DONATE

Why we need to make this summit count

Tessa Murphy, July 2018

I have always found it hard to stand by and do nothing in the face of injustice. And after years of focusing on promoting and protecting human rights, I know first-hand that campaigning works.

Change is incremental, but it starts with individuals choosing to take action, and working collectively with others to demand an alternative. Unquestioning acceptance of the status quo can only perpetuate inequalities and injustice, but by working together, we can achieve great things. Signing a petition or taking part in a social action is just one step on this journey.

On 24 July, the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) is co-hosting a global disability summit with the government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance.

The aim of the summit is to focus international attention on disability and development, and to encourage development leaders from across governments, multinational organisations (like the World Bank and the UN) and the private sector to commit to making a disability-inclusive world a reality. If they do, it could change the lives of the 800 million people with disabilities who live in the world’s poorest countries.

There has never been a global disability summit quite like this, where the objective goes beyond raising awareness, and calls for firm commitments from all attendees that will directly benefit people with disabilities in developing countries. Without strategic intervention, people with disabilities are at risk of being left behind in the global fight to eliminate poverty.

The summit is the brainchild of DFID, which two years ago declared its
intention to be a global leader in inclusive development. What is required now of DFID is bold leadership that will result in global action.

For this to happen, DFID needs to use its influence to ensure the widest possible attendance at the summit from representatives across different sectors. Even more importantly, it needs to ensure that all those attending commit to policy or financial changes that will improve the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries.

It doesn’t end there. In order to ensure the summit brings about long-term change, DFID needs to plan how to track and monitor the progress of any commitments made at the summit. Integral to this is the commitment of another government to host a second summit in five years’ time, to ensure this long-term global focus.

What does inclusive development mean for the 800 million people living with disabilities in developing countries? It means a world in which everyone has equal access to health services, education, and employment, and the ability to participate equally in society without fear of stigma or discrimination. It is this vision of an equal world that Put Us in the Picture campaigns for.

Next week’s Global Disability Summit could be a sea change in attitude and action towards people with disabilities in developing countries. Help us to make this change a reality by showing your support for disability inclusion, and urging leaders to make the summit count. By joining us in calling on them to support inclusive development, you’ll be part of a global movement for change that could benefit 800 million of the world’s most vulnerable people.

 

Author


Gertrude smilingTessa Murphy
Tessa is Sightsavers’ Policy Campaign Manager.

A young group of visually impaired Judo players laughing in Sightsavers' tracksuits.

Join our campaign

Sightsavers' Put Us in the Picture campaign calls for people with disabilities to have the same opportunities as everyone else.

More on the campaign

Find out more about the summit

Global Disability Summit
Members of Ghana's disability parliamentary caucus sit around a large table in a meeting room.
Sightsavers blog

A parliamentary caucus on disability issues in Ghana is possible!

Sightsavers’ Peter Anomah-Kordieh Kwasi shares the journey that led to the establishment of a parliamentary caucus that champions disability issues.

Peter Kwasi, November 2022
Lesline and classmates at school in Cameroon
Sightsavers blog

Did world leaders do their homework to transform education?

Sightsavers’ Mariana Rudge shares how world leaders at the Transforming Education Summit responded to our call to take action on inclusive education.

Mariana Rudge, October 2022
A young boy sits at a desk in a classroom, writing in an exercise book. A teacher stands next to him offering guidance.
Sightsavers blog

Transforming education: how we’re doing our homework too

Sightsavers’ Liesbeth Roolvink shares the work we’re doing in programme countries to help transform education systems so that all children can go to school.

Liesbeth Roolvink, October 2022