The workshop on Beyond the Ballot Box: Civic Engagement and Political Participation of People with Intellectual Disabilities, took place on 26 May 2014, on the island of Zanzibar, off the east coast of Africa. Shikuku Obosi, a staff member of Inclusion International, facilitated the training supported by Dianah Msipa. Thirty family members and representatives of Zanzibar Association for People with Developmental Disabilities participated in the one-day training workshop.
The workshop discussed the role of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in advancing Civic Engagement and Political Participation with an emphasis on electoral reform in Zanzibar. It also provided concrete examples and recommendations for organisations representing people with intellectual disabilities and their families to advance and secure the right to political participation in the country. Participants identified the barriers people with intellectual disabilities face in exercising their legal capacity and developed strategies to raise awareness and increase knowledge of project stakeholders including people with intellectual disabilities, their families and representative organizations, service providers and governments.
The UN Democracy Fund is supporting Inclusion International to implement the two-year project “Accessing the Ballot Box” with families and self-advocates, in order to address the limited political participation of people with intellectual disabilities in three participating countries: Kenya, Zanzibar and Lebanon. The workshop in Zanzibar was the first in a series of workshops to be held in the three countries. It signals the start of a wonderful opportunity for Inclusion International to work with UN Democracy fund to ensure that families of people with intellectual disabilities and their representative organizations have the capacity and a plan to guarantee that people with intellectual disabilities are able to engage in political participation in Zanzibar.
Ultimately, the project will synthesize global learnings and provide the core principles and common conditions that must be in place to build inclusive democratic processes.