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Today we observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) in 1992, the observance of the day aims to raise awareness around disability issues and support the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

As set out by the UN in its Disability Inclusion Strategy in 2019, “the full and complete realisation of the human rights of all persons with disabilities is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Around the world, over 1 billion people experience disability, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This corresponds to about 15% of the world’s population.

People with disabilities encounter environmental, institutional, and economic barriers. They are often stigmatised and discriminated against. Such barriers and discriminations are more acute in so-called ‘developing’ countries, where other conditions – such as poverty – make it harder for people with disabilities to access basic services.

It is estimated that 80% of people with disabilities live in ‘developing’ countries.

Since 2016, we have partnered with CBM Christian Blind Mission (formerly known as CBM International), a non-governmental organisation with over 110 years of commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities in lower-income countries.

To mark today’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we want to amplify the work that CBM does to promote a more inclusive world and celebrate with them the launch of their Inclusive Participation Toolbox – a project we’ve been working on hand-in-hand with CBM since March.

The purpose of the toolbox is to support the meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

It is designed with the needs of international cooperation workers in mind. It supports them to develop more inclusive humanitarian activities, organise events, and prepare presentations through easy-to-read, printable, and downloadable how-to guides and checklists.

The toolbox officially launched on 24th November 2022. The launch event was live-streamed on YouTube and featured keynote speeches from Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance – the biggest international network of organisations of persons with disabilities – as well as Dominique Schlupkothen, CBM’s Director of Community Based Inclusive Development.

“This is a very practical tool to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in all activities related to international cooperation,” said Dominique, ahead of the Toolbox launch.

“The Inclusive Participation Toolbox is the only tool today that solely focuses on inclusive participation, and therefore will fill a real gap. All information on the issue [of inclusive participation] can be found on the website.”

You can watch the launch event on YouTube and or visit the Inclusive Participation Toolbox website.

Screenshot of the Inclusive Participation Toolbox website homepage
Inclusive Participation Toolbox homepage