Together for Inclusion is a groundbreaking partnership where seven of Norwegian disabled people's own organizations (DPOs) and nine Norwegian NGOs work to actualize the rights of disabled people in collaboration with local partners in six countries: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.
In 2019, Norad announced new funding for measures aimed at the disabled, with emphasis on cooperation between DPOs and NGOs. A large group of Norwegian organizations then decided to apply together as a consortium with the Atlas Alliance as the leader, to really show that disabled people's own organizations must sit in the driver's seat and lead the work, as always under the movement's slogan "Nothing about us without us". Therefore, the projects are off, with, and for the disabled. In 2020, new fresh funds were announced, and the agreement is now a total of NOK 494 million over four years.
What is unique about Together for Inclusion?
Other consortia also run projects for the disabled in collaboration with DPOs, but this is in fact the only strategic collaboration with the disabled's own organizations in the driver's seat.
In this partnership, the organizations learn the following from each other: Disabled people's own organizations can learn a lot from NGOs (about professionalisation, scaling up, evaluation), and NGOs can learn about disabled people and about inclusive development directly from those who are experts in just this.
What do we do?
The projects are divided into three thematic areas:
- Advocacy and the rights of the disabled (human rights advocacy)
- Inclusive education (over 50% of the funds are used for education)
- Work and income (economic empowerment)
Where do we work?
- South Sudan
In each country, there are between three and six organizations that collaborate on projects that also learn from each other in the process. In each country, there is an organization that leads the work, and in three of the countries, this is a DPO. Networking at a country level is very important: the organizations meet to plan, evaluate, and report, and learn a lot from these processes. Many in the development aid industry may be used to seeing disabled people as recipients; when you now work together you get a completely different perspective.
Disabled people's own organizations are also actively involved in education projects. They learn, for example, to become resource persons for inclusive education, both to be able to give advice directly and to be able to influence national and local decision-making processes. The common factor to the projects are jobs for long-term and sustainable change. For example, NHF’s inclusive education model is implemented in Uganda, Mozambique, Somalia and Ethiopia. This is a model that is based on thorough training of teachers, both during teacher education and as further education, and where the local community is involved to create a more inclusive school that meets the requirements of all children.
The partnership also has a strong focus on monitoring and evaluation, which are coordinated so that the results from the different countries can be compared. It has been an important learning process and an important competence boost for everyone involved.