- November 3, 2019

From 2 to 8 November 2019, Niamey is playing host to the first Module of the Bridge CRPD-SDGs training initiative for the Francophone West Africa. This is organised by the West African Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities (WAFOD), an ADF member, with the support of IDA and Humanity and Inclusion (HI) through the financial support of the European Union; DPOD, CBM, LFTW, Belgian Development Cooperation, DFAT and MOFA Finland. 

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The selected 31 participants coming from 12 different countries of the Francophone West Africa represent a wide range of organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and self-advocate activists, including persons with intellectual disabilities, psychosocial disabilities, physical disabilities, albinism, leprosy, people with cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments.

Preparation of trainers and underrepresented groups
On the 31 October and 1 November, the facilitation team worked together, in order to ensure a smooth preparation, in particular, using tools of inclusive facilitation.

The team of facilitators is comprised by Siddo Oumarou Nouhou,  National Federation of DPOs of Niger (FNPH) and Rokiatou Diakite, Malian Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities (FEMAPH) acting as leader facilitators and with Mahamadou Omarou Manou, West African Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities (WAFOD) and Fernanda Santana from the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons With Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS), and Nejib Ehboum, from Mauritanian Organisation for Peace and Inclusion of persons with albinism (OMAPI) as co-facilitators.

Moreover, the week represents a unique opportunity to build the future generation of facilitators within its training of trainers process, with the inclusion of Djimnayel Robikedi Obkedi, from National Union of Association of persons with disabilities of Chad (UNAPHT) for the French speaking countries, and of Cantol Pondja, from Mozambican Forum of People with Disabilites (FAMOAD), Yvonne Gomez FADPD-GB and Zalinorvia Veiga, in the preparation of the future Portuguese-speaking cycle. Both teams are supported by Tchaurea Fleury, IDA-IDDC Bridge CRPD-SDGs Coordinator.

In addition, the 1 November was dedicated to the preparation of participants from underrepresented groups. For instance, participants with intellectual disabilities, deaf people, persons with psychosocial disabilities, with little stature, with cerebral palsy, among others, met the group of facilitators and the team of resource persons. They were introduced to the Bridge CRPD-SDGs principles and methodology, as well as to the week agenda and to the most in depth concept that would be worked during the week in order to ensure smooth kick-off of the training.

Summary by days

Day 1 – Saturday 2 November 2019
The Bridge CRPD-SDGs Module 1 Francophone West Africa, in Niamey, started by a presentation of the aim of the training and with a round of introduction by participants and facilitators. Participants, then, had the opportunity to share two or three key expectations regarding the training.

The expectations from participants can be summarised as following:

  • strengthening leadership and advocacy skills,
  • understanding the concept of inclusion,
  • share experiences both during the training but also after the training back to the organisations and communities,
  • learn to understand and interpret the CRPD Convention,
  • link the CRPD with the SDGs,
  • create alliances with other organisations,
  • reinforce competences on advocacy and leadership,
  • learn to be in measure to actively participate in society,
  • learn to influence public policies,
  • become an expert in Bridge,
  • and to write parallel reports. 

Co-facilitators explained that the two last expectations could not be met as neither of them were included in the program of the week and would need more training and more time.

Following in the day, the group had the chance to get to know each other through a “speed-dating” activity and then to jointly create a list of rules that would help make the communications accessible to everyone and ensure a smooth participation of each of the attendees during the week.

To conclude the introductory session, the facilitation team presented the agenda and all feedback mechanisms, including the reflection wall, the “Moodmoter”, the self-evaluation chart, the traffic light cards, the daily journal and daily evaluation team.

After lunch, it was held an introductory session on “needs to human rights”. Thanks to a work group, a substantial presentation and a simulation, the facilitation group provided a reflection on the relationship between needs, rights and resources, as well as on the “4A, 1Q” required criteria for the provision of appropriate services to guarantee the rights of every human being.

The last part of the first day was dedicated to the “game of life”. Thought this one, participants were engaged in an exercise aimed to analyse the difference of opportunities that persons with disabilities have in their lives, depending on their type of disability, gender and on the social environment they live in. This game also closed the day and gave a starting point for reflection that would be shared the morning of the second day. 

In the evaluation of the day, participants shared their happiness to be participating in the training, the appreciation of the inclusive methodology and the different tools used during the day. Points to be improved was the time. Participants regretted that other participants delayed of half an hour the start of the day and the afternoon session. They requested to the facilitation team to be stricter in the time keeping.

Day 2 – Sunday 3 November 2019
The second day started with a summary of the relationship between needs, rights and resources. It then followed the first session dedicated to ‘a human rights-based approach to disability’. Participants shared their understanding about “disability" and had a substantial presentation with a presentation on key elements of the CRPD. Also, facilitators promoted a discussion on the charitable, medical and social approaches to disability. This session was then concluded by an exercise celebrating diversity and the inclusion.

This was followed by a group role-playing game. The group simulated a situation of discrimination in a regional context regarding the Article 14 of the CRPD on liberty and security of the person. Two groups were made, where one represented the local community and the other one took the role of the lawyer of the person with an intellectual disability being discriminated. The groups fed back to plenary. The drama brought discussions on direct, indirect and multiple discrimination, as well as on the denial of reasonable accommodation and how the CRPD deals with these issues.

After lunch, another group presented its role-playing simulation on indirect discrimination related to education. This role-play opened a plenary session on formal and substantive equality as well as on equal opportunities. Participants provided practical examples and their own experiences, which facilitated the understanding of the mentioned concept. 

In the evaluation of the day, participants shared their appreciation to a lively and dynamic approach to learning, as well as the peer-to-peer support approach. A point to be improved was the availability of more visual support during the presentations.

Day 3 - Monday 4 November 2019
After a brief recap of the key concept discussed the day before, the first session of the day was the ‘five-minutes one article’ exercise, which started on Article 29 on participation on political and public life. During the brainstorming in plenary, the facilitation team had the opportunity to fed back the group, summarize the main messages related to this article and highlight how articles of the CRPD are interrelated among themselves.

The introduction to the Agenda 2030 took then place. After an explanation of the ‘five-Ps’ dimensions of the Agenda 2030 and the description of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the difference with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), participants worked in duo to explore linkages between the articles of the Convention and the most appropriate goals. Participants linked the majority of the CRPD articles with the Goal 16.

The session continued then with a rich presentation aiming to deepen the understanding of the linking SDGs with all the articles of the Convention. The active participation of the plenary made the ‘exposé’ very interactive and it was the opportunity for the facilitation team to further explain some of the articles mentioned.

Subsequently, the exercise ‘five minutes, one article’ on Article 8 on awareness raising was done following the same manner as in the morning.

The last session of the day was on access, accessibility and reasonable accommodation. Co-facilitators started with a brainstorming session in plenary, followed by a presentation explaining the difference between these concepts, developing the ‘four As, one Q’ criteria and by providing with concrete examples showing how accessibility is a prerequisite towards enjoyment of the rights of persons with disability. 

The group then split into four teams, of which did a simplified accessibility audit of the restaurant, the reception, a room and the emergency plan of the hotel. Session to be finalised with feedback to plenary on the next day.

The day was closed by a very constructive and positive evaluation although it was highlighted that technical problems such as power outages slowed down the training.

Day 4 - Tuesday 5 November 2019
The morning started with an interactive recap of the previous days done in the form of a radio interview and, by responding to the questions, the group refreshed some key notions of the trainings such as the aim of the Convention.

It then followed the ‘five-minutes one article’ exercise on Article 21 on Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information. The group was extremely creative using material that the illustrators made during the training to facilitate access for participants with intellectual disabilities. The group presentation was followed by feedbacks from participants and facilitation team.

This was followed by the conclusion of the activity on accessibility from the previous day, where the four teams that had done an accessibility audit of the various parts of the hotel provided feedback to the whole group in plenary and made recommendations.

Co-facilitators promoted discussions around the most included and the most excluded groups of persons with disabilities with regard to accessibility. The aim of the discussion was to highlight that accessibility can vary according to the type of disability and to stress that some group are less considered, such as persons with intellectual, psychosocial disabilities and deafblindness, but also to stress that even a same group of persons with disabilities have different accessibility requirements. The co-facilitators then displayed a video showing the perspective of a person with psychosocial disabilities and what are the obstacles they encounter in their daily life.

Subsequently, with a PowerPoint presentation, the facilitation group took participants into the major session ‘Access, accessibility and reasonable accommodation’. The presentation led into the definition as well as the difference among of these terms.

In order to assimilate the concepts presented, the group was divided in six small groups. Each small group received a case study and had the task to identify whether there was a discrimination based on the denial of reasonable accommodation.

Each group presented the cases, their arguments and conclusions and after each presentation participants and co-facilitators fed back to plenary; this made the session very interactive and well appreciated by the participants. 

There was no daily review group this day, as the afternoon was free. However, the group provided a very positive evaluation in the moodometer.

Day 5 – Wednesday 6 November 2019

The fifth day began with an interactive recap and was followed by the exercise "five minutes, one article" on Article 14 of the CRPD on Liberty and security of the person. The group sketch was highly appreciated by the participants as it highlighted the different aspects of the article and linked it to other articles of the Convention.

Woman Speaking at Bridge Niamey 2019

The morning was dedicated to Equality between men and women. To facilitate the immersion of participants in the theme, men and women were divided into two groups. The men's group had to reflect on what they thought would be the existing gender-based social inequalities that women face. For their part, women had to reflect on the social inequalities built around the disability they face.

The group of co-facilitators then highlighted, through a presentation, the hidden role of women in African society, their double working day, as well as the multiple discriminations against women with disabilities in the regional context. This session generated lively debate among participants and concluded by highlighting the importance of the participation of women with disabilities in public and political life. In particular, it was an opportunity to take up concepts previously discussed, such as equal opportunities, but also some of the SDGs.

The afternoon session was devoted to ‘State obligations’. After a roundtable on the different types of obligations, the participants were divided by nationality and made an analysis of the situation in their country on the basis of Article 4 of the CRPD.

Women participating in the bridge training. One of the two using a braille pad

Feedbacks in plenary allowed the co-facilitators to highlight the difference between immediate and progressive implementation of State obligations, as well as the importance of the advocacy of OPDs and their role in monitoring the implementation of State obligations.

Finally, participants, divided into 8 groups, were given the task of preparing a presentation on one of the principles of the Convention for the following day.

The day was evaluated very positively. Participants felt more empowered and confident in the understanding of the Convention. They also shared their sense of being a highly motivated and cohesive group of participants, highly appreciating having facilitators with disabilities from the region. 

Day 6 – Thursday 7 November 19

After an interactive recap of the State's obligations under the Convention, the exercise "5 minutes - 1 article" on Article 16 of the CRPD on Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse was presented. Through a sketch, the group presented a situation of abuse based on a frequent situation in the local context, which was appreciated by the participants. Appreciated was also the fact that the co-facilitators brought concrete cases of violence and abuse and fights by OPDs to have brought the violation to justice. 

The morning session was dedicated to the CRPD Principles. Here each of the eight groups presented a Principle in different forms; through an oral presentation, using drawings or with a PowerPoint presentation. After each presentation, there was a sharing in plenary.

The morning followed with a substantive presentation aimed at explaining in detail each of the principles of the CRPD. Here the co-facilitators underlined the interconnection of the principles and their importance, being the lenses through which to read and understand all the articles of the Convention. This substantial part was highly appreciated by the participants; it was also an opportunity for participants to ask questions about the Preamble of the Convention, as well as to seek further clarification on the Optional Protocol.

participants group presenting on a CRPD Principle

After lunch, the last group participated in the exercise of the "5 minutes, 1 article" and article 18 of the CRPD on the Liberty of movement and nationality was the subject. The comments of the plenary were all very positive because the group was able to link this article with others in the Convention.

Inclusion vignette

The rest of the afternoon was devoted to the preparation in groups of a 10-minute session on an article of the Convention, which would take place the following day. The six groups worked on one of the following articles: Articles 11, 13, 19, 24, 17 and 28.

The evaluation of the day highlighted the high satisfaction of all participants with the day and the training as a whole. Participants particularly appreciated the methodology used by the co-facilitators, such as providing concrete examples, especially in the case of different forms of violence and abuse in the morning session. 

Participants during evaluation session

Day 7 - Friday, November 8, 2019 

The last day was opened with a summary of the principles and objective of the CRPD in a playful way with the game of the "fireball", allowing participants' knowledge to be randomly tested.  In this session, participants also had the opportunity to review the States’ obligations. The recap session was followed by the main session of the day, led by the participants themselves.

Presentation on day 7

Each group gave a presentation to the rest of the participants on a specific article. Six presentations followed on these articles: risk situations and humanitarian emergencies (article 11); access to justice (article 13); living independently and being included in the community (article 19), education (Article 24), work and employment (article 27) and adequate standard of living and social protection (article 28).

The subsequent plenary discussion provided an opportunity to share comments and clarify some aspects of the articles mentioned. It was also an opportunity for the co-facilitators to review the presentation methodology of participants; the need to get to the point and the use of plain language.

After lunch, the participants - divided into the same morning groups - reflected on the OPDs movement. In particular, they had the task of thinking and representing with a drawing how they currently perceive the OPDs movement in their region and how they would like to see the movement in the future. The presentations and discussions that followed carried a very strong and clear message: the desire for cohesion within civil society, inclusion, direct representation of all people with disabilities and the need for side-by-side work by all OPDs. 


The group of co-facilitators then closed the session but also the training with a reflection on the principles to be followed for the good progress of the disability movement: respect for diversity, good apolitical governance of OPDs but also the crucial role of leaders which is to reproduce leaders and to build the new generations of advocates and leaders.

The facilitators then explained what the next steps would be and what kind of assignments participants they would have to produce over the next six months.

In the rest of the afternoon, participants had time to complete the Bridge Training Evaluation Form and to re-fill the self-assessment table related to their level of confidence regarding ODDS, CRPD, humanitarian action, among others, which showed that, thanks to the training participants raised significantly increased in the level of confidence in relation to the beginning of the training; one of Bridge's goal has been achieved!

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