Building the capacity of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) to effectively advocate for disability-inclusive development was the focus of a sub-regional advocacy training and strategy design workshop held this week in Nadi, Fiji.
The Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC RRRT) coordinated the event, which saw Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) participants from Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Tonga.
The workshop is part of SPC RRRT’s Pacific People Advancing Change (PPAC) programme. PPAC supports civil society organisations to design and implement advocacy campaigns which advance human rights, gender, and sustainable and equitable development. PPAC equips potential leaders in the Pacific with the knowledge and skills to lobby and advocate for improved governance, leadership and human rights in the region.
Over the past decade, SPC RRRT has worked across the Pacific to support advocacy work of national DPOs. This advocacy and training workshop was to help DPOs from Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Tonga, to develop a regional advocacy strategy to advance disability rights.
Through the use of presentations and case study exercises, the workshop (held from 2 to 4 May) strengthened the capacity of DPOs to apply a human rights based approach and apply the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) to their advocacy work.
“This workshop is designed to show how the principles in the CRPD can be made a reality in everyday advocacy work,” said SPC RRRT Senior Human Rights Adviser, Neomai Maravuakula, who delivered the training at the workshop.
The workshop strengthened the capacity of DPOs to advocate and lobby for disability-inclusive development; to contextualise advocacy campaigns to local priorities and standards; and to enhance their knowledge on using a rights-based approach in addressing relevant issues. At the end of the workshop, participants developed advocacy campaign plans to enhance their national advocacy work utilising a rights based approach.
Melton Paka Tauetia, General Manager of Fusi Alofa Association Tuvalu, said “we have accomplished our Strategic Plan 2018-2022 and the knowledge gained in the training is crucial for our advocacy and lobby plan”.
President Jone Rokoduna of the Northern Youth with Disabilities and Supporters Association (NYDSA) noted the importance of the workshop for her organization saying, “as a leader of a new DPO, I see this workshop as a starting point for mapping activities and programs that address the need of persons with disabilities. This workshop will help me to ensure that all vulnerable groups in the northern division, including youth with disabilities, are involved in discussions on matters that affect them.” NYDSA is a youth-led CSO mandated by the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (NCDP) to be the voice of young people with disabilities in the north of the country.
RRRT has operated for over 20 years as the Pacific’s premier human rights programme. Through a team of regional advisors and Country Focal Officers based in SPC member states, RRRT provides a comprehensive suite of policy and legislative advice, technical assistance and capacity building to support Pacific states to respond effectively to priority human rights areas such as gender equality, ending violence against women and children, disability rights, climate change and equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.