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Leaving No One Behind - Mainstreaming Rights of Children, Women and Persons with Disabilities

While International Women’s Day drew our attention to the progress made – and still to make – on mainstreaming gender in all development cooperation, it is important to recognize that it is part of a wider push for inclusivity.

As disability expert Alexandre Cote pointed out during the Leave No One Behind workshop in Brussels, progress needs to be measured at the intersection of some of the most vulnerable groups such as children, women and persons with disabilities. “Just think about what chance a girl with disabilities has of going to school. In many countries, it’s tiny.”

       Questions: A motto of the 2030 development agenda is ‘Leave No One Behind’. Why is it important to think about rights of women, children and persons with disabilities from the beginning? [1:28] How can overlaps between vulnerable groups be recognized in development cooperation?

The need to focus on vulnerable and excluded groups is highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goals, which will form the basis for the international development agenda till 2030. To equip staff with the necessary skills to incorporate child rights, the human rights of persons with disabilities, and gender equality in all EU external action and development cooperation, DEVCO B1 and B3 organized a workshop bringing together staff from EU Delegations around the world.

A key message was that inclusion of vulnerable groups cannot be tacked on to the end of a programme, but must be built in from the start. “I think these groups should be integrated in every sector - the concept of inclusion is wider, and we have to include these issues at the beginning of programming,” said Marie Noelle Grelle, EU Delegation to Rwanda. “We need to work as a team with different experts from the very beginning to have a comprehensive programme and policy for a country.”

·Question: What progress and challenges do you see in bringing issues of child rights, gender and disability into development programmes ?

During the discussions, EU staff shared examples of best practice and ideas for inclusion which could be replicated in other contexts. Among these was a dance project showcasing talented performers with disabilities in South Africa. With support from the EU and British Council Cape Town, the Unmute Dance Company put forward a model for a more inclusive society through on-stage collaboration of artists with different skills and abilities.

The impact went beyond the cultural sphere: “It triggered at Delegation level […] a willingness to engage on this theme [of disability]. And slowly, we have been able to integrate aspects of inclusive education in the new programme we have signed with the South African government,” said Christophe Larose, EU Delegation to South Africa.

·Questions: Could you share an example of how the EU is supporting the rights of persons with disabilities in South Africa? [0:55] How has this fed into policy-making? [1:38] What role can CSOs play in mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities?

·Questions: How is the EU promoting gender equality in South Africa? [0:56] How are development partners helping to build local capacity to deal with these issues? [2:00] How does the Delegation promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities?

The training came at a critical juncture as Delegations are designing projects for the 11th European Development Fund. “There’s never been a better time to engage deeply about what we can do to move things along faster,” said James McNulty, Results Adviser in the EU Delegation to Zambia. Read more from James McNulty in 'A Delegation Perspective on the GAP'.

The workshop was illustrated by graphic facilitator Lana Lauren. See her at work below:

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Capacity4dev Team
11 March 2016

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