- May 11, 2022

In January 2022, UN Women released the Intersectionality Resource and Guide Toolkit: An Intersectional Approach to Leave No One Behind. The toolkit, funded by the UN Partnership for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), explains and provides practical guidance and concrete examples to promote inclusive programming and practices by UN Country Teams (UNCTs) and governments.

Acknowledging multiple identities and intersecting forms of discrimination, it does not simply add disability and gender or other identity factors, but provides a tool to influence power dynamics and embrace diversity in programming to leave no one behind.

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) was invited to support UN Women to contribute to this process to ensure its design, development, and testing following an intersectional approach and promoting the leadership of and accountability towards the diversity of persons with disabilities. The purpose was also to guarantee that the final toolkit would be fully informed by the realities and priorities of people who experience intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination, including persons with disabilities.

To do so, IDA and its members mobilized a reference group of 12 people from the IDA Community of Practice (CoP), including Bridge CRPD-SDGs alumni, IDA fellows, members of the Youth Network, the Women with Disabilities Task Team and the Indigenous People with Disabilities Global Network. The group included 10 women (83%), 4 indigenous persons (33%), 4 youth (33%) and 5 persons from underrepresented groups (43%). Eleven (92%) were from low- and middle-income countries.

From February to June 2021, IDA’s Intersectionality Officer, Rosario Galarza, and the Bridge CRPD-SDGs Officer, Amba Salelkar, coordinated a consultative process with the reference group and a wider range of OPDs, including 8 online webinars, a dedicated WhatsApp Group, and email exchange to share comments and feedback on the draft toolkit. In total, 78 people attended these webinars, including 48 women (62%), including indigenous peoples with disabilities, of those 22 persons being from underrepresented groups (28%).  Rosario Galarza also participated in a field testing of the draft toolkit with UNCTs in Moldova in July 2021. Moreover, the CoP has provided comments on the structure of the toolkit, peer review of preliminary drafts as well as feedback on the accessibility of the final product itself.

Intersectionality is a mindset and a process that involves actively listening to those experiencing diverse and compounded forms of discrimination. Given this, the toolkit modelled a co-design process that focused on these different perspectives, and the contributions and efforts of IDA and their Community of Practice were central to this. COP members raised important points that would have been missed otherwise; critical issues pertaining to indigenous women with disabilities, refugees and IPDs with disabilities and many more,” from Teresa Thomson, consultant and lead author of the toolkit.

We are thankful to CoP members that contributed to this work: Ms. Agnes Abukito (Uganda); Ms Christine Kirungi (Uganda); Ms. Dalyla J. Pérez Montúfar (Mexico); Ms. Dulamsuren Jigjid (Mongolia); Ms. Elizabeth Campos Sánchez (Peru); Mr. George Khoury (Lebanon); Ms. Kavita Nair (India); Ms. Krishita Adhikari (Nepal); Mr Peter Ochieng (Uganda); Ms. Pirkko Mahalmaki (Finland); Ms. Matilda Apio (Uganda); Ms. Tungi Kenneth (Tanzania).

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