CBM joins 12 countries in signing the Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disabilities


Building a movement for change

CBM is delighted to have taken part in the signing of the Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disabilities in Nairobi, at the just ended Pan African Conference on the Right to Decide. Hosted by Inclusion Africa, the inaugural conference and general assembly enabled participants from 12 countries in continent, including CBM, rally support for the ambitious declaration that is a critical call to action to all African governments and stakeholders to begin addressing the inequalities in health education, access to social services, and resource allocation, facing the population of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The Pan African Conference, the first of its kind in Africa, brought together families, self-advocates and eleven Inclusion International Partners from the region to engage in a dialogue about how the existing movement is initiating and contributing to change in our communities, countries, region and the rest of the world. 

Aptly themed ‘Building a Movement for Change’, CBM was able to contribute to the substantive two day discussions focused on self-advocacy; access to justice; political participation for people with intellectual disabilities; and the implications of the Post-2015 development agenda.

Voices of people with intellectual disabilities

The key self-advocacy messages developed at the conference by the self-advocates and their families included:

  1. We need to be loved
  2. Listen to us
  3. No one should be left behind
  4. Let us stand up together, move on together and be seen equally
  5. Self-advocacy starts from birth
  6. We have the right to decide and to an inclusive environment

CBM shares its experience in implementing community based programmes

CBM East Africa Regional Director, Kirstin Bostlemann, was honored with an invitation to participate at the conference as a panelists. In this capacity, Kirstin was able to share CBM’s experience and efforts in supporting inclusive development in the community; profiling our model CBR projects in Kenya. The interactive session provided practical examples of how community based approaches to development can support inclusive development initiatives in countries, to achieve the desired empowerment of people with disabilities and their families.

“We need to continuously uphold a ‘people first’ architecture in all types of development programmes in order to ensure the promotion of equal participation of all members in the community, hence achieving the much desired equity and inclusiveness in our approaches,” said Kirstin.

Other key highlights at the conference included the launch of the ‘Global Report on the Right to Decide’ that profiles the voices of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families from 40 countries. Additionally, there was the collective resolution to strengthen self-advocacy that will ideally reinforce the right of persons with intellectual disabilities being able to form and join community based organizations that champion the recognition of their rights and needs.