The Norwegian Human Rights Fund were one of the organizations who applied for the Atlas Alliance’s GDS Advocacy Grants in August 2021. These are grants intended to help NGOs and DPOs in upscaling their advocacy work ahead of the Global Disability Summit (GDS). The grantees were requested to create engagement and to contribute to increase knowledge about the GDS in the contexts where they work. They were also engaged to help civil society understand the golden opportunity the GDS offers when it comes to influencing their governments and achieving change.
The Norwegian Human Rights Fund’s partners in Indonesia and Pakistan have in a very short time accomplished a lot with their grants.
In Indonesia, KOMIU, which works to map and obtain identity documentation for members of indigenous peoples with disabilities in Central Sulawesi, has just completed the first part of its project, namely mapping people with disabilities in an indigenous community.
A policy document has been submitted to local authorities which has been followed up with a media campaign to draw attention to the challenges this group faces. This has been covered in local media in Indonesian: https://mercusuar.web.id/donggala/penyandang-disabilitas-di-kabupaten-donggala-masih-sulit-akses-dokumen-kependudukan/.
As a result, local authorities and KOMIU and the DPOs Himpunan Wanita Disabilitas Indonesia and Association of Women Disability Indonesia (IWD) have reached an agreement in which local authorities will provide documentation of people with disabilities in six villages. They have also committed to support the Donggala Social Services, who is responsible for providing assistance to people with disabilities with the registering. This is covered in another local newspaper: https://paluekspres.com/58586/ori-perwakilan-sulteng-temukan-sejumlah-masalah-penyandang-disabilitas-di-desa-sipeso/
In Pakistan, the Norwegian Human Rights Fund’s partner Encourage the Human Development (EHD), and cooperating DPO Society for Special Persons Pakistan (SSPP), Multan branch, have so far completed the following activities:
They have developed and published human rights materials in Urdu, and EHD and SSPP have held several advocacy meetings with local authorities, including the Director of Social Welfare in Multan
In addition, several radio programs have been conducted where persons with disabilities have participated on several occasions and shared their experiences. A two-hour TV-program was sent on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3rd), to promote increased inclusion of persons with disabilities.
A press conference has been held where demands for increased inclusion and facilitation for people with disabilities in public transport and buildings were suggested and discussed. A social media campaign is also underway.
Let us hope all this positive engagement in Indonesia and Pakistan creates awareness of the milestone Global Disability Summit is, and that it leads to real and lasting change for the disabled in these countries as well as others.