On November 1-4, 2018, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) organized a training of disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) from eight countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community. AGENDA, a network of DPOs and election-focused CSOs in Southeast Asia, was founded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in 2011. The workshop was led by IFES Senior Inclusion Officer Rebecca Aaberg and co-facilitated by AGENDA Program Manager Erni Andriani, AGENDA Disability Rights Advisor Tolhas Damanik and AGENDA Project Officer Yudhi Yuniarsyah.
Workshop participants developed new skills by creating strategic communication plans for gaining government stakeholders’ buy-in on regional disability inclusion messages. They also created slogans to support the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a regional rights plan signed by ASEAN members on November 15. The interactive training methodology included lessons on communicating with government officials, designing a media kit, producing advocacy tools, and writing national advocacy plans.
“The training was very active and overall hands-on sessions were very practical. [Now] we have a lot of tools and advocacy activities.”
– Nantanoot Suwannawut, Thailand Association for the Blind
During the workshop, participants shared examples of advocacy initiatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. Learning from these initiatives and the regional strategy developed by participants will empower persons with disabilities across the ASEAN community to raise awareness of and advocate for the implementation of the masterplan.
“At [the] grassroot level, where I am located and working, I’ll be discussing this also, share this also with our trainees in the rehabilitation center, there are about 70 people there.”
– Jennifer Garcia, Regional Association of Women with Disabilities, Philippines