Read about DRF's latest updates and discover our grantees' impact in advancing disability rights around the world!

 DRF Newsletter - February 2016
  Dear fellow advocates, friends, supporters and colleagues,
Before I share all of the exciting news and updates from our colleagues grantees across the world, I'd like to share my deepest condolences to those affected by Typhoon Winston across Fiji early last week. As we learned here in the U.S. During Hurricane Katrina, all knowll those who have the misfortune of living in the path of a storm such as this are at risk of suffering injury, loss of property and death - and none are as vulnerable to these consequences as persons with disabilities.
The Disability Rights Fund is proud to support persons with disabilities across the Pacific Island Countries and elsewhere in the fight to be heard in national and regional Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and climate change dialogues. As our grantees across Fiji work to rebuild from the storm's devastation, we've created  a webpage of useful resources and tools for individuals and organizations to ensure that persons with disabilities are not only part of the rebuilding process - but take a lead in ensuring that it disaster response is inclusive to of all. 
As we keep the people of Fiji in our thoughts, let me share some other news of the month. allow me to share some of our staff and grantees' achievements from the past month. We continued to build on the momentum we gained from last month's activity - Following our participation joint session with FRIDA (the Young Feminist Fund), Red Umbrella Fund, and Wikimedia on participatory grantmaking at  IHRFG's 2016 San Francisco Conference in January, DRF was asked to contribute to  an Alliance magazine article on participatory grantmaking.
As you will read in the following newsletter, two of our grantees working in women's rights in Haiti have continued to make strides in ensuring that the issues faced by women with disabilities in Haiti are heard and addressed. You will also discover some of the award-winning work that our grantees have been doing in the fields of inclusive education, accessible ICT, and much more.

Thank you for all that you do,

Diana Samarasan
Executive Director

DRF Announces Grantmaking Opportunity

The Disability Rights Fund announced a Request for Proposals for its first funding round in 2016. The application is open to DPOs in Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, Malawi, and Myanmar. The deadline for proposals is March 14, 2016. Visit DRF's website for more information. 
News from around DRF
DRF grantees well represented at 2016 Zero Project Conference on Inclusive Education & ICT

Zero Project Conference logo
Several DRF grantees presented and were
honored at the Zero Project Conference 2016: Innovative Policies and Practices on Inclusive Education and ICT  held on 10-12 February in Vienna, Austria. This annual conference, hosted and organized by the Essl Foundation, brings together over 500 leaders in disability rights advocacy and inclusive development from across the globe to discuss innovative solutions to key issues affecting persons with disabilities around the world.
As part of the conference, the Zero Project presented awards in recognition of outstanding innovations in inclusive education and ICT. A total of 86 innovative practices and 12 innovative policies from more than 40 countries were recognized for their positive impact on the lives of persons with disabilities. We applaud the DRF grantees and other stakeholders who received awards and presented on their work and its impact.
Inclusion Ghana receives award for work on Ghana's Inclusive Education Policy

Auberon Jeleel Odoom of Inclusion Ghana accepting award _photo_
Auberon Jeleel Odoom, National Coordinator of DRF grantee organization,
Inclusion Ghana , presented on  Inclusion Ghana's award-winning work in the technical group that oversaw the drafting of Ghana's Inclusive Education Policy. Jeleel spoke about Inclusion Ghana's successful efforts to include provisions on persons with intellectual disabilities in the policy. The Inclusive Education Policy's technical working group has also developed a 5-year national implementation plan for the policy. For more information on the Award, the policy and the implementation plan, click here.

Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) honored for advances in accessible learning materials in Bangladesh 

Vashkar Bhatacharjee of YPSA receives award _photo_
in  Chittagong  Bangladesh, 
was  presented  with Zero Project's 2016 Innovative Practices in Education and ICT award for their progress and innovation in developing accessible learning materials for students with visual and print disabilities. Vashkar Bhattaharjee, Program Manager for YPSA and Executive Director of Sitakund Federation of DPOs, a DRF/DRAF grantee, delivered a presentation on YPSA's leadership in the development of accessible reading materials disseminated through Bangladesh's National e-Content Repository (e-Tathyakosh). Click here to view YPSA's presentation.

Pacific Disability Forum recognized for Inclusive Education initiative in Pacific Islands

Setareki Macanawai sits next to a colleague at Zero Conference _photo_
Photo credit: Pacific Disability Forum
Another DRF stakeholder to be honored at the conference was Setareki Macanawai, CEO of the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) and DRF Global Advisor and Grantmaking Committee member, who received an award for an initiative co-sponsored by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) todevelop inclusive education indicators for the Pacific Island Countries. These indicators will serve to inform the development and implementation of effective national and local-level inclusive education policies. Click here to access Setareki Macanawai's presentation. 

DRF co-host Malawi and Rwanda CRPD training

In early February, DRF hosted a three-day training on human rights monitoring for Rwandan and Malawian grantees involved in drafting alternative reports to be reviewed by the CRPD Committee in 2017.  The training was facilitated by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and 2 Kenyans representing persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with psychosocial disabilities - communities that have been historically under-represented in the disability rights movement. These individuals shared their experiences taking part in the alternative reporting process for Kenya and provided valuable perspectives on the inclusion of marginalized groups in the CRPD reporting process.
Participants from Rwanda and Malawi pose _photo_

Following the training, DRF Program Officers, Jorge Manhique and MedSsengooba held a two-day workshop with grantees to share learning on successful rights advocacy strategies. The workshop included the development of collaborative advocacy strategies in three priority areas: women's rights; political participation of marginalized groups; and access to justice.
DRF Grantee Convening: Bangladesh

In mid-February, DRF hosted its eighth annual Grantee Convening in Bangladesh, bringing together DRF/DRAF grantees, donors, government officials, development agencies and other human rights organizations to share strategies for joint advocacy on critical disability rights issues, including: access to justice, rights of women and girls with disabilities, climate change, and implementation of the SDGs in line with the CRPD. The grantee convening was an opportunity for donors, development actors and government to hear from the disability movement on how to ensure SDG efforts are done in line with the CRPD and persons with disabilities are part of the planning and monitoring process to ensure no one is left behind.
DRF Grantees in the News
DRF grantees speak on women's rights at CEDAW briefing

DRF grantees pose for photo with session facilitators in Geneva _photo_
From February 21-26, DRF Grantees from Vanuatu and Haiti representing women-led disabled persons' organizations (DPOs) participated in the 63rd Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) session. DRF and DRAF provided financial and technical support for two delegates from Haiti participating in human rights monitoring for the first time.  The International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW) provided training and technical assistance to the delegates in preparation for their briefings with the Committee.
Soinette Desir of UFMORH presents to CEDAW committee
At the session, Association Filles au Soleil (AFAS) and L'Union des Femmes a Mobilité Réduite d'Haïti (UFMORH) issued a statement on the high rates of gender-based violence, sexual abuse and discrimination against women with disabilities in Haiti. They also described the lack of access that many women with disabilities have to justice, reproductive health services and employment.

The Disability Promotion and Advocacy Association of Vanuatu voiced concerns on stigmatization and lack of access to healthcare, justice and education services for women with disabilities and rural women in Vanuatu. A particular mention was made of the lack of representation of women with disabilities in local and national-level decision-making processes, especially regarding issues such as climate change and disaster risk reduction.
Read more on both countries' presentations here.
Jo-Ann Garnier Lafontant, DRF Grants Consultant for Haiti, explains the importance of this opportunity, "This experience shows that supporting women with disabilities to raise their voices on the global level is essential. Due to the weakness of data collection systems, women with disabilities must themselves describe the rights violations and discrimination they face, and these organizations have done it very well."

UNAPD achieves major breakthrough with new accessibility legislation

DRAF Grantee Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD), who was key to passage by the Ugandan national government of a new Building Control Act with accessibility guidelines in 2013, succeeded in passing a District by-law to enhance accessibility in Mukono district in Central Uganda last week. This achievement was made possible by UNAPD's leadership in drafting the by-law and advocating for its passage over the past year. Watch the video of the by-law passage ceremony here.

Lebanese Association of Self-Advocacy (LASA) publishes article on Syrian refugees with disabilities in openDemocracy

DRF grantee, Lebanese Association for Self Advocacy (LASA) published a powerful story entitled, We Can Not Help You Here, on openDemocracy. The piece provides a first-hand account about the importance of government, NGO, and other international agency recognition of the needs of refugees with disabilities and their families, especially refugee children with disabilities.