By David Corner, Inclusion International’s Regional Representative for Asia Pacific and National Self-advocacy Adviser at IHC.
Bridge CRPD-SDGs is an intensive training programme. It aims to support organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and disability rights advocates to develop a CRPD perspective on development, including the post-2015 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It aims to reinforce their advocacy for inclusion and realisation of rights of persons with disabilities.
I was asked by Tchaurea Fleury, International Disability Alliance Senior Advisor and Bridge CRPD-SDGs Coordinator, to be a co-facilitator during the Bridge Training programme held in Kathmandu, Nepal, 26 November – 5 December 2019.
I have contributed to the Bridge programme in the past through my role as Council Representative for Asia Pacific.
Around 50 people attended. 30 did the training and the rest were support people International Disability Alliance staff. Altogether, there were 10 co-facilitators. Some I had met before at different events over the years.
We had 2 days preparation before starting the programme. The first day was a co-facilitators day where we met each other. Then went over the schedule and looked at what sessions we wanted to help co-facilitate. It was a good opportunity to get to know each other, as some of us hadn’t met or worked together before.
On the second day of preparation, we met participants with a range of disabilities. We went over the information and the programme with them.
We all looked at the prepared ‘word bank’ so we could understand what some of the words meant. We offered to give the participants any help and support that they needed throughout the days of the training.
Next, we began the 7 days of Bridge training. I found the whole training interesting. I learnt more about the United Nations Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disability and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
I was very glad of my supporter’s help to break things down and explain them to me in a way that I could understand.
I enjoyed watching the participants playing the game of life, where they split up into small groups and chose a person from there group to take part in the game. The group had to consider if the person they selected was being excluded because of their disability or because of their economic status, place of residence, or sex.
I helped to co-facilitate a session on respecting and accepting difference as part of human diversity. People wrote down 3 things about themselves and put the paper in a box. I drew a piece of paper out and read it aloud and everyone who had that thing in common joined me in the middle which was quite fun. We did this a few times.
I then co-facilitated a session where people split up into different groups and were given a role play with different examples. Some examples are access to education and access to banking services. One group had to think from the person with a disability’s perspective and the other group had to think from the provider or organisation’s perspective.
I found it interesting learning about the 4 A’s and Q principles (Availability, Affordability, Accessibility, Acceptability and Quality) and how they go together to make things better for people with disabilities.
I also co-facilitated a session on self-determination and autonomy. I used Power Point illustrations to describe my different points. My points included; being treated equally before the law, getting justice, treating disabled people as people first, independent living and being part of the community and health.
When the groups had to do a session called ‘45 minutes, 1 article’ and present to the audience, I was able to explain to the group who chose Article 19 what it meant with help from my supporter. It gave the group some guidelines and a starting point to work from.
It was interesting listening and watching the groups working together to present the articles because they all had different kinds of disabilities, spoke different languages and had never worked together.
I personally found some of the training material quite hard to read and to understand as most formats for the sessions were not in an Easy Read format. I hope in the future to see more people with intellectual disabilities being encouraged to attend and participate.
Overall, I really enjoyed the opportunity to mix with other people with disabilities from different countries within the Asia Pacific region, and also to hear what is happening for people with disabilities in their countries.