In commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), we want to showcase some examples of how EDC puts inclusivity at the heart of our work to improving educational and economic opportunities for children and youth around the world.
Our programs recognize the adage of the international disability community, “nothing about us, without us.” So when we design programs, particularly those related to social inclusion, we invite others to co-design with us.
In our Huguka Dukore Akazi Kanoze (HDAK) project in Rwanda, we partner with local organizations focused on serving youth with disabilities. We invite them to collaborate with us in designing our programs and engaging with our other partners to think through inclusivity in the Rwandan context.
Through HDAK, we have worked with 871 youth with disabilities within inclusive groups, providing work-based learning opportunities and entrepreneurship training. One youth is Darius Renzaho, a youth leader in HDAK who coaches a group of 25 youth, some with disabilities and some without, on economic opportunities. Recently, he also served as a co-emcee for the National Youth Summit, where he used his leadership skills to facilitate a 300-attendee event that included youth, private sector development partners, and special guests such as the Minister of Public Service and Labor and the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda.
At EDC, we have also developed interventions for youth with disabilities by working with disabled people’s organizations to design and implement our projects. In Rwanda, the Philippines, Macedonia, and Bosnia, our programs prioritize the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities as participants, trainers, and leaders.
USAID’s How-To-Note: Disability Inclusive Education states: “Disability inclusive education helps to strengthen communities, economies and societies.” Here at EDC, we embrace this principle and have incorporated it into EDC projects that are working to address the needs and build the assets of the international disability community.
EDC believes in equitable access to opportunities as a core value that has the potential to transform lives. What do you think? We invite your feedback on this topic.
Tania Tzelnic is an associate project director who provides management and technical support to EDC youth and workforce development projects. She focuses on innovation and the digital economy, entrepreneurship, work-based learning, and development of local partner capacity to address business needs.
Amy Deal is an international associate program director with EDC who manages and provides technical assistance to comprehensive sexuality education and alternative learning programs.