08.09.2016 Building the collective power of women with disabilities – AWID Forum 2016

Greetings from beautiful Salvador in Brazil, where the AWID (Association of Women in Development) conference is about to start. CBM is attending with a delegation of women with disabilities coming from a number of different countries – Madagascar, Nepal, Peru, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria. We are looking forward to chairing a panel and also premiering a video on women with disabilities that has been filmed across a number of different countries.

On the eve of the conference, many of our delegates watched as hundreds of women from all over the world arrived to register for the 4-day conference. It was great to see so many women with disabilities arriving at the hotel, many of whom we haven’t met before and look forward to meeting over the coming days. As the final conference preparation got under way this afternoon we got to sit and talk with women with disabilities representing the Pacific Islands.

The theme of the AWID conference this year is Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice and the sessions over the coming days will focus on panels covering a wide range of topics. It is very encouraging to see that women with disabilities feature on many of these panels, some on disability specific panels (such as CBM’s panel – Building the collective power of women with disabilities) and others on mainstream panels discussing topics such as climate change and gender and media representation of women with disabilities.

Building collective power for rights and justice is important for women, men, girls and boys with disabilities. We are more powerful when we work with others. Through partnerships, building alliances and supporting voices that are representative, change can slowly happen. These type of strategies are part of how CBM works – particularly partnership. We look forward to building on this partnership approach with the allies we meet here at AWID.

For today, I will sign off with a thought from one of the women who is featured on the CBM video – Achieving long lasting change does not come from one voice or one person alone – it comes from an aggregation of voices. We cannot achieve equality and justice for all if we do it on our own.

Over the coming days at the AWID conference, we will be looking at ways to work with the many different equality groups that are here. We are here to be part of an agenda for change and we are looking forward learning and sharing with each other on the nuts and bolts of how we do this.

Don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebook and our website to get all the latest news about the AWID meetings! Furthermore have a look at our brochure on the issues, challenges and the inclusion of women with disabilities.