In Kayah State and Bago Region, many people with disabilities are excluded from community- and state-level governance and decision-making processes. In particular, persons with disabilities (PWDs) are often excluded from peace-building processes taking place at local and regional levels.
Although advances have been made in terms of raising awareness about the needs of PWDs – at the community level and in the government – there are still few well-organized or -supported organizations or entities that can advocate for or engage PWDs in governance and the peace process. Where such groups do exist, they sometimes lack the knowledge or capacity to become involved in efforts or to influence policy at the local or state level.
To empower PWDs to contribute to community and regional governance and peace building processes, World Education implemented the USAID-funded Engaging Persons with Disabilities in the Peace Process in Myanmar project as a subcontractor to the larger DAI administered Kann Let Project.
The project built on World Education's previous collaboration with DAI and the disability sector in Myanmar by building the capacity of local disability self-help groups to work with local and state-level stakeholders to increase the involvement of PWDs in the peace process and ensure their participation in decision-making and policy development. This included training on technical topics such as theories of conflict resolution, local initiatives in peace building, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities while strengthening their administrative and leadership structures. In total, the project provided targeted training to 62 PWDs who are leaders from 12 self-help groups operating across Kayah State and Bago Region.
The project also supported the Department of Social Welfare in the facilitation and continuation of state-level working groups that convene stakeholders and government in order to increase awareness, advocacy, and engagement of PWDs in governance and the peace process at multiple levels.
World Education also worked with local organizaiton, Ar Yone Oo to facilitate and coordinate two Forums on Disability and Peace in Kayah and Bago which brought together experts in disability and peace to provide over 200 participants with knowledge and skills to further promote inclusive development and engage PWDs in peace building.