Handicap International - France presentation
|The larger impact of a mine accident |
A Senegalese lady who lost her jambs in a landmine accident was abandoned by her husband. She could not provide for her eight children as she could not count on the support of her family and did not have an income generating activity.
As a result, she had to send four of her children to an orphanage. The eldest who stayed with her had to drop out from school as she could not pay school fees.
The children who are now in an orphanage and out of school are also victims of that mine. We need to be thinking about mine survivors but also their families and communities - the larger environment.
1. Who are mine victims?
It is widely recognized today that the term "mine victims" include mine/ERW survivors, their families and mine/ERW affected communities. Although our attention should be focused on survivors, there is a need for further attention to indirect victims who also suffer from the consequences of mines.
2. Social and economic inclusion: main references
Our main reference is and should always be: victims themselves. We have frequently seen through our field experience that one of victims' top priority is to participate in social life, earn a living and take care of their families. In some cases this is more powerful than mobility per se.
Social participation and economic inclusion are therefore a fundamental and integral part of victim assistance.
3. A comprehensive approach to victim assistance
Social participation and economic inclusion are closely linked to other areas of work. The following schema represents such an approach, and a vision shared by Handicap International:
While we work on these various victim assistance components and levels, it's important to keep in mind the following concepts:
4. Why focus on social and economic inclusion?
This is the kind of change we aim to achieve.
Heard from persons with disabilities in the field?
This is the kind of change we aim to achieve.
5. The role of international NGOs
From the perspective of Handicap International, the role of international NGOs is not in any case to replace national actors but to work together to develop local capacities and ensure sustainability:
Our role includes:
6. Social participation
Social work should be a starting point to facilitate social participation. In places where social work and services are not widely available, projects may include the creation of disability focal points, where:
These centers serve as a first step towards socializing and overcoming psychological trauma.
Another possibility is to create a network of locally-trained social workers, who can identify, reach out and work with persons with disabilities who are otherwise left out of community life. Locally-trained social workers, furthermore, understand the local context and can develop responses adapted to the culture.
The family is the first social environment for each person. For this reason, it is a crucial factor to ensure social participation.
Family life projects include working at a family's level so that it is ready to receive and include the injured person; and to provide support for her to participate in family life, preventing exclusion. This also includes facilitating a better accessibility of the homes. This may also include peer support groups.
Participating in culture, sports and leisure activities is a way of socializing, improving self-esteem, and raising awareness on disability among a community.
|Handicap International has developed sports projects in mine-affected countries such as Mozambique in Senegal: mine victims have become so competitive that some of them have been invited to participate in international competitions around the world.|
This includes developing the capacities of associations of mine victims and other persons with disabilities to advocate for the respect of human rights, bringing organizations together to exchange good practices on advocacy, participation in public life and policy making and advocating for inclusion in decision making.
|In Bosnia, Handicap International participates in a regional network of over 250 organizations of persons with disabilities who organize to conduct research on disability, access to services, and to advocate for human rights at a regional level. This program, called SHARE-SEE, has also developed an electronic platform used as a forum for discussion and exchange on disability, at www.share-see.org|
7. Economic inclusion
Economic inclusion is a huge challenge as economic opportunities are often limited for most in developing countries, particularly in post-crisis situations.
Main areas of work to achieve the economic inclusion of mine victims:
The first step is to discuss with mine victims in order to understand their personal project, past experience, previous training or experience that can built upon? after understanding each person's capacities and requirements it is possible to refer a person to:
Tailored-made approach to economic inclusion: HI in Angola In Angola, Handicap International works with local organizations of persons with disabilities, including mine survivors, to facilitate sustainable economic inclusion. Depending on each person's requirements and the services available at community level, persons with disabilities are referred to formal or informal training. Later, linkages to microcredit are facilitated so that persons with disabilities can start a small business after that training.
Tailored-made approach to economic inclusion: HI in Angola
In Angola, Handicap International works with local organizations of persons with disabilities, including mine survivors, to facilitate sustainable economic inclusion.
Depending on each person's requirements and the services available at community level, persons with disabilities are referred to formal or informal training. Later, linkages to microcredit are facilitated so that persons with disabilities can start a small business after that training.
Income generating activities, self-employment and linkages to microfinance
Although some have overestimated the power of microfinance, it is true that if it is provided along with other services and a strong follow up it may indeed have a sustainable impact in the lives of persons with disabilities. Furthermore, self-employment is often the main option to earn a living in developing countries.
Supporting people with disabilities to access microfinance includes facilitating linkages to mainstream microfinance providers, training organizations of persons with disabilities on microfinance methodologies and raising awareness among microfinance providers on working with persons with disabilities;
When working on economic inclusion it is fundamental to remember the following key points:
Waged employment is also a possibility for mine victims. This can be done through two main pillars:
In Senegal, Handicap International supports a local enterprise of cashew nuts to employ persons with disabilities. This enterprise has provided reasonable accommodations -for example the installation of ramps for easy physical accessibility to the transformation units.
As a counterpart, Handicap International supports this enterprise in developing and exploring local and international markets. This enterprise is now a provider for various bars and hotels in Senegal and some of its partners have started hiring persons with disabilities as well.
8. Main recommendations for donors