That is the main goal of the five-year project We are Able! in six African countries.
Many people with disabilities in Africa also experience exclusion. For example, when it comes to living or working. With We are Able! we encourage people with disabilities to participate. We show that they are valuable and indispensable in society. They receive support in their independent functioning. The chance of getting a job or starting their own company is increasing. With an independent income, their position improves and they can fully participate in society.
Who is We are Able!
Six organisations are working together: ZOA, African Disability Forum, SeeYou, VNGI (Association of Dutch Municipalities International), The Hague Academy for Local Governance, and Leprazending.
Where We are Able! operates
We are Able! is active in DR Congo, Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
Why We are Able! was established
We focus on people with disabilities who do not have access to basic services, people who are excluded. We aim to strengthen their voices and resilience, so that they can stand up for themselves. We involve them in legislation and policy, and we work together with local organisations and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs). To promote dialogue between people with disabilities and authorities, we work with formal and informal authorities at the national and international level.
Learning from experience
We connect with initiatives in the Netherlands to learn from their experiences. Furthermore, all the organisations deploy their own expertise. They strengthen the capacity of organisations of people with disabilities, local inclusion advisors, and advocacy groups. The organisations carry out the project together with their own usual partners and the Enablement.
Finances We are Able!
The project, which launched in 2021, is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Power of Voices partnerships for strengthening civil society.
While most advocacy courses and manuals are directed at lobby and advocacy at national levels, little seems to be done about building capacity at a community level. It is within the We Are Able (WAA) project that we wish to build advocacy capacity surrounding the inclusion of vulnerable groups and in particular people with disability at the community level. Together with local non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) and other community-based organisations, we aim to transform society into a more egalitarian society which is inclusive for all. The WAA project has a specific focus on co-creating inclusive governance for access to basic resources that leaves no one behind.
This 2-week course is also not ‘just’ a training in lobby and advocacy but a training that is directed at the training of trainers. It has been developed in such a way that implicit and explicit attention is being paid to the importance of training adults in becoming trainers themselves. In order to achieve this, we make use of a variety of adult learning methodologies. As we know that adults learn in different ways, we obviously made sure that the training is paying sufficient attention to this. Many training programmes begin with theory and practice only comes later. We take a different and in fact opposite route and start with (their) experience as the first step in the experiential learning cycle. For some of the trainees and thus the potential trainers of others this may be new.
The accomplishment of the competencies needed to become a trainer in lobby and advocacy for inclusion requires specific training methodologies. Hence the consciousness-raising methodology from educationalist Paulo Freire and the humanist educational philosophy of self-directed learning (Malcolm Knowles) form largely the foundation of the training philosophy of the course. The training is aimed at empowering participants and enabling them to contribute to much-needed changes in access to basic resources for all. This can be realised through a process of personal empowerment (a more humanistic vision), which subsequently should lead to the transformation of old structures (the more radical philosophy).
In order to tune teaching philosophy with teaching methodology a large variety of modern adult education methods will be used. Case studies, simulation games, role plays, syndicates and discussion groups all form an important medium to integrate different topics.
Websites related to We are Able! project:
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