24 July 2019, Ramallah – Yesterday, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation has organized two workshops in coordination with Local Aid Co-ordination Secretariat and the Office of the EU Representative, in the presence of Mr. Daoud Deek, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Social Development, Alessandra Viezzer, Head of Cooperation at the Office of the European Union Representative and Representatives of partner institutions to foster disability mainstreaming in every phase of international cooperation interventions. Disability mainstreaming is one of the priorities of the Italian Cooperation, which is indeed internationally considered as one of the most advanced experience in this regard. Disability mainstreaming has been taken reflected in the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which foresees a focus on People with disabilities in EU bilateral agendas and development and emergency EU programs, and in the European Joint Strategy in support of Palestine 2017-2020.
Mr. Daoud Deek reiterated the importance of mainstreaming disability and sent out a clear message of inclusivity of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and stressed the importance of building and strengthening an inclusive culture for PwDs which will enhance the fulfillment of their rights.
Ms. Alessandra Viezzer highlighted the high commitment of AICS in fostering the inclusion of People with disabilities and raved about strengthening the capacities of local Disabled People Organizations and the establishment of the first Centre for the Independent Living for People with disabilities in the Gaza Strip implemented by EducAid in partnership with the Italian Network on Disability and Development.
Ms. Cristina Natoli, Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation – Jerusalem, emphasized the role of Italian Cooperation when in 2010 adopted the first Guidelines on Disability on the basis of the statements stated in the European Disability strategy and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, that were signed and ratified by Italy and confirmed the importance of supporting the projects aimed at fostering the inclusion of People with disabilities, including interventions enhancing the socio-economic empowerment of women with disabilities and mothers of People with disabilities actions regarding disability mainstreaming in Gender-based violence sector and activities strengthening the capacities of local Disabled People Organizations.
Mr. Giampiero Griffo and Ms. Rita Barbuto, Representatives of The Italian Network on Disability and Development, explained the guidelines to mainstream disability to development and cooperation projects and the Multiple discrimination, intersection of gender and disability, peer counseling as method to empower persons with disabilities. Moreover, they emphasized that People with disabilities are not mere beneficiaries of services, but primary actors of social change, in line with the motto “nothing about us without us” and with the bio-psycho-social approach to disability.