This toolkit has been developed as part of an Inclusion International project, Accessing the Ballot Box, funded by the UN Democracy Fund. The project was designed to address the limited political participation of people with intellectual disabilities in Kenya, Zanzibar and Lebanon.
It sought to identify and challenge the barriers people with intellectual disabilities face in exercising their right to civic engagement and political participation and increase the awareness and knowledge of project stakeholders (people with intellectual disabilities, their families and representative organizations, service providers and governments) on building inclusive democratic processes.
The main objectives of the project were to:
- establish a baseline understanding of the political participation of people with intellectual disabilities in Kenya, Lebanon and Zanzibar;
- increase the awareness and knowledge of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and representative organizations and governments about the right to political participation
- provide tools to initiate positive change.
The project did this through
- collection and analysis of data
- development of tools and publications on the right to political participation
- workshops and train-the-trainer programmes.
While the project was focused in those three countries, the tools and resources have been designed to be applicable in ALL countries. The limited political participation of people with intellectual disabilities is a result of a number of factors – law, policy and practice. Even in countries where no legal prohibition exists, our data suggests that political participation remains low.
Political participation is not simply the act of casting a ballot on election day. Political participation – happens before, during and after elections. To increase political participation and to help shape inclusive civic engagement, our focus, too, must extend beyond the ballot box to look at what inclusive political participation means and how people with intellectual disabilities can access the ballot box.
This information toolkit is designed to explore how to support people to access the ballot box before during and after elections and to support people with intellectual disabilities and their families, governments and partners to ensure people with intellectual disabilities are able to exercise their right to political participation.
We gratefully acknowledge the UN Democracy Fund for its support of this project, Accessing the Ballot Box.