Scaling up our disability inclusion work
Within Sightsavers we have dramatically scaled up our work on disability inclusion, a positive result of an intensive period of advocacy which has generated interest in inclusive programming among donors. This has also fostered closer relationships with people with disabilities in the countries where we work and their global and national representative organisations, such as the International Disability Alliance (IDA).
We are working more closely with a range of new and existing partners and other stakeholders to strengthen the evidence base in a range of innovative learning projects. The most notable is Inclusive Futures, a consortium of 16 global partner organisations all advocating for disability inclusion. The new website is a hub of information for the global disability and development communities on learning and best practice, and showcases work happening across seven countries to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
Developing our new strategy
Five years on from the launch of Sightsavers’ disability inclusion strategy, we are now reflecting back on our journey so far – a journey which has been documented and shared in our annual inclusion reports – and considering what we have learned and where we should focus next.
The process of developing our new strategy affords us the opportunity to revisit how we can best work with people with disabilities and their representative organisations; how we can factor in environmental risks more systematically in our planning; and how we can influence others to ensure that those people who are most marginalised, such as women with disabilities and people with intellectual impairments, are not overlooked. We will continue to develop interactive partnerships with organisations at local levels as well as those working regionally and globally to ensure that our programming is as effective as possible. We are consistently open to developing new relationships.
The development of our new strategy is currently underway and, from my perspective, it has not been that easy given the challenges posed by the shift to home working. On the other hand, the fact we aren’t currently on work trips taking us away from our desks, or having to grapple with meeting room availability, has enabled us to move forwards in our virtual ‘thinking space’. It has also led to more equal approaches to strategy-development, taking us away from previous models of getting a few global staff together physically and having others dial in from around the world.
It’s an exciting time for all of us, so watch this space…