Information for OPDs
As persons with disabilities, it is your right to participate like any other citizen, including in international cooperation. But this right is often disregarded.
Relevant actors may not be aware of their obligation or your interest in participating. Some may have prejudices regarding your ability to participate, others may be unaware of the competencies and contributions you can bring to the table. Again, others may find it difficult to find partners from Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) or individual experts with disabilities with whom they can engage in a meaningful participation process. This section will give you some ideas on what you can do to get more involved in the future.
Advocate for your participation
Persons with disabilities and their organisations are the experts and best placed to decide on matters affecting them. This is true also for all development projects aided by international cooperation. Different stakeholders, including international development agencies, have made global commitments to include OPDs in their work. These commitments are cemented by the core principle and commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to 'Leave No One Behind'. Some of these commitments have the status of human rights obligations. The Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) States Parties are called to work in partnership with organisations of persons with disabilities in Article 32 of the CRPD and to make sure that international development programmes are inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities. Being aware of this obligation, OPDs can press for its fulfillment.
OPD participation is a key principle of a rights-based approach to disability inclusive development. In the context of development projects aided through development cooperation the responsibility for achieving the participation of OPDs lies with the government and international cooperation agency aiding and executing the project.
Until executors of development projects are more aware and knowledgeable about engaging with OPDs, it is important for OPDs to advocate for their engagement as partners in the development process. Such advocacy would be required at different stages.
Take the lead in ensuring that your participation is not tokenistic. Hold the project leads accountable for your inclusion through regular follow-ups.
- Stay abreast of all the development projects in your community
- Maintain or establish good networks with other civil society organisations involved in development work for information exchange and collaboration.
- Sensitise stakeholders and stress the importance of OPD participation. Share this presentation on 'Why participation is important'.
- Make sure you are invited and are consulted. Be aware of your rights.
- Demand accessibility and reasonable accommodation in the process. You may offer advice for providing this if required. Check this checklist for 30 important accessibility requirements for event venues.
- Ensure you have adequate information on the topic well in advance and in accessible formats.
- Prepare for the topic of the consultation to be able to give valuable feedback and advice. Ask for additional information if you feel that something is missing.
- Ask the project staff to provide awareness-raising sessions for you on the topic if required.
- Provide advice on steps to make the consultation presentations inclusive. Share this checklist for giving an inclusive presentation.
- Keep the organisers accountable to your recommendations. Request for reasoning if your recommendations are not considered.
- Follow up regularly on the process and ensure your participation in all stages.
- Examine the outcomes ensuring your inputs are addressed.
- Continue collaboration through post-implementation and evaluation.
- IDA (2022): Applying CRPD standards to programmatic processes: A look at inclusive programming in practice.
- IDA (2022): Not just ticking the disability box? Meaningful OPD participation and the risk of tokenism.
- EDF (2023): Engaging with the Delegations of the European Union around the world. Toolkit for Organisations of Persons with Disabilities.
- EDF (2022): Global Europe funding for DPOs - guidance note.
- CBM and IDA (2017): Toolkit for DPOs voluntary national reviews. How to review if the SDGs have been achieved for persons with disabilities in your country.