending with a fun day of games and sports on 17 May. On Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 May of that week, learners from four schools joined a disability and inclusive development training, followed by a similar training for educators from the schools on 14 and 15 May. Decision makers and select educators held a robust discussion about inclusive development on 16 May. 
The trainings encouraged participants to engage with the topic of disability and education via role-playing, team work, simulation exercises (e.g. they were encouraged not to use their voice or to wear a blindfold for an hour), videos, drama, and question and answer forums. Twenty learners from each school – Kerugoya Boys High School, Kerugoya Girls High School, Kerugoya School for the Deaf, and the Reverend Muhoro Secondary School for the Deaf – joined these trainings. Following the training, learners were encouraged to become ‘disability ambassadors’ at their schools. The subsequent trainings for educators had a similar format and content.  

Asia and Oceania

School-aged children rally for inclusive education in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • Australia
 As part of Global Action Week, the Australian Disability and Development Consortium delivered a full-day workshop on 7 May, hosted by CBM Australia. It focused on disability inclusive education in development programmes. In addition, an Australian Coalition for Education in Development (ACED) Education Symposium, ‘Transforming Learning Futures’, was held on 21 May 2014. The keynote presenter was Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of GPE. CBM Australia presented on disability inclusion in education and screened an End the Cycle video clip. In attendance were ACED, GPE, Global Poverty Project, Results International Australia, Nossal Institute for Global Health, Plan Australia, and the vice Minister for Education from the Government of Lao.
  • Bangladesh
The Asian Centre for Inclusive Education (ACIE), Plan International and CBM organised an interactive dialogue on 10 May. More than 150 participants attended, including the Directorate of Primary Education, officials from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Welfare, the National Curriculum and Text Book Board, several non-governmental organisations, educators, learners and their families. Shahnawaz Qureshi, the CBM Country Coordinator for Bangladesh, was invited to speak as part of a panel at the dialogue meeting. During his presentation he advocated for the right to education for children with disabilities, arguing that denying children (with or without disabilities) education is the start of the journey of exclusion. 
  • Cambodia
 The Country Coordinating Office of Cambodia, located in CBM’s Central East Asia Region, joined the Cambodian GCE coalition (which includes CBM partner Krousar Thmey) in setting up a diverse array of media and cultural activities across the country. The coalition sought to increase inclusive education training for educators; for the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) to invest in building or modifying facilities so that children with disabilities could attend school; and for communities to support the right of children with disabilities to a quality education.  
  • India
CBM's South Asia office collaborated with the National Campaign for Education and partners to establish a kick-off event for Global Action Week. In India, the Global Action Week was delayed because of elections in early May. It therefore took place during the week of 19–25 May, with the primary event occurring in New Delhi on 24 May. Dignitaries began proceedings with a ‘lighting of the lamp’, and then hosted a series of prominent speakers from organisations such as UNESCO, the GCE, a government official from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, UNICEF India, the International Council for Education of Children with Visual Impairment (ICEVI), and other national and international non-governmental organisations. Among the speakers were five representatives from CBM. 
As many schools in India were closed for summer during the Global Action Week, CBM’s Regional Office in South Asia will follow up the event with organised activities and gatherings at the state level throughout India. The planning process is ongoing, with the additional events expected to take place throughout the rest of 2014.  
  • New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
From 5 to 10 May, the National Director of CBM New Zealand, Darren Ward, visited a number of schools in the Goroka, Mingende and Mount Hagan areas of Papua New Guinea. He also had a lively interview with Radio Rhema in New Zealand, explaining the importance of inclusive education, discussing CBM’s involvement with a partner (Network of Callan Services for Disabled Persons), and illustrating the value of inclusive education for some of the learners with disabilities he had met. Stories gathered from the learners with disabilities will be used in a public appeal, raising funds so that the partner can continue to deliver quality inclusive education services through a model unique to Papua New Guinea, where inclusive education and CBR services are provided in parallel through Special Education Resource Centres.
Although many of the schools in New Zealand had not heard of the GCE, CBM New Zealand was able to share some information about the Campaign and the inclusive education focus of this year’s Global Action Week.

Eastern Mediterranean

Participants at a gathering hosted by the Technical Services Association (TSA) special education school in Pakistan help to plant trees on the school grounds, symbolising the hope for education for all persons, with or without disabilities.
  • Pakistan
On 6 May at the TSA special education school, a partner of CBM's Eastern Mediterranean office set up a day of games and activities under the theme "Celebrating the Gift of Life." Students in primary schools and high schools, with or without disabilities, were invited to partake in the day. Other attendees also included parents, caregivers, political leaders, and leaders with disabilities.
There were team games such as softball and racing, as well as arts and crafts stations. Leaders with disabilities shared their stories with parents, students and political leaders about how education made a profound difference in their lives. All participants (adults and children) were invited to plant new saplings of fruit trees and plant flowers in the school garden. To conclude the event, each student gave a rose to their parents and / or caregivers as a symbol of love, thanks and trust for believing in their futures.
  • Palestine
One CBM partner, the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR) organised activities at two public schools, one in the Bethlehem district and one in the Hebron district on 4-7 May 2014 under the theme "Great Things Happen In An Inclusive School". Primary school-aged children with and without disabilities and their educators were part of these activities.
At each school, group activities introduced inclusive education to learners and educators through photos and drawings. In another activity, learners drew a map of their school depicting all its aspects and facilities; then they discussed with the BASR team what they have drawn, what they could change, and what modifications should be made in order to make their school more inclusive. These learners then shared their views with all school children during the school morning program. In a different group, educators listed 10 different things that they want to change in their school to make it more inclusive (e.g. physical obstacles, inaccessible material, negative attitudes). 
Another CBM partner, the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, met with the Palestinian Education Coalition to organize and coordinate activities. At the school level, most government schools attended workshops for educators and school principals, and students were encouraged to create artwork and participate in recreational games inclusively. Two public schools in Ramallah provided open days of art, games and activities for learners with and without disabilities.
Other public activities included a procession on 6 May to the Palestinian Council of Ministers to meet with policymakers regarding the adoption of inclusive education policies, the airing of a televised discussion between high school students, university students, and the National Coordinator of Education for All about inclusive education on 27 April, and an opening press conference held on 30 April. The closing conference and ceremony on 12 May included a Ministry presentation of a concept paper about inclusive education, and a video was aired called "Willingness Overcomes Disability" that shares the experiences of students with disabilities.

Europe and North America

CBM intern Anais Keenon guides learners through the alphabet of German Sign Language (or Deutsche Gebärdensprache)
  • Germany
CBM Germany has many yearlong plans focusing on inclusive education. They began with a symposium held in Berlin on 3 December 2013, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, where GCE debuted their "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity" report. CBM partnered with Oxfam, teachers' trade unions, UNICEF, World Vision and the German GCE coalition to advocate for supporting replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education (a fund that supports inclusive education efforts); a conference was held on this matter in Brussels in June 2014. 
For Global Action Week in May 2014, CBM Germany set up a series of action weeks in schools across Germany, spread out over two months. Materials were distributed to schools, visits were arranged, and members of the school communities were encouraged to write their own statements about inclusive education. Schoolchildren were invited to participate in activities, enjoy entertainment, and learn more about inclusive education. 
  • Switzerland
CBM Switzerland became a member of the Swiss GCE coalition this year and is working on sharing details about CBM's inclusive education activities with other members. 

  • United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Canada
CBM United Kingdom, CBM Switzerland, CBM Germany and CBM Canada are supporting CBM’s South Asia office in four initiatives designed to increase knowledge about inclusive education in south India. They include: a Cambridge University research project (later published as a report) led by Dr. Nidhi Singal; an online information management system to show the number and academic progress of girls and boys with disabilities participating in the project; a series of case studies depicting the educational experience of girls and boys with disabilities; and a series of inclusive education reviews, audits and annual awareness plans from the district to village level. 

"Equal Right, Equal Opportunity" Report

cover page of a report, reads "Equal Right, Equal Opportunity - Inclusive education for children with disabilities" the cover, on the bottom we see the logos for the Global Campaign for Education and Handicap International ©Global Campaign for Education
The report is full of information about the challenges that confront students with disabilities in accessing education and outlines useful, pragmatic strategies for governments, bilateral donors and the international community to combat these obstacles.

The “Equal Right, Equal Opportunity” report was released by the Global Campaign for Education on 3rd December 2013 at a Berlin Symposium hosted by CBM Germany. Jo Walker, Policy Manager at GCE, introduced the report to an audience of government agencies, parliament, academia and civil society organisations. A detailed account of the report’s release can be found at this link

Download the report

Campaign and School Resource Packs

Front page of the Global Campaign for Education's School Resource Pack, includes a large photo of two women working with a child with a disability ©Global Campaign for Education
The Global Campaign for Education has released several materials to inspire and guide participants in making plans for Global Action Week. They include a campaign pack for organisations and a school pack for teachers and school leaders. 

For materials such as a poster or logos, please click here to visit the campaign materials webpage. 

All campaign materials will soon be released in Arabic, French, Spanish and Portuguese. 

Download the Resource Packs: 

More reading

Debate about inclusive education in Ecuador

On May 14, 2014 CBM among other organisations held a forum about inclusive education: limitations and accomplishments in Quito, Ecuador


Global Campaign for Education (GCE) 2013

CBM and partners involved in the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a movement working to end the global education crisis



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