14.09.2016 Donors need to consider gender equality for persons with disabilities

The AWID forum has now come to an end. Day 3 (Sept 10) started with an engagement lab with donors on disability inclusion. CBM and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) co-hosted a panel on how to ensure donor funding  from private foundation is inclusive of women with disabilities. The speakers, Rama, Mia, Madezha, Irene and Rose were supported by CBM and were either founder or leaders of organisations run by women with disabilities from Nepal, Peru, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

A number of private foundations attended the engagement lab and there was a good discussion about how to move forward efforts to make the funding which is available for women’s rights work more inclusive of organisations organised and run by women with disabilities. A set of recommendations were developed by the women’s organisations represented on the panel and these were circulated to the group.

Once the engagement lab was over, we all went our separate ways to attend as many sessions as possible to ensure that the voices of women with disabilities were heard in sessions on climate change, economic resources and SDG implementation.

Women with disabilities self-organised to demand change
Over the opening days of AWID, there was a lot of activity among women with disabilities wanting to meet and discuss the next steps after AWID. On the evening of the 10th, a large group of women with disabilities from all over the world came together to discuss what should be the next steps and created a list of actions for AWID. There was a lively discussion and agreement that a communications platform was needed for coordination among everyone and there was also a list of recommendations for AWID to take forward. The recommendations centred around accessibility. AWID put in a lot of effort to make the conference accessible and inclusive of women with disabilities. For the next session, they need to continue to build this. Participation and representation was also on the list, the group asked the AWID looked at how it can ensure participation and representation of women with disabilities. Finally, research and data, the group asked that for all of AWID’s research and data collection that women with disabilities were included. The list was then presented to AWID at a meeting on the 11th.

This has been a great week for the CBM delegation, many friends have been made and ideas shared. As I write this final blog, I would like to share some of that messages that emerged over the few days we spent together.

  • Women with disabilities have the skills and the expertise to be problem solvers and agents for change in their community.
  • Women with disabilities are already very active and organised but lack access to funding and resources to spread the work further.
  • Women with disabilities need to come together locally, nationally, regional and globally and also work with allies for change.

A big thanks to the CBM team and all the women with disabilities present at AWID! We must keep the momentum going.