Last January, Bornemouth University and volunteer disability activists from East and Central Africa invited different sectors to join the Disability Advocacy in East Asia Project which looks to fuse academic research with practice in the field of disability studies and other related fields. This month, Bournemouth and the Action on Disability and Development (ADD) International led the Youth Disability Advocacy & Research Network Festival.
The Festival was a four-day series of knowledge exchange and capacity development that looks to establish an international network of activists, academics, and practitioners who will work to support the growth of the disability advocacy movement in East and Central Africa. Our Youth Leadership Board Member, Alex Ayub, attended the event to represent the Youth Coalition.
The first day of the Festival presented “tools for change” that would help activists tackle disability marginalization through digital advocacy. The session was facilitated by knowledge exchange workshops that explored new approaches to communicating advocacy messages and innovating media advocacy.
The second day was a conference titled “Towards East and Central African Models of disability advocacy and social change ”. It was a full-day session for academics and practitioners in the field of disability advocacy. Participants during this session were also encouraged to communicate through a “speed dating” format, resulting in a ‘cross-pollination’ of insights, best practices, and knowledge.
The next days were spent challenging the stigma of disabilities through self-representation and content creation. The roles of coalition building and strengthening were also discussed.
As part of the final day’s session, the participants were guided to develop new campaigns for disability rights in East and Central Africa. These were all prefixed by the existing efforts around the disability agenda in East Africa.
(Photos from Blaise Murphet)
Learn more about the Volunteer Disability Project