It was attended by 30 people, most of who represented Finnish NGOs and DPOs working with persons with disabilities in the South. We expected that most of them would be DPOs, but many NGOs were there, too. It was a very interesting dynamic! Rauno Merisaari, the human rights advisor of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, also observed the training for the whole day, gave very insightful inputs during discussions and concluded the training with his presentation. All the other participants were also active in and out of the training room. Especially we enjoyed talking with the participants and learning from them during the breaks. We are very grateful for all the inputs and interesting comments and questions raised during the day. It was a great learning experience for us.
The training started with Jukka’s presentation on Human Rights and Disability. Jukka first explored the notion of human dignity, which acts as a basis for all human rights. After that he concentrated on United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its implications to the human rights situation globally and especially in the development context. Finally, Jukka looked at the evolution of the concept of non-discrimination and especially the failure to provide accommodation for persons with disabilities as a form of discrimination. After Jukka’s presentation, Hisayo made her presentation on Disability and Development, to present the context where the HRBA takes place. She introduced the challenges in the South in terms of identity of persons with disabilities, Eurocentric understanding of the HRBA, low priority on disability, limited coordination among development activities among others. Also, priority making necessity of NGOs working in the South was pointed out. After the background presentations, we finally discussed the theme of HRBA: official understanding of UN agencies, differences and continuation with needs-based approach, positive implication of the approach to disability in development, and basic questions of the approach.
Then, we moved on with the group work. Two real projects were introduced and used for understanding the HRBA in practices. One project was implemented by the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired in Ecuador, while the other by Threshold Association/Kynnys in Central Asian countries. We would like to thank both organisations for kindly allowing us to use their projects for our group works!
We hope that the training de-mystified the HRBA to disability in development and connected the approach to the practices through the exchanges of ideas among us. The feedback form filled after the training showed generally positive but different levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction due to the diversity of the participants. We learn from the feedback and hopefully improve our skills in the future. Thank you for the participants, once again!