Hisayo's new book is out! Disabilities, Human Rights and International Cooperation: Human Rights-Based Approach and Lived Experiences of Ugandan Women with Disabilities

This book is not meant for profit making. When she was alive, Maija Könkkölä told me that information useful for the disability movement should be free. I totally agree with her and so I do not sell it to anybody, though there are some printed copies of the book (only 260 copies). Abilis Foundation, VIKE, FIDIDA as well as Finnish Academy financially supported the publication so that I could make as many copies as possible to bring to Uganda. I also bring 200 copies of popular version of the book so that I can give my findings back to Ugandan persons with disabilities, many of whom are illiterate. For those of you who have an access to Internet and are literate, I kindly ask you to download the following chapters in PDF files and read them on-line. For those of you with visual impairments who have difficulties reading PDF files, I will be happy to send you Word files. Please write to me to hisayo.katsui (at ) abilis.fi I hope you enjoy it!

0. pre-introduction (including foreword by Shuaib Chalklen)
1. introduction
2. concepts and theories
3. methodology
4.1. life stories
4.2. case study 1
4.3. case study 2
4.4. case study 3
4.5. case study findings
5. human rights-based approach in practice
6. global context
7. participatory research discussion
8. concluding remarks
9. references


KEPA development policy day: disability as an indicator for a human rights-based approach to development?

(<-- Tuomas Tuure is speaking on the left) KEPA, the Service Center for Development Cooperation in Finland, held its Development Policy Day. 170 people, most of them from the Finnish NGO Sector but also from the Foreign Ministry and academic community, participated in this seminar. Speakers were:
- -  Maina Kiak, the UN Special Rapportuer on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association,
- -   Mirjam van Reisen, Professor of International Social Responsibility at Tilburg University,
- -   Erkki Tuomioja, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland,
  -   Anabela Lemos and Tuomas Tuure as the Finnish NGO reprensetatives. 

All were concerned about the shrinking space for civil society ironically after the Arab Spring. Many challenges were also presented including the division between service delivery-oriented and watchdog-oriented NGOs; between Northern and Southern NGOs; between domestic and international policies of Northern states (double-standard), and so forth.

Ethiopia was much focused due to the restrictive state environment against civil society. On the one hand, Kiak and Reisen, are of the view that development aid should not go to such undemocratic governments and prefer democratic ones by highlighting values. On the other hand, NGOs are finding ways to deal with such difficulties in creative solutions. Tuomas Tuure of the Threshold Association introduced how creatively it deals with human rights when governments are not tolerant to human rights. As disabilities are often considered as social issues, this was used as a tool to cut into such contexts. Disabilities are not threatening political issues in many countries. This is one characteristic of disabilities.

I think on the other side of the coin is that disabilities are still not human rights issues. They are often not included into mainstream discourse of development. Conversely, this means that proper inclusion of persons with disabilities could become the benchmark of comprehensive development cooperation. This could be even an indicator for measuring a human rights-based approach to development that the Finnish government is trying to promote. All the speakers were in the strong believers on people’s power and democracy. That democracy should not leave marginalised groups of population.


Hisayo attended the Seminar on Development Cooperation Evaluation by the Finnish Foreign Ministry between 26-28.9.

The Unit of Development Evaluation of the Finnish Foreign Ministry held this evaluation seminar inviting Ministry staffs, NGOs, consultants and researchers. The trainers were “evaluation experts,” Oumoul Ba Tall and Jim Rugh. They say, “Competition is high (in the development cooperation world) to receive funding. And thus expectation towards evaluation is high.” However, in the very complicated world as of now, evaluation of a single intervention particularly pertaining to impacts assessment has become extremely challenging. There was a lot of discussion on unrealistic TOR for an evaluation work: too big scope and demands of commissioners (often donors) on the evaluation, as well as too short timeframe and too little budget. Often TOR is not negotiated between the commissioner and the consultant(s). But it was recommended to discuss on it and negotiate so as for the evaluation work to be realistic and feasible. Another advice was to start the evaluation process already in the beginning of an intervention in the form of baseline study and continue with mid-term evaluation and then finally the end evaluation, if possible also post-evaluation. The Finnish evaluation works are mostly done only in the end of interventions, which was suggested to change. More participatory approach involving local consultants was also discussed, as hitherto Finnish evaluation works are mostly externally done by consultants from Finland. Both internal and external perspectives would be beneficial for an evaluation work. I was very concerned about the seminar discourse which did not properly involve marginalized population including persons with disabilities. I raised my hands for a few times to point out the importance of human rights-based approach with the principle of non-discrimination so that marginalized population would also be included properly both in development cooperation activities and evaluation works. However, the trainers replied to my comments by saying, “Yes, special study and special intervention focusing on marginalized population are also good.” Disaggregated data collection and specialized interventions are obviously important, but they are not sufficient. My point was to mainstream persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups in practice of development cooperation as a whole. At least in small group discussions, seminar participants in the same group took my ideas seriously, which was encouraging. When I talked with Aira Päivöke of the Evaluation Unit of the Ministry over a lunch, she was also aware of the fact that implementation of a human rights-based approach in the Ministry has still been largely missing, though DPOs are filling the gaps at the grassroots level and the development policy is based on human rights. She claimed that disability sensitiveness is missing in between grassroots and policy within the Ministry. To improve this situation, the Ministry is calling for an advisor specializing in marginalized population. It’s so dynamic and interesting time to live in Finland particularly in terms of international cooperation in the field of disability!