Many people face exclusion. Some people face exclusion on multiple levels. When facing discrimination for different reasons simultaneously we talk about intersectionality. Intersectionality emphasizes that people are often disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression based on their race, class, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, religion etcetera. Intersectionality recognizes that these identity markers exist simultaneously within a person or a target group-led organisation (i.e. a DPO), thus creating multifaceted exclusion.
Project #VoicesForInclusion is up and running. In Rwanda the learning events are very intense, but fruitful. Supporting and empowering people with disability to carry out their own advocacy is more influential than speaking on their behalf. On the photo the people of S.A.I.D. who fight for the rights of people with a disability.
If we want to change such a situation, we need to address the complex forms of social exclusion. This can be done by developing advocacy strategies with an intersectional lens, addressing multiple sources of exclusion at the same time. If identities are associated with interrelated forms of discrimination, for example being a girl and having visual impairment, it makes sense for advocates to join forces and strengthen their case.
Therefore, the Liliane Foundation and the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD) have brought together organisations from Africa and Asia through peer-to-peer exchanges to look at advocacy from an intersectional perspective. This is the ‘Voices for Inclusion’ project, a project funded by Voice. The African Studies Centre Leiden and The International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague are actively involved in the project in an advisory role. The ‘Voices for Inclusion’ project focuses on learning between marginalised groups (representing women, elderly, youth, people with a disability, ethnic minority groups, groups discriminated based on their gender or sexual orientation) in five countries in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Nigeria, Indonesia and The Philippines. We want to discover if collaboration between these groups can lead towards more effective influencing on policy and practices for inclusion.
In July and August 2019, three selected organisations (see www.lilianefonds.org/projects/voices-for-inclusion/participating-organisations) in each country have visited one another to understand each other’s approach on influencing policy and practices. The insights from these peer learning visits are collected and further discussed during a learning event in a central place in the country.
In November 2019, the representatives of the fifteen participating organisations are gathering for a three day international learning event in The Netherlands. During the first two days, participants will share their good practices on advocacy and learn about the importance of intersectionality for effective advocacy. The third day they will participate in a national public event.
Unfortunately submissions of SPO of PO for participation in the project were very few. Nevertheless Disability Rights Organisations are well represented and important lessons drawn from this project will be shared with you all. For those who want to follow the evolution of the project, please go to: www.voicesforinclusion.net.