About the Author
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) worked together to identify barriers that make it harder for women with disabilities to access Gender-Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response programs. They listened to women, girls, boys, and men with disabilities in Burundi, Ethiopia, Jordan and the Northern Caucasus in the Russian Federation. The IRC and WRC started a pilot project in these four countries. They tested different ways of enabling women with disabilities to access GBV programs to find what worked best. Their work resulted in a toolkit on disability inclusion for GBV practitioners. Visit our GBV resource page linked below to access the toolkit and other resources.
- Made home visits to people with disabilities and their caretakers to talk about how to prevent, or respond to, GBV.
- Held training sessions for social workers and other community members on GBV and disability.
- Recruited women with disabilities to help mobilize the community and organize GBV activities. They also hired women with disabilities as staff and volunteers in GBV prevention programs.
- Conducted awareness activities to educate communities about the rights of people with disabilities and how to be more disability inclusive.
- Consulted regularly with women with disabilities so they can influence the design, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the program.
- Consulted people with disabilities to enable them to identify barriers to their participation and to make recommendations for removing the barriers.
- Monitored the number of women, men, girls, and boys with disabilities participating in their programs.
- Provided guidance on how to communicate with people with different disabilities.
- Trained practitioners in procedures for getting consent from people with intellectual disabilities.
- Shared tools for developing accessible information, education, and communication materials.
- Facilitated ongoing discussion and reflection among practitioners to address their attitudes toward people with disabilities.
Some practitioners thought they could not help people with disabilities because they were unable to treat or cure the disability. Through the project, they learned that people with disabilities share the same needs as people without disabilities for GBV education and support.
The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 22 U.S. cities. Read more about IRC at www.gbvresponders.org/.
The Women’s Refugee Commission is the only international organization dedicated solely to protecting refugee women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health care, to freedom from gender-based violence, and to economic and social empowerment. Learn more from their website at www.womensrefugeecommission.org/.