Sightsavers to call for action on disability rights at Women Deliver Conference

July 2023

Sightsavers is attending a major conference in Rwanda to call for action to ensure women with disabilities are not forgotten in the women’s rights movement.

The Women Deliver Conference, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, on 17-20 July 2023, is one of the world’s largest multi-sector events to advance gender equality. It will welcome about 6,000 people in person and 200,000 online.

Sightsavers will have a booth showcasing stories of women with disabilities located in The Square, number S22-23, and is leading or participating in a number of other events at the conference.
Note: all timings in Central Africa Time

Tuesday 18 July

Gender and disability in education: collaborative solutions for creating inclusive spaces

11.45am-12.30pm, Akagera Tent in the Exhibition Hall
Sightsavers will share expertise on inclusive education, with director of programme operations in Nigeria, Joy Shu’aibu, speaking about our holistic approach to improving education systems in Nigeria, and Edith Kagoya, our programme manager in Uganda, showcasing our teacher development programme in Uganda. The panellists will discuss the barriers to inclusive education, inclusive technologies and how to build the capacity of teachers.

Generation Equality Impact Fest

Timings to be confirmed
Sightsavers is supporting UN Women to host a flagship event for the Generation Equality Forum, the world’s leading initiative to accelerate gender equality, which was set up in 2021 to make ambitious commitments on gender equality. Generation Equality will host three sessions at Women Deliver in the Kigali Convention Center.
Session 1
High-level, cross-sector panel: Generation Equality as a lever for tackling global regression and pushback on gender equality and women’s rights.
Session 2
Impact and accountability session and reinvigoration of commitments.
Session 3
Generation Equality 101: Education, action and involvement session for those new to Generation Equality, with a focus on how organisations can become commitment makers.

Plenary session

3.30-5pm, Kigali Convention Centre
Sightsavers’ global advocacy manager Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, who is chair of the UN’s disability committee, will discuss accountability for gender commitments. She will also highlight the barriers that she has faced accessing women’s rights spaces, and will discuss how the Feminist Accessibility Protocol can make spaces more accessible for all women.

Q&A session on female genital schistosomiasis

3.00-3.30pm, Sightsavers booth (The Square, booth number S22-23)
Join Sightsavers, Bridges to Development, Frontline AIDS and LVCT Health at the Sightsavers booth for a Q&A session on female genital schistosomiasis (FGS), a neglected tropical disease that is heavily stigmatised. Attendees will hear from Joy Shu’aibu from Sightsavers, Julie Jacobsen from Bridges to Development, Lizzie Taylor from Frontline AIDS, and Dr Lilian Otiso from LVCT Health, about how the Female Genital Schistosomiasis Integration Group coalition is working in partnership with healthcare providers to train healthcare staff and tackle stigma associated with the condition. Learn more about their work by watching this film.

How can I get involved?

Whether you're attending the conference or not, you can take action today to be a disability-inclusive feminist.

How to take action

Wednesday 19 July

Media Q&A 

12.00-12.45pm, media lounge
A brief introduction to Sightsavers, our work, and our call for better inclusion of women with disabilities in discussions around gender equality, followed by a media Q&A and discussion. This will be led by Sightsavers staff including Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame. 

Disability-inclusive sexual and reproductive health rights: Ask Me Anything 

1.00-1.15pm, Sightsavers booth (The Square, booth number S22-23)
What are the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls with disabilities? What are the barriers that women and girls with disabilities face on a daily basis in accessing sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) services? What is needed to promote their access to these services and strengthen existing services and systems? Sightsavers’ global technical lead for inclusive health, Andrea Pregel, will answer questions on making SRHR services and programmes more inclusive for people with disabilities, and especially for women and girls with disabilities. 

Two women communicate using sign language.

What is Inclusive Futures?

The Inclusive Futures initiative is a consortium of more than 20 disability and development organisations, led by Sightsavers, aiming to ensure global development is inclusive for people with disabilities.

How we’re reaching women and girls with disabilities

Thursday 20 July

Meet the Inclusive Futures team with two disability movement leaders

12.30pm-12.45pm, Sightsavers booth (The Square, booth number S22-23)
As part of the Inclusive Futures consortium, led by Sightsavers, we are supporting two women leaders from the disability movement in Kenya to attend Women Deliver. Here they will share their experiences of inclusion, and together with colleagues from Sightsavers will present examples from the Inclusive Futures programme about what works and what doesn’t to include women and girls with disabilities in development programmes. 

Throughout the conference

Co-hosting booth with International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)

Kivu tent, number 9
Sightsavers and IAPB’s Gender Equity Team exhibition booth will explore the theme of women in leadership and how to get more women in healthcare leadership roles.

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