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COVID-19, Amplifying Voices: Our Lives, Our Say: Learning from COVID-19 through the experiences of blind and partially sighted persons across the world

ZAYED, Yana
et al
August 2020

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The World Blind Union (WBU) conducted a study to examine the extent to which COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some deep structural inequalities in society. Data gathered from the study is evidencing that persons with disabilities, older persons, and persons from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds are among those hardest hit by the pandemic. While this report puts a spotlight on the voices of blind and partially sighted persons, many of the experiences shared strongly resonate with numerous other studies that are also highlighting how marginalised groups have been affected by this crisis. Through this report, WBU hopes to raise awareness on the specifics of what those challenges have meant in reality for its constituents, as well as shed light on what have been effective resilience strategies for them. The study was made possible with the support of CBM Global

To understand the situation of our constituents, the World Blind Union (WBU) conducted a global survey in collaboration with key stakeholders. In April 2020, the WBU launched an open online survey for seven weeks in Spanish, French and English, seeking information from blind and partially sighted persons on how COVID-19 was impacting their day to day life. 853 people participated in the survey. The respondents expressed in their own words how their lives had been and continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This report is a compilation of those voices. It depicts the ways in which COVID-19 response measures taken by state and non-state actors have created additional barriers and challenges for blind and partially sighted people. It also includes powerful testimonies on how people have shown resilience in the face of adversity.

 

 

Making Inclusion the New Normal: Inclusive Workplace Practices as COVID19 Response. Friends and partners from Project Inclusion, Virtualahan, and Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation (LCDPF).

HUMANITY & INCLUSION (HI)
June 2020

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Exploring what the new normal will be when it comes to working, the risk in the response to the current crisis is that persons with disabilities will be left behind. How do we ensure that no one gets left behind in the “new normal” of working?

This session Making Inclusion the New Normal: Inclusive Workplace Practices as a Covid-19 Response as we discuss how we find new ways of working where no one gets left behind. #MakingInclusionTheNewNormal

Inclusion of persons with disabilities in the humanitarian COVID-19 response. Webinar

June 2020

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First webinar of the project "Phase 2 - Leave no one behind!: Mainstreaming Disability in Humanitarian Action". The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and led by Handicap International e.V. (HI). It is implemented together with the Christoffel Blindenmission e.V. (CBM) and the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) of the Ruhr-University Bochum. The project aims at mainstreaming disability in humanitarian coordination mechanisms, strengthening the capacities of German humanitarian actors and their local partners, and improving data collection on the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities in armed conflict: Inclusive protection perspectives

UNITED NATIONS MINE ACTION SERVICE (UNMAS)
May 2020

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This virtual side event was held on 28 May 2020, coinciding with the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians. It focused on the disproportionate challenges facing persons with disabilities in humanitarian, conflict, and post-conflict settings. Chaired by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, this discussion shared insights from speakers and panelists from the Governments of Poland and the United Kingdom, the European Union, UNMAS, Humanity & Inclusion (H.I.), the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and others.

 

By presenting the situation in Syria, Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Manager for HI Syria response Bahia Zrikem highlighted the fundamental role Council Members should play in ensuring that all civilians, including persons with disabilities, are fully protected during hostilities, in line with International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law obligations, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the UNSC Resolution 2475 on protecting persons with disabilities in armed conflict.

 

#COVID-19 ASL

CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)
April 2020

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A series of 11 short videos in American sign language giving information on various aspects of COVID-19

Recording of the Virtual Event: COVID-19 Crisis and Promoting Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities

IDA
April 2020

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Recording of the Virtual Event: COVID-19 & Promoting the Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities

On April 8, 2020, IDA in collaboration with the EDF held the Virtual Event: COVID-19 crisis and Promoting Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities. The virtual event with 572 registered participants was an effort to provide space and prevent any loss of momentum in promoting the rights of women and girls with disabilities in the global gender equality agenda. 

During the webinar, the panelists have discussed various topics ranging from the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities into mainstream gender mainstreaming strategies, multiple forms of discrimination faced by women and girls with various forms of disability, and the impact of the current pandemic on their well-being.

Labour market date for persons with disabilities (i2i webinar)

EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT FORUM
April 2020

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On April 22nd 2020, the European Disability Forum organised the fourth of a series of webinars about the Innovation to Inclusion project (also called i2i programme). 

Four speakers were invited to talk about Labour Market Data for persons with disabilities. After their presentation, there was some time for questions and answers.

 

  • Mark Carew (Leonard Cheshire) spoke briefly about i2i’s approach to disability data and how i2i supports a good quality collection of disability data.
  • Valentina Stoevska (Department of Statistics, International Labour Organisation) explained the objectives of the statistical data on the labour market characteristics of persons with disabilities. She talked about the use of Washington Group questions on the disability Labour Force Surveys. To conclude her presentation, Ms Stoevska briefly illustrated with some statistics the employment characteristics of persons with disabilities.
  • Robert Buluma (Governance, Peace and Security statistics of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics) briefly provided some information on the development of a disability monograph.
  • Anderson Gitonga (United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK)) spoke about the importance of the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in data gathering and touched upon the technical working group that has been formed in Kenya.

Webinar Covid-19 Pandemic: Disability Issues in the EU

European Disability Forum
April 2020

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On April 10th 2020 the European Disability Forum (EDF) organised a two hours webinar about the COVID-19 pandemic and what challenges are persons with disabilities are facing. The speakers shared how persons with disabilities are experiencing the measures adopted by the different countries when these don’t take into consideration a disability perspective.

This webinar was conducted by André Félix, EDF External Communications Coordinator and was supported by Raquel Riaza, Events and Administration Officer and by other colleagues from EDF‘s office. The webinar was accessible for persons with disabilities providing live captioning and international sign language interpretation. It was recorded and a transcript is available

Does the criminal justice system treat disabled people fairly? Inclusive justice: a system designed for all

EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
April 2020

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The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an inquiry to understand the experiences of disabled defendants and accused people in the criminal justice system. They looked at:

  • whether their needs are properly identified
  • the types of adjustments being made to accomodate their needs, and
  • whether they can fully participate in court processes and understand the charges they face.

Based on their findings, recommendations are made to UK Governments.

 

The use of video hearings was rapidly expanded in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In April 2020, interim findings from this inquiry were released to help mitigate the risks that this technology poses to disabled people in the criminal justice system.

What an inclusive, equitable, quality education means to us : report of the International Disability Alliance

INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY ALLIANCE (IDA)
March 2020

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This report is the result of a process aimed at building a cross-disability consensus on strategic recommendations to commonly advocate for the realisation of the rights of all learners to quality, inclusive education, including all learners with disabilities.

 

Through three technical workshops, which included exchanges with consultants, education sector stakeholders, inclusive education allies in particular the IDDC Inclusive Education Task Group, global, regional and national level OPDs, a consensus position was developed on how to best achieve SDG4 in compliance with UNCRPD Article 24.

 

The report calls for an inclusive education system where all learners with and without disabilities learn together with their peers in schools and classes in their community schools, receiving the support they need in inclusive facilities.

 

Representatives of four IDA members formed the technical task team to guide the initiative and its framing of inclusive and equitable quality education. The four members are Inclusion International, the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People, the World Blind Union and the World Federation of the Deaf. While this report is endorsed by the Alliance as a whole, examples used in this report reflect a perspective on the commonly agreed position as illustrated by the four IDA member organisations who engaged actively in the technical task team.

Towards ambitious transposition of Audiovisual Media Services Directive

European Disability Forum
February 2020

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On February 6th 2020, the European Disability Forum (EDF) organised a webinar about the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). The AVMSD is a directive which sets out the rules for audiovisual media services and adapts them to the new media consumption realities and affects all market players (TV broadcasters, video on-demand platforms and video sharing platforms) in the European Union. The AVMSD entered into force on 19th December 2018 and its transposition period will end on 19th September 2020.

This webinar was conducted by Marie Denninghaus, EDF Policy Coordinator and was supported by Raquel Riaza, Events and Administration Officer and by other colleagues from EDF‘s office. The webinar was accessible for persons with disabilities providing live captioning and sign language interpretation. It was recorded and it will be available on EDF’s website.

The first speaker was Lara Orlandi, from the European Commission, who is Policy Officer in DG CONNECT. She gave a broad overview about the main AVMSD objectives and provisions as she was part of the team which prepared and negotiated this legislation. The second speaker was Alejandro Moledo. He is Policy Coordinator at EDF. He spoke about the provisions of the AVMSD with reference to accessibility for persons with disabilities and how to make use of this legislation to advance on media accessibility. He also mentioned some recommendations to bring out the best of the provisions of the directive which are detailed in the EDF toolkit about this legislation. 

Video Storybooks from eKitabu

eKitabu
2020

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eKitabu’s Studio KSL and Studio RSL create Kenyan Sign Language and Rwandan Sign Language videos and video storybooks to support accessible, early grade reading

India inclusion summit 2018

March 2019

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India Inclusion Summit is a community driven initiative that aspires to build an Inclusive India by 2030. It is an annual event that began in 2012 to create awareness about disabilities and the need for Inclusion. The event brings together thought leaders and unsung heroes from the field of disability and inclusion to deliberate, discuss and drive change in our society.

 

Videos of some of the presentations are available including:

My Journey and ‘Deaf gain’ing an accessible India:  Vaibhav Kothari (18 mins), signed

You’re not just special. You’re Special Edition:  SwarnaLatha (11 mins)

Don’t let disability come in the way of things you love: Zoyeb Zia (10 mins), signed

The Adventure of Autism and quest to serve each other: Rupert Isaacson (20 mins), signed

Making a billion people read despite their disabilities: Brij Kothari (21 mins), signed

The ability needed to be whoever you want to be: Devika Malik (13 mins), signed

Everyone has something to give: Suchitra Shenoy (11 mins), signed

From being inclusive to doing acts of inclusion: Yetnebersh Niguissie (12 mins), signed

Finding your missing piece: Jerry White (18 mins), signed

Listening to the voice within that opens infinite possibilities: Rajni Bakshi (15 mins), signed

Being a mother is the most satisfying role: Suhasini Maniratnam (21 mins) signed

 

 

Deaf people in Pacific Island countries. A design for the Pacific deaf strenthening program

JENKIN, Elena
WATERS, Philip
SEN, Krishneer
ADAM, Robert
2019

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Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) is committed to advancing the rights of people with disabilities living in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). Developing an evidence base to understand more about deaf children and adults’ experiences and priorities will better assist communities, DPOs, organisations and governments to plan inclusive communities, policy and programs.

 

The development of the design was deliberately planned to be highly collaborative and the team met with 161 people who shared their views. This provided opportunities for deaf people and DPOs to contribute to the design, along with representatives from government, non-government and regional organisations. This collaboration occurred in three countries in the Pacific, namely Solomon Islands, Samoa and Fiji. Within Fiji, the design team met with deaf and DPO representatives of other PIC’s along with regional multi-lateral organisations such as UNICEF and the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS). Consultations also occurred remotely with supporting organisations and development workers that are focused on disability inclusion in the Pacific. The design undertook a desk review to learn what is known about deaf children and adults in the Pacific region. Participatory methods ensured the process was highly respectful of the views of deaf people. DPOs, other organisations and governments will be asked to identify to what extent deaf children, adults and their families are participating in services, programs and establishments, and to identify potential supports required to increase deaf people’s participation.  A capacity building element has been carefully built into the design. The report is divided into three parts. Part A rationalizes the design, with background information and a brief desk review to collect evidence from and about deaf children and adults in the Pacific. Part B describes the design development process and reports findings. Part C details the design for the situation analysis.  

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