- January 14, 2022

On December 9th and 16th, The International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) hosted workshops specifically designed for organizations of persons with disabilities in Africa. This workshop was organized under the framework of collaboration between IDA and UNHCR. With UNHCR’s status as the main coordinator of global refugee response and IDA’s unique representation of persons with disabilities and their organizations, this key collaboration works to enhance equal protection, inclusion, and participation of forcibly displaced and Stateless persons with disabilities. Click here to read more about the collaborative work between IDA and UNHCR.

The goal of the workshops was to prepare organizations to collaborate with their regional UN Refugee Agency offices on design projects and plans to support displaced and Stateless persons with disabilities. The workshop was attended by 36 organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) and 55 organizations in total, from 23 different countries. French and international sign interpretations were provided for both workshop sessions.

The first workshop, held on 9 December, built a foundation of understanding for displaced persons and what situations they may have experienced or will experience. The workshop also gave an overview of IDA and UNHCR’s collaboration over the past year. At the end of the first workshop, participants were given questionnaires to fill out where they were asked about their experience and knowledge of working with displaced persons, shadow reporting, connection with humanitarian actors, experience in training on humanitarian action and areas of interest.

The second workshop, held on 16 December, started with participants sharing their responses on the questionnaires they submitted. Participants spoke about the challenges around capacity building when there is a lack of resources and funding, the lack of disability inclusion, the need for disaster risk reduction planning for persons with disabilities, families of persons with disabilities, employment for persons with disabilities, and the need for more advocacy. The moderators of the workshop from UNHCR and IDA responded to the challenges that participants brought up with suggestions or directed participants to resources that may address the challenges. There was also discussion on how to collaborate with organizations and the challenges that may arise. A common concern that was spoken about was the lack of resources and education for displaced children and especially displaced children with disabilities.

At the end of the webinar, the moderators spoke about next steps. It was shared that the content of the questionnaires that the participants submitted would directly influence how future collaborations are organized. There are plans for the questionnaires to be compiled and shared with regional and country UNHCR offices. The development of an advocacy toolkit to be shared was also spoken about. The moderators ensured that all the resources addressed in the workshop would be shared with participants and follow up on future collaboration would come shortly. 

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