A raft of far reaching recommendations emerged during the 11th session of the conference of states parties to the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) at the UN headquarters in Newyork where the Commission participated in four side events and represented by Commissioner Dr. Florence Wachira and Comm Dr. Gumato Ukur.
The first side event was on disability data and sought to explore the use of the Washington group questions in programmatic, humanitarian and development settings. The forum brought together organizations of development partners, humanitarian actors and experts with experience of using the Washington Group short set of Questions i.e. UNICEF, Leonard Cheshire Research Centre, Humanity Inclusion, DFID, and IDA to share experiences on use of Washington group questions.
The session ended with a call to build capacity of statistical officers and to rally governments to ensure they collect, accurate, sufficient, adequate and non-biased data on disability.
The second session addressed the issue of equity and inclusion in education for children with disabilities and was organized by World Bank, DFID, USAID, UNICEF and Ministry of Gender in Ghana to highlight what they were doing on the matter. The session explored essential components of the enabling environment and service delivery systems that can support efforts to create inclusive education systems.
The key objective in this session was to highlight the need for an inclusive education in recognition of the fact that all children including boys and girls with or without disability should have equal access to quality education which is differentiated to support their learning needs and ultimately to lead to a fulfilling and independent life.
As part of sharing the lessons learnt it was observed that lumping all children with disability as one group doesn’t address the challenges. It was also noted that enabling communities to participate in education of their children with disabilities aids their effective learning.
The third session emphasized the need to move from commitment to action to fully implement the CRPD. It was organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with ADD international. While interrogating various presentations and lessons from other countries it was noted that there is a disjoint between good policies in existence and support required to implement them especially financial and human resource.
The session recommended enhancement of organizational capacities for those dealing with persons with disability in terms of finance and human resource and targeted skills training and development of persons with disabilities.
The fourth session tackled the issue of inclusion of persons with intellectual disability and was sponsored by the Australian Government, Intellectual Disability Alliance and Council of Intellectual Inclusion Interactions. Presenters included Jane Akinyi from Kenya, Robert Strike of Council of Intellectual Disability – Australia, Robert Martin of UN Committee on Rights of persons with disability, Tanya Brown of Self advocate YAI and David King – People First New Zealand
The session called for the identification of persons with intellectual disability, facilitation to form organizations for themselves and for governments to increase the number of teacher assistants in integrated primary schools.