World Learning’s commitment to inclusion stems from our core values and our mission. It requires that we draw on the full contributions of all parts of society, including groups typically marginalized from political and economic power, such as women, youth, people with disabilities, indigenous people, LGBT persons, and racial, religious and ethnic minorities. Inclusion strengthens our programs by providing us with diverse points of view, ground truth, and skills needed for robust and successful program design, management, and measurement. Inclusion of historically marginalized groups also allows us to impact more people, either as direct beneficiaries or partners.
There are four key aspects to our work to encourage inclusion and diversity:
- Target programs to advance the full participation of historically marginalized people into the political, social, and economic lives of their societies;
- More fully integrate and mainstream inclusion principles into our programs in other issues;
- Perform a role as a thought leader and spokesperson for inclusion issues; and
- Ensure our own commitment to inclusion in our employment and operating practices.
World Learning seeks to include persons with disabilities in all of its activities and welcomes opportunities to engage with partners in new initiatives utilizing its core strengths in education, exchanges, training, civil society and governance, institutional strengthening, and grants management. As such, World Learning has established partnerships with Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and the US International Council on Disabilities (USICD) as well as with disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) in several countries to create stronger linkages for global programs around disability inclusion.
Technical support to the Myanmar Council for Persons with Disabilities. In June 2014, World Learning helped local disability activists organize the first Myanmar National Disability Conference. The conference brought together over 550 people from every region of the country and ended with participants electing representatives to a new Myanmar Council for Persons with Disability (MCPD). The MCPD’s purpose is to advocate for disability rights in Myanmar. With continued support from USAID, we now work with the 21-member MCPD and international disability law experts from USICD to develop MCPD’s organizational and technical capacity so that it can effectively represent and advocate for Myanmar’s diverse disability community. Learn more about our work in Myanmar.
Promoting Education, Altruism, and Civic Engagement (PEACE) in Algeria. Through this program, World Learning promotes opportunities for Algerian university students and select young leaders with disabilities to constructively engage in addressing social problems within their communities by creating a strategic link between university career centers and surrounding local civil society organizations (CSOs), including DPOs. World Learning is building the capacity of three university career centers to provide skills-based training to students and link them with intern and volunteer opportunities with local CSOs. Learn more about our work in Algeria.
Supporting Advocacy for Accessible Schools in Ghana. World Learning supports Sefakor Komabu Pomeyie, a World Learning Advancing Leaders Fellow, as she strives to bring social change in Ghana through the media. Her organization, Enlightening and Empowering People with Disabilities in Africa (EEPD AFRICA), uses national television and radio to advocate for accessible schools for persons with disabilities throughout the country. The campaign seeks to ensure that the government takes concrete steps to change the building plans of schools through the Ghana Education Trust Fund.
Legislative Strengthening in Mongolia. Disability Legislation Support in Mongolia. The Mongolia Disability Rights Legislation and Implementation Professional Fellows On-Demand Exchange Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and managed by World Learning, addresses comprehensive disability rights legislation and implementation for Mongolia. The first phase involved the provision of technical advice on draft legislation. In the second phase, a delegation of seven leaders from Mongolia, representing the Government and civil society organizations, traveled to the U.S. to gain a hands-on understanding of effective disability rights legislation and implementation. The delegation is now developing guidelines on best practices for creating regulatory frameworks and implementation, with US colleagues providing ongoing support.
Grantmaking to Disability Organizations. Through the USAID-funded SPANS (Special Programs to Address the Needs of Survivors (SPANS) GSM mechanism and other programs, World Learning has awarded grants that support service delivery, training, advocacy, and related activities to assist vulnerable populations including displaced children and orphans, war victims, and persons with disabilities.
Building Capacity to Advocate for Special Education in Lebanon. Through its’ USAID-funded Expand Your Horizons program, World Learning is providing capacity building to the Special Needs Education Network (SNEN), which consists of four Lebanese organizations working in the special education sector to advocate for the rights of children with special needs.
Empowering Disability Legislation in Pakistan. After participating in the World Learning-managed Legislative Fellows program in 2013, Abid Lashari, President of Pakistan’s National Disability & Development Forum (NDF), pursued the implementation of his exchange action-plan, and worked with disability activists to draft, finalize and submit a disability bill for the Sindh province of Pakistan. The bill was approved by the Sindh Assembly in January 2015. "I view this as my great achievement," Abid Lashari wrote. "Thanks to World Learning for the opportunity to understand the Americans with Disability Act and empowering me to start and succeed in my campaign. It was the spirit of World Learning's LFP U.S. Exchange program that motivated me to bring this change."
World Learning’s Inclusion Initiative is working with international development practitioners to develop the Transforming Agency Access and Power (TAAP) Toolkit. This toolkit will help practitioners and communities map those who are being excluded from the benefits of sustainable development and provide pathways to participation.