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A Basic Manual for<br />

Inclusive<br />

Development<br />



Written by: Luis Fernando Astorga Gatjens;<br />

Inter-American Institute on Disabilities and Inclusive Development (IIDI)<br />

Draw<strong>in</strong>gs: Francisco Torres<br />

Production coord<strong>in</strong>ation and edit<strong>in</strong>g: Sanna Laitamo, <strong>Handicap</strong> <strong>International</strong> (HI),<br />

Central America Program<br />

Focal group participants:<br />

Nicaragua: Alma Nubia Baltodano, Thalia Dixon, Perla Garcia, Karla Madrigal,<br />

Marcos Méndez, Dennis Mol<strong>in</strong>a, Maria Felix Morán, Maria Eugenia Picado, Olga<br />

Maria Ruiz, Rosa Salgado and Plácida Sánchez.<br />

Costa Rica: Teodoro Bermúdez Valencia, Irene Coen, Julie Chan Jiménez, Gabriela<br />

Chaverri, Jesús Hernández, Katia Marín, Madel<strong>in</strong>e Matarrita, Leonardo Rodríguez,<br />

Leonardo Segura and Francisco Villalta.<br />

Managua, Nicaragua, February 2007<br />

This manual may be reproduced <strong>in</strong> part or <strong>in</strong> its entirety for pedagogic purposes, as<br />

long as the orig<strong>in</strong>al source is cited.<br />

For more <strong>in</strong>formation, please contact: <strong>Handicap</strong> <strong>International</strong>:<br />

discapacidad@handicap-<strong>in</strong>ternational-ac.org<br />

Tel: (505) 2266-1364 / 2266-8419 or the Inter-American Institute on Disabilities and Inclusive<br />

Development: luferag@ice.co.cr Tel. (506) 2253 7562

A Basic Manual for<br />

Inclusive<br />

Development<br />

Nicaragua<br />



FORWARD...................................................................................................................................5<br />


DISABILITIES…........................................................................................................8<br />

1. A brief history of disability paradigms…………………………...........................................8<br />

a. The traditional paradigm or model...............................................................................9<br />

b. The biological or medical paradigm..............................................................................10<br />

c. The human rights paradigm.........................................................................................12<br />

2. Shak<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs up and chang<strong>in</strong>g them...........................................................................16<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter I…….......………………………………..17<br />

CHAPTER II: WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS?................,,,,,,,........................................................18<br />

1. Def<strong>in</strong>ition and features of human rights..........................................................................18<br />

2. Types of human rights…………..…....................................................................................19<br />

a.Civil and political rights……...........................................................................................19<br />

b.Economic, social and cultural rights….........................................................................21<br />

c.Third-generation rights…….............................................................................................21<br />

3. What are the rights of a disabled person?.....................................................................22<br />

4. What are human rights violations?..................................................................................23<br />

a.A human rights violation.................................................................................................23<br />

b.When are the rights of people with disabilities be<strong>in</strong>g violated?................................24<br />

.<br />


5. The <strong>in</strong>terdependence of rights of people with disabilities...............................................26<br />

6. Human rights and the type of environment.......................................................................27<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter II…..........................................................29<br />


1. What are exclusion and <strong>in</strong>clusion?......................................................................................30<br />

2. What is poverty?....................................................................................................................31<br />

3. Poverty and social participation.........................................................................................33<br />

4. Disabilities and additional expenses...................................................................................34<br />

5. Exclusion of people with disabilities.....................................................................................36<br />

6. A diagnostic appraisal..........................................................................................................38<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter III.............................................................40<br />

CHAPTER IV: INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT........................................................................................41<br />

1. Development models...........................................................................................................41<br />

2. Susta<strong>in</strong>able human development......................................................................................42<br />

3. In relation to disability...........................................................................................................43<br />

4. Inclusive development.........................................................................................................45<br />

5. How can the vicious circle be broken?.............................................................................50<br />

a. Build<strong>in</strong>g capacities and creat<strong>in</strong>g opportunities.............................................................50<br />

b. Social security programs...................................................................................................51<br />

6. The relationship between human rights and <strong>in</strong>clusive development............................51<br />

7. Instruments and spaces for <strong>in</strong>clusive action......................................................................52<br />

a. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.............................................52<br />

b. The UN Millennium Development Goals.........................................................................53<br />

c. The Decade of the Americas for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.....................54<br />

d. Other important arenas....................................................................................................54<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter IV…........................................................56<br />

2<br />




DISABILITIES.............................................................................................................57<br />

1. Political advocacy as a tool for change........................................................................57<br />

2. What is advocacy?...........................................................................................................59<br />

3. Differences between advocacy and political advocacy...........................................61<br />

4. Plann<strong>in</strong>g political advocacy: the eight steps of the process.......................................64<br />

Step 1. Identify and analyze the problem......................................................................65<br />

Step 2. Formulate the proposal........................................................................................68<br />

Step 3. Analyze the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g space..................................................................69<br />

Step 4. Analyze channels of <strong>in</strong>fluence (power mapp<strong>in</strong>g)............................................70<br />

Step 5. Do a SWOT analysis...............................................................................................72<br />

Step 6. Design advocacy strategies................................................................................76<br />

Step 7. Develop an activity plan......................................................................................83<br />

Step 8. Cont<strong>in</strong>uous evaluation.........................................................................................92<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter V........................................................96<br />




DEVELOPMENT..........................................................................................................................97<br />

1. What are public policies?.................................................................................................................97<br />

a. Def<strong>in</strong>ition.........................................................................................................................................97<br />

b. How are public policies made?.................................................................................................100<br />

2. Steps for draft<strong>in</strong>g and implement<strong>in</strong>g a public policy..................................................................103<br />

3. What should be done to promote <strong>in</strong>clusive development?......................................................105<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter VI.......................................................................107<br />

BIBLIOGRAPHY.............................................................................................................................................108<br />



Foreword<br />

We are very pleased to present the second edition of A Basic Manual for Inclusive Development.<br />

This manual was designed for leaders of organizations of disabled persons, and<br />

for other <strong>in</strong>dividuals and social organizations that are <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong> the issue of <strong>in</strong>clusive<br />

development <strong>in</strong> Central America.<br />

Our hope is that this manual will be used as a tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g resource, to help generate a better<br />

understand<strong>in</strong>g of the mean<strong>in</strong>g of <strong>in</strong>clusive development—both its theoretical and practical<br />

underp<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>gs—and how such an approach can be used <strong>in</strong> different development<br />

sett<strong>in</strong>gs. We also hope it will provide a useful tool for design<strong>in</strong>g and plann<strong>in</strong>g lobby<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

advocacy actions.<br />

This <strong>in</strong>itiative grew out of a tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g process about this topic that was developed <strong>in</strong> Nicaragua,<br />

whose ma<strong>in</strong> beneficiaries have been the leaders of organizations of disabled persons<br />

<strong>in</strong> this country. The process has been promoted and supported by the World Bank (WB)<br />

and implemented by <strong>Handicap</strong> <strong>International</strong> (HI).<br />

Follow<strong>in</strong>g this tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g process, <strong>Handicap</strong> <strong>International</strong> decided to produce this manual for<br />

pedagogic purposes, which we hope will assist organizations when they are tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g other<br />

leaders and members of organizations of people with disabilities, or any other <strong>in</strong>terested<br />

group or <strong>in</strong>dividual. Although this effort began <strong>in</strong> Nicaragua, the manual is equally useful<br />

for tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g purposes <strong>in</strong> the rest of Central America.<br />

The topic of <strong>in</strong>clusive development is very much l<strong>in</strong>ked to the topic of human rights, and<br />

we believe that the best way to effectively comply with the rights of disabled people is<br />

through adopt<strong>in</strong>g development practices that are guided by an <strong>in</strong>clusive development<br />

approach. In today’s world, we already have a very valuable tool for promot<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>clusive<br />

development: the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We are conv<strong>in</strong>ced<br />

that these two issues can only ga<strong>in</strong> ground through effective advocacy efforts on the part<br />

of organizations of people with disabilities and other allied groups, aimed at build<strong>in</strong>g or<br />

modify<strong>in</strong>g the correspond<strong>in</strong>g public policies, plans, programs, projects and actions.<br />


The manual’s content is organized <strong>in</strong>to a series of topics that follow a certa<strong>in</strong> developmental<br />

logic. There are six chapters, and we recommend that they be read <strong>in</strong> the same<br />

sequence<br />

<strong>in</strong> which they are presented. However, the chapters also have their own <strong>in</strong>tegrity as separate<br />

units, and each of them can therefore be used <strong>in</strong>dependently. This second edition,<br />

which is be<strong>in</strong>g published <strong>in</strong> <strong>English</strong> for the first time, has been revised to <strong>in</strong>clude an important<br />

chapter that was not conta<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> the orig<strong>in</strong>al version. This is Chapter V, which covers<br />

political advocacy and lobby<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

The learn<strong>in</strong>g objectives of each thematic unit are presented at the beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g of each<br />

chapter. At the end of each chapter, we <strong>in</strong>clude questions and ideas for exercises that<br />

can be used to verify how well the content has been understood and assimilated, or to<br />

stimulate group discussions and further explore and consider each theme.<br />

It is important to po<strong>in</strong>t out that we have utilized illustrations (draw<strong>in</strong>gs, diagrams and tables)<br />

to make the manual’s content more amenable to be<strong>in</strong>g easily read and understood.<br />

When us<strong>in</strong>g this guide <strong>in</strong> workshops, sem<strong>in</strong>ars, schools, etc., each organization or tra<strong>in</strong>er<br />

can create their own methodological approach, adapt<strong>in</strong>g it to the target public study<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the manual and mak<strong>in</strong>g any necessary adjustments required. We are aware that there<br />

are more exhaustive guides and books about the topics of human rights, the Convention,<br />

and political advocacy work, and we encourage you to seek them out to complement<br />

this text.<br />

This manual will be published <strong>in</strong> a pr<strong>in</strong>t version <strong>in</strong> <strong>English</strong>, and will also be available <strong>in</strong> a digitalized<br />

version to make it accessible to the bl<strong>in</strong>d.<br />

The manual may be freely reproduced as long as the orig<strong>in</strong>al source and edition are cited.<br />

The manual’s overall production was coord<strong>in</strong>ated by Sanna Laitamo from HI, and its<br />

technical content was overseen by Luis Fernando Astorga Gatjens from the Inter-American<br />

Institute On Disabilities and Inclusive Development (IIDI), who also wrote the manual.<br />


To obta<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>put for the manual—both its form and content—from the viewpo<strong>in</strong>t of people<br />

who would possibly be us<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong> the future, two focal groups were organized, one <strong>in</strong> Nicaragua<br />

and the other <strong>in</strong> Costa Rica. These groups made important observations and<br />

contributions, most of which were <strong>in</strong>corporated <strong>in</strong>to the manual’s f<strong>in</strong>al text. We would like<br />

to thank all of those who participated <strong>in</strong> this effort for their valuable contributions.<br />

We hope you will f<strong>in</strong>d the manual useful, and that it will help you to multiply the k<strong>in</strong>ds of<br />

practices that can build, <strong>in</strong> a susta<strong>in</strong>ed manner, a fairer and more <strong>in</strong>clusive Central America!<br />

Managua, Nicaragua, November 10, 2009<br />

Emmanuelle Rioufol,<br />

Program Director<br />

<strong>Handicap</strong> <strong>International</strong><br />

Central America Program<br />

Luis Fernando Astorga Gatjens,<br />

Executive Director/San José Office,<br />

Inter-American Institute on Disabilities<br />

and Inclusive Development (IIDI)<br />


Chapter I<br />

“From patient to citizen”:<br />

Chang<strong>in</strong>g the approach to disabilities<br />


After conclud<strong>in</strong>g this chapter, the reader should be able to dist<strong>in</strong>guish between the different<br />

ways our societies approach disabilities, and how some tend to perpetuate discrim<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

and exclude people with disabilities, while others try to overcome and resolve<br />

these problems.<br />

- People with disabilities have been discrim<strong>in</strong>ated aga<strong>in</strong>st and excluded by different human<br />

societies throughout history. The disabled have been viewed as <strong>in</strong>ferior, and as<br />

dependent upon their families, charity and state assistance.<br />

- In practice, even today, most societies—<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g those of the Central American region—do<br />

not consider people with disabilities as citizens.<br />

1. A brief history of disability paradigms<br />

What is a paradigm?<br />

A paradigm is a model or example that serves as a norm. Here’s a simple example that<br />

can help us grasp the idea of a paradigm. Everybody has seen the metal molds that<br />

are used by bakeries to bake bread <strong>in</strong> a square form. Well, this metal mold <strong>in</strong>sures that<br />

all of the bread that is baked <strong>in</strong> it has the same shape. Someth<strong>in</strong>g similar occurs with a<br />

society’s ideas. “Molds” or paradigms are constructed from the ideas that are passed<br />

down from generation to generation. We could also def<strong>in</strong>e a paradigm as a group of<br />

beliefs that provide a frame of reference for behav<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> certa<strong>in</strong> ways.<br />


To avoid your suffer<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

we better get rid of you.<br />

Throughout history, people with disabilities have been seen and treated<br />

differently than people who don’t have disabilities. Different writers<br />

agree that there are three basic paradigms that reflect the way that<br />

people with disabilities have been viewed.<br />

The so-called traditional paradigm or model predom<strong>in</strong>ated dur<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

longest period of history, and was then followed by the biological paradigm<br />

(which is associated with a medical or rehabilitative approach).<br />

Currently, a third conception has been ga<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g ground, which is the human<br />

rights and social development paradigm.<br />

Let’s take a closer look at each of these:<br />

a. The traditional paradigm or model<br />

The traditional paradigm is associated with a viewpo<strong>in</strong>t that sees and<br />

treats people with disabilities as <strong>in</strong>ferior. Or stated <strong>in</strong> another way, people<br />

are looked down upon because of their disability. They are not considered<br />

“normal,” but <strong>in</strong>stead as <strong>in</strong>capable of do<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs like other people.<br />

Accord<strong>in</strong>g to this paradigm, people with disabilities are situated among<br />

those who are considered strange or abnormal, from the time they are<br />

born until they die. They are viewed as dependent on the charity of<br />

others.<br />

Often, those who see disabilities from this perspective associate deficiencies<br />

with div<strong>in</strong>e punishment or <strong>in</strong>tervention. Some societies that held this<br />

traditional view of disabilities simply elim<strong>in</strong>ated people whose condition<br />

made adaptation difficult. This was common <strong>in</strong> Sparta or Rome, almost<br />

two thousand years ago.<br />

This paradigm has exited s<strong>in</strong>ce ancient times, and is still very present <strong>in</strong><br />

our societies, although it co-exists with the biological paradigm and the<br />

more recent human rights paradigm that has begun to emerge.<br />


Accord<strong>in</strong>g to this traditional paradigm, people with disabilities are considered<br />

objects of pity rather than people with rights or who are entitled to rights. This<br />

conception gave rise to different derogatory names for people with disabilities:<br />

<strong>in</strong>valid, crippled, paralytic, “bl<strong>in</strong>die,” “deafie,” mongoloid, moron, crazy,<br />

stupid, exceptional, special, etc. All of these imply “poor<br />

th<strong>in</strong>g.” This approach tends to <strong>in</strong>fantilize the disabled, or characterize them as<br />

children even when they are adults.<br />

Even today, when they realize that their child has been born with some type of<br />

deficiency, parents ask themselves:<br />

• “What did we do wrong?”<br />

• “What did we do to deserve this?”<br />

• “What are we pay<strong>in</strong>g for?”<br />

• Or some other similar question, rather than see<strong>in</strong>g that their child’s condition<br />

has a scientific explanation, and that they will need to work hard to<br />

make sure that this quality does not limit their child’s development and <strong>in</strong>clusion<br />

with<strong>in</strong> society.<br />

This is the legacy of the traditional paradigm <strong>in</strong> our society today.<br />

b. The biological or medical paradigm<br />

The biological paradigm centers the problem <strong>in</strong> the person with the deficiencies<br />

or limitations. To overcome the patient’s functional limitations, a range of<br />

professionals and specialists offer the person various services and treatments.<br />

This approach sees the person as a passive recipient of <strong>in</strong>stitutional support.<br />

Specialized cl<strong>in</strong>ics and rehabilitation centers usually provide this support.<br />

Here, the person is considered a patient who requires the <strong>in</strong>tervention of rehabilitation<br />

professionals <strong>in</strong> order to adapt to the surround<strong>in</strong>g environment (social<br />

and physical). In this case, the change that is needed is centered more <strong>in</strong> the<br />

“patient” than <strong>in</strong> the environment.<br />



We will give you<br />

rehabilitation so you<br />

will no longer face<br />

barriers!<br />

The ma<strong>in</strong> idea of this model is that the “patient” recovers his or her health<br />

and functionality to the greatest extent possible, <strong>in</strong> order to carry out the<br />

activities of daily life and to work <strong>in</strong> some productive activity (a job). Accord<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to this paradigm, the disability is resolved through rehabilitation,<br />

as if the person had no other needs. Or stated another way: the disability<br />

is seen ma<strong>in</strong>ly as a health problem.<br />

In the view of this biological model (also known as the medical or rehabilitation<br />

model), the person who receives rehabilitation must follow<br />

the recommendations and orientations of the professional team, without<br />

question<strong>in</strong>g anyth<strong>in</strong>g. This model has utilized and cont<strong>in</strong>ues to utilize<br />

concepts such as “normalization” and “<strong>in</strong>tegration” of people with disabilities.<br />

“Normalization” is the idea that people with deficiencies should achieve<br />

(often, as stated by professionals) “an existence as close to normal as<br />

possible.” Moreover, the concept of “<strong>in</strong>tegration” associated with disabled<br />

people arises ma<strong>in</strong>ly <strong>in</strong> the school environment. “All children have<br />

the right to attend a regular school near their home, without exception.”<br />

Over time, the pr<strong>in</strong>ciple of <strong>in</strong>tegration moved beyond the educational<br />

realm and expanded <strong>in</strong>to other fields. This led to the idea of disabled<br />

people’s “social <strong>in</strong>tegration” and “employment <strong>in</strong>tegration.”<br />

It’s important to note that this biological model was adopted by most<br />

professionals work<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> some way with disabilities, who have had a great<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluence on this field. Thus, many laws, policies and actions <strong>in</strong> our countries<br />

have the seal of the biological model, even though many of the<br />

attitudes and much of the behavior <strong>in</strong> our societies correspond to the<br />

conceptions associated with the traditional model.<br />


F<strong>in</strong>ally, there is no question that rehabilitation is important for improv<strong>in</strong>g people’s<br />

health conditions, skills and abilities. It would be illogical to oppose rehabilitation<br />

<strong>in</strong> any way. However, it is <strong>in</strong>correct to view every disabled person only as<br />

a patient, or to restrict their ability to decide what they need or limit their rights<br />

<strong>in</strong> any way. Less emphasis should be placed on their health, and more needs<br />

to be focused on other human needs. Otherwise, they receive <strong>in</strong>complete<br />

assistance and support.<br />

c. The human rights paradigm<br />

The human rights paradigm centers on <strong>in</strong>tr<strong>in</strong>sic human dignity. In other words,<br />

the dignity that comes simply from the fact of be<strong>in</strong>g human, <strong>in</strong>dependent,<br />

or possess<strong>in</strong>g other conditions or traits: be<strong>in</strong>g a man or a woman, the color<br />

of one’s sk<strong>in</strong> (black, copper, yellow, white, etc.), one’s age, height, disability,<br />

social status, etc.<br />

Accord<strong>in</strong>g to this approach or paradigm, a disability is just one more trait found<br />

among the entire range of human be<strong>in</strong>gs, rather than the trait that def<strong>in</strong>es a<br />

person’s entire existence, that sums up a person’s life <strong>in</strong> a framework of discrim<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

and exclusion.<br />

In the view of this paradigm, a disability is a social outcome that results when<br />

people with deficiencies <strong>in</strong>teract with attitud<strong>in</strong>al and environmental barriers<br />

that restrict their full and effective participation, their <strong>in</strong>clusion, and their development<br />

<strong>in</strong> the society where they live, under equal conditions as those enjoyed<br />

by others.<br />

Accord<strong>in</strong>g to this model, the “problem” of the disability is located <strong>in</strong> the sociocultural<br />

and physical doma<strong>in</strong>, and is derived from a lack of state and societal<br />

awareness about the difference represented by a disability.<br />


Consequently, the state is obligated to address socially created obstacles,<br />

<strong>in</strong> order to promote and guarantee full respect for the dignity and<br />

equal rights of all persons.<br />

Here, the person with a disability shifts from be<strong>in</strong>g a recipient of assistance<br />

and rehabilitation (an “object”) to be<strong>in</strong>g a “subject” who has rights and<br />

obligations. The disabled person can develop an <strong>in</strong>dependent life, can<br />

freely go anywhere because societies have elim<strong>in</strong>ated obstacles and<br />

have been built on the basis of accessibility, can participate actively <strong>in</strong><br />

his or her community and country, can vote or be nom<strong>in</strong>ated for electoral<br />

office, has access to <strong>in</strong>clusive education, to health care, to jobs, to recreation<br />

and to sports. In other words, the disabled person develops his or<br />

her life under the same conditions as people who do not have a disability.<br />

In general, this model is regulated by the follow<strong>in</strong>g pr<strong>in</strong>ciples:<br />

- Respect for the <strong>in</strong>herent dignity of human be<strong>in</strong>gs and all of their rights.<br />

- Equality among all human be<strong>in</strong>gs, without discrim<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g on the basis of<br />

disabilities.<br />

SCHOOL<br />

- Respect for human diversity (and the view that a deficiency is just one<br />

condition or trait that makes up this diversity).<br />

- Respect for personal autonomy and <strong>in</strong>dependence (liv<strong>in</strong>g an <strong>in</strong>dependent<br />

life).<br />

- Self-representation and the freedom to make decisions about one’s own<br />

life.<br />

- Participation and full and effective <strong>in</strong>clusion <strong>in</strong> society.<br />

- Equal opportunities and build<strong>in</strong>g the capacities needed to make use of<br />

such opportunities.<br />


- Affirmative action as a means to <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g the social <strong>in</strong>clusion of people with<br />

disabilities, and the enjoyment of equal opportunities.<br />

- Accessibility, <strong>in</strong> physical environments, to <strong>in</strong>formation and communications,<br />

and to services.<br />

This paradigm has been develop<strong>in</strong>g s<strong>in</strong>ce the end of the last century and has<br />

cont<strong>in</strong>ued develop<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the first years of the 21st century. The human rights<br />

approach has been <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly present <strong>in</strong> the normative structures of different<br />

countries, but its application—especially <strong>in</strong> develop<strong>in</strong>g nations—has been<br />

limited.<br />

The Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities<br />

(United Nations, 1993) are <strong>in</strong>spired by this model, but s<strong>in</strong>ce they are not<br />

obligatory, States may either apply them or not. The Convention on the Rights<br />

of Persons with Disabilities, which the United Nations approved on December<br />

13, 2006, is also based on the human rights model. Its advantage, however, is<br />

that its provisions are b<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g; <strong>in</strong> other words, States Parties will be obligated to<br />

apply them.<br />

When this important Convention enters <strong>in</strong>to force (after hav<strong>in</strong>g been ratified<br />

by at least 20 countries), the human rights paradigm will have a legal basis<br />

for obligatory universal application. Thus, this paradigm will be the one that<br />

predom<strong>in</strong>ates legally, over the biological model and the traditional view of<br />

disabilities, which cont<strong>in</strong>ue exert<strong>in</strong>g the greatest <strong>in</strong>fluence <strong>in</strong> our societies and<br />

on policies and actions related to disabilities.<br />

We should also be aware of other rules such as the Inter-American Convention<br />

on the Elim<strong>in</strong>ation of All Forms of Discrim<strong>in</strong>ation Aga<strong>in</strong>st Persons with Disabilities,<br />

approved by the Organization of American States (OAS) <strong>in</strong> Guatemala <strong>in</strong> June<br />


1999. This treaty is now <strong>in</strong> force; however, the OAS has been delayed <strong>in</strong><br />

conven<strong>in</strong>g the Anti-Discrim<strong>in</strong>ation Committee which, once established,<br />

should request a report from member governments about the discrim<strong>in</strong>atory<br />

conditions faced by disabled persons <strong>in</strong> the different countries of the<br />

American cont<strong>in</strong>ent.<br />

Although legal and judicial aspects are clearly very important <strong>in</strong> our societies,<br />

we are also aware that such legislation is just a first step. Even more<br />

important will be compliance with this legal framework, and its conversion<br />

<strong>in</strong>to real and concrete actions and programs that improve the liv<strong>in</strong>g conditions<br />

of people with disabilities.<br />

F<strong>in</strong>ally, it is also important to remember that this human rights paradigm<br />

has been developed and strengthened through the struggles of disabled<br />

people, their organizations, and other sectors work<strong>in</strong>g to promote the<br />

rights of all people.<br />

Special class for students<br />

with disabilities.<br />



Integration is associated with the biological paradigm, while <strong>in</strong>clusion is directly l<strong>in</strong>ked to a human rights and social development<br />

approach. The follow<strong>in</strong>g table compares INTEGRATION and INCLUSION, illustrat<strong>in</strong>g the ma<strong>in</strong> characteristics of both models.<br />


Inclusion: Total and unconditional <strong>in</strong>sertion (for example,<br />

the <strong>in</strong>sertion of children with disabilities <strong>in</strong>to regular<br />

schools).<br />

Inclusion: Demands the complete transformation of<br />

systems.<br />

Inclusion: Changes that benefit all people.<br />

Inclusion: Not def<strong>in</strong>ed only by the presence of people<br />

with or without disabilities <strong>in</strong> the same environment,<br />

but rather by adaptations to the environment to make<br />

room for diversity.<br />

Inclusion: Safeguards the rights of ALL people, whether<br />

or not they have disabilities.<br />

Inclusion: Br<strong>in</strong>gs “excluded” groups <strong>in</strong>to different systems,<br />

and simultaneously transforms these systems so<br />

that they provide quality services to EVERYBODY.<br />

Inclusion: The adjective “<strong>in</strong>clusive” is used when seek<strong>in</strong>g<br />

quality for ALL people, whether or not they have<br />

disabilities.<br />

Inclusion: Based on the understand<strong>in</strong>g that we are ALL<br />

different, and that the concepts of “special,” “normal”<br />

and “exceptional” do not exist.<br />


Integration: Partial or conditional <strong>in</strong>sertion (for example,<br />

children with disabilities “are tra<strong>in</strong>ed” <strong>in</strong> special<br />

schools or classes to be able to partially <strong>in</strong>tegrate <strong>in</strong>to<br />

regular schools or classrooms).<br />

Integration: Seeks concessions or more flexibility from<br />

different systems.<br />

Integration: People with disabilities adapt to already<br />

exist<strong>in</strong>g models, and these are only adjusted.<br />

Integration: The simple presence of people with and<br />

without disabilities <strong>in</strong> the same environment tends to<br />

be sufficient for us<strong>in</strong>g the adjective “<strong>in</strong>tegrative.”<br />

Integration: Safeguards the rights of people with disabilities.<br />

Integration: Inserts “the excluded people who can prove<br />

that they are apt” <strong>in</strong>to groups (for example, quota<br />

systems).<br />

Integration: The adjective “<strong>in</strong>tegrative” is used when<br />

quality is sought <strong>in</strong> structures that only attend to<br />

people with disabilities (considered apt) <strong>in</strong> schools,<br />

workplaces, etc.<br />

Integration: Motivates people with disabilities to adapt<br />

to dom<strong>in</strong>ant models, without valu<strong>in</strong>g diversity (for<br />

example, genu<strong>in</strong>e forms of communication such as<br />

sign language).<br />

Adapted from Claudia Werneck, Manual do Midia Legal, WVA Editora, 2003.<br />

2. Shak<strong>in</strong>g th<strong>in</strong>gs up and chang<strong>in</strong>g them<br />

When we exam<strong>in</strong>e the three models, we realize that all three co-exist <strong>in</strong> our societies, which can lead to differences<br />

when actions are be<strong>in</strong>g developed and can generate disagreements. We are liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> a time of transition between<br />

previous models and the human rights model. As with any change <strong>in</strong> our societies, the one l<strong>in</strong>ked to disabilities is so important<br />

that it shakes th<strong>in</strong>gs up, like the tremors after an earthquake. Let’s look at the ways the three models are present<br />

<strong>in</strong> our countries:<br />


Evaluation I<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter I:<br />

1) In your own words and based on your own experiences with disabilities, def<strong>in</strong>e:<br />

a. The traditional model_________________________________________________________<br />

_______________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

________________________________________________________.<br />

b. The biological model_________________________________________________________<br />

_______________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

________________________________________________________.<br />

c. The human rights model______________________________________________________<br />

_______________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

________________________________________________________.<br />

2) Give an example of how each model is applied to situations that you know about or have experienced:<br />

3) Indicate which model perta<strong>in</strong>s to each of the situations described here:<br />

a) A special classroom is be<strong>in</strong>g built <strong>in</strong> your school for the “disabled.”<br />

Model: ____________________.<br />

b) A Municipality is obligated to build access ramps for the ma<strong>in</strong> public build<strong>in</strong>gs, to comply with<br />

current regulations and because of pressure exerted by organizations of disabled persons. Model:<br />

_____________________.<br />

c) A place was set up where Juanita, a deaf girl, can beg more successfully.<br />

Model:____________________.<br />

4) How would you def<strong>in</strong>e a citizen with a disability? _____________________________________________<br />

_______________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

_________________________________________________________.<br />


Chapter II<br />

What are human rights?<br />


After f<strong>in</strong>ish<strong>in</strong>g this chapter, readers should fully understand the concept of human rights and<br />

be able to identify the ma<strong>in</strong> features of these rights, dist<strong>in</strong>guish between different types of<br />

rights, and evaluate the importance of human rights to people with disabilities.<br />

1. Def<strong>in</strong>ition and features of human rights<br />

- Human rights are freedoms, faculties or basic values that guarantee a dignified life, which<br />

are possessed by all people based on the simple fact that they are human be<strong>in</strong>gs. It is the<br />

responsibility of governments to respect, guarantee, or satisfy such rights. (Morales Gil de la<br />

Torre, Héctor).<br />

- Human rights are also legal guarantees that protect people and groups of people aga<strong>in</strong>st<br />

acts by governments that might compromise fundamental rights and human dignity.<br />

- Human rights regulations obligate governments to do certa<strong>in</strong> th<strong>in</strong>gs that favor people and<br />

the full enjoyment of their rights, and that impede others from limit<strong>in</strong>g, restrict<strong>in</strong>g or condition<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the enjoyment of such rights.<br />

- The follow<strong>in</strong>g are some of the features of human rights:<br />

• They focus on human dignity,<br />

• They are legally protected,<br />

• They are <strong>in</strong>ternationally guaranteed,<br />

• They protect people and groups of people,<br />

• They obligate States and state agents,<br />

• They may neither be the object of exceptions nor be elim<strong>in</strong>ated,<br />

• They are equal and <strong>in</strong>terdependent,<br />

• They are universal.<br />


Two very important features of human rights that merit emphasis are their <strong>in</strong>terdependence<br />

(<strong>in</strong> exercis<strong>in</strong>g them, rights depend on each other), and <strong>in</strong>divisibility (they are separated<br />

from one another to make them more understandable, but they should be understood as<br />

a unified whole). Consequently, liv<strong>in</strong>g fully and achiev<strong>in</strong>g development not only requires<br />

that a person’s civil and political rights are respected, but also their economic, social and<br />

cultural rights. For example, it is very difficult for a person to enjoy freedom (a civil right)<br />

when they are starv<strong>in</strong>g (the provision of food: an economic and social right). These two<br />

features are very important when we evaluate the rights of people with disabilities, as we<br />

will see later.<br />

2. Types of human rights<br />

Human rights can be grouped <strong>in</strong>to different categories. The most common dist<strong>in</strong>ction is<br />

between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural<br />

rights, on the other.<br />

a. Civil and political rights<br />

These protect a human be<strong>in</strong>g, <strong>in</strong>dividually, aga<strong>in</strong>st any type of aggression or abuse by any<br />

public <strong>in</strong>stitution.<br />

The guarantee of civil and political rights is immediate; therefore, these rights can be demanded<br />

at any time and <strong>in</strong> any place, except under emergency circumstances that<br />

permit certa<strong>in</strong> restrictions on some civil and political rights.<br />


We are not go<strong>in</strong>g to enumerate the entire range of human rights here. However, we should<br />

remember that civil and political rights <strong>in</strong>clude:<br />

- rights related to a person’s life, <strong>in</strong>tegrity, liberty, and security,<br />

- rights related to the adm<strong>in</strong>istration of justice,<br />

- the right to privacy,<br />

- a person’s legal capacity,<br />

- the rights of freedom of religion or beliefs, and of op<strong>in</strong>ion and expression,<br />

- the right to freedom of movement,<br />

- the right to a nationality,<br />

- the right to associate and meet, and<br />

- the right to citizenship and political participation (the right, through suffrage, to elect one’s<br />

government, or to be elected to public office).<br />

The follow<strong>in</strong>g are some examples of civil and political rights, and the ways they can be violated:<br />

Rights:<br />

The right to personal <strong>in</strong>tegrity.<br />

The right to due process and justice.<br />

The right to privacy.<br />

A person’s legal capacity.<br />

The right to freedom of movement.<br />

The right to suffrage and to vote.<br />

The right to be elected to public office.<br />

Examples of ways these rights are violated:<br />

A policeman deta<strong>in</strong>s someone and uses excessive<br />

force, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g hitt<strong>in</strong>g them.<br />

A person is deprived of their freedom without hav<strong>in</strong>g<br />

been judged or convicted.<br />

An authority opens someone’s correspondence and<br />

reads it without authorization.<br />

A person’s <strong>in</strong>heritance is taken away from them on<br />

the basis of be<strong>in</strong>g “crazy” and therefore lack<strong>in</strong>g “legal<br />

capacity.”<br />

Someone who uses a wheelchair wishes to enter a public<br />

build<strong>in</strong>g and there are no ramps, only steps.<br />

A person with a disability cannot enter a poll<strong>in</strong>g place<br />

to vote because it is <strong>in</strong>accessible.<br />

A law specifies that deaf and bl<strong>in</strong>d people cannot run<br />

for the office of mayor.<br />


. Economic, social and cultural rights<br />


Economic, social and cultural rights are part of second-generation rights.<br />

Their ma<strong>in</strong> objective is guarantee<strong>in</strong>g economic well-be<strong>in</strong>g, access to work,<br />

education, and culture. In other words, they assure people’s development.<br />

These are collective rights, because they benefit groups of human be<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

but not one person <strong>in</strong> particular. We say that these rights are progressively<br />

achieved, because they can only be demanded to the extent that the<br />

State has resources to guarantee them. However, this does not mean that<br />

the State can use its lack of resources as an excuse for not meet<strong>in</strong>g its obligations<br />

when <strong>in</strong> reality it has such resources available, or when it does not<br />

make the necessary effort to obta<strong>in</strong> them.<br />

Economic, social and cultural rights <strong>in</strong>clude:<br />

- the right to work;<br />

- the freedom to organize trade unions;<br />

- the right to an adequate standard of liv<strong>in</strong>g, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g food, cloth<strong>in</strong>g, and<br />

adequate hous<strong>in</strong>g;<br />

- the right to health and medical care;<br />

- the right to education,<br />

- the right to recreation and leisure, and<br />

- the right to participate <strong>in</strong> cultural life.<br />

c. Third-generation rights<br />

Civil and political rights are also referred to as “first-generation rights,” s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

they were the first rights to be consecrated <strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>ternational conventions.<br />

Economic, social and cultural rights are referred to as “second-generation<br />

rights.” To some extent,<br />


hese denom<strong>in</strong>ations <strong>in</strong>dicate that some rights are more important than others.<br />

There is a third group of rights: the so-called “third-generation” rights or people’s rights, which<br />

have been promoted s<strong>in</strong>ce the 1970s to encourage social progress and improve the standard<br />

of liv<strong>in</strong>g of all people. Some of the more prom<strong>in</strong>ent of these are related to:<br />

- The use of scientific and technological advances;<br />

- The solution to food, demographic, educational and ecological problems;<br />

- The environment;<br />

- The common heritage of humanity;<br />

- Development, <strong>in</strong> support of a dignified life;<br />

- Peace.<br />

3. What are the rights of a disabled person?<br />

The same as the rights of any other human be<strong>in</strong>g. People with disabilities do not have special<br />

rights. What happens is that social and cultural environments undervalue, discrim<strong>in</strong>ate aga<strong>in</strong>st<br />

and exclude people with disabilities, and <strong>in</strong>accessible physical environments and services repeatedly<br />

violate the human rights of people with disabilities.<br />

Thus, we can say that there is no “right to accessibility” per se, as people sometimes say. Physical<br />

accessibility, or access to <strong>in</strong>formation, is someth<strong>in</strong>g that the State should guarantee, so that<br />

people with physical or sensory disabilities can exercise their right to freedom of movement<br />

or the freedom of expression and the freedom to seek, receive and impart <strong>in</strong>formation. Thus,<br />

th<strong>in</strong>gs like ramps are not a right; they are tools that allow a right to be enjoyed. We could say<br />

the same about Braille, and about sign language.<br />


4. What are human rights violations?<br />

a. A human rights violation<br />

- A Human Right is violated when a public functionary and/or authority abuses his<br />

or her power, and threatens to deny or by omission <strong>in</strong>fr<strong>in</strong>ge upon our human rights<br />

and/or constitutional guarantees, which are enshr<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> the national Constitution<br />

and <strong>in</strong> the human rights conventions, treaties, pacts and declarations which<br />

a nation has signed and ratified.<br />

- “Human rights violations” <strong>in</strong>clude any governmental transgressions related to<br />

the rights that are guaranteed by national, regional or <strong>in</strong>ternational human rights<br />

norms and regulations, and any acts or omissions directly imputable to the State<br />

that assume its non-compliance with the legal obligations derived from these.<br />

- A violation occurs when a law, policy or practice <strong>in</strong>fr<strong>in</strong>ges upon or deliberately<br />

ignores the State’s respective obligations, or when these do not reach the level<br />

of conduct or results that are required. Human rights violations also occur when<br />

the State withdraws or elim<strong>in</strong>ates exist<strong>in</strong>g protections of human rights.<br />

- All human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social—impose three<br />

types of obligations on governments: respect, protection and compliance. Any<br />

omission <strong>in</strong> this respect committed by a government constitutes a human rights<br />

violation.<br />

- It is important to emphasize that <strong>in</strong> general, human rights violations always imply<br />

the <strong>in</strong>tervention of a State agent (a soldier, a policeman, a public functionary,<br />

etc.) <strong>in</strong> the case of direct violations. For example, <strong>in</strong> the case of a policeman<br />

who deta<strong>in</strong>s a person and deprives them of their freedom without merit (<strong>in</strong> other<br />

words, arbitrarily). But the State can also be responsible for human rights violations<br />

“by omission”—<strong>in</strong> other words, for fail<strong>in</strong>g to do what it is supposed to do. For<br />

example, <strong>in</strong> the case of a husband who physically assaults his wife, and the police—because<br />

of male chauv<strong>in</strong>ist attitudes—do noth<strong>in</strong>g when the wife reports it.<br />

In this case, the State is responsible for this rights violation (aga<strong>in</strong>st the woman’s<br />

security and physical <strong>in</strong>tegrity), because its agents did not fulfill their duty.<br />


It is important to dist<strong>in</strong>guish the fact that although <strong>in</strong>dividuals have general responsibilities<br />

to their community, and at a m<strong>in</strong>imum should respect the human<br />

rights of others, it is the State that is obligated to guarantee human rights.<br />

b. When are the rights of people with disabilities be<strong>in</strong>g violated?<br />

- When the State does not generate the necessary socio-cultural conditions to<br />

elim<strong>in</strong>ate undervalu<strong>in</strong>g, discrim<strong>in</strong>ation, and exclusion.<br />


I WANT<br />

- When the State cont<strong>in</strong>ues creat<strong>in</strong>g barriers to physical access and to communication<br />

and <strong>in</strong>formation, and allows private <strong>in</strong>stitutions provid<strong>in</strong>g public services<br />

to also create such barriers.<br />

- When the State generates regulations and norms that recognize the rights of<br />

people with disabilities, but does not design plans, programs, policies, projects<br />

and actions, or does so only <strong>in</strong> a very limited manner, so that disabled people<br />

can only participate marg<strong>in</strong>ally <strong>in</strong> development, and not as full citizens.<br />

Three examples of rights violations of people with disabilities:<br />

- For people with motor and sensory disabilities, the right to liberty of movement—<br />

someth<strong>in</strong>g that is not restricted for people <strong>in</strong> general <strong>in</strong> any of our cities—is restricted<br />

and discrim<strong>in</strong>ates aga<strong>in</strong>st them. People with such disabilities need adequate<br />

and secure ramps, and urban sett<strong>in</strong>gs that are free of obstacles and barriers <strong>in</strong><br />

order to mobilize freely. Given that we are referr<strong>in</strong>g to<br />

Right to personal mobility<br />


public spaces, their construction and ma<strong>in</strong>tenance is the responsibility of the State<br />

(either the M<strong>in</strong>istry of Public Works <strong>in</strong> the case of the central government, or<br />

municipal governments). Insur<strong>in</strong>g the right to free circulation means that the State<br />

needs to create adequate conditions so that people with motor disabilities can<br />

enjoy this right just like anyone else, and this is only possible through elim<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g urban<br />

obstacles and <strong>in</strong>stall<strong>in</strong>g ramps and other facilities that <strong>in</strong>sure accessibility. In<br />

other words, physical accessibility is a means for guarantee<strong>in</strong>g that people with<br />

disabilities can exercise their right to freedom of movement.<br />





Right to personal mobility?<br />

- A bl<strong>in</strong>d person visits a public library and requests a copy of the Constitution of<br />

the Republic <strong>in</strong> Braille, or <strong>in</strong> another format that would make it accessible, and<br />

is told that only pr<strong>in</strong>ted copies are available. Here, the right to receive <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

is be<strong>in</strong>g violated. In this case, the means for exercis<strong>in</strong>g this right on an equal<br />

basis with people who can read a pr<strong>in</strong>t version of the Constitution would <strong>in</strong>clude<br />

<strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g the availability of a version <strong>in</strong> Braille, or audio tapes, or the provision of a<br />

computer that is programmed to provide the text to a bl<strong>in</strong>d person.<br />


We are here to serve<br />

everyone.<br />

- If a deaf person visits a public office and cannot carry out the bus<strong>in</strong>ess that<br />

he or she came to do because the functionary <strong>in</strong> charge cannot communicate<br />

with them (s<strong>in</strong>ce they cannot speak <strong>in</strong> sign language) and cannot <strong>in</strong><br />

some way work out this problem with communication, this signifies a violation<br />

of the deaf person’s rights. This is because the deaf person is not receiv<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

same service as a hear<strong>in</strong>g person; <strong>in</strong> other words, the deaf person is receiv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

discrim<strong>in</strong>atory treatment. In this case, the rights be<strong>in</strong>g violated are, first of all,<br />

the freedom to seek, receive and impart <strong>in</strong>formation, and secondly the right<br />

to freedom of expression. The ability of public servants to communicate <strong>in</strong> sign<br />

language, or to use an alternative means of communication to resolve a deaf<br />

person’s need for <strong>in</strong>formation and communication, are the means that guarantee<br />

the exercise of the above-mentioned rights.<br />

5. The <strong>in</strong>terdependence of rights of people with disabilities<br />

When speak<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> general about civil and political rights, or about economic,<br />

social and cultural rights, many authors <strong>in</strong>sist that the <strong>in</strong>terdependence of these<br />

groups of rights is key to their enjoyment and exercise. Such a conception<br />

commits the State to immediately guarantee<strong>in</strong>g the first group of rights, and to<br />

make greater efforts to guarantee the second group.<br />

Nonetheless, this <strong>in</strong>terdependence takes on an even greater importance<br />

when we refer to the rights of people with disabilities, s<strong>in</strong>ce their civil and political<br />

rights (immediate, as <strong>in</strong>dicated) cannot be <strong>in</strong>sured unless adequate conditions<br />

are created through actions that are l<strong>in</strong>ked to <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g their economic<br />

and social rights.<br />



Underestimation<br />




It has been written: “Disability is one of the best areas <strong>in</strong> which to assert<br />

and prove the <strong>in</strong>divisibility and <strong>in</strong>terdependence of civil, political, economic,<br />

social and cultural rights. People with disabilities must be afforded<br />

freedom, but also the means to take advantage of it. This can be done by<br />

provid<strong>in</strong>g relevant social supports and, <strong>in</strong> particular, by respect<strong>in</strong>g economic,<br />

social and cultural rights.” (Human Rights and Disability, Gerard Qu<strong>in</strong>n<br />

and Theresia Degener).<br />

- If there are no ramps or accessible public transportation, I cannot enjoy<br />

freedom of movement!<br />

- If the poll<strong>in</strong>g places are not accessible, my political right to elect my representatives<br />

is be<strong>in</strong>g restricted!<br />

- If the text of this law isn’t available <strong>in</strong> Braille, I cannot enjoy the freedom<br />

to receive <strong>in</strong>formation!<br />

6. Human rights and the type of environment<br />



As already stated: BEING DISABLED is the result or product of the relationship<br />


MENT (cultural, social, economic, political).<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce the State and its <strong>in</strong>stitutions are RESPONSIBLE for this environment,<br />

they must also play a key role <strong>in</strong> mak<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong>clusive and accessible. This<br />

means creat<strong>in</strong>g the conditions that <strong>in</strong>sure that people with disabilities can<br />

fully enjoy their human rights. What has predom<strong>in</strong>ated to date is a DISA-<br />


This environment that undervalues, segregates, excludes, and makes the<br />

disabled person <strong>in</strong>visible is an environment that also multiplies the violations<br />

of disabled people’s human rights.<br />


The development of a human rights paradigm has def<strong>in</strong>ed this relationship between a discrim<strong>in</strong>atory and exclud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

environment and human rights violations, which affects people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> an ongo<strong>in</strong>g manner.<br />

The follow<strong>in</strong>g table illustrates this relationship:<br />

Person with a Deficiency<br />

(physical, sensory,<br />

mental)<br />


MENT<br />


Person with<br />

a disability<br />

-Made <strong>in</strong>visible,<br />

-Underestimated,<br />

-Discrim<strong>in</strong>ated aga<strong>in</strong>st,<br />

-Segregated,<br />

-Excluded,<br />

-Converted <strong>in</strong>to an object of pity and charity,<br />

-Converted <strong>in</strong>to a patient,<br />

-Annulled or restricted rights,<br />

-Loss of citizenship,<br />

-Impeded or limited participation,<br />

-Object of assistance and social protection,<br />

-Excluded from the national development agenda.<br />


• In other words, a DISABILITY (D) is a variable that results from the <strong>in</strong>teraction between a variable that<br />

has to do with a person’s functionality (FL: Functional Limitation) and another variable that is related to the<br />

environment (E) and social organization.<br />

• To illustrate the impact that the environment has on the relationship between a disability and a functional<br />

limitation “mathematically,” we use the follow<strong>in</strong>g equation (Marcelo Medeiros, 2005):<br />

D = FL x E<br />

More barriers, more disability: If we assign a value of “zero” to an imag<strong>in</strong>ary environment that has no barriers,<br />

the product of this equation will always be zero, regardless of the value assigned to a person’s functional limitation.<br />

However, as the value assigned to the environment <strong>in</strong>creases, the greater the functional impact that<br />

the disability has on the life of the person. As we see here:<br />

FL 1 x E 0 = D 0 FL 5 x E 0 = D 0<br />

FL 1 x E 1 = D 1 FL 5 x E 5 = D 25<br />


Evaluation II<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter II:<br />

1) Provide a clear and concise answer to the follow<strong>in</strong>g questions:<br />

a. What are human rights? ______________________________________________________<br />

______________________________________________________________________________________<br />

_________________________________________________________________.<br />

b. Write down three features of human rights, and expla<strong>in</strong> them briefly ____________________<br />

______________________________________________________________________________________<br />

__________________________________________________________________<br />

______________________________________________________________________________________<br />

_________________________________________________________________.<br />

c. What are civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights?<br />

______________________________________________________________________________________<br />

______________________________________________________________________________________<br />

______________________________________________________________________________________<br />

______________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________.<br />

2) Is there a difference between general human rights and the rights of people with disabilities?<br />

3) Expla<strong>in</strong> ways that the rights of people with disabilities are violated.<br />

4) Why do we affirm that the <strong>in</strong>terdependence and <strong>in</strong>divisibility of rights are so important<br />

when it comes to disabled people exercis<strong>in</strong>g their rights? Give examples to support your<br />

explanation.<br />


Chapter III<br />

Exclusion, Inclusion and Poverty l<strong>in</strong>ked to Disability<br />


After a careful read<strong>in</strong>g of this chapter, the reader should be able to understand<br />

the concepts of exclusion and <strong>in</strong>clusion, why poverty is associated with<br />

disability and vice versa, why people with a disability are often poorer than<br />

other poor people, and the actions that need to be developed to break the<br />

vicious circle of poverty and disability.<br />


1. What are exclusion and <strong>in</strong>clusion?<br />

In human societies, there are people who enjoy an elevated standard of liv<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

whose residences are good or very good quality, and who have access to all<br />

services that development offers. In other words, they are surrounded by material<br />

conditions and services that allow them to live well, with access to health,<br />

education, <strong>in</strong>come from their <strong>in</strong>vestments or good jobs, recreation, etc.<br />

There are other people whose standard of liv<strong>in</strong>g isn’t so high, but who have<br />

adequate liv<strong>in</strong>g conditions. They have access to basic services. They are situated<br />

between the m<strong>in</strong>ority <strong>in</strong> our societies who live extremely well, and other<br />

segments of the population who live (or barely survive) <strong>in</strong> bad or very bad conditions.<br />

This is the middle class.<br />

Then there are other sectors—generally the majority <strong>in</strong> our countries—who live<br />

<strong>in</strong> the midst of very difficult material conditions, without access to many basic<br />

services. When they do receive such services, they are not the best quality.<br />

These are the poor and very poor.<br />


We could say that the first group is <strong>in</strong>cluded, the second group has an <strong>in</strong>termediate<br />

level of <strong>in</strong>clusion, and those on the bottom would be situated among the<br />

excluded or most excluded. Excluded from what? Well, from economic and<br />

social development.<br />


In other words, exclusion and <strong>in</strong>clusion are conditions or features related<br />

to the degree to which people have access to goods and services, and<br />

to the development of the society they live <strong>in</strong>. Examples of goods are<br />

homes, refrigerators, electric stoves, wash<strong>in</strong>g mach<strong>in</strong>es, etc. Services <strong>in</strong>clude<br />

electricity, potable water, health, a job, education, telephone and<br />

Internet service, etc.<br />

Thus, exclusion is the condition experienced by people who do not have<br />

susta<strong>in</strong>ed access to the enjoyment of economic and social development,<br />

or who only have it <strong>in</strong> a very limited manner. On the other hand, <strong>in</strong>clusion<br />

is the condition enjoyed by those who have access to the goods and services<br />

generated by the social development of a given society.<br />

Moreover, exclusion is manifested <strong>in</strong> the full enjoyment or denial of citizenship,<br />

access or lack of access to <strong>in</strong>come and other resources, and to<br />

social development programs, etc.<br />

In the societies of Central America, a large number of <strong>in</strong>habitants live <strong>in</strong><br />

conditions of poverty and exclusion. Accord<strong>in</strong>g to data from a recent<br />

study by the Lat<strong>in</strong> American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), a little<br />

more than half of the almost 40 million Central Americans live <strong>in</strong> conditions<br />

of poverty and extreme poverty.<br />

2. What is poverty?<br />

Poverty is a condition experienced by families or people whose <strong>in</strong>come<br />

does not manage to satisfy their basic needs for food, and other needs<br />

such as health, education, hous<strong>in</strong>g, cloth<strong>in</strong>g, transportation, etc.<br />





SHOES<br />

There are different ways of def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g who is poor and who isn’t.<br />

For example, <strong>in</strong> Costa Rica, the poverty l<strong>in</strong>e method is used to determ<strong>in</strong>e<br />

who is poor. This method consists of:<br />

“Calculat<strong>in</strong>g a poverty l<strong>in</strong>e, which represents the m<strong>in</strong>imum <strong>in</strong>come that<br />

allows a household to have sufficient resources to attend to the basic<br />

food and non-food needs of its members.” (INEC, Costa Rica)<br />

Us<strong>in</strong>g this method, poor households are def<strong>in</strong>ed as those whose <strong>in</strong>come<br />

per person is equal to or less than the one def<strong>in</strong>ed as “the poverty l<strong>in</strong>e.”<br />

At the same time, extremely poor households are those whose <strong>in</strong>come per<br />

person does not cover (or barely covers) the costs of basic food, or the<br />

so-called “basic food basket.”<br />

Here is an example:<br />

• Let’s suppose that a 4-member household <strong>in</strong> a rural zone of one of<br />

our countries has a monthly <strong>in</strong>come of 1,000 pesos.<br />

• This means that the <strong>in</strong>come per person is 250 pesos, which we derive<br />

from divid<strong>in</strong>g the total <strong>in</strong>come by four.<br />

• If the per-person <strong>in</strong>come for the poverty l<strong>in</strong>e is 300 pesos, this rural<br />

family will need more than 1,200 pesos of monthly <strong>in</strong>come to not be classified<br />

as poor.<br />

a) Poor family<br />





TO COOK<br />

b) Extremely poor family<br />


3. Poverty and social participation<br />

Although poverty is clearly manifested <strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>come and available resources, it<br />

should not be reduced to only this material dimension. Poverty has concrete<br />

manifestations and consequences <strong>in</strong> terms of social participation.<br />

The search for resources to meet family needs obligates poor people to<br />

spend most of their time engaged <strong>in</strong> such efforts, which generally dim<strong>in</strong>ishes<br />

their social participation. There is also a tendency among political and<br />

government <strong>in</strong>stitutions to underestimate poor people, both <strong>in</strong> terms of their<br />

<strong>in</strong>volvement <strong>in</strong> political processes, and <strong>in</strong> community consults and processes<br />

related to social programs.<br />

It is no co<strong>in</strong>cidence that <strong>in</strong> most of our countries, poor people are viewed<br />

as objects to be utilized <strong>in</strong> electoral processes. Dur<strong>in</strong>g electoral campaigns,<br />

promises are made to improve liv<strong>in</strong>g conditions so that citizens will deliver<br />

their votes, but once elected, governments do not fulfill, or barely fulfill, any<br />

of their campaign promises. Many political parties that are elected manipulate<br />

the needs of the poor, <strong>in</strong> what we refer to as “clientelism.” They<br />

assure the votes of poor citizens by hand<strong>in</strong>g out food or build<strong>in</strong>g materials<br />

that are acquired with public resources.<br />

In recent years, there has been a clear trend toward attribut<strong>in</strong>g greater<br />

importance to citizen participation as an expression of democratic development,<br />

and as an adequate means for promot<strong>in</strong>g social development.<br />

For example, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) affirms that<br />

“participation is an essential component of human development,” and that<br />

people “desire permanent progress toward more complete participation.”<br />

As noted by Bernardo Kl<strong>in</strong>ksberg, “participation generates much better social<br />

results than other more traditional organizational models, such as bureaucratic<br />

and paternalistic models.”<br />

The better results that participatory models yield <strong>in</strong> social programs are due<br />

to a series of comparative advantages. The follow<strong>in</strong>g are three of these:<br />


(1) No one understands someone’s problems and needs better than those<br />

who are actually affected by them. Thus, the community or a particular<br />

sector is really the best source of such <strong>in</strong>formation.<br />

(2) Community participation can be the key factor <strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g a program’s<br />

good development and operation. The same is true for avoid<strong>in</strong>g corruption<br />

or the <strong>in</strong>adequate management of social programs. Social control<br />

will undoubtedly create a better basis for accountability.<br />

(3) The people most <strong>in</strong>dicated for evaluat<strong>in</strong>g the f<strong>in</strong>al results and impact<br />

of social projects are those who benefit from them. In other words, the<br />

recipients of these projects. Participatory evaluations produce better assessments<br />

of “effectively obta<strong>in</strong>ed results, deficiencies, unexpected favorable<br />

and unfavorable effects, and key elements for future designs”<br />

(Kl<strong>in</strong>ksberg, Bernardo).<br />

Consequently, we may conclude that sector, community and citizen participation<br />

are an effective means of fight<strong>in</strong>g poverty and promot<strong>in</strong>g social<br />

development. The states and governments that seriously promote this<br />

type of participation (especially that of the poorest sectors) demonstrate<br />

a greater commitment to the eradication of poverty.<br />

4. Disabilities and additional expenses<br />

This is very important! When study<strong>in</strong>g poverty that is associated with disabilities,<br />

Amartya Sen, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics <strong>in</strong> 1998,<br />

noted: “The poverty l<strong>in</strong>e def<strong>in</strong>ed for people with a disability should take<br />

<strong>in</strong>to account the additional costs <strong>in</strong>curred when their <strong>in</strong>come is translated<br />

<strong>in</strong>to possibilities for liv<strong>in</strong>g well.”<br />

People with disabilities face additional costs for satisfy<strong>in</strong>g the same needs<br />

as people without disabilities.<br />








Amartya Sen affirms that <strong>in</strong> the United K<strong>in</strong>gdom, 23.1% of disabled people<br />

are poor compared to an overall <strong>in</strong>dex <strong>in</strong> the country of 17.9%. However,<br />

when the additional expenses associated with hav<strong>in</strong>g a disability are considered,<br />

the poverty <strong>in</strong>dex for people with a disability shoots up to 47.4%.<br />

In the follow<strong>in</strong>g table, we see the needs and demands of the population without<br />

disabilities, and the specific needs that people with disabilities require<br />

<strong>in</strong> order to live <strong>in</strong> equal conditions as others and satisfy the same needs. Normally,<br />

governments should respond to these needs through public policies.<br />

Needs / Demands<br />

Population without disabilities<br />

HEALTH<br />

FOOD<br />








SPORTS<br />



Population with disabilities<br />

+ Rehabilitation-Outfitt<strong>in</strong>g /Specific<br />

needs<br />

+ Specific diets/ nutritional supplements<br />

+ Accessible<br />

+ Adequate<br />

+ Adaptations/ Special Inclusive<br />

+ Adjustments<br />

+ Accessible<br />

+ Adjustments<br />

+ Accessible<br />

+ Accessible<br />

+ Accessible<br />

+ Accessible<br />



Everyth<strong>in</strong>g written <strong>in</strong> the right column signifies additional resources. These<br />

are resources that are needed to attend to basic needs, and which permit<br />

the social and productive <strong>in</strong>clusion of people with disabilities.<br />

Currently, some of these needs are be<strong>in</strong>g covered by family resources or<br />

by assistance from private organizations, many of which are charitable<br />

groups. Some governments attend to some of these needs or demands,<br />

but only m<strong>in</strong>imally s<strong>in</strong>ce States tend to view this as spend<strong>in</strong>g rather than<br />

as a social <strong>in</strong>vestment. This is ma<strong>in</strong>ly because of exist<strong>in</strong>g prejudices that<br />

classify disabled people as non-productive.<br />

The consequence is the creation of conditions that keep people with disabilities<br />

among the poorest <strong>in</strong> our societies, suffer<strong>in</strong>g from both economic<br />

and social exclusion.<br />





5. Exclusion of people with disabilities<br />

Accord<strong>in</strong>g to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), Central<br />

America has around four million disabled persons.<br />

When exam<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the liv<strong>in</strong>g conditions of disabled Central Americans,<br />

many studies have found that most of these people live <strong>in</strong> conditions of<br />

poverty and social exclusion. For example, <strong>in</strong> characteriz<strong>in</strong>g the liv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

conditions of disabled people <strong>in</strong> Costa Rica, the Office to Defend Citizen<br />

Rights (Defensoría de los Habitantes) has <strong>in</strong>dicated that they are “the<br />

most excluded of the excluded.”<br />

The development models and plans that have been adopted <strong>in</strong> our countries<br />

to date have not been able to generate well-be<strong>in</strong>g for the majority;<br />

rather, different groups have been and cont<strong>in</strong>ue to be excluded from the<br />

benefits of development.<br />


Among these groups are <strong>in</strong>digenous groups, Afro-descendent populations,<br />

women, the elderly, people with disabilities, and ethnic, religious and sexual<br />

m<strong>in</strong>orities, all of whom are commonly referred to as “groups liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> situations<br />

of risk.”<br />

Bengt L<strong>in</strong>dqvist, who was the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Disability,<br />

has said that poverty produces disability, and that disability generates<br />

poverty. In other words, there is a circular relationship between poverty and<br />

disability, as both cause and outcome.<br />

How does this happen?<br />

Let’s look at how poverty can generate disabilities:<br />

- If a family lives <strong>in</strong> very bad or precarious hygienic and health conditions,<br />

some of its members will have a greater likelihood of acquir<strong>in</strong>g a deficiency<br />

that converts them <strong>in</strong>to a disabled person. For <strong>in</strong>stance, consum<strong>in</strong>g contam<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

water can cause diseases that produce different types of visual<br />

deficiencies or bl<strong>in</strong>dness.<br />



- There are very risky and unsafe jobs that people accept because they<br />

are poor. Many of these risky jobs or productive activities can endanger a<br />

person’s health, and are an important cause of deficiencies that generate<br />

a disability. One example: artisanal divers who fish for lobster along the Caribbean<br />

coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, who suffer permanent <strong>in</strong>juries<br />

and even death.<br />

Here are three cases that demonstrate the ways that disabilities generate<br />

poverty:<br />

1) If a family member has a very severe disability, this person must generally<br />

rema<strong>in</strong> at home with another family member who must care for them. Consequently,<br />

the person provid<strong>in</strong>g such care cannot work and will not generate<br />

<strong>in</strong>come for the family. Thus, both the person with the disability and their<br />

caretaker must depend upon a reduced family <strong>in</strong>come.<br />


2) Generally, family members with a disability require extra spend<strong>in</strong>g for<br />

goods and services related to their disability. Such costs must be covered<br />

by the family’s <strong>in</strong>come, which reduces or impedes attend<strong>in</strong>g to other family<br />

needs.<br />

3) If a family member with a disability has the ability and desire to work<br />

and be productive but cannot obta<strong>in</strong> a job because of the disability, this<br />

person is not only prohibited from generat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>come for him or herself<br />

and contribut<strong>in</strong>g to the family <strong>in</strong>come, but also must depend upon the<br />

<strong>in</strong>come produced by other family members.<br />

This vicious circle means that people with disabilities are more likely to be<br />

poor and to rema<strong>in</strong> poor. This situation can only change by break<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

vicious circle, which we will look at <strong>in</strong> the next chapter.<br />

6. A diagnostic appraisal<br />

In May 2003, an <strong>in</strong>ternational dialogue on disability and development<br />

took place <strong>in</strong> Hels<strong>in</strong>ki F<strong>in</strong>land, sponsored by the World Bank’s Office of<br />

the Advisor on Disability and Development. At this important meet<strong>in</strong>g, a<br />

diagnostic assessment was conducted of the relationship between disability<br />

and development, focus<strong>in</strong>g on the situations confronted by disabled<br />

people <strong>in</strong> poor countries.<br />

The f<strong>in</strong>al report concluded that “the vast majority of this population occupy<br />

the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder, are among the poorest<br />

of the poor, and are rarely reached by development projects,” and that<br />

the disability and development landscape is characterized ma<strong>in</strong>ly by:<br />

- Small scale pilot projects scattered throughout selected develop<strong>in</strong>g<br />

countries, funded by external donors;<br />

- Collapse of projects when the external aid cycle is completed;<br />


More <strong>in</strong>equality. The Lat<strong>in</strong> American and<br />

Caribbean region (LAC) is the most unequal<br />

region <strong>in</strong> the world. Accord<strong>in</strong>g to data from<br />

CEPAL (Economic Commission for Lat<strong>in</strong> America<br />

and the Caribbean), 181 million Lat<strong>in</strong><br />

Americans are poor and 70 million more are<br />

<strong>in</strong>digent (October 2009).<br />

Population: Based on estimates by WHO, at<br />

least 79 million people <strong>in</strong> Lat<strong>in</strong> America and<br />

the Caribbean have some type of disability.<br />

Poverty: More than 80% of disabled people <strong>in</strong><br />

LAC live (or survive) <strong>in</strong> conditions of poverty.<br />

Consequently, there are close to 63 million<br />

poor people with disabilities.<br />

Education: Only 20-30% of disabled children <strong>in</strong><br />

LAC attend school. This is due to the lack of<br />

accessible transportation and <strong>in</strong>frastructure,<br />

tra<strong>in</strong>ed teachers and didactic materials, etc.<br />

- Infusion of aid and new projects <strong>in</strong> countries <strong>in</strong> current favor with development<br />

agencies and <strong>in</strong>vestment policies, followed by abandonment<br />

when attention is refocused to other countries;<br />

- Isolation of disability and development projects from ma<strong>in</strong>stream development<br />

programs and goals of a particular country;<br />

- Pervasiveness of prevention as the development community’s response<br />

to disability;<br />

- Failure to <strong>in</strong>clude the pr<strong>in</strong>ciple of accessibility <strong>in</strong> ord<strong>in</strong>ary development<br />

programs;<br />

- Lack of shared <strong>in</strong>formation (on a domestic or <strong>in</strong>ternational basis) about<br />

objectives and results of disability projects, so that, <strong>in</strong> effect, each project<br />

is developed (and often dies) <strong>in</strong> a vacuum.<br />

Employment: Between 80-90% of people with<br />

disabilities <strong>in</strong> LAC are unemployed, and almost<br />

all of those who have jobs receive low salaries<br />

or no monetary compensation.<br />

Health services: Most people with disabilities<br />

<strong>in</strong> the region do not have access to health<br />

services.<br />

Some data from Lat<strong>in</strong> America and the Caribbean<br />

that illustrates the exist<strong>in</strong>g relationship between poverty<br />

and disability<br />


Evaluation III<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter III:<br />

1) Please provide a clear and concise answer:<br />

a. What is social exclusion?______________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________.<br />

b. What is social <strong>in</strong>clusion? ______________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

_____________________________.<br />

2) Investigate what method is used to def<strong>in</strong>e poverty <strong>in</strong> your country. You can do this by call<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

Statistics and Census Bureau on the telephone to <strong>in</strong>quire, or by visit<strong>in</strong>g this <strong>in</strong>stitution’s web site. It would<br />

also be useful to read publications <strong>in</strong> your country that conta<strong>in</strong> data about disabilities and poverty.<br />

3) In your own words, expla<strong>in</strong> the vicious circle between poverty and disability. Give an example of this<br />

circle from your own experiences_____________________________________ _____________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

_______________________.<br />

4) Comment on the follow<strong>in</strong>g phrase: “People with disabilities are disproportionately poor, and the poor<br />

are disproportionately disabled.”<br />

5) Add up the additional expenses that a family you know with a disabled member has to spend. Investigate<br />

how they cover these costs.<br />

6) If you were <strong>in</strong> a decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g position, what actions would you promote to break the vicious circle<br />

of poverty and disability?<br />



Chapter IV<br />

Inclusive Development<br />

Once this chapter has been concluded, the reader should understand different<br />

development models, the “<strong>in</strong>clusive development” concept, why this development<br />

strategy is so important to people with disabilities and their families, the<br />

k<strong>in</strong>ds of actions that should be developed to promote this model, and the <strong>in</strong>struments<br />

or means that can be used to promote more <strong>in</strong>clusive development.<br />

1. Development models<br />

In some or most of our countries, a development model is understood as an<br />

economic model, and this <strong>in</strong>cludes the most permanent and structural aspects,<br />

both medium and long-range, of a nation’s economic policy.<br />

It is the form <strong>in</strong> which a society:<br />

• Uses the nation’s resources,<br />

• Interrelates with other societies,<br />

• Responds to changes and processes, both <strong>in</strong>ternal and external,<br />

• Designs <strong>in</strong>stitutions to achieve its objectives, and<br />

• (Very importantly) DISTRIBUTES the revenues generated by its productive<br />

activities.<br />

The United Nations def<strong>in</strong>es development as the substantial improvement <strong>in</strong> the<br />

social and material conditions of people, <strong>in</strong> a framework of respect for cultural<br />

values. To achieve this development, countries utilize different models and obta<strong>in</strong><br />

a range of different outcomes.<br />

If we th<strong>in</strong>k about or evaluate our countries’ development <strong>in</strong> recent years, it is<br />

very likely that we will conclude that it does not fit the UN’s def<strong>in</strong>ition of development.<br />

One of the ma<strong>in</strong> problems with our models is that the wealth they<br />

generate is not well distributed.<br />


In other words, only a little goes to a lot of people, and a lot goes to only<br />

a few. Meanwhile, the number of people liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> poverty keeps grow<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

To summarize, we could say that our countries have adopted a type of<br />

development model that is generally more concerned with economic<br />

growth (which is the ma<strong>in</strong> po<strong>in</strong>t of an economic model) and only m<strong>in</strong>imally<br />

concerned with the social distribution of the wealth that is produced<br />

(which is the idea of a social model), and <strong>in</strong>sufficiently concerned with<br />

protect<strong>in</strong>g the environment (which is at the heart of a susta<strong>in</strong>able model).<br />

2. Susta<strong>in</strong>able human development<br />

In the early 1990s, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) proposed<br />

a new concept of development and a strategy for achiev<strong>in</strong>g it.<br />

It is called “susta<strong>in</strong>able human development,” which is essentially based<br />

on the ideas of previous development theories. It embraces, on the one<br />

hand, the concept of “susta<strong>in</strong>able development,” and on the other hand,<br />

“human scale development,” but with the latter carried out on a more<br />

collective level.<br />

Susta<strong>in</strong>able development responds to the concern that natural resources<br />

can be used up, and if we are not careful about their use today, we will<br />

complicate the lives of future generations. The UNDP comb<strong>in</strong>ed this conception<br />

with the idea that the ma<strong>in</strong> beneficiaries of development are human<br />

be<strong>in</strong>gs. Thus, this model argues that improv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>dividual conditions<br />

<strong>in</strong> all areas should be the foundation for social development.<br />

Susta<strong>in</strong>able human development asserts that development signifies progress<br />

for <strong>in</strong>dividuals and for societies <strong>in</strong> five fundamental spheres: economic,<br />

social, cultural, political-participatory, and environmental.<br />


The correspond<strong>in</strong>g strategy for achiev<strong>in</strong>g such development has two components:<br />

• Creat<strong>in</strong>g opportunities for the entire population, and<br />

• Build<strong>in</strong>g capacities so that all people can make full use of opportunities.<br />

3. In relation to disability<br />

The demand for a development model that <strong>in</strong>cludes all people comes (or<br />

should come) from the range of sectors and groups that have been consistently<br />

excluded from the benefits of development. Among these groups are the<br />

<strong>in</strong>digenous, Afro-descendent populations, women, the elderly, people with disabilities,<br />

and ethnic, religious and sexual m<strong>in</strong>orities, all of whom are commonly<br />

referred to as “liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> situations of risk.”<br />

The greatest aspiration of this conception of development is to move beyond<br />

the specific and compartmentalized approaches adopted by different social<br />

sectors, and strengthen what is common among them, the th<strong>in</strong>gs that they can<br />

mutually re<strong>in</strong>force. Key to this is build<strong>in</strong>g a global development agenda with an<br />

<strong>in</strong>clusive development approach, whose central axis is promot<strong>in</strong>g broad-based<br />

and comprehensive strategies that address all dimensions of human needs.<br />

To <strong>in</strong>sure that development actions respond to all expressions of human diversity,<br />

public policies must specifically address the needs and demands of all excluded<br />

groups, from the time they are designed through their implementation.<br />

Given that the disability sector’s basic pr<strong>in</strong>ciples <strong>in</strong>clude diversity, <strong>in</strong>clusion,<br />

enabl<strong>in</strong>g opportunities, personal autonomy and solidarity, it has begun to generate<br />

substantial support for this development approach. This sector’s contribution<br />

is aimed at remedy<strong>in</strong>g the<br />


exclusion confronted by people with disabilities, but also understand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that this situation will not change unless the general population’s quality<br />

of life also improves.<br />

From the perspective of people with disabilities, situat<strong>in</strong>g ourselves on the<br />

road to <strong>in</strong>clusive development requires <strong>in</strong>terrelat<strong>in</strong>g two key developmental<br />

concepts associated with disability—human diversity and universal design—with<br />

the concept of <strong>in</strong>clusion.<br />

We need to beg<strong>in</strong> to see disability as part of human diversity, and not as<br />

a condition that is the object of discrim<strong>in</strong>ation and exclusion, as we experience<br />

every day <strong>in</strong> today’s societies. The idea is to beg<strong>in</strong> to see disability<br />

as just another trait or feature, like size, sk<strong>in</strong> color, and gender, rather than<br />

a condition that def<strong>in</strong>es and limits a person’s entire life.<br />

Universal design means design<strong>in</strong>g and build<strong>in</strong>g products and environments<br />

that can safely be used by all people, and that to the extent possible do<br />

not require special adaptations. The extensive use of universal design is<br />

<strong>in</strong>tended to simplify the lives of all people, mak<strong>in</strong>g sure that products, services,<br />

means of communication and environments are fully accessible, at<br />

very low cost or at no additional cost.<br />

This type of design (also called <strong>in</strong>clusive design) not only makes sense for<br />

the progressive shift toward universal accessibility to environments and<br />

services, but also will signify a grow<strong>in</strong>g economy of resources <strong>in</strong> the longrange,<br />

because it will be geared toward seek<strong>in</strong>g overarch<strong>in</strong>g, general<br />

solutions rather than multiple specific solutions.<br />


Examples:<br />

- If build<strong>in</strong>gs are constructed <strong>in</strong> compliance with universal design standards,<br />

they will be accessible to all people and their cost will <strong>in</strong>crease very little (estimated<br />

at only 2%). However, if they are built without accessibility, many people<br />

will not be able to use them easily or safely (the elderly, pregnant women, children,<br />

etc.), and the costs will be much higher when they need to be remodeled<br />

to make them accessible.<br />

- If a universal design is used when web pages are developed, bl<strong>in</strong>d people will<br />

be able to explore these pages without any access problems (which limit their<br />

use of most web pages today).<br />

As they say: If the cacao is better<br />

distributed, more people can dr<strong>in</strong>k<br />

the chocolate<br />

4. Inclusive development<br />

We understand Inclusive Development as the design and effective implementation<br />

of public policies and actions that br<strong>in</strong>g about socio-economic and human<br />

development, <strong>in</strong> a way that promotes the capacities and equal opportunities<br />

and rights of all people, regardless of their social condition, gender, age,<br />

physical or mental condition, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc., <strong>in</strong> susta<strong>in</strong>able<br />

harmony with the environment (IIDI).<br />

The general accent of this development approach is on an <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly better<br />

distribution of the wealth produced <strong>in</strong> countries, s<strong>in</strong>ce the goal of <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

social groups and sectors that have been excluded from the benefits of development<br />

will be impossible to achieve without a more equitable distribution of<br />

revenues.<br />

As we have been <strong>in</strong>dicat<strong>in</strong>g, people with disabilities and families with a disabled<br />

member are more likely to be poor, and are less likely to be able to enjoy<br />

the benefits of their nation’s development.<br />


Here, the search for <strong>in</strong>clusive development needs to build two bridges:<br />

• General <strong>in</strong>clusion: This means promot<strong>in</strong>g better distribution of national<br />

revenues for all excluded sectors that live <strong>in</strong> conditions of poverty and extreme<br />

poverty.<br />

• Specific <strong>in</strong>clusion: This means promot<strong>in</strong>g a change <strong>in</strong> approach and<br />

<strong>in</strong> the adm<strong>in</strong>istration of resources allocated by the State to people with disabilities<br />

and their families.<br />

- What has been happen<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> the realm of disabilities?<br />

1) Poorly focused prevention. Resources are allocated to prevent<strong>in</strong>g deficiencies,<br />

but not enough are assigned to the present and future care and<br />

development of disabled people. Sometimes, this is because of the mistaken<br />

assumption that through preventive actions we can make disabilities<br />

disappear.<br />

2) Individual actions. Many <strong>in</strong>dividual and specific programs and projects are<br />

promoted and developed which are geared toward attend<strong>in</strong>g to people<br />

with disabilities (rather than development). Sometimes these types of actions<br />

are carried out simultaneously by different <strong>in</strong>stitutions <strong>in</strong> an uncoord<strong>in</strong>ated<br />

manner. Accord<strong>in</strong>g to estimates by one World Bank office, <strong>in</strong>dividual<br />

strategies for attend<strong>in</strong>g to the disabled population <strong>in</strong> our countries will not<br />

even cover the needs of 5% of this population. And this reduced percentage<br />

is usually concentrated <strong>in</strong> urban zones, leav<strong>in</strong>g the disabled who live <strong>in</strong><br />

rural and more remote zones completely excluded from these programs and<br />

projects.<br />

3) Delegation of responsibilities. Another element is the fact that the State<br />

and its <strong>in</strong>stitutions do not assume political or social responsibility for the issue<br />

of disability.<br />


They deal with the issue only marg<strong>in</strong>ally, and delegate “attention” for people with<br />

disabilities to charitable programs and <strong>in</strong>ternational donors. This attention is also provided<br />

by non-governmental organizations (with or without governmental support),<br />

whose work is very well <strong>in</strong>tentioned but does not always provide adequate quality<br />

or technical oversight. Although most of the work <strong>in</strong> this field is carried out by NGOs<br />

whose members are people without disabilities, there are also NGOs led by disabled<br />

people that offer services but do not undertake efforts (or only do so m<strong>in</strong>imally) to<br />

struggle for the rights of people with disabilities.<br />

4) <strong>International</strong> cooperation. The support from <strong>in</strong>ternational donors for issues related<br />

to disabilities <strong>in</strong> develop<strong>in</strong>g countries has been valuable and well meant, but has not<br />

always utilized a development approach with this sector of the population, which<br />

suffers the harsh consequences of exclusion and discrim<strong>in</strong>ation.<br />

- What should happen with an <strong>in</strong>clusive development approach?<br />

1) Prevention. Good strategies for prevent<strong>in</strong>g deficiencies could play a large role <strong>in</strong><br />

reduc<strong>in</strong>g disabilities associated with poverty, and poverty l<strong>in</strong>ked to disabilities. Some<br />

80% of deficiencies could be prevented. In many cases, disabilities are the result of<br />

malnutrition, a lack of basic sanitation, environmental contam<strong>in</strong>ation, diseases, armed<br />

conflicts, accidents, urban violence, natural disasters, childbirth conditions, and<br />

genetic factors.<br />

The deficiencies (the generators of disabilities) that arise from congenital conditions<br />

account for only 2% of all disabilities. To <strong>in</strong>crease their effectiveness, efforts aimed at<br />

fight<strong>in</strong>g hunger, improv<strong>in</strong>g health services, build<strong>in</strong>g safe highways, establish<strong>in</strong>g safety<br />

regulations, and preserv<strong>in</strong>g the environment should explicitly consider and <strong>in</strong>corporate<br />

a disability-prevention approach. However, despite the success that prevention<br />

programs might have, disabilities will not disappear, not even <strong>in</strong> the wealthiest nations.<br />

New forms result<strong>in</strong>g from poverty, ag<strong>in</strong>g, accidents, armed conflicts and other<br />

situations will also cont<strong>in</strong>ue to emerge.<br />


2) Crosscutt<strong>in</strong>g and <strong>in</strong>clusive actions. It is essential that the needs of people with<br />

disabilities—<strong>in</strong> both urban and rural zones—are <strong>in</strong>cluded <strong>in</strong> development plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

(Global or National Development Plans), <strong>in</strong> public policies, and <strong>in</strong> the programs, projects<br />

and actions derived from such policies.<br />

This crosscutt<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>clusion should be present <strong>in</strong> the broadest range of programs, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

health, education and professional and technical tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, employment, social<br />

protection and poverty reduction, transportation, hous<strong>in</strong>g, <strong>in</strong>formation and communications,<br />

tourism and culture, recreation and sports, etc. In addition, susta<strong>in</strong>ed State<br />

actions are needed to guarantee accessibility to public <strong>in</strong>frastructure (remodel<strong>in</strong>g or<br />

construct<strong>in</strong>g build<strong>in</strong>gs that are accessible to all) and <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g that private build<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

where public services are provided are also accessible to all people.<br />

There are some who argue that these crosscutt<strong>in</strong>g policies related to disabilities could<br />

be counterproductive, s<strong>in</strong>ce they could lead to the disappearance of more specific<br />

and targeted programs before they are effectively replaced by programs that <strong>in</strong>sure<br />

the due <strong>in</strong>clusion of people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> national education programs, national<br />

public health policies, employment and social security programs, etc. In other words,<br />

if such crosscutt<strong>in</strong>g programs do not materialize immediately, people with disabilities<br />

could be left completely on their own. It is important to heed this warn<strong>in</strong>g, to <strong>in</strong>sure<br />

that this does not occur, but it should not paralyze or postpone the promotion and<br />

development of <strong>in</strong>clusive crosscutt<strong>in</strong>g policies.<br />

3) Inclusive supervision. The State needs to supervise and guide private agencies<br />

(foundations and charitable associations, or any other type) that offer services or<br />

develop actions that benefit people with disabilities, so that they do so <strong>in</strong> ways that<br />

promote development, respect for the dignity of disabled persons and for their rights,<br />

and avoid all forms of segregation and exclusion.<br />

4) Inclusive conditions and the sent<strong>in</strong>el approach. It is important that when multilateral<br />

credit organizations like the World Bank (WB), the Inter-American Development<br />

Bank (IDB), the Central American Economic Integration Bank (BCIE) or any other <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

<strong>in</strong>stitution award credit to countries (which all taxpayers end up pay<strong>in</strong>g<br />

back through their taxes and other mechanisms), they <strong>in</strong>clude conditions <strong>in</strong> their<br />

loans that guarantee accessibility to the goods and services generated by this credit.<br />


It would be important to <strong>in</strong>sure that all <strong>in</strong>frastructure constructed with such resources<br />

is accessible to all people. Otherwise, these loans would be encourag<strong>in</strong>g<br />

discrim<strong>in</strong>ation and exclusion <strong>in</strong> both the present and the future (just th<strong>in</strong>k<br />

about the useful life of a build<strong>in</strong>g constructed today!).<br />

The idea is to cont<strong>in</strong>ue along the same road that has been encourag<strong>in</strong>g environmental<br />

protection and <strong>in</strong>clusion of women. There are <strong>in</strong>stitutions such as the<br />

WB whose requirements for approv<strong>in</strong>g certa<strong>in</strong> types of credits <strong>in</strong>clude <strong>in</strong>surances<br />

of environmental protection by the recipient nation, and a program benefitt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

from such resources cannot <strong>in</strong> any way damage the environment. Along<br />

this same l<strong>in</strong>e, efforts have been made to <strong>in</strong>corporate a gender perspective<br />

<strong>in</strong>to such loans and <strong>in</strong>clude women as credit beneficiaries.<br />

In a correspond<strong>in</strong>g manner, the World Bank has begun to <strong>in</strong>clude the “sent<strong>in</strong>el”<br />

approach <strong>in</strong> its determ<strong>in</strong>ation of whether or not a country meets the requirements<br />

for credit. The sent<strong>in</strong>el approach is a method of monitor<strong>in</strong>g projects to<br />

identify opportunities for the <strong>in</strong>clusion of a disability dimension—as a crosscutt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

approach—and for <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g the accessibility of <strong>in</strong>frastructure that is to be<br />

built.<br />

5) Inclusive <strong>in</strong>ternational cooperation. It is also essential that resources from<br />

“<strong>in</strong>ternational cooperation, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>ternational development programs, are<br />

<strong>in</strong>clusive of and accessible to people with disabilities,” as clearly stated <strong>in</strong> the<br />

<strong>International</strong> Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.<br />


5. How can the vicious circle be broken?<br />

Via two complementary paths:<br />

a. Build<strong>in</strong>g capacities and creat<strong>in</strong>g opportunities<br />

• Creat<strong>in</strong>g opportunities for people with disabilities.<br />

• Build<strong>in</strong>g capacities among people with disabilities so they<br />

can take advantage of opportunities.<br />

For example, people with disabilities who are of productive age and<br />

<strong>in</strong> good condition for work<strong>in</strong>g could receive professional or technical<br />

tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g (build<strong>in</strong>g capacities), which would let them perform a<br />

job or develop a family micro-enterprise.<br />

Creat<strong>in</strong>g productive opportunities should take place <strong>in</strong> the competitive<br />

labor market (<strong>in</strong> both the public and private sectors) and<br />

through mak<strong>in</strong>g credit and technical assistance available for develop<strong>in</strong>g<br />

micro-enterprises. The State can and should play a very active<br />

role promot<strong>in</strong>g the employment of the disabled, either directly<br />

or <strong>in</strong>directly. In addition, <strong>in</strong>creased accessibility to the physical environment<br />

and to <strong>in</strong>formation should be sought, and to different services<br />

like public transportation, health care and rehabilitation. This<br />

will also help to elim<strong>in</strong>ate job discrim<strong>in</strong>ation due to disabilities, and<br />

generate real opportunities for decent work for people with disabilities,<br />

based on their acquired knowledge and experience.<br />

SCHOOL<br />

If this happens, people with disabilities who are not work<strong>in</strong>g today<br />

(notwithstand<strong>in</strong>g their desire to do so) will be able to work and generate<br />

<strong>in</strong>come for themselves, for their families, and for their nation<br />

when they pay taxes.<br />


. Social security programs:<br />




CHECK<br />

Social security programs to attend to family members who cannot work because<br />

of their disability need to be developed. This would <strong>in</strong>clude, for example, sett<strong>in</strong>g<br />

up State-sponsored centers where adults with disabilities can receive attention<br />

and carry out some type of activity dur<strong>in</strong>g the day. In other words, places<br />

where the disabled do not reside permanently, but that offer a good option for<br />

daytime care so that their caretakers can work and generate <strong>in</strong>come for their<br />

family. This also <strong>in</strong>cludes the provision of pensions to adults who cannot work<br />

because of their disability, and the provision of other supports such as technical<br />

aid, transport subsidies, etc., that offset costs so families do not lose their available<br />

<strong>in</strong>comes. These options are equally valid and necessary for disabled children<br />

from poor families, whose <strong>in</strong>come is reduced when they need to <strong>in</strong>vest resources<br />

<strong>in</strong> their care and attention.<br />

6. The relationship between human rights and <strong>in</strong>clusive<br />

development<br />

There is a mutually conditioned relationship between human rights and development.<br />

The full and comprehensive enjoyment of human rights—civil and<br />

political, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural on the other—is<br />

an <strong>in</strong>dication and consequence of the degree of development a society has<br />

achieved.<br />

The more that human be<strong>in</strong>gs enjoy their human rights, the closer a society is to<br />

achiev<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>clusive development. Moreover, <strong>in</strong>clusive development is <strong>in</strong>conceivable<br />

if the human be<strong>in</strong>gs who perta<strong>in</strong> to a given society are unable to enjoy<br />

their human rights <strong>in</strong> a complete and comprehensive manner.<br />

We can conclude, therefore, that progress toward more effectively guarantee<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the rights of people with disabilities has a positive impact on advanc<strong>in</strong>g<br />

toward more <strong>in</strong>clusive development. Similarly, development actions that <strong>in</strong>clude<br />

people with disabilities and their families have a favorable impact on the ability<br />


7. Instruments and spaces for <strong>in</strong>clusive action<br />

Clearly, this is a different approach to promot<strong>in</strong>g and defend<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

rights of people with disabilities. We also need to develop <strong>in</strong>struments<br />

and <strong>in</strong>itiatives that provide opportunities to achieve more <strong>in</strong>clusive<br />

development.<br />

The follow<strong>in</strong>g three examples are just samples of a legal <strong>in</strong>strument<br />

and two <strong>in</strong>itiatives that generate opportunities where we can and<br />

should exert <strong>in</strong>fluence. Let’s take a look at these:<br />

a. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with<br />

Disabilities.<br />

As we know, the United Nations General Assembly approved the<br />

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on December<br />

13, 2006.<br />

This new human rights treaty was the outcome of a five-year process<br />

<strong>in</strong> which people with disabilities and their organizations played a<br />

very active and lead<strong>in</strong>g role, <strong>in</strong>spired by the slogan: Noth<strong>in</strong>g about<br />

us, without us!<br />

The United Nations Convention should function as a valuable <strong>in</strong>strument<br />

that effectively contributes to elim<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g discrim<strong>in</strong>ation<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>st people with disabilities, to mak<strong>in</strong>g progress <strong>in</strong> ga<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g recognition<br />

and respect for the rights and dignity of people with disabilities,<br />

and to promot<strong>in</strong>g development with an <strong>in</strong>clusive approach.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce enter<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>to force both <strong>in</strong>ternationally (May 3, 2008) and <strong>in</strong><br />

most Lat<strong>in</strong> American countries, this treaty can and should be used<br />

as a valuable <strong>in</strong>strument for <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> our<br />

nations’ development agendas. The States Parties are bound to do<br />


so, s<strong>in</strong>ce this is a legally b<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>strument. In other words, its observance is<br />

obligatory.<br />

This is an important difference between this treaty and the United Nations<br />

Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities,<br />

which is still valuable for promot<strong>in</strong>g human rights and development for people<br />

with disabilities. However, its great weakness is that its provisions are not b<strong>in</strong>d<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and States, therefore, may either apply them or not.<br />

b. The UN Millennium Development Goals.<br />

This is an <strong>in</strong>itiative of the Presidents and Heads of State who met <strong>in</strong> New York <strong>in</strong><br />

late 1999. On this occasion, they approved the <strong>in</strong>itiative known as the Millennium<br />

Development Goals, whose ma<strong>in</strong> objective is reduc<strong>in</strong>g poverty around<br />

the globe by 50%—<strong>in</strong> other words, to cut the number of people liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> conditions<br />

of poverty <strong>in</strong> half—with<strong>in</strong> a period of 15 years.<br />

This period will conclude on December 31, 2015. S<strong>in</strong>ce this <strong>in</strong>itiative was approved,<br />

numerous actions have been undertaken <strong>in</strong> a myriad of areas <strong>in</strong> order to<br />

achieve these goals.<br />

What relationship do these goals have to disabled people?<br />

A very strong one. Given that poverty has a very acute impact on the lives<br />

of people with disabilities (remember the vicious circle), significant progress <strong>in</strong><br />

reduc<strong>in</strong>g poverty l<strong>in</strong>ked to disability must be made <strong>in</strong> order to achieve these<br />

goals. Thus, the programs and actions be<strong>in</strong>g promoted by governments, the<br />

UN and other <strong>in</strong>ternational organizations should <strong>in</strong>clude disabled people liv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> poverty and extreme poverty. If they do not, these goals will be dest<strong>in</strong>ed to<br />

failure.<br />


Thus, we should be <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong> this <strong>in</strong>itiative, know it better, and see it as an opportunity<br />

for promot<strong>in</strong>g an <strong>in</strong>clusive development approach.<br />

c. The Decade of the Americas for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.<br />

In June 2006, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS)<br />

approved the Decade of the Americas for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities<br />

(2006-2016), with the goal of focus<strong>in</strong>g attention on the discrim<strong>in</strong>ation, social exclusion<br />

and poverty that affects people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> the Americas.<br />

After approv<strong>in</strong>g the declaration, the OAS ratified a Program of Action, which has<br />

only been very m<strong>in</strong>imally fulfilled to date due to weak commitments by the OAS<br />

and its member states. Nonetheless, we should view this declaration for the decade,<br />

and particularly its plan of action, as an opportunity for <strong>in</strong>fluenc<strong>in</strong>g both<br />

the OAS and our nations’ governments, and pressure them to translate their declarations<br />

and agreements <strong>in</strong>to concrete actions aimed at improv<strong>in</strong>g the liv<strong>in</strong>g<br />

conditions of people with disabilities, especially those liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> Lat<strong>in</strong> America and<br />

the Caribbean.<br />

d. Other important arenas.<br />

It is important to take advantage of any arena that offers an opportunity to improve<br />

the liv<strong>in</strong>g conditions of people with disabilities, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g legislative assemblies<br />

and congresses, m<strong>in</strong>istries or other important public <strong>in</strong>stitutions, but we must<br />

also br<strong>in</strong>g the idea of <strong>in</strong>clusive development to the environments where we live,<br />

such as municipal councils or neighborhood or district committees.<br />

District or community committees are a good sound<strong>in</strong>g board, s<strong>in</strong>ce it is easier to<br />

expla<strong>in</strong> the needs and problems of people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> these places where<br />

we are surrounded by friends and neighbors. For example, we can expla<strong>in</strong> the<br />

need for well-constructed ramps, and people with disabilities and those us<strong>in</strong>g<br />

wheelchairs can act as advisors to the construction process.<br />


We can f<strong>in</strong>d allies <strong>in</strong> these committees who will accompany us and support<br />

actions <strong>in</strong> municipal arenas and with government or legislative authorities.<br />

It would also be wise to explore whether the issue of disability is <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

<strong>in</strong> municipal or local government plans. If it isn’t, arenas should be sought<br />

(such as request<strong>in</strong>g an audience at a municipal session) where the demands<br />

and needs of disabled people can be presented.<br />

Another option that has already been put <strong>in</strong>to practice is request<strong>in</strong>g an audience<br />

<strong>in</strong> municipal commissions that address issues of <strong>in</strong>terest to the community,<br />

to present the concerns and proposals of people with disabilities<br />

and their organizations.<br />

An <strong>in</strong>clusive development approach should be part of all of these efforts!<br />








Evaluation IV<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter IV:<br />

1) What is your understand<strong>in</strong>g of a development model? ____________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

______________________________________________________________.<br />

2) Based on what you know, which development model is the one that’s been followed <strong>in</strong> your country?<br />

Dur<strong>in</strong>g the past ten years, has this model reduced, <strong>in</strong>creased, or not impacted poverty? ______________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________________________________________.<br />

3) Def<strong>in</strong>e “<strong>in</strong>clusive development” <strong>in</strong> your own wor<br />

ds:_______________________________________________________________________ ________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

____________________________.<br />

4) Expla<strong>in</strong> how you th<strong>in</strong>k that the vicious circle of poverty and disability can be broken through adopt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

an <strong>in</strong>clusive development strategy. Relate your answer to the idea of “build<strong>in</strong>g capacities and creat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

opportunities.” _______________________________________________________________________ _____________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

_______________________________________.<br />

5) Based on what you know about the UN Millennium Development Goals for reduc<strong>in</strong>g poverty and the<br />

OAS Decade of the Americas for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, how do you th<strong>in</strong>k these <strong>in</strong>itiatives<br />

can be used to ga<strong>in</strong> ground for people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> Lat<strong>in</strong> America and the Caribbean? _________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

_________________________________________________________________.<br />



Chapter V<br />

Political advocacy and the rights of people with<br />

disabilities<br />

One of the ma<strong>in</strong> lessons for the reader of this chapter is that <strong>in</strong> order to promote<br />

<strong>in</strong>clusive development and make progress <strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g the rights of people with<br />

disabilities, organizations of disabled persons and their key allies must become familiar<br />

with political advocacy and <strong>in</strong>corporate it <strong>in</strong>to their work. In addition, they<br />

need to fully understand its methodologies, its strategies, and must formulate solid<br />

political advocacy plans. These plans should then be implemented, while also<br />

tak<strong>in</strong>g advantage of any opportunities for promot<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>clusive and democratic<br />

change <strong>in</strong> society.<br />

1. Political advocacy as a tool for change<br />

As states and governments have become more open to the idea of consult<strong>in</strong>g<br />

with <strong>in</strong>terested social sectors when they are formulat<strong>in</strong>g and implement<strong>in</strong>g public<br />

policies, the concept of “political advocacy” has begun to make headway.<br />

Today, different civil society groups are play<strong>in</strong>g an <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly important role,<br />

and their proposals and demands are <strong>in</strong>fluenc<strong>in</strong>g the direction of the public policies<br />

their governments are promot<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

We can affirm that the power of civil society has generally grown stronger <strong>in</strong> many<br />

of our countries, while political parties—as they were conceived and developed<br />

<strong>in</strong> previous periods—have actually grown weaker and are show<strong>in</strong>g clear signs of<br />

crisis.<br />

This new situation creates opportunities for the organizations represent<strong>in</strong>g people<br />

with disabilities and for their relatives to fight for public policies that <strong>in</strong>sure their human<br />

rights. For this movement, this is both a new and challeng<strong>in</strong>g situation, s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

until recently, the use of political advocacy and political<br />


action as a way of promot<strong>in</strong>g effective changes was more the<br />

exception than the rule among organizations of disabled persons.<br />


POLICY<br />

There are still few organizations work<strong>in</strong>g for the <strong>in</strong>terests of people with<br />

disabilities <strong>in</strong> our countries that have undertaken political advocacy<br />

efforts <strong>in</strong> a conscious and planned manner, with the aim of produc<strong>in</strong>g<br />

a law or program—or chang<strong>in</strong>g an exist<strong>in</strong>g one—to favorably impact<br />

the lives of the disabled.<br />




Moreover, it is important to remember that the Convention on the<br />

Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2006) needs to be converted<br />

<strong>in</strong>to a tool that is used to push for changes <strong>in</strong> domestic laws and regulations,<br />

so that these are consistent with the stipulations of this <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

treaty (legislative harmonization), and so that government<br />

programs, projects and actions are promoted that comply with these<br />

stipulations (the implementation process).<br />

We should also bear <strong>in</strong> m<strong>in</strong>d that the Convention assigns an active<br />

role to people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> promot<strong>in</strong>g changes that improve<br />

their liv<strong>in</strong>g conditions and their effective enjoyment of rights, through<br />

their representative organizations. This is clearly stated <strong>in</strong> Article 29<br />

(about political and public participation), <strong>in</strong> the section that commits<br />

states to “ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully<br />

participate <strong>in</strong> political and public life on an equal basis with others,<br />

directly or through freely chosen representatives, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g the right<br />

and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected…”<br />

Similarly, Article 4, which refers to the obligations of States Parties that<br />

have ratified the Convention, highlights the role assigned to organizations<br />

represent<strong>in</strong>g people with disabilities: “In the development and<br />

implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present<br />

Convention, and <strong>in</strong> other decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g processes concern<strong>in</strong>g<br />

issues relat<strong>in</strong>g to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely<br />

consult with and actively <strong>in</strong>volve persons with<br />






TATION<br />


disabilities, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g children with disabilities, through their representative<br />

organizations.” (Article 4, Number 3).<br />

Clearly, <strong>in</strong> order to play this active political advocacy role and achieve significant<br />

results, we need to learn about, adopt and utilize political advocacy<br />

concepts and methodologies that have been developed and systematized<br />

by other organizations.<br />

In this respect, we are adapt<strong>in</strong>g the systematized experience of the Wash<strong>in</strong>gton<br />

Office on Lat<strong>in</strong> America (WOLA) to the field of disabled persons’<br />

rights. In the framework of develop<strong>in</strong>g the Central America Advocacy Tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

Program, this organization produced a “Manual for Facilitators of Advocacy<br />

Tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g Sessions.” In this chapter, we will present key concepts that<br />

have been selected from this manual.<br />

2. What is advocacy?<br />

We beg<strong>in</strong> with the def<strong>in</strong>ition of political advocacy:<br />

“Political advocacy refers to organized efforts by citizens to <strong>in</strong>fluence the<br />

formulation and implementation of public policies and programs by persuad<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and pressur<strong>in</strong>g state authorities, <strong>in</strong>ternational f<strong>in</strong>ancial <strong>in</strong>stitutions, and<br />

other powerful actors. Advocacy embraces various activities undertaken to<br />

ga<strong>in</strong> access to and <strong>in</strong>fluence decision-makers on matters of importance to<br />

a particular group or to society <strong>in</strong> general.” (WOLA, 2002)<br />

It is important here to note that there are different def<strong>in</strong>itions of political advocacy.<br />

Thus, we would like to stress the follow<strong>in</strong>g:<br />

a) There are two key actors <strong>in</strong> political advocacy:<br />

-The civil society actor (who generates the proposal), and<br />


- The <strong>in</strong>stitutional actor (who receives and makes a decision about<br />

the proposal).<br />

b) We understand an action as political advocacy when it is seek<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the State’s adoption and implementation of a public policy<br />

oriented toward favor<strong>in</strong>g the social sector or sectors formulat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the proposal (the central government, legislature, municipal government,<br />

etc.).<br />

c) The effectiveness of political advocacy is conditioned,<br />

<strong>in</strong> large part, by:<br />

• The degree to which the sector or social group that proposes<br />

the demand and formulates the proposal is organized;<br />

• The quality and soundness of the proposal’s reason<strong>in</strong>g;<br />


• Solid plann<strong>in</strong>g for the political advocacy process, and<br />

• The strategies or routes followed <strong>in</strong> carry<strong>in</strong>g out the advocacy<br />

work.<br />

Consequently, political advocacy is a technique and an art that<br />

needs to be understood and well mastered, so that the actions<br />

undertaken by organizations of disabled persons will be effective.<br />

d) Political advocacy should be a means for promot<strong>in</strong>g citizen<br />

participation; consequently, it is a means for both exercis<strong>in</strong>g real<br />

democracy and for promot<strong>in</strong>g participatory democracy. Through<br />

advocacy actions, organized citizens are able to participate <strong>in</strong><br />

decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g processes, not only through mechanisms that<br />

delegate power through vot<strong>in</strong>g to elect governmental representatives<br />

(representative democracy), but also through exercis<strong>in</strong>g<br />

participatory democracy.<br />


e) Although advocacy work needs to make use of all opportunities that<br />

arise so that desired public policies are enacted, it is predom<strong>in</strong>antly a cumulative<br />

process. Advocacy consists of more than one strategy or activity. It<br />

entails the implementation of various strategies and activities over time, with<br />

creativity and persistence. Advocacy victories often are preceded by numerous<br />

failures. It is important not to give up, but to learn from our mistakes.<br />

f) Another aspect to consider is that a social organization that plans and<br />

carries out advocacy actions accumulates important experience beyond<br />

the direct results of these actions. These processes help to strengthen and<br />

enrich organizations <strong>in</strong>ternally, <strong>in</strong> both organizational and technical terms.<br />

g) Another important factor that should be considered when people with<br />

disabilities and their organizations engage <strong>in</strong> political advocacy work is that<br />

<strong>in</strong>stitutional actors generally tend to underestimate these social actors (disabled<br />

persons), trapped as they are <strong>in</strong> a socio-cultural environment that<br />

views their role as recipients of charity and pity, rather than as social fighters.<br />

This situation does not occur <strong>in</strong> the case of other social actors. Thus, we<br />

need to recognize this, especially when plann<strong>in</strong>g political advocacy work<br />

and analyz<strong>in</strong>g the overall context of threats and opportunities.<br />

3. Differences between advocacy and political advocacy<br />

Sometimes we speak of advocacy and political advocacy as if they were<br />

synonyms or mean the same th<strong>in</strong>g. However, it is important to po<strong>in</strong>t out the<br />

difference between these two concepts—the general one (advocacy, or<br />

exert<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>fluence) and the specific one (political advocacy)—<strong>in</strong> the <strong>in</strong>terest<br />

of greater conceptual and practical precision.<br />

Advocacy is a concept related to all human relations. Whenever we relate<br />

to another human be<strong>in</strong>g, we <strong>in</strong>fluence someth<strong>in</strong>g. For example, when we<br />

<strong>in</strong>dicate what we want to eat for breakfast or lunch at home, we’re exert<strong>in</strong>g<br />

an <strong>in</strong>fluence. In this sense, reciprocal <strong>in</strong>fluence is part of daily life. We can<br />

speak about advocacy as the capacity to <strong>in</strong>fluence.<br />


Here, we are go<strong>in</strong>g to talk about a broader k<strong>in</strong>d of <strong>in</strong>fluence,<br />

which affects the social environment and that is also referred to<br />

as political-social advocacy, or simply advocacy.<br />

This type of advocacy seeks changes <strong>in</strong> people’s attitudes, promotes<br />

greater awareness about a situation or problem, educates<br />

<strong>in</strong> order to generate cultural changes, positions specific themes<br />

with<strong>in</strong> society, etc.<br />

This type of advocacy utilizes campaigns that are developed by<br />

different social actors. For example, an ecological group that<br />

uses campaigns to alert people about environmental deterioration,<br />

or about the next water crisis.<br />

This type of action creates the k<strong>in</strong>ds of conditions that are needed<br />

for eventual political advocacy work, s<strong>in</strong>ce it tends to generate<br />

more social awareness (and consequently support from public<br />

op<strong>in</strong>ion). However, such a campaign could be developed <strong>in</strong> an<br />

ongo<strong>in</strong>g manner or over a long period of time, and might not necessarily<br />

be l<strong>in</strong>ked to atta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g a specific environmental protection<br />

policy or program.<br />

Some good examples of this type of advocacy are conta<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong><br />

Article 8 of the Convention, related to rais<strong>in</strong>g awareness <strong>in</strong> society<br />

about the discrim<strong>in</strong>ation aga<strong>in</strong>st and exclusion of people with<br />

disabilities, and the need to promote respect for their rights and<br />

dignity.<br />

As we all know, people with disabilities suffer from different types<br />

of stereotyp<strong>in</strong>g, prejudice, and discrim<strong>in</strong>atory practices <strong>in</strong> our societies.<br />

Most people associate disability with pity, with underestimation<br />

and <strong>in</strong>capacity, with s<strong>in</strong>s and curses, with social rejection,<br />

with dependency and non-productivity. Ultimately, disability is someth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

negative and sad <strong>in</strong> our societies.<br />


Few public decision-makers see beyond this prejudicial and underestimat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

conception. When they are presented with a problem related to disabled<br />

people, they propose very limited solutions that are marked by a<br />

charitable mentality.<br />

This is why Article 8 of the Convention is so important, s<strong>in</strong>ce it is aimed at<br />

chang<strong>in</strong>g attitudes and overcom<strong>in</strong>g prejudice aga<strong>in</strong>st people with disabilities<br />

through organiz<strong>in</strong>g campaigns that raise awareness. This is done<br />

through educational work at all levels, through project<strong>in</strong>g more dignified<br />

and objective conceptions about people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> the media, and<br />

through “awareness-tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g programs regard<strong>in</strong>g persons with disabilities<br />

and the rights of persons with disabilities.”<br />

All of these obligations outl<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> Article 8 of the Convention of States Parties<br />

are framed by the concept of advocacy, <strong>in</strong> general. If the States fulfill<br />

these efforts, obviously there will be greater awareness <strong>in</strong> society about the<br />

rights of persons with disabilities, and this will create <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly favorable<br />

and receptive conditions for demand<strong>in</strong>g public policies that <strong>in</strong>sure the rights<br />

of persons with disabilities. We may affirm, therefore, that a society with<br />

awareness about the rights of people with disabilities is a society that is fertile<br />

for the enjoyment and exercise of such rights by people with disabilities.<br />

However, this goal can only be achieved through crosscutt<strong>in</strong>g and <strong>in</strong>clusive<br />

public policies that enable disabled persons to participate <strong>in</strong> all aspects of<br />

political and public life, <strong>in</strong> health, <strong>in</strong> education, <strong>in</strong> employment and access<br />

to productive activities, <strong>in</strong> social security, and with physical access and access<br />

to <strong>in</strong>formation and communications technologies. Such policies also<br />

recognize the legal capacity, autonomy and <strong>in</strong>dependence of persons<br />

with disabilities, and enable access to culture, tourism, sports and recreation,<br />

etc., under equal conditions as all other persons. This is what Inclusive<br />

Development means, seen from the viewpo<strong>in</strong>t of people with disabilities<br />

and their organizations.<br />


Thus, we may conclude that the ma<strong>in</strong> difference between advocacy<br />

and political advocacy is that advocacy seeks a cultural change <strong>in</strong> society<br />

through communications and educational efforts, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g publicity<br />

campaigns, while political advocacy is aimed at produc<strong>in</strong>g changes<br />

through generat<strong>in</strong>g public policies and programs, whose adoption<br />

(or non-adoption) is decided by legitimate public <strong>in</strong>stitutions.<br />

4. Plann<strong>in</strong>g political advocacy: the eight steps of the<br />

process<br />

Pr<strong>in</strong>cipal problems<br />

of people<br />

with disabilities<br />

WOLA’s basic methodology for participatory plann<strong>in</strong>g of political advocacy<br />

<strong>in</strong>itiatives proposes eight l<strong>in</strong>ked and successive steps:<br />

Step 1 Identify and analyze the problem,<br />

Step 2 Formulate the proposal,<br />

Step 3 Analyze the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g space,<br />

Step 4 Analyze channels of <strong>in</strong>fluence,<br />

Step 5 Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses,<br />

opportunities and threats) analysis,<br />

Step 6 Design advocacy strategies,<br />

Step 7 Develop an activity plan, and<br />

Step 8 Carry out cont<strong>in</strong>uous evaluation.<br />

All civil society organizations have developed and carry out political<br />

advocacy work, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g organizations represent<strong>in</strong>g people with disabilities.<br />

These organizations have recently begun to work <strong>in</strong> the area<br />

of human rights. But these political advocacy efforts are often developed<br />

<strong>in</strong> an improvised manner. As WOLA <strong>in</strong>dicates, civil society organizations<br />

do this work by “…try<strong>in</strong>g to resolve complex problems without<br />

clear proposals, with isolated actions and without an orderly plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and evaluation process. The tendency has been to skip over the stage<br />

of problem identification and move directly to action, without specify<strong>in</strong>g<br />

exactly what they want to accomplish, who has decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

power vis-à-vis the proposal, what <strong>in</strong>terests are at stake, and which strategies<br />

would work best.”<br />


These eight methodological steps specifically seek the creation of better<br />

conditions for success <strong>in</strong> the political advocacy process.<br />

Step 1. Identify and analyze the problem<br />

The start<strong>in</strong>g po<strong>in</strong>t for any political advocacy effort is to clearly identify the<br />

problem that you want to solve. In this identification process, the views and<br />

<strong>in</strong>put of the people most affected by this problem is very important, s<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

they are the ones who live it and feel it most closely <strong>in</strong> their lives.<br />

Once identified, this problem should be analyzed <strong>in</strong> depth, clearly differentiat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

between its causes and consequences <strong>in</strong> order to formulate a proposal<br />

with concrete, realistic and achievable solutions.<br />

Prioritize the problem. Excluded social sectors face many problems. Thus,<br />

we need to be careful when we are def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the problem that is the object<br />

of our political advocacy work. We need to clearly identify the problem<br />

affect<strong>in</strong>g us, <strong>in</strong> a concrete way, and the feasibility of resolv<strong>in</strong>g it through<br />

public policy. For example, let’s select unemployment as a problem that<br />

severely affects people with disabilities.<br />

Once identified, this problem should be analyzed <strong>in</strong> depth, clearly differentiat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

between its causes and consequences <strong>in</strong> order to formulate a proposal<br />

with concrete, realistic and achievable solutions.<br />

Prioritize the problem. Excluded social sectors face many problems. Thus,<br />

we need to be careful when we are def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the problem that is the object<br />

of our political advocacy work. We need to clearly identify the problem<br />

affect<strong>in</strong>g us, <strong>in</strong> a concrete way, and the feasibility of resolv<strong>in</strong>g it through<br />

public policy. For example, let’s select unemployment as a problem that<br />

severely affects people with disabilities.<br />


Analyze the causes and consequences. Once the priority problem has<br />

been def<strong>in</strong>ed, we need to determ<strong>in</strong>e its causes and its consequences.<br />

For <strong>in</strong>stance, unemployment is a problem that affects many people;<br />

however, it is obviously a more serious problem among people of productive<br />

age with disabilities, s<strong>in</strong>ce this group has much higher rates of<br />

unemployment. Thus, we f<strong>in</strong>d that while the unemployment rate among<br />

the general population is below 10%, it is higher than 75% among people<br />

of productive age with disabilities.<br />

In our example, when we break down the causes of such a high unemployment<br />

rate, we f<strong>in</strong>d that a very important factor is the failure to hire<br />

workers with disabilities, and the generalized underestimation of the abilities<br />

of disabled persons <strong>in</strong> our societies (which is even greater <strong>in</strong> the<br />

economic sphere when evaluat<strong>in</strong>g productive capabilities). Another<br />

cause is the lack of accessible conditions (whether physical or <strong>in</strong>formational)<br />

<strong>in</strong> workplaces and on public transportation, affect<strong>in</strong>g workers<br />

with physical or sensory disabilities (the deaf and the bl<strong>in</strong>d). There is also<br />

resistance on the part of employers to provid<strong>in</strong>g accessible conditions<br />

<strong>in</strong> the workplace. Another important cause that merits mention is related<br />

to the qualifications of the disabled work force. People with disabilities<br />

confront great obstacles <strong>in</strong> terms of professional and technical<br />

tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g due to a lack of accessible tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g opportunities. Added to this<br />

is the limited or complete lack of accessible transportation services, and<br />

equally <strong>in</strong>accessible urban sett<strong>in</strong>gs. All of these factors l<strong>in</strong>k together,<br />

severely reduc<strong>in</strong>g the supply of qualified disabled workers.<br />

There are very clear consequences: a high rate of unemployment and<br />

economic dependency for a significant segment of adult disabled persons<br />

of productive age, who are forced to depend upon their families,<br />

government assistance or charity. In addition, the fact that many<br />

people with disabilities are not hired perpetuates the idea that they are<br />

productively <strong>in</strong>capable, and makes it more difficult to fight exist<strong>in</strong>g prejudices<br />

that <strong>in</strong> turn lead to resistance to hir<strong>in</strong>g disabled workers.<br />


Focus on the ma<strong>in</strong> cause or ma<strong>in</strong> causes we want to address. It is important<br />

to select one cause (or two at most) and focus on it (or on them) <strong>in</strong> order to<br />

move towards solv<strong>in</strong>g the problem. At the same time, address<strong>in</strong>g the cause<br />

that is selected should be a realistic goal. In other words, it should really<br />

be possible to solve the problem through a political action or advocacy<br />

campaign. In the example we posed above (unemployment that affects<br />

people with disabilities), propos<strong>in</strong>g a profound change that elim<strong>in</strong>ates all<br />

discrim<strong>in</strong>ation associated with disabilities would not be the right path. This<br />

problem has a socio-cultural cause that is impossible to solve through a short<br />

or medium range political advocacy plan.<br />

In our same example, we might look at the follow<strong>in</strong>g two causes: (1) the lack<br />

of accessible tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g options; and (2) <strong>in</strong>accessible workplaces.<br />

A detailed exam<strong>in</strong>ation of the prioritized cause(s). To respond to the serious<br />

problem of unemployment confronted by the disabled population, we<br />

have now identified two causes on which to focus. Now we need to analyze<br />

these <strong>in</strong> order to f<strong>in</strong>d the best solutions.<br />

(1) The lack of tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g options: We start with the fact that conditions<br />

need to be created to improve the qualifications of the disabled work force<br />

<strong>in</strong> the country, and that we need to <strong>in</strong>crease the number of more skilled<br />

(technically and professionally) disabled workers. If we want this process<br />

to progress quickly, we need to explore the possibility of offer<strong>in</strong>g short and<br />

<strong>in</strong>tensive technical tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g programs to people with disabilities (<strong>in</strong> other<br />

words, accessible <strong>in</strong> all senses of the word) at public (or private, with state<br />

support) technical <strong>in</strong>stitutes, <strong>in</strong> high demand fields. In this way, a larger<br />

number of highly skilled disabled workers will be available <strong>in</strong> a relatively short<br />

amount of time.<br />

(2) Inaccessible workplaces: This problem is associated with underestimat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the productive capabilities of people with disabilities. Why do we<br />

need accessible workplaces if no one is th<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g about hir<strong>in</strong>g disabled workers?<br />

The State needs to provide an example, adapt<strong>in</strong>g work<strong>in</strong>g environments<br />

and <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g not only physical accessibility but also access to <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

and communication.<br />


This same process can also be carried out <strong>in</strong> the private sector, offer<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong>centives for mak<strong>in</strong>g such adjustments and for hir<strong>in</strong>g the disabled. The<br />

State could also offer technical assistance about how to modify work<br />

sett<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

Step 2. Formulate the proposal<br />

Now that we have identified the problem and the ma<strong>in</strong> cause (or causes),<br />

we need to def<strong>in</strong>e what we want to address <strong>in</strong> our advocacy work.<br />

The next step is formulat<strong>in</strong>g a concrete proposal that focuses on the<br />

proposed solution or solutions for resolv<strong>in</strong>g the key cause of the problem.<br />

It is worth remember<strong>in</strong>g—as warned by WOLA—that “identify<strong>in</strong>g a problem,<br />

analyz<strong>in</strong>g it <strong>in</strong> terms of its components or causal factors, prioritiz<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and select<strong>in</strong>g the cause to be dealt with, and propos<strong>in</strong>g concrete solutions<br />

are some of the most difficult but most important steps <strong>in</strong> plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

political advocacy work. If we are unclear or imprecise about what we<br />

hope to achieve through a political advocacy campaign, our concrete<br />

achievements will be m<strong>in</strong>imal and difficult to measure.”<br />


I´VE GOT<br />


In fac<strong>in</strong>g the cause of the identified problem, we can analyze various<br />

alternative solutions, but we should identify the one we consider most<br />

suitable <strong>in</strong> terms of its viability, <strong>in</strong> both economic and technical terms.<br />

This concrete and viable solution (or solutions) will be easier to def<strong>in</strong>e if<br />

we can consult with experts on the issue be<strong>in</strong>g addressed (employment,<br />

transportation, education, etc.). Organizations of people with disabilities<br />

that are <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> this political advocacy process need to form alliances<br />

with these types of experts.<br />

The next step is develop<strong>in</strong>g the proposed concrete solution and putt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

it <strong>in</strong> writ<strong>in</strong>g. The proposal is the th<strong>in</strong>g we are propos<strong>in</strong>g to solve whatever<br />

is caus<strong>in</strong>g the problem that we have prioritized for political advocacy<br />

work. The idea is to def<strong>in</strong>e what we want to achieve <strong>in</strong> terms of a public<br />

policy or program, <strong>in</strong> very exact terms. Thus, the document<br />


conta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g this proposal should be clear, detailed and specific.<br />

There are four key questions that need to be asked when formulat<strong>in</strong>g this text:<br />

(1) what exactly do we hope to accomplish? (2) how do we hope to accomplish<br />

it, or through which mechanism, <strong>in</strong>volv<strong>in</strong>g which actors? (3) what is the<br />

“space” where the decision about the proposal will be made? and (4) by what<br />

date do we want to have accomplished the proposal?<br />

In addition to be<strong>in</strong>g precise and clear, the proposal should:<br />

• Be measurable,<br />

• Be feasible (<strong>in</strong> technical and political terms),<br />

• Be equally understandable to all people,<br />

• Be motivat<strong>in</strong>g and unify<strong>in</strong>g for the organization or coalition,<br />

• Contribute to form<strong>in</strong>g and strengthen<strong>in</strong>g alliances and coalitions, and to mobiliz<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the most affected population,<br />

• Be achievable <strong>in</strong> the short to medium term (3-18 months),<br />

• Generate favorable public op<strong>in</strong>ion, and<br />

• Contribute to solv<strong>in</strong>g the problem.<br />

Step 3. Analyze the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g space<br />

Now we need to figure out who has decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g power with regard to the<br />

proposal we have developed, and what the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g process will be.<br />

If we cont<strong>in</strong>ue with our previous example (the high rate of unemployment<br />

among disabled people), we may conclude that the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g space is<br />

the M<strong>in</strong>istry of Labor, which has a national jobs program that does not <strong>in</strong>clude<br />

people with disabilities, <strong>in</strong> any form whatsoever. We also f<strong>in</strong>d that the M<strong>in</strong>istry<br />

has a division directly responsible for implement<strong>in</strong>g this public program.<br />

Now we must identify who is the decision-maker with the power to make a<br />

decision about our proposal, which is that this M<strong>in</strong>istry should <strong>in</strong>clude people<br />

with disabilities <strong>in</strong> its national jobs program (this <strong>in</strong>cludes direct efforts such as<br />

technical tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, which the M<strong>in</strong>istry promotes through an agreement with the<br />

state technical tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>stitute).<br />


When organizations of disabled persons identify the public entity and person that<br />

possess the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g power to respond concretely to the proposed solution,<br />

they must be very clear to avoid mak<strong>in</strong>g errors. Occasionally, their limited<br />

experience with this type of political advocacy work can lead them to <strong>in</strong>correct<br />

identifications and to knock on the wrong doors. Demands and proposals are<br />

sometimes brought to the legislative power when they really correspond to the<br />

executive branch.<br />

In our example here, we can conclude that the f<strong>in</strong>al decision-maker for our proposal<br />

is the M<strong>in</strong>ister of Labor, <strong>in</strong> consultation with the director of this m<strong>in</strong>istry’s job program.<br />

But we cannot stop with the mere identification of the f<strong>in</strong>al decision-maker.<br />

We must also understand the process through which the decision is made.<br />

It is possible that based on the <strong>in</strong>formation obta<strong>in</strong>ed and with the assistance of<br />

an expert from this field, we might determ<strong>in</strong>e that a m<strong>in</strong>isterial decree is needed<br />

to modify the national employment policy, to <strong>in</strong>sure the <strong>in</strong>clusion of people with<br />

disabilities.<br />

In this case, we will need to negotiate a concrete and well-founded proposal with<br />

the M<strong>in</strong>ister, which expands the national employment policy <strong>in</strong> the way we are<br />

seek<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

Step 4. Analyze channels of <strong>in</strong>fluence (power mapp<strong>in</strong>g)<br />

With the proposal already developed, we must now identify the power mechanisms<br />

and key actors who will <strong>in</strong>fluence the f<strong>in</strong>al decision. We must work, therefore,<br />

on analyz<strong>in</strong>g the channels of <strong>in</strong>fluence and develop a power map that helps us<br />

identify the most important actors and their degree of <strong>in</strong>fluence, positively or negatively,<br />

at the moment a decision will be made <strong>in</strong> relation to our proposal.<br />

Anytime that we are design<strong>in</strong>g a political advocacy strategy or campaign, we f<strong>in</strong>d<br />

that there are different actors (public <strong>in</strong>stitutions, private bus<strong>in</strong>esses, legislators, civil<br />

society organizations, etc.) that have or might later develop some <strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> our<br />

proposal.<br />


Moreover, such actors might have some <strong>in</strong>fluence on the f<strong>in</strong>al decision.<br />

This universe of actors with different political, economic and social <strong>in</strong>terests can<br />

be situated on a power map that <strong>in</strong>dicates each actor’s possible reaction or<br />

posture <strong>in</strong> response to our proposal. Consequently, the actors will be classified<br />

as allies, opponents, or undecided <strong>in</strong> relation to our proposal.<br />

In the example we have been us<strong>in</strong>g here, we can identify actors who would<br />

oppose our proposal. In the <strong>in</strong>stitutional realm, for <strong>in</strong>stance, the entity that<br />

oversees the selection and assignment of state employees (Department of Civil<br />

Service) could oppose it based on a negative appraisal of disabled employees,<br />

if the Department—and more specifically its director—underestimates<br />

these potential employees and feels that adapt<strong>in</strong>g any work posts would imply<br />

high costs for the State. Similarly, an association that jo<strong>in</strong>s together different private<br />

sector bus<strong>in</strong>ess groups could also view the proposal negatively, s<strong>in</strong>ce they<br />

might believe that people with disabilities lack the competent and productive<br />

qualities required <strong>in</strong> the private sector. Another public <strong>in</strong>stitution that might not<br />

respond positively to our proposal is the agency responsible for regulat<strong>in</strong>g technical<br />

tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, s<strong>in</strong>ce it might be wary of the costs associated with adapt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong>stallations and course content for people with disabilities.<br />

To cont<strong>in</strong>ue with our mapp<strong>in</strong>g, the teacher’s associations and trade unions that<br />

have not taken a position and have ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong>ed a neutral position vis-à-vis our<br />

proposal are classified as “undecided.” The objective with this group is to w<strong>in</strong><br />

them over and convert them <strong>in</strong>to allies who demand that people with disabilities<br />

have a right to decent and <strong>in</strong>clusive jobs.<br />

Other actors that can be won over to support<strong>in</strong>g our proposal <strong>in</strong>clude national<br />

human rights organizations (ombudsmen and legal aid offices), which work<br />

with<strong>in</strong> state structures and are responsible for guarantee<strong>in</strong>g human rights, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the right to work. These actors can also be converted <strong>in</strong>to allies of civil<br />

society’s human rights organizations.<br />

It is also possible to identify <strong>in</strong>dividual legislators who can <strong>in</strong>fluence the M<strong>in</strong>ister<br />

of Labor, either directly or through statements to the media <strong>in</strong> support of our<br />

proposal.<br />


It is important to remember that power mapp<strong>in</strong>g should not be viewed<br />

as someth<strong>in</strong>g static, but rather as someth<strong>in</strong>g that moves and changes. It<br />

can be affected by different political events, or by shifts <strong>in</strong> the postures of<br />

different actors, either <strong>in</strong> our favor or aga<strong>in</strong>st us. For example, present<strong>in</strong>g a<br />

proposal to the M<strong>in</strong>ister of Labor dur<strong>in</strong>g an electoral campaign is different<br />

than do<strong>in</strong>g so when elections aren’t tak<strong>in</strong>g place.<br />

Step 5. Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities<br />

and Threats) analysis<br />

In the process of plann<strong>in</strong>g our political advocacy action, we need to determ<strong>in</strong>e<br />

how well our own organization or coalition is prepared, as well as<br />

the atmosphere <strong>in</strong> which we are go<strong>in</strong>g to be work<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

To do this, we use the well-known SWOT methodology (Strengths, Weaknesses,<br />

Opportunities and Threats). Us<strong>in</strong>g the SWOT, we can look <strong>in</strong>ward<br />

at our own organization or coalition (<strong>in</strong> the case that various organizations<br />

have come together to carry out an advocacy campaign) to analyze<br />

both our strengths and weaknesses. We can also use the SWOT to look<br />

outward, to determ<strong>in</strong>e which are the opportunities and threats that are<br />

present <strong>in</strong> the sett<strong>in</strong>g where we will be work<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

We need to be as rigorous and objective as possible <strong>in</strong> analyz<strong>in</strong>g our own<br />

organization. This process also <strong>in</strong>cludes seek<strong>in</strong>g solutions to any weaknesses<br />

that are detected, <strong>in</strong> order to improve our position.<br />

1) Strengths and Weaknesses<br />

A. Self-analysis. The first step is review<strong>in</strong>g the <strong>in</strong>ternal strengths and weaknesses<br />

of our group or coalition. This analysis should consider the follow<strong>in</strong>g:<br />

a. The organization of the group or coalition, <strong>in</strong> terms of its:<br />

• Legitimacy and representativeness.<br />


• Coverage (the number of members, their racial/ethnic and gender<br />

make-up, and their geographic distribution).<br />

• Quality of leadership.<br />

• Capacity to gather people together and mobilize the grassroots.<br />

• Equity <strong>in</strong> participation and the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g authority of men and<br />

women, and of different ethnic groups.<br />

• Levels of consensus and clarity of vision and mission.<br />

• Possibilities for build<strong>in</strong>g alliances and coalitions.<br />

b. Relationships of the group or coalition with:<br />

• State <strong>in</strong>stitutions.<br />

• Other groups or sectors of civil society.<br />

• Media outlets.<br />

• Influential people and op<strong>in</strong>ion makers.<br />

c. The capacities of the group or coalition to:<br />

• Conduct research.<br />

• Manage <strong>in</strong>formation about the issue <strong>in</strong> question and about the way the<br />

state functions.<br />

• Do strategic and operational plann<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

• Lobby and negotiate.<br />

• Do press work.<br />

• Do <strong>in</strong>ternal monitor<strong>in</strong>g and evaluation.<br />

d. Resources of the group or coalition:<br />

• Human<br />

• Material<br />

• Economic<br />

• Technical<br />


B. Conclusions of the self-analysis. Let’s assume that us<strong>in</strong>g our same<br />

example, this self-analysis process leads us to the follow<strong>in</strong>g conclusions:<br />


• Strong grassroots base, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the population affected by the<br />

problem.<br />


• A lack of plann<strong>in</strong>g experience.<br />

• Highly credible leaders. • Little understand<strong>in</strong>g about<br />

how the state functions.<br />

• The clear and unified vision<br />

and mission of our organization.<br />

• Insufficient access to concrete<br />

and up to date <strong>in</strong>formation about the<br />

problems be<strong>in</strong>g addressed.<br />

• Will<strong>in</strong>gness to work. • Limited economic resources.<br />

C. Identification of possible solutions to the weaknesses identified. When<br />

this <strong>in</strong>ternal review (self-analysis) is completed, we will have detected<br />

some weaknesses (the four <strong>in</strong> the table above). We then need to look for<br />

solutions to the weaknesses that have been detected. The follow<strong>in</strong>g table<br />

conta<strong>in</strong>s examples of how to improve such weaknesses:<br />



• A lack of plann<strong>in</strong>g experience. • Organize a workshop that<br />

provides <strong>in</strong>-depth coverage of techniques<br />

for plann<strong>in</strong>g political advocacy<br />

campaigns.<br />

• Little understand<strong>in</strong>g about<br />

how the state functions.<br />

• Insufficient access to concrete<br />

and up to date <strong>in</strong>formation about the<br />

problems be<strong>in</strong>g addressed.<br />

• Plan tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g workshops about<br />

the functions of the Supreme Court<br />

and the Legislative and Executive<br />

branches of government.<br />

• Plan jo<strong>in</strong>t research with a university<br />

or research <strong>in</strong>stitute.<br />

• Limited economic resources. • Develop a project and plan<br />

for seek<strong>in</strong>g fund<strong>in</strong>g from <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

donors.<br />


2) Opportunities and Threats<br />

Now that we have identified our strengths and weaknesses and have formulated<br />

some possible solutions to help our organization overcome its detected<br />

weaknesses, the next step is identify<strong>in</strong>g opportunities and threats <strong>in</strong> the political<br />

scenario where we are carry<strong>in</strong>g out our advocacy campaign.<br />

Opportunities favor the campaign and enhance its possibilities of success, while<br />

threats are unfavorable external factors that may pose obstacles or risks to<br />

the campaign.<br />

When plann<strong>in</strong>g our strategies, it is important to know how to take advantage of<br />

the opportunities and m<strong>in</strong>imize the impact of the threats.<br />

In the follow<strong>in</strong>g table, we summarize the most common threats and opportunities,<br />

based on<br />

WOLA’s experience <strong>in</strong> Central America:<br />


• Allies who have a strong <strong>in</strong>fluence<br />

on decision-makers.<br />

• A great range of media outlets<br />

(<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g alternative media) operat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong> the country.<br />

• A general concern <strong>in</strong> national<br />

and <strong>in</strong>ternational arenas about the issue<br />

be<strong>in</strong>g addressed.<br />

• Political space for mobilizations,<br />

without repression.<br />

• The Convention on the Rights of<br />

Disabled Persons has recently entered<br />

<strong>in</strong>to force.<br />

THREATS:<br />

• An Executive branch with little<br />

openness to dialogue with the citizenry.<br />

• An Executive branch that views<br />

organized citizens as a threat.<br />

• Reductions <strong>in</strong> donations from<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternational cooperation agencies to<br />

Central America.<br />

• Little access to data and <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

from governmental m<strong>in</strong>istries.<br />

• Universities and research <strong>in</strong>stitutes<br />

show little will<strong>in</strong>gness to coord<strong>in</strong>ate or<br />

collaborate on systematiz<strong>in</strong>g concrete<br />

data about the problem that concerns<br />

us.<br />


Step 6. Design advocacy strategies<br />

For the purpose of this exercise, a “strategy” is understood as a group<br />

of measures and actions that are aimed at achiev<strong>in</strong>g a specific objective.<br />

Here is a simple example: Let’s say that my objective is to pick a<br />

tasty orange that is grow<strong>in</strong>g on a high branch of a tree. I analyze<br />

the situation, and th<strong>in</strong>k that the best option would be to rest a ladder<br />

aga<strong>in</strong>st the tree’s trunk and climb up. However, as I reach the top<br />

of the ladder, I still can’t reach the orange with my hands, so I grab<br />

a long pole with a “Y” at the end, and I use it to push the fruit, which<br />

falls <strong>in</strong>to a bag that is attached to the end of the pole. This group of<br />

tools (the ladder, the pole, the bag), utilized <strong>in</strong> a certa<strong>in</strong> way (all of<br />

this is the strategy), helps me achieve my objective. Clearly, I could<br />

have used other strategies, but this is the one I selected as the most<br />

practical and reliable based on my experience and the available<br />

tools.<br />




Whenever we are promot<strong>in</strong>g a proposal (public policy, program, action),<br />

we must conv<strong>in</strong>ce the f<strong>in</strong>al decision-maker of the validity and<br />

strengths of our proposal. We must conv<strong>in</strong>ce them through us<strong>in</strong>g advocacy<br />

strategies. These strategies are a group of activities whose<br />

concrete objective is to conv<strong>in</strong>ce and persuade the decision-maker.<br />

The planned strategies and activities should be based on what we<br />

def<strong>in</strong>ed dur<strong>in</strong>g the previous steps of this advocacy process, and<br />

should be varied and creative. We need to pay special attention to:<br />

• The <strong>in</strong>terests and motivations of the people identified on the<br />

power map.<br />

• The strengths and weaknesses of the core group or coalition<br />

that is organiz<strong>in</strong>g the campaign.<br />

• The opportunities and threats <strong>in</strong> the political environment.<br />


Many different k<strong>in</strong>ds of activities need to be carried out to try to<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluence the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g space and get a public policy proposal<br />

approved. These can <strong>in</strong>clude:<br />

• Lobby<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

• Organiz<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

• Education and sensitivity-rais<strong>in</strong>g,<br />

• Press work,<br />

• Mobilization.<br />

1) Political advocacy strategies<br />

A) Lobby<strong>in</strong>g is a face-to-face effort to persuade the person with<br />

decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g power to support the proposal, to motivate allies to<br />

undertake concrete actions <strong>in</strong> support of an <strong>in</strong>itiative, to conv<strong>in</strong>ce<br />

undecided persons, and to neutralize opponents. Normally it <strong>in</strong>volves<br />

direct visits.<br />

S<strong>in</strong>ce the purpose of lobby<strong>in</strong>g is to communicate with the decisionmaker<br />

or his/her advisors or technical staff about our proposal, we<br />

should go to these meet<strong>in</strong>gs well prepared, hav<strong>in</strong>g clearly mapped<br />

out our arguments, with copies of the documents to be delivered.<br />

We will probably have very little time to state our position, thus we<br />

should be prepared so that we can make the best use of the time<br />

available.<br />

Before the visit, the group or coalition will need to decide on each<br />

person’s role (hopefully previously rehearsed): who among them is<br />

best suited to present the problem and the proposal, who can voice<br />

other arguments, etc. It is worth stress<strong>in</strong>g that all of those present<br />

should be familiar with the proposal and the arguments that support<br />

it.<br />

F<strong>in</strong>ally, it is important to remember that lobby<strong>in</strong>g work can also be a<br />

valuable source of <strong>in</strong>formation for future work. Moreover, this type<br />

of meet<strong>in</strong>g can open up spaces for negotiat<strong>in</strong>g our proposal.<br />


B) Organiz<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

This work serves to broaden and strengthen the group of people who<br />

will participate <strong>in</strong> an advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiative, and builds an <strong>in</strong>ternal structure<br />

for the campaign that is responsive to the specific needs of the <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />

Organiz<strong>in</strong>g should also motivate and <strong>in</strong>volve the population that is<br />

affected by the problem the group is seek<strong>in</strong>g to address.<br />

“FORUM ON<br />



Social movements do not come out of nowhere. The energy that susta<strong>in</strong>s<br />

them needs to be directed, channeled, and focused. The ma<strong>in</strong><br />

way to accomplish this is by build<strong>in</strong>g and consolidat<strong>in</strong>g networks and<br />

coalitions that will spearhead the advocacy work.<br />

An advocacy network permits all <strong>in</strong>terested sectors and <strong>in</strong>dividuals to<br />

participate democratically. Successful networks have good leadership,<br />

an ability to get out their message, mutual trust, and a will<strong>in</strong>gness to<br />

share.<br />

C) Education and sensitivity-rais<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

The core group or coalition needs to educate the public and the decision-maker<br />

about the problem it is try<strong>in</strong>g to solve and about its proposed<br />

solution. The idea is to use this strategy to reach the decision-maker,<br />

other key actors, and the population that will benefit from the <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />

The purpose is to <strong>in</strong>crease awareness among the sectors that benefit<br />

from our work.<br />

D) Press work.<br />

To place the advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiative on the public agenda and ga<strong>in</strong> the attention<br />

of decision-makers, we need coverage <strong>in</strong> the media. Otherwise,<br />

it is as if the problem doesn’t exist. This is also true when we want to publicize<br />

actions that have been carried out.<br />


For this reason, civil society organizations need to work with the media,<br />

know which journalists are most likely to cover their issue, meet<br />

with them, <strong>in</strong>form them about the problem, send them press releases,<br />

<strong>in</strong>vite them to activities where the issue is be<strong>in</strong>g discussed, etc.<br />

The goals of a media strategy are to situate our problem and proposal<br />

on the public agenda, ga<strong>in</strong> credibility as a serious source of<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation, and produce favorable currents of thought <strong>in</strong> relation<br />

to our <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />



E) Mobilization<br />

Mobilization is a strategy that can be a decisive means of pressur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the person or authority who needs to make a decision about our<br />

proposal <strong>in</strong> order for it to become a public policy.<br />


It is useful for rally<strong>in</strong>g the population affected by the problem, ga<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

the attention of the press, generat<strong>in</strong>g political will on the part of<br />

government representatives, and open<strong>in</strong>g spaces for lobby<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

negotiation.<br />

On many occasions, a good mobilization ends with positive negotiations<br />

between the leadership of those who are mobiliz<strong>in</strong>g and the<br />

ma<strong>in</strong> <strong>in</strong>terlocutor <strong>in</strong> the advocacy work.<br />

A mobilization is often a march or demonstration that starts at a specific<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g po<strong>in</strong>t, travels along a predeterm<strong>in</strong>ed route, and reaches<br />

a f<strong>in</strong>al dest<strong>in</strong>ation where—<strong>in</strong> general—the authority or decision-maker<br />

is found. However, there are other types of mobilization<br />

activities such as a permanent picket-l<strong>in</strong>e, which consists of people<br />

picket<strong>in</strong>g dur<strong>in</strong>g shifts and ma<strong>in</strong>ta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g a constant pressure on a particular<br />

authority at a key moment <strong>in</strong> the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g process.<br />

Mobilizations can be very creative, and can be given suggestive<br />

names such as “the march of silence,” “the march of wheelchairs,”<br />

“the citizen march for justice,” etc.<br />


It is important to remember when plann<strong>in</strong>g a mobilization that <strong>in</strong>volves<br />

people with disabilities that the march should not cover too large a distance,<br />

that the march route should be accessible, and that preparations<br />

should made <strong>in</strong> case of any emergency situations.<br />

2) Search<strong>in</strong>g for the most effective strategies<br />

Given this menu of advocacy strategies, we need to select the most timely<br />

and suitable for each action be<strong>in</strong>g planned and carried out.<br />

To determ<strong>in</strong>e the most effective approach, the core group promot<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

action or campaign needs to have developed a capacity for political<br />

analysis, creativity, and on occasion political savvy.<br />

The follow<strong>in</strong>g table designed by WOLA outl<strong>in</strong>es different strategies, their<br />

usefulness, the ways they should be employed, and some other practical<br />

advice:<br />

Advocacy Strategies:<br />

Strategy Usefulness How to do it Practical advice<br />

Lobby<strong>in</strong>g For communicat<strong>in</strong>g the proposal.<br />

• For know<strong>in</strong>g the positions of key<br />

actors and the decision-maker.<br />

• For f<strong>in</strong>e-tun<strong>in</strong>g the power map.<br />

• For improv<strong>in</strong>g arguments.<br />

• For motivat<strong>in</strong>g allies and persuad<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the decision-maker and<br />

other undecided people.<br />

Identify and prioritize actors to<br />

be lobbied.<br />

• Propose objectives and goals<br />

for each person.<br />

• Analyze the positions, <strong>in</strong>terests,<br />

and motivations of people<br />

<strong>in</strong> relation to the proposal.<br />

• Develop arguments to use<br />

with each person.<br />

• Clarify conclusions and agreements<br />

reached.<br />

• Evaluate the meet<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

• Follow up.<br />

Prepare sufficiently for the meet<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

• Concretize agendas for meet<strong>in</strong>gs ahead of<br />

time.<br />

• Limit your messages or arguments to just a<br />

few central po<strong>in</strong>ts.<br />

• Select your spokespeople carefully and<br />

agree on who says what.<br />

• Concretize agreements reached <strong>in</strong> writ<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

• Identify other people and ways to <strong>in</strong>fluence<br />

the person visited.<br />

• Follow up people visited.<br />

• Be clear about what is negotiable and what<br />

is not.<br />

• Be clear about the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g power or<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluence of the actors be<strong>in</strong>g lobbied.<br />


Strategy Usefulness How to do it Practical advice<br />

Organiz<strong>in</strong>g<br />

For def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g, expand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and strengthen<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

<strong>in</strong>ternal structure of the<br />

core group or coalition.<br />

• For organiz<strong>in</strong>g and <strong>in</strong>corporat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the affected<br />

population <strong>in</strong>to the<br />

advocacy process.<br />

Specify the group promot<strong>in</strong>g the campaign.<br />

• Def<strong>in</strong>e communications and decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

mechanisms.<br />

• Def<strong>in</strong>e mechanisms for manag<strong>in</strong>g economic<br />

resources.<br />

• Meet with groups, organizations or sectors with<br />

similar <strong>in</strong>terests, expla<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the advocacy proposal<br />

to them.<br />

• Survey the group to determ<strong>in</strong>e time availability,<br />

and the availability of human, material and<br />

f<strong>in</strong>ancial resources.<br />

• Create work committees.<br />

• Def<strong>in</strong>e monitor<strong>in</strong>g and evaluation mechanisms.<br />

• Generate effective mechanisms for communicat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

with the affected population.<br />

• Generate concrete mechanisms for <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the participation of the affected population.<br />

Use creativity <strong>in</strong> communicat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

your position<br />

to groups <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong><br />

support<strong>in</strong>g the proposal.<br />

• Seek out ways for the<br />

affected population to<br />

participate and contribute<br />

it’s own strengths.<br />

Strategy Usefulness How to do it Practical advice<br />

Education and<br />

sensitivity-rais<strong>in</strong>g<br />

• For generat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and shar<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>formation.<br />

• For rais<strong>in</strong>g awareness.<br />

• Identify <strong>in</strong>dividuals, groups<br />

and/or sectors (target audiences)<br />

who need sensitivity-rais<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

• Propose education and<br />

sensitivity-rais<strong>in</strong>g objectives and<br />

goals.<br />

• Develop general arguments<br />

and positions.<br />

• Def<strong>in</strong>e methods, modalities<br />

and methodologies.<br />

• Organize activities.<br />

• Conduct evaluations.<br />

• Follow up.<br />

Prioritize the target audience or audiences<br />

you want to reach.<br />

• Be aware of time and resources.<br />

• Rely upon personnel with adequate capabilities.<br />

• Efforts aimed at <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>g awareness or<br />

educat<strong>in</strong>g should generate social pressure<br />

that specifically <strong>in</strong>fluences decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

about the proposal, rather than <strong>in</strong> a general<br />

manner.<br />

• Be creative and f<strong>in</strong>d effective and <strong>in</strong>expensive<br />

work methods.<br />

• Request support from people and <strong>in</strong>stitutions<br />

with similar <strong>in</strong>terests and outlooks.<br />


Strategy Usefulness How to do it Practical advice<br />

Press work<br />

• For situat<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

topic <strong>in</strong> the public<br />

agenda.<br />

• For build<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

group’s credibility<br />

as a source of<br />

<strong>in</strong>formation.<br />

• For generat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

public op<strong>in</strong>ion that<br />

is favorable to the<br />

proposal.<br />

• For generat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

pressure on the<br />

decision-maker.<br />

Def<strong>in</strong>e the objectives of the<br />

media strategy.<br />

• Specify the target audiences<br />

to be reached.<br />

• Def<strong>in</strong>e the message.<br />

• Analyze and prioritize which<br />

press outlets are most important.<br />

• Carry out activities that get<br />

covered by the media.<br />

• Conduct ongo<strong>in</strong>g evaluations.<br />

Adopt a suitable approach, based on the<br />

nature of the target audience.<br />

• Consider the content, the language, the<br />

source or messenger, the format, the time,<br />

and the place of the message.<br />

• Use creativity and be audacious, <strong>in</strong> order to<br />

attract the media and conv<strong>in</strong>ce them of the<br />

importance of your message.<br />

• Do <strong>in</strong>tensive follow up work with specific<br />

media outlets and journalists.<br />

• Provide complete and objective <strong>in</strong>formation,<br />

to <strong>in</strong>crease your credibility as a news<br />

source.<br />

Strategy Usefulness How to do it Practical advice<br />

Mobilization For draw<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

media’s attention<br />

to the issue.<br />

• For <strong>in</strong>volv<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

affected population.<br />

• For generat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

<strong>in</strong>terest <strong>in</strong> lobby<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and negotiat<strong>in</strong>g.<br />

• For exert<strong>in</strong>g pressure<br />

on decisionmakers.<br />

Identify and prioritize the actors<br />

you wish to <strong>in</strong>fluence.<br />

• Def<strong>in</strong>e the objectives of the<br />

advocacy work.<br />

• Evaluate your capacities to<br />

mobilize others.<br />

• Def<strong>in</strong>e the type of mobilization.<br />

• Determ<strong>in</strong>e the place, date<br />

and hour of the mobilization.<br />

• Develop messages.<br />

• Distribute tasks.<br />

• Put out a call to mobilize.<br />

• Work with the media prior to<br />

the mobilization.<br />

• Publicize the results of the<br />

mobilization.<br />

• Conduct follow up.<br />

Plan a mobilization that helps <strong>in</strong>fluence the<br />

decision-maker, and that does not provoke a<br />

negative reaction.<br />

• Effectively communicate the reason for the<br />

mobilization.<br />

• Insure that the mobilization does not co<strong>in</strong>cide<br />

with other important events, and that<br />

it takes place at a suitable moment <strong>in</strong> the<br />

decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g process.<br />

• Insure that the mobilization demonstrates<br />

social power, and not an <strong>in</strong>ability to mobilize.<br />

• Take measures to avoid repressive actions or<br />

violent confrontations.<br />

• Keep the population <strong>in</strong>volved and <strong>in</strong>formed<br />

after the mobilization.<br />


Step 7. Develop an activity plan<br />

Now we reach a very important stage <strong>in</strong> the advocacy work: writ<strong>in</strong>g up<br />

an activity plan. This plan should conta<strong>in</strong> the strategies and activities<br />

that the core group or coalition promot<strong>in</strong>g the public policy proposal is<br />

plann<strong>in</strong>g to carry out, <strong>in</strong> order to create the conditions that can <strong>in</strong>fluence<br />

the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g space.<br />

1) Lay<strong>in</strong>g the groundwork<br />

In the same way a farmer prepares the land so crops will grow and produce<br />

a good harvest, we must also lay the groundwork for plann<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

develop<strong>in</strong>g our political advocacy actions. Let’s take a look at the steps:<br />

• Research to fill <strong>in</strong>formation gaps. Hav<strong>in</strong>g a good understand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

of objective and up to date <strong>in</strong>formation is very important when plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

an advocacy campaign. We need objective <strong>in</strong>formation about<br />

the problem we are try<strong>in</strong>g to solve, its causes, how decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g spaces<br />

function, who are the decision-makers, and about the capacities<br />

and conditions of the core group promot<strong>in</strong>g the action. The most objective<br />

effort possible is needed here, <strong>in</strong> order to detect any <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

gaps or weaknesses and to be able to correct these <strong>in</strong> a timely manner.<br />

Measures here would <strong>in</strong>clude the correspond<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>vestigative work and<br />

research, <strong>in</strong> order to fill any important knowledge gaps.<br />

• Draft<strong>in</strong>g the proposal summary sheet: Our proposal should be<br />

clearly written up <strong>in</strong> a one-page summary, which is the “proposal summary<br />

sheet.” The follow<strong>in</strong>g elements should be written out <strong>in</strong> a clear and<br />

concise manner: a brief description of the problem to be solved, the<br />

concrete proposal of the group or coalition, and the ma<strong>in</strong> arguments <strong>in</strong><br />

favor of the proposal. This proposal sheet is also useful for f<strong>in</strong>e-tun<strong>in</strong>g arguments<br />

and reach<strong>in</strong>g consensus about the core group’s ideas (it should<br />

be a mirror that reflects them all). A proposal summary sheet is especially<br />

useful for direct visits with key actors and for press work.<br />


• Consultation with member organizations. When an advocacy action<br />

or campaign is go<strong>in</strong>g to be undertaken, the core group or coalition needs to<br />

have a unified position. Thus, it is very important to consult with as extensive a<br />

group as possible about both the proposal and the advocacy plan.<br />

• Fundrais<strong>in</strong>g. Another key aspect <strong>in</strong> develop<strong>in</strong>g an advocacy plan has<br />

to do with f<strong>in</strong>ances. What resources are available, and how much can the<br />

project spend? What staff is available (and if this is remunerated staff, how<br />

much will they be paid)? What are the costs of technical studies (if they are<br />

required), advisers, pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g and photocopy<strong>in</strong>g, web costs (deign and ma<strong>in</strong>tenance),<br />

office equipment and travel (transportation, lodg<strong>in</strong>g if necessary,<br />

food, etc.)? If fundrais<strong>in</strong>g is not taken seriously from the very beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g, a lack<br />

of resources can become a limit<strong>in</strong>g factor lead<strong>in</strong>g to the failure of a good<br />

advocacy plan. Therefore, if an action or campaign is to be undertaken, a<br />

good f<strong>in</strong>ancial strategy needs to be def<strong>in</strong>ed right from the start, which considers<br />

the resources available to the core group, and <strong>in</strong> what way additional<br />

resources will be obta<strong>in</strong>ed (the group’s own efforts, domestic or <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

donor agencies, or other sources).<br />

• Preparation of the technical proposal. There are times when a proposal<br />

needs to be supported by technical <strong>in</strong>formation. In such cases, the advocacy<br />

proposal should be accompanied by a technical proposal. For example, if<br />

accessible transport is the demand, it would be important to have clear <strong>in</strong>formation<br />

about the costs of new or used accessible buses, the cost of adapt<strong>in</strong>g<br />

bus platforms or ramps, etc. Similarly, <strong>in</strong> the case of actions aimed at reform<strong>in</strong>g<br />

or approv<strong>in</strong>g laws, the core organiz<strong>in</strong>g group should prepare a draft of<br />

the law or reform for which it is seek<strong>in</strong>g approval.<br />

2) Concrete activities to <strong>in</strong>fluence the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

space<br />

The strategies identified <strong>in</strong> the previous step are general courses of action that<br />

the core group <strong>in</strong>tends to pursue dur<strong>in</strong>g its advocacy campaign. Now, <strong>in</strong> develop<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the campaign plan, specific activities must be proposed that will be<br />

carried out as part of each selected strategy. This can <strong>in</strong>clude the follow<strong>in</strong>g:<br />


Strategy<br />

Activities<br />

Lobby<strong>in</strong>g • Direct visit with the decision-maker and other key actors.<br />

Organiz<strong>in</strong>g and <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

affected population<br />

• Assemblies<br />

• Meet<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

• Leadership workshops<br />

• House-to-house visits<br />

• Tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

• Institutional strengthen<strong>in</strong>g<br />

• Formation of coalitions<br />

• Formation of work commissions<br />

• Coord<strong>in</strong>ation meet<strong>in</strong>gs<br />

Education and sensitivity-rais<strong>in</strong>g • Research<br />

• Forums<br />

• Workshops<br />

• Sem<strong>in</strong>ars<br />

• Publications<br />

• Videos<br />

• Popular theater<br />

• Home visits<br />

• Artistic festivals<br />

• Civic education campaigns<br />

Press work • Press conferences<br />

• Interviews<br />

• Paid ads<br />

• Visits to editorial boards<br />

• Articles<br />

• Letters to the editor<br />

• Investigative report<strong>in</strong>g<br />

• Events to cultivate relationships with journalists (breakfasts,<br />

cocktails, etc.)<br />

Mobilization • Marches<br />

• Take-overs<br />

• Vigils<br />

• Sit-<strong>in</strong>s<br />

• Strikes<br />

Once the specific activities have been selected and the group figures out the order <strong>in</strong><br />

which they are best carried out, the plan should be prepared <strong>in</strong> writ<strong>in</strong>g.<br />


The plan should specify each activity with its desired outcome, <strong>in</strong>dicators,<br />

dates, the name of the person with primary responsibility for carry<strong>in</strong>g it out,<br />

and the resources needed. The follow<strong>in</strong>g table is an example for an activity<br />

plan that can be used for both preparatory activities and the activities implemented<br />

as part a particular strategy:<br />

Activity Plan<br />

Preparatory tasks<br />

Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible person(s) Resources<br />

Strategies/Lobby<strong>in</strong>g, organiz<strong>in</strong>g, education-sensitivity rais<strong>in</strong>g, press work,<br />

mobilization:<br />

Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible person(s) Resources<br />

3) Concrete examples of plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

We now present two concrete examples of plann<strong>in</strong>g, which <strong>in</strong>clude both<br />

preparatory activities and political advocacy strategies. The two examples<br />

are concerned with a plan for improv<strong>in</strong>g access to public transport, specifically<br />

the public bus modality.<br />


We beg<strong>in</strong> with the follow<strong>in</strong>g:<br />

• A coalition of disabled persons’ organizations is promot<strong>in</strong>g political<br />

advocacy work <strong>in</strong> the country. There is a law currently on the<br />

books that requires all public transportation to be accessible to all<br />

people (<strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g people with reduced mobility) with<strong>in</strong> ten years of<br />

the law’s passage. The law has now been <strong>in</strong> force for 10 years and it<br />

has been backed up by the nation’s ratification of the Convention on<br />

the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is now the law of the land.<br />

• Until now, there have been very few accessible buses available,<br />

and the Transport M<strong>in</strong>istry’s Public Transportation Council, which<br />

is responsible for <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g compliance with this law, has done noth<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to obligate public transportation companies to acquire and make accessible<br />

buses available.<br />

• The political advocacy work is aimed at pressur<strong>in</strong>g the Public<br />

Transportation Council to br<strong>in</strong>g the transport companies <strong>in</strong>to l<strong>in</strong>e (suspend<strong>in</strong>g<br />

permits or concessions if they do not comply with the law),<br />

to more effectively supervise them, and to set def<strong>in</strong>itive deadl<strong>in</strong>es by<br />

which all public transportation units must be accessible.<br />

- Preparatory task plan<br />

The coalition promot<strong>in</strong>g this advocacy plan for accessible transportation<br />

realizes that it needs to take several steps before the strategies can<br />

be implemented.<br />

Here is the plan for their preparatory work:<br />

Preparatory tasks for the political advocacy plan for accessible public<br />

transportation<br />


Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible<br />

person(s)<br />

Conduct research on bus<br />

accessibility<br />

- Review the registries of 720<br />

companies that provide public<br />

transportation <strong>in</strong> the country,<br />

to determ<strong>in</strong>e how many buses<br />

are currently<br />

accessible.<br />

Draft the proposal summary<br />

sheet<br />

- A 3-person team will be set<br />

up (one person from each<br />

organization <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> the<br />

coalition) to draft the proposal<br />

summary sheet.<br />

- To know how many<br />

buses <strong>in</strong> the fleet are<br />

accessible.<br />

- A well-written and wellfounded<br />

proposal summary<br />

sheet, which will be<br />

a useful tool <strong>in</strong> political<br />

advocacy work.<br />

- Reliable data available<br />

from the Transport<br />

Council Registry about<br />

how many buses are<br />

accessible and which<br />

bus routes they are<br />

used on (urban, semiurban,<br />

rural).<br />

- A clear and concise<br />

document.<br />

- The problem to be<br />

solved and the proposed<br />

solution are both<br />

clearly def<strong>in</strong>ed.<br />

- The summary sheet<br />

presents solid arguments<br />

that are both<br />

feasible and effective.<br />

Day 30 of the<br />

first month.<br />

Day 15 of<br />

the second<br />

month.<br />

-Pedro Rodríguez<br />

-Violeta Mora,<br />

-Carlos Rodríguez<br />

and María Mendoza<br />

Resources<br />

-US $ XX for per diems<br />

(transportation and food<br />

expenses for the responsible<br />

person), photocopy<strong>in</strong>g<br />

services.<br />

- Computer and pr<strong>in</strong>ter,<br />

work space, and per<br />

diems.<br />

- Technical and legal<br />

assistance (volunteer or<br />

pro bono).<br />

Consultation with member<br />

organizations about the advocacy<br />

action<br />

- Meet<strong>in</strong>gs with the three<br />

organizations <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> the<br />

coalition will be organized to<br />

discuss the advocacy action.<br />

The proposal summary sheet<br />

and the planned strategies will<br />

also be presented.<br />

- Members of the<br />

three organizations<br />

have provided <strong>in</strong>put<br />

and have approved<br />

the advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />

- Agreements to<br />

support the action at<br />

the three meet<strong>in</strong>gs.<br />

- The alliance is<br />

strengthened.<br />

Day 30 of<br />

the second<br />

month.<br />

- The President and<br />

Board of Directors<br />

of each of the<br />

three participat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

organizations.<br />

- Fax and telephone,<br />

- Computer with Internet<br />

connection,<br />

- Pr<strong>in</strong>ter,<br />

- Meet<strong>in</strong>g rooms,<br />

- Projection equipment.<br />

Fundrais<strong>in</strong>g<br />

- Budgetary estimates of the<br />

cost of the advocacy action<br />

will be made, and each member<br />

organization will specify<br />

the amount it can contribute.<br />

Mechanisms for atta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

additional resources will also<br />

be def<strong>in</strong>ed.<br />

The coalition has a<br />

def<strong>in</strong>ed budget for the<br />

campaign and has<br />

a fundrais<strong>in</strong>g plan for<br />

seek<strong>in</strong>g the additional<br />

resources needed for<br />

carry<strong>in</strong>g out the political<br />

advocacy plan.<br />

- The balance of available<br />

resources.<br />

- A concrete plan for<br />

obta<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g resources for<br />

the <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />

- The resources are<br />

guaranteed.<br />

Day 15 of the<br />

third month<br />

A Fundrais<strong>in</strong>g Commission<br />

is set up,<br />

which <strong>in</strong>cludes the<br />

treasurers of each<br />

organization.<br />

- Computer and pr<strong>in</strong>ter,<br />

- Meet<strong>in</strong>g rooms.<br />


Now we will look at the plann<strong>in</strong>g of advocacy activities:<br />

Strategies/Advocacy Plan for Accessible Transportation<br />

A. Lobby<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible<br />

person(s)<br />

Meet<strong>in</strong>g programmed<br />

with the Director of<br />

the Public Transportation<br />

Council (CTP) to<br />

present the proposal.<br />

- First meet<strong>in</strong>g with the<br />

M<strong>in</strong>ister of Transport<br />

and his advisory team.<br />

- Knowledge of the<br />

degree to which this<br />

Council is open to the<br />

concrete proposal<br />

(the f<strong>in</strong>al decision will<br />

be up to the correspond<strong>in</strong>g<br />

M<strong>in</strong>ister).<br />

The advocacy coalition<br />

outl<strong>in</strong>es the<br />

problem and the<br />

proposed solution to<br />

the M<strong>in</strong>ister through<br />

the proposal summary<br />

sheet.<br />

- The political advocacy<br />

coalition has verbal<br />

confirmation of the<br />

CTP’s position, which<br />

can serve as the basis<br />

for plann<strong>in</strong>g the rema<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

actions.<br />

Letter from the M<strong>in</strong>ister.<br />

- Verbal confirmation of<br />

the M<strong>in</strong>ister’s response.<br />

- Follow up agreement.<br />

Second half of<br />

the third month.<br />

Second half of<br />

the third month.<br />

The campaign’s<br />

coord<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g committee.<br />

- The campaign’s<br />

coord<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g committee.<br />

Resources<br />

-Telephone and<br />

fax,<br />

- Computer and<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ter.<br />

Telephone and<br />

fax,<br />

- Computer and<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ter.<br />

B. Organiz<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible<br />

person(s)<br />

The three core organizations<br />

convene other disabled<br />

persons’ organizations<br />

and other <strong>in</strong>terested<br />

sectors to a meet<strong>in</strong>g where<br />

the political advocacy<br />

<strong>in</strong>itiative is presented.<br />

Various civil society<br />

organizations and organizations<br />

of disabled<br />

persons back the proposed<br />

campaign <strong>in</strong>itiative<br />

through issu<strong>in</strong>g a jo<strong>in</strong>t<br />

statement.<br />

- The proposal summary<br />

sheet and advocacy<br />

plan have<br />

been approved and<br />

strengthened.<br />

First week of<br />

the fourth<br />

month.<br />

Coord<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Committee.<br />

Resources<br />

- Large auditorium.<br />

- Resources for transportation,<br />

food and<br />

lodg<strong>in</strong>g for those who<br />

come from areas located<br />

far from the capital.<br />

- Sound system.<br />

- Overhead projector,<br />

computer and pr<strong>in</strong>ter.<br />


C. Education-sensitivity rais<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible<br />

person(s)<br />

Jo<strong>in</strong>t activity <strong>in</strong> which organizations of disabled persons<br />

participate together with the Ombudsman and other<br />

groups (human rights, women, the elderly, child rights),<br />

to analyze discrim<strong>in</strong>ation aga<strong>in</strong>st people with disabilities.<br />

The meet<strong>in</strong>g will also be used for present<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

issue of accessible transportation and the campaign’s<br />

proposed solution.<br />

- Other organizations<br />

know about the problem<br />

and the proposal,<br />

and offer their support.<br />

- Public statements<br />

issued by<br />

organizations<br />

and public<br />

<strong>in</strong>stitutions that<br />

support the<br />

coalition’s <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />

Second<br />

week of the<br />

fourth month<br />

Education Commission,<br />

made up<br />

of representatives<br />

from the three core<br />

organizations.<br />

Resources<br />

- Facilitators for the<br />

event.<br />

- Large auditorium.<br />

- Sound system.<br />

- Overhead projector,<br />

computer and<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ter.<br />

D. Press work<br />

Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible<br />

person(s)<br />

Resources<br />

Press conference follow<strong>in</strong>g<br />

the meet<strong>in</strong>g held with the<br />

M<strong>in</strong>ister.<br />

The media learn that there are<br />

organizations demand<strong>in</strong>g accessible<br />

transportation and that they have<br />

drafted a proposal to the M<strong>in</strong>istry of<br />

Transport (MOT).<br />

6 national media outlets<br />

(pr<strong>in</strong>t, radio, television)<br />

have reported on the<br />

meet<strong>in</strong>g (results obta<strong>in</strong>ed<br />

by monitor<strong>in</strong>g the media).<br />

Second half of<br />

third month.<br />

- Campaign<br />

Coord<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Committee<br />

- Telephone and fax.<br />

- Computer and<br />

pr<strong>in</strong>ter.<br />

Brochure produced that<br />

presents the problem and<br />

expla<strong>in</strong>s the proposed solution<br />

<strong>in</strong> a clear and simple<br />

manner.<br />

Articles written about the<br />

issue.<br />

Sectors <strong>in</strong>terested <strong>in</strong> participat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong><br />

different activities know about the<br />

campaign.<br />

Design and pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g of<br />

5,000 copies.<br />

Second half of<br />

third month.<br />

The coalition’s<br />

Outreach Team,<br />

with assistance<br />

from a media<br />

expert.<br />

The coalition’s<br />

Outreach Team,<br />

with assistance<br />

from a media<br />

expert.<br />

The coalition’s<br />

Outreach Team,<br />

with assistance<br />

from a media<br />

expert.<br />

Outreach Team.<br />

Money for design<strong>in</strong>g<br />

and pr<strong>in</strong>t<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

brochure.<br />

Three articles published, which present<br />

the problem and the proposed<br />

solution.<br />

Two pr<strong>in</strong>t newspapers and<br />

one digital newspaper<br />

publish articles about the<br />

issue.<br />

Second half of<br />

the third month<br />

/ First half of the<br />

fourth month.<br />

Writers (of the<br />

articles) + technical<br />

assistance.<br />

Paid ads to announce the<br />

“March for Public Transportation<br />

for All,” <strong>in</strong>vit<strong>in</strong>g people<br />

to take part.<br />

The ads <strong>in</strong>form thousands of people<br />

that a march protest<strong>in</strong>g the lack<br />

of accessibility to public transport<br />

would take place.<br />

Paid ads published <strong>in</strong> a<br />

high-circulation newspaper.<br />

Second half of<br />

the third month<br />

/ First half of the<br />

fourth month.<br />

Money to f<strong>in</strong>ance the<br />

ads.<br />

Production of four banners<br />

whose content refers to<br />

the problem and proposed<br />

solution (for the march/for<br />

hang<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> strategic po<strong>in</strong>ts<br />

of the city).<br />

Attractive banners are produced<br />

to <strong>in</strong>form people and to carry <strong>in</strong> the<br />

march.<br />

Four banners designed<br />

and hung <strong>in</strong> strategic<br />

locations.<br />

Second half of<br />

the third month<br />

/ First half of the<br />

fourth month.<br />

36 meters of fabric<br />

(double width), pa<strong>in</strong>t,<br />

and brushes, or funds<br />

to have the banners<br />

made.<br />


E. Mobilization<br />

Activity Desired outcome Indicators Date Responsible<br />

person(s)<br />

“March for Public<br />

Transport for All.”<br />

A march of people<br />

with disabilities and<br />

their allies, to pressure<br />

the M<strong>in</strong>ister to<br />

respond <strong>in</strong> a def<strong>in</strong>itive<br />

and satisfactory<br />

manner.<br />

The M<strong>in</strong>ister responds<br />

<strong>in</strong> a satisfactory manner<br />

to the proposal,<br />

and makes public<br />

statements about it.<br />

800 people with disabilities<br />

take part <strong>in</strong> the<br />

march, from the Cathedral<br />

<strong>in</strong> the capital to<br />

the MOT headquarters.<br />

A positive response to<br />

the proposal.<br />

Second half<br />

of the third<br />

month/ First half<br />

of the fourth<br />

month.<br />

Campaign Coord<strong>in</strong>at<strong>in</strong>g<br />

Committee.<br />

Resources<br />

Resources for<br />

transport<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

participants.<br />

2 manual loudspeakers.<br />

4) Other suggestions for design<strong>in</strong>g a political advocacy plan<br />

• The plann<strong>in</strong>g group should be small but representative of all organizations<br />

<strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> the process.<br />

• It is very useful to def<strong>in</strong>e quantitative and qualitative <strong>in</strong>dicators for the<br />

desired outcomes of each activity, to facilitate an evaluation of results and<br />

impact.<br />

• It is advisable <strong>in</strong> advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiatives to create work commissions that have<br />

clearly def<strong>in</strong>ed functions, even though specific <strong>in</strong>dividuals are assigned responsibility<br />

<strong>in</strong> the activity plan. The assignment of responsibility to more than<br />

one person tends to dilute it, and <strong>in</strong> the end no one is responsible.<br />

• It is important to <strong>in</strong>sure that the dates set for specific activities <strong>in</strong> each strategy<br />

follow a logical order.<br />

• Each activity needs to be broken down <strong>in</strong>to several sub-activities. It is useful<br />

to make an even more detailed plan, and to def<strong>in</strong>e the times for each<br />

sub-activity <strong>in</strong> order to meet the activity’s f<strong>in</strong>al deadl<strong>in</strong>e.<br />


Step 8. Cont<strong>in</strong>uous evaluation<br />

Evaluat<strong>in</strong>g political advocacy campaigns and actions should be an ongo<strong>in</strong>g<br />

process of review<strong>in</strong>g, monitor<strong>in</strong>g and analyz<strong>in</strong>g the plann<strong>in</strong>g and implementation<br />

of different strategies and specific activities, to determ<strong>in</strong>e their<br />

results and impact. The <strong>in</strong>dicators we have def<strong>in</strong>ed provide a useful tool for<br />

ongo<strong>in</strong>g evaluation processes.<br />

Evaluation is a key element of any political advocacy process. It is an attempt<br />

to learn from both successes and failures <strong>in</strong> order to strengthen the capacity<br />

to engage <strong>in</strong> advocacy work related to public policies and programs.<br />

It is therefore important to evaluate on an ongo<strong>in</strong>g basis, from the beg<strong>in</strong>n<strong>in</strong>g<br />

of the plann<strong>in</strong>g process through the end of the campaign. 5<br />




Consequently, three aspects of the process should be <strong>in</strong>cluded <strong>in</strong> the evaluation:<br />

- The entire plann<strong>in</strong>g process,<br />

- The plan’s execution, and<br />

- The impact.<br />

1) Evaluation of the plann<strong>in</strong>g process<br />

Several general elements should be kept <strong>in</strong> m<strong>in</strong>d when evaluat<strong>in</strong>g the plann<strong>in</strong>g<br />

process:<br />

• The core group’s ability to conduct research and manage <strong>in</strong>formation,<br />

• The quality of the analysis,<br />

• The degree to which the affected population participates.<br />

More specifically, each step of the proposed methodology should be evaluated:<br />

Step 1: Identification and analysis of the problem, <strong>in</strong> terms of the importance<br />

of the problem chosen for the affected population, the depth of the analysis,<br />

and the degree to which the problem relates to the mission of the core<br />

group or coalition.<br />


Step 2: Formulation of the proposal, <strong>in</strong> terms of the contribution that the<br />

proposal will make to solv<strong>in</strong>g the problem; its feasibility, degree of motivation<br />

and <strong>in</strong>terest that it produces, and the existence of clear and<br />

realistic goals.<br />

Step 3: Analysis of the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g space, <strong>in</strong> terms of identification<br />

of the decision-maker, the core group’s knowledge of the decisionmak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

process, and the identification of the best time to launch the<br />

proposal.<br />

Step 4: Analysis of channels of <strong>in</strong>fluence, <strong>in</strong> terms of identification of<br />

allies, undecided persons, and opponents; the prioritization of key actors<br />

with most <strong>in</strong>fluence over the decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g process; analysis of<br />

<strong>in</strong>terests of key actors; and effective use of the <strong>in</strong>formation available<br />

about key actors.<br />

Step 5: SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and<br />

threats), <strong>in</strong> terms of objectivity and depth of analysis, and the capacity<br />

to take concrete measures that take advantage of strengths and opportunities<br />

and overcome weaknesses and threats.<br />

Step 6: Design of advocacy strategies, <strong>in</strong> terms of variety and creativity<br />

of the strategies and their effectiveness <strong>in</strong> conv<strong>in</strong>c<strong>in</strong>g the decisionmaker.<br />

Step 7: Development of an activity plan, <strong>in</strong> terms of the existence of a<br />

written plan; the feasibility and coherence of the plan; the identification<br />

of desired outcomes, <strong>in</strong>dicators, dates, responsible persons and<br />

resources needed for each activity; and the <strong>in</strong>tentional distribution of<br />

responsibilities with<strong>in</strong> the core group to break out of traditional roles.<br />

2) Evaluation of the plan’s execution<br />

The implementation of the advocacy plan should be evaluated at<br />

different times throughout the campaign so that adjustments can be<br />

made as necessary. For example, an evaluation might be done after<br />

a lobby<strong>in</strong>g activity, after a mobilization, <strong>in</strong> response to a significant<br />

change <strong>in</strong> the political situation, and so forth. Those evaluations should<br />


e done at regular <strong>in</strong>tervals—monthly or after a reasonable amount of<br />

time—and aga<strong>in</strong> at the end of a campaign. It is important to evaluate each<br />

activity <strong>in</strong> the plan <strong>in</strong> terms of whether or not it was completed and its results,<br />

always attempt<strong>in</strong>g to p<strong>in</strong>po<strong>in</strong>t which causes or factors contributed to an<br />

activity’s success or failure, and consider<strong>in</strong>g changes that could be made<br />

so that th<strong>in</strong>gs go more smoothly and to strengthen the advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiative.<br />

WOLA provides the follow<strong>in</strong>g table as a useful tool for this task:<br />

Activity Desired outcomes Actual outcome Reasons or contribut<strong>in</strong>g<br />

factors<br />

Comments:<br />

Necessary adjustments<br />

3) Evaluation of impact<br />

The impact of a political advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiative must be evaluated on three levels<br />

correspond<strong>in</strong>g to the three basic reasons why we engage <strong>in</strong> advocacy:<br />

• Solv<strong>in</strong>g specific problems through public policies,<br />

• Strengthen<strong>in</strong>g civil society, and<br />

• Promot<strong>in</strong>g and consolidat<strong>in</strong>g democracy<br />

Solv<strong>in</strong>g specific problems through public policies. On this level, the outcomes<br />

of the advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiative should be evaluated <strong>in</strong> relation to the formulated<br />

proposal. This is measured <strong>in</strong> terms of concrete changes that have been<br />

achieved <strong>in</strong> laws, exist<strong>in</strong>g policies, programs, commitments, and <strong>in</strong> behaviors<br />

associated with the problem posed. Here, it is also important to measure<br />

the progress (or lack of progress) made <strong>in</strong> gett<strong>in</strong>g the issue onto the public<br />

agenda.<br />


Strengthen<strong>in</strong>g civil society. The impact at the level of civil society refers<br />

to strengthen<strong>in</strong>g the core group <strong>in</strong> charge of organiz<strong>in</strong>g the advocacy<br />

campaign, and to the capacities ga<strong>in</strong>ed <strong>in</strong> terms of defend<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

changes that have been won together with other organizations. It also<br />

refers to carry<strong>in</strong>g out new advocacy <strong>in</strong>itiatives that are even more ambitious<br />

<strong>in</strong> the future.<br />

Promot<strong>in</strong>g and consolidat<strong>in</strong>g democracy. F<strong>in</strong>ally, accomplishments<br />

and failures should be evaluated <strong>in</strong> terms of their consequences for<br />

democratization. How have they contributed to build<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong>ternal democracy<br />

with<strong>in</strong> the core group and the coalition? Have new opportunities<br />

for citizen participation been improved through this process? In<br />

the case of struggles related to the situation of people with disabilities,<br />

progress <strong>in</strong> terms of prevail<strong>in</strong>g underestimation and discrim<strong>in</strong>ation will<br />

also need to be exam<strong>in</strong>ed.<br />

This aspect is very important, s<strong>in</strong>ce the ultimate goal of political advocacy<br />

processes undertaken by civil society organizations is to effectively<br />

strengthen democracy <strong>in</strong> our nations.<br />


Evaluation V<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter V:<br />

1) In your own words, def<strong>in</strong>e “advocacy” and “political advocacy”: _________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

______________________________________________________.<br />

2) What are the eight steps of a political advocacy plan?<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

__________________________________________________________________________________.<br />

3) What are the different advocacy strategies? Give an example of each one:______________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

4) Identify a concrete problem that affects people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> your country, and design a politi<br />

cal advocacy plan aimed at solv<strong>in</strong>g it. Decide if it should be coord<strong>in</strong>ated by an organization or by a<br />

coalition of organizations.<br />



Chapter VI<br />

Political advocacy to promote public policies for<br />

<strong>in</strong>clusive development<br />

When the reader concludes this chapter, he/she should clearly understand<br />

what public policies are, the process through which they are<br />

designed, the way <strong>in</strong> which civil society can <strong>in</strong>fluence this design, the<br />

strategies that can be used to <strong>in</strong>fluence public policies and <strong>in</strong>sure an<br />

<strong>in</strong>clusive development orientation, and how a plan with this goal can<br />

be designed.<br />

1. What are public policies?<br />

a. Def<strong>in</strong>ition<br />

In general, public policies can be seen as a response to the social demands<br />

that generate them. The government’s adm<strong>in</strong>istrative <strong>in</strong>stitutions<br />

can be characterized as the “<strong>in</strong>struments” that react to these<br />

demands, through supply<strong>in</strong>g policies that satisfy specific needs.<br />

A public policy can also be def<strong>in</strong>ed as the program of action of a political<br />

authority that has the legitimacy to govern, which has a bear<strong>in</strong>g<br />

on a particular sector of society or a specific geographical area.<br />

We should see public policies as both important practical tools (for<br />

example, provid<strong>in</strong>g health care services to the entire population), and<br />

as promoters of certa<strong>in</strong> ethical pr<strong>in</strong>ciples (for example, def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the<br />

fact that the entire population has the same basic rights to employment,<br />

education, and health, regardless of their <strong>in</strong>come).<br />


The earliest public policy analysts focused more on the demands for policies<br />

than on the outcomes of the policies implemented, ignor<strong>in</strong>g the impact that<br />

structures and actors (bureaucracy, <strong>in</strong>stitutions, political parties, etc.) had on<br />

the f<strong>in</strong>al outcomes or results.<br />

The generation of public policies can be understood <strong>in</strong> terms of these questions:<br />

- What are the needs and demands of an <strong>in</strong>terested party or community?<br />

- What public policies and programs are produced by those who govern us?<br />

- To achieve what results?<br />

- What are the means and resources needed to achieve these results?<br />

For example:<br />

In a particular region, many people live <strong>in</strong> shacks (built from metal scraps and<br />

cardboard). Let’s say there are 1,000 families. These families demand more<br />

dignified hous<strong>in</strong>g. They pressure the government to respond to their need<br />

for hous<strong>in</strong>g. The government studies the situation and decides—through its<br />

M<strong>in</strong>istry of Hous<strong>in</strong>g and Human Affairs—to design a public policy for build<strong>in</strong>g<br />

low-cost hous<strong>in</strong>g. This policy will not only respond to the needs of these 1,000<br />

families, but also to others liv<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> similar conditions. A budget is set, a program<br />

is designed for implement<strong>in</strong>g the public policy, and the 1,000 homes<br />

are built and delivered <strong>in</strong> a specified time period to the families. (If only it<br />

were as easy as this! Clearly, we need to work to make this happen).<br />

We often hear people talk about global plans. What are global plans? These<br />

are plans that present the general actions that a government wishes to<br />

undertake to advance a nation’s economic and social development. These<br />

global plans (such as a National Development Plan, or PND) conta<strong>in</strong> a series<br />

of public policies and programs that a government will use to attend to the<br />

population’s different demands and needs dur<strong>in</strong>g a specified time period.<br />


Three problems and Three Public policies<br />

a)- Dengue Mosquito<br />

However, the relationship between public policies and programs should be<br />

clarified. Programs are part of public policies, and they consist of a series of<br />

operations that need to be implemented <strong>in</strong> order achieve certa<strong>in</strong> objectives.<br />

Or said another way, public policies are executed or put <strong>in</strong>to practice<br />

through programs that are aimed at achiev<strong>in</strong>g certa<strong>in</strong> objectives and goals.<br />

To comply with policies, different actions are selected that are grouped <strong>in</strong>to<br />

sectoral and other types of programs. The programs def<strong>in</strong>e the material,<br />

human and f<strong>in</strong>ancial resources that are needed to achieve the objectives,<br />

along with the activities designed for this purpose. Programs are selected on<br />

the basis of their benefits, and through def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g criteria that determ<strong>in</strong>e priorities.<br />

Health policies to eradicate and prevent Dengue.<br />

b)- Unemployment of persons with disabilities<br />

c)- Exclusion of persons with disabilities <strong>in</strong> education<br />

SCHOOL<br />

SCHOOL<br />



Inclusive Employment policy<br />

Inclusive Education policy<br />


. How are public policies made?<br />

The conception we have today of design<strong>in</strong>g and apply<strong>in</strong>g public policies<br />

did not always exist. Prior to the 19th century, state <strong>in</strong>tervention was limited<br />

to taxation and <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g a nation’s security. It wasn’t until the 20th century<br />

that the first large-scale formulation of state policies aimed at satisfy<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

demands of specific social sectors began. In particular, this occurred after<br />

the Second World War.<br />

From above<br />

Although governments characterize themselves as democratic, they tend to<br />

set policies at the highest level (“from above”) with little or no participation<br />

from the affected or <strong>in</strong>terested social sectors.<br />

They th<strong>in</strong>k that if they have the back<strong>in</strong>g of an election (which gives them the<br />

legitimacy to govern), and the correspond<strong>in</strong>g technical capabilities, they<br />

are entitled to <strong>in</strong>terpret the needs and demands of the population and then<br />

respond to these through def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g public policies and programs.<br />

This has changed as social groups and different sectors have <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly organized<br />

and fought to have their needs and demands met. And more and<br />

more, we hear about or read about civil society organizations mobiliz<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

population to demand that their needs are met, whether these organizations<br />

represent teachers, or farmers, or shanty dwellers, or fem<strong>in</strong>ists, or students, or<br />

human rights activists, or environmentalists, or people with disabilities and<br />

their relatives. The result has been more democratic forms of design<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

formulat<strong>in</strong>g public policies.<br />

Build<strong>in</strong>g democracy<br />

Civil society’s <strong>in</strong>creas<strong>in</strong>gly organized pressure (aimed <strong>in</strong>fluenc<strong>in</strong>g policy decisions)<br />

has been “democratiz<strong>in</strong>g” the way that public policies are formulated.<br />


We see this reflected <strong>in</strong> consultations where the op<strong>in</strong>ions of different social sectors<br />

and groups about a range of different issues are be<strong>in</strong>g considered, such as when<br />

a legislative assembly or congress is study<strong>in</strong>g the convenience of pass<strong>in</strong>g a certa<strong>in</strong><br />

law, or when a government is develop<strong>in</strong>g public policies.<br />

This democratization of public policies can only <strong>in</strong>crease if a general condition is<br />

met: citizen participation. Citizen participation is def<strong>in</strong>ed as “the <strong>in</strong>volvement and<br />

<strong>in</strong>fluence of citizens (and the general population) <strong>in</strong> decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g processes,<br />

<strong>in</strong> issues and activities that are related to economic, social and political development,<br />

and <strong>in</strong> the execution of such decisions, so that state actions, plann<strong>in</strong>g and<br />

decisions are promoted jo<strong>in</strong>tly by social and <strong>in</strong>stitutional actors.”<br />

In order for this democratization process to take place, certa<strong>in</strong> conditions must be<br />

met:<br />

• Different actors (<strong>in</strong>stitutions, the private sector and the “third sector” or organized<br />

civil society) must be <strong>in</strong>formed and be committed, s<strong>in</strong>ce it has been found<br />

that better results are obta<strong>in</strong>ed when participation is promoted and <strong>in</strong>terested<br />

parties get <strong>in</strong>volved.<br />

• Governments must create a favorable environment for citizen action, which<br />

is an essential aspect of strengthen<strong>in</strong>g citizen participation. Moreover, laws must<br />

be approved that facilitate this citizen participation and strengthen this environment.<br />

• The participation process is not simple, and needs to be strengthened<br />

through tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g and <strong>in</strong>struction. Social actors (such as people with disabilities and<br />

their organizations) need to study, learn, and acquire new skills and management<br />

abilities. They must also be able to make decisions and be <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> decisionmak<strong>in</strong>g<br />

processes.<br />


To participate <strong>in</strong> public decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g processes (laws or policies), organized<br />

groups of citizens may utilize a range of mechanisms <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g:<br />

- Direct lobby<strong>in</strong>g of legislators or decision-makers <strong>in</strong> governmental <strong>in</strong>stitutions;<br />

- Indirect lobby<strong>in</strong>g through social mobilization campaigns and through creat<strong>in</strong>g<br />

alliances to promote specific agendas;<br />

- Denounc<strong>in</strong>g relevant social problems and situations ignored by the government;<br />

- Participat<strong>in</strong>g <strong>in</strong> national, departmental or municipal plann<strong>in</strong>g councils, related<br />

to both general and sector policies;<br />

- Influenc<strong>in</strong>g the platforms of political candidates and political parties;<br />

- Inform<strong>in</strong>g via the media, through bullet<strong>in</strong>s, press communiqués, press conferences,<br />

etc.<br />

- Develop<strong>in</strong>g legal cases to establish jurisprudence <strong>in</strong> relation to the citizenry’s<br />

economic, social and political rights; and<br />

- Develop<strong>in</strong>g and publiciz<strong>in</strong>g research about different relevant social issues.<br />


2. Steps for draft<strong>in</strong>g and implement<strong>in</strong>g a public policy<br />

For both learn<strong>in</strong>g and practical purposes (such as develop<strong>in</strong>g an advocacy<br />

plan), the public policy-mak<strong>in</strong>g process can be divided <strong>in</strong>to five parts or<br />

steps, which as we know are carried out <strong>in</strong> an ongo<strong>in</strong>g and unified manner.<br />

These five parts or steps are:<br />

1. The identification of a problem that requires public action,<br />



2. The formulation of possible solutions,<br />

3. The adoption of decisions by legitimate authorities,<br />

4. The implementation of the public policy, and<br />

5. An evaluation of the outcomes.<br />

Identify the problem that requires public action. This can be done by a government<br />

entity, but can also result from actions carried out by some segment<br />

of the affected population.<br />

For example, if cases of dengue were to suddenly appear <strong>in</strong> different communities,<br />

the M<strong>in</strong>istry of Health could design a policy for address<strong>in</strong>g this<br />

health problem and could implement it through a “national program to fight<br />

dengue.”<br />

However, <strong>in</strong> another example, it could be that the M<strong>in</strong>istry of Labor is unaware<br />

of the serious job discrim<strong>in</strong>ation and exclusion faced by disabled persons,<br />

despite the fact that they are capable of work<strong>in</strong>g and are of productive<br />

age. As a result, many organizations of people with disabilities, together with<br />

other allied groups (such as trade unions, human rights organizations, etc.)<br />

carry out actions aimed at pressur<strong>in</strong>g this M<strong>in</strong>istry to <strong>in</strong>clude people with disabilities<br />

<strong>in</strong> the job programs it is implement<strong>in</strong>g (or will implement), attend<strong>in</strong>g<br />

to their specific needs, especially accessibility<br />


Government<br />

proposed policy to<br />

combat poverty.<br />

Formulate possible solutions. Once the problem requir<strong>in</strong>g public action has been<br />

identified, the <strong>in</strong>stitution responsible for develop<strong>in</strong>g the correspond<strong>in</strong>g public policy<br />

beg<strong>in</strong>s to study different possible solutions for respond<strong>in</strong>g to this problem or social<br />

demand.<br />

These possible solutions should consider technical criteria, prior experiences (for<br />

example, country “x” responded to this problem <strong>in</strong> such a way and obta<strong>in</strong>ed good<br />

results), and consults with <strong>in</strong>terested sectors. Another very important element to evaluate<br />

will be the cost of any proposed solutions.<br />

The legitimate authority makes a decision. After hav<strong>in</strong>g explored different proposed<br />

solutions, the <strong>in</strong>stitution responsible for design<strong>in</strong>g the public policy (authorized as the<br />

legitimate <strong>in</strong>stitutional authority) should study all of the positive and negative features<br />

of each of the proposals and determ<strong>in</strong>e the amount of resources available (or<br />

that can be obta<strong>in</strong>ed) for the policy’s implementation (assigned budget, whether<br />

resources are available from state funds, or if fund<strong>in</strong>g should be sought from an <strong>in</strong>ternational<br />

loan, etc.). Once this study—both political and technical—is carried out,<br />

this authority should make a decision about the policy it is plann<strong>in</strong>g to adopt.<br />

Implement the public policy. Once the policy has been def<strong>in</strong>ed, it needs to be implemented<br />

through a correspond<strong>in</strong>g program. The program will def<strong>in</strong>e the material,<br />

human and f<strong>in</strong>ancial resources needed, as well as the time periods and stages for<br />

implementation, <strong>in</strong>clud<strong>in</strong>g specific activities that will be aimed at achiev<strong>in</strong>g the public<br />

policy’s objectives and goals.<br />

Evaluate the outcomes. When a public policy is implemented, it can be evaluated<br />

while it is be<strong>in</strong>g applied, and of course also when its implementation has concluded,<br />

to assess its various outcomes. The reason for evaluat<strong>in</strong>g a policy while it is be<strong>in</strong>g<br />

implemented is to be able to adjust programs, to correct errors or other factors that<br />

have been detected, and <strong>in</strong>sure that the policy fulfills its objectives. When a f<strong>in</strong>al<br />

evaluation of a policy is carried out, the follow<strong>in</strong>g questions should be asked: Did it<br />

resolve the problem? If it didn’t completely resolve the problem, what aspects are<br />

still pend<strong>in</strong>g? Was it a complete failure, and has the problem rema<strong>in</strong>ed the same?<br />


Different social actors can <strong>in</strong>fluence each phase of policy development, us<strong>in</strong>g<br />

specific advocacy strategies and actions. They can:<br />

• Help generate a public policy <strong>in</strong> response to a problem (that the state<br />

has not identified as a problem),<br />


• Help formulate solutions, work<strong>in</strong>g to have their concerns and ideas <strong>in</strong>cluded<br />

<strong>in</strong> the proposed solutions,<br />

• Insure that <strong>in</strong>stitutional authorities select the best solution (<strong>in</strong> the op<strong>in</strong>ion<br />

of <strong>in</strong>terested sectors),<br />

• Oversee the program through which the policy is be<strong>in</strong>g executed, <strong>in</strong>sur<strong>in</strong>g<br />

that it complies with time and quality requirements and favorably impacts<br />

<strong>in</strong>terested sectors, and<br />

• Participate directly or <strong>in</strong>directly <strong>in</strong> evaluat<strong>in</strong>g the outcomes.<br />

3. What should be done to promote <strong>in</strong>clusive development?<br />

We need to stop for a moment and th<strong>in</strong>k about how to <strong>in</strong>fluence public policies<br />

with this <strong>in</strong>clusive development approach.<br />

Let’s look at the th<strong>in</strong>gs we should keep <strong>in</strong> m<strong>in</strong>d when embark<strong>in</strong>g on this course.<br />

We must:<br />

• Fully understand the Inclusive Development approach;<br />

• Be conv<strong>in</strong>ced that it is the best route to achiev<strong>in</strong>g full <strong>in</strong>clusion and<br />

development for people with disabilities and their families;<br />

• Be <strong>in</strong>formed and study public policies, programs, projects and actions<br />

that have been/will be developed by a nation’s government <strong>in</strong> relation to<br />

people with disabilities, and understand their impact (do they resolve the problems,<br />

how are they resolv<strong>in</strong>g these problems, and for how many people?).<br />

Here it is important to obta<strong>in</strong> statistical data;<br />


• Study the laws and regulations <strong>in</strong> force <strong>in</strong> the nation that recognize and protect<br />

the rights of people with disabilities, and determ<strong>in</strong>e whether or not these provide<br />

a foundation for <strong>in</strong>clusive development;<br />

• Determ<strong>in</strong>e which topics are of <strong>in</strong>terest to the organizations of disabled persons<br />

and their allies, <strong>in</strong> order to mobilize them around modify<strong>in</strong>g a public policy or program<br />

so that it will be <strong>in</strong>clusive, or around creat<strong>in</strong>g a new public policy of this type;<br />

• Study the steps <strong>in</strong>volved <strong>in</strong> formulat<strong>in</strong>g and implement<strong>in</strong>g public policies, so<br />

that we can have a positive impact on them and on <strong>in</strong>clusive development. Understand<strong>in</strong>g<br />

these steps will also help us def<strong>in</strong>e concrete strategies and actions for every<br />

stage or step <strong>in</strong> the public policy formulation process, and will make us more realistic<br />

about our available resources as a social actor;<br />

• Develop an action plan for <strong>in</strong>fluenc<strong>in</strong>g this public policy or program, identify<strong>in</strong>g<br />

its strategies, clearly def<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g the actions that will be promoted or implemented,<br />

determ<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g responsibilities and time periods for implementation, and estimat<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

human and material resources available. A basic tool is available for assist<strong>in</strong>g this<br />

process, which can be modified accord<strong>in</strong>g to the particular conditions and needs of<br />

the political advocacy effort be<strong>in</strong>g developed;<br />

• Evaluate the plan periodically, once a significant number of actions have<br />

been implemented, and aga<strong>in</strong> when the plan concludes. A tool is also available<br />

for help<strong>in</strong>g to evaluate political advocacy work, either while it is underway or once<br />

it has been completed. This evaluation tool is useful for measur<strong>in</strong>g the development<br />

of different actions, both <strong>in</strong> numbers (the quantitative evaluation) and <strong>in</strong> terms of<br />

characteriz<strong>in</strong>g and rat<strong>in</strong>g progress (the qualitative evaluation). This evaluation is<br />

useful for modify<strong>in</strong>g the strategies and actions that are underway, or for assess<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

plan’s outcomes once it has been completely implemented and thereby determ<strong>in</strong>e<br />

its successes and errors. This <strong>in</strong>formation will help us to prepare other <strong>in</strong>itiatives and<br />

develop other plans <strong>in</strong> the future.<br />


Evaluation VI<br />

Questions for evaluation and reflection/ Chapter VI:<br />

1) In your own words, def<strong>in</strong>e a public policy:____________________________________ __________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

__________________________________________________________________________________________________.<br />

2) What are the advantages of democratically build<strong>in</strong>g public policies, rather than hav<strong>in</strong>g them imposed<br />

from above? _________________________________________________________ ________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

___________________________________________________________________________________________________<br />

__________________________________________________________.<br />

3) Investigate if your government has a national development plan. If it has one, get a copy of it and<br />

identify the policies it <strong>in</strong>cludes and which sectors they correspond to, as well as the objectives and goals<br />

it has proposed.<br />

4) Investigate how this national development plan is focused on the population with disabilities. Is this<br />

population <strong>in</strong>cluded <strong>in</strong> general policies, or are there specific policies that address this group’s needs<br />

and concerns?<br />

5) Identify a concrete problem that affects people with disabilities <strong>in</strong> your country, and propose a public<br />

policy for solv<strong>in</strong>g it. Also def<strong>in</strong>e the five correspond<strong>in</strong>g steps of the process.<br />



- Astorga Gatjens, Luis Fernando. Incluyendo a las personas con discapacidad en las Políticas de Desarrollo (Presentation),<br />

Sem<strong>in</strong>ar of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Wash<strong>in</strong>gton D.C., November, 2004.<br />

http://www.iadb.org/<strong>in</strong>t/jpn/sem<strong>in</strong>ars/disa/es_es/presentations/luis%20fernando%20spanish.pdf<br />

- Berman Bieler, Rosangela. Desarrollo Inclusivo: Un aporte global desde la discapacidad (Presentation), World Bank,<br />

2005. http://pdi.cnot<strong>in</strong>for.pt/recursos/DI_Un%20aporte%20universal%20desde%20la%20discapacidad_RBB.doc<br />

- Egea García, Carlos and Sarabia Sánchez, Alicia. Visión y modelos conceptuales de la discapacidad.<br />

http://www.risolidaria.org.pe/docs/ficheros/200611140005_62_0.pdf<br />

- Equipo de Desarrollo Inclusivo para América Lat<strong>in</strong>a y El Caribe, ALIANZAS PARA UN DESARROLLO INCLUSIVO, Tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g<br />

Guide, World Bank, 2004.<br />

- González Bombal, Inés and Garay, Candelaria. Incidencia en políticas públicas y construcción de la ciudadanía, http://<br />

www.lasociedadcivil.org/uploads/ciberteca/bombal__garay.pdf<br />

- Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (INEC), Costa Rica. Encuesta de Hogares y Propósitos Múltiples, Pr<strong>in</strong>cipales<br />

resultados, 2006.<br />

- Mahbub ul Haq, El Paradigma del Desarrollo Humano. Selections from “Reflexiones sobre Desarrollo Humano,” Chapters<br />

2 and 3, Oxford University Press.<br />

- Metts, Robert. Discapacidad y Desarrollo (Background paper prepared for a meet<strong>in</strong>g about the research agenda on<br />

disability and development), World Bank, Wash<strong>in</strong>gton D.C., November 2004.<br />

- Qu<strong>in</strong>n, Gerard and Degener, Theresia, Derechos Humanos y Discapacidad, United Nations, New York and Geneva,<br />

2002.<br />

- Sartor, Aloma. Modelos de Desarrollo. http://www.frbb.utn.edu.ar/carreras/materias/<strong>in</strong>g_soc/modelos_de_desarrollo.<br />

pdf<br />

- Sen, Amartya. Teorías del Desarrollo a pr<strong>in</strong>cipios del Siglo XXI. http://www.iadb.org/etica/documentos/sen_teori.doc<br />

- Wash<strong>in</strong>gton Office on Lat<strong>in</strong> America (WOLA), Manual for Facilitators of Advocacy Tra<strong>in</strong><strong>in</strong>g Sessions. www.wola.org<br />







This manual may be reproduced <strong>in</strong> part or <strong>in</strong> its entirety for<br />

pedagogic purposes as long as orig<strong>in</strong>al source is cited.<br />

For more <strong>in</strong>formation please contact: <strong>Handicap</strong> <strong>International</strong> (HI):<br />

discapacidad@handicap-<strong>in</strong>ternational-ac.org Phone: (505)- 2266<br />

1364 / 2266 8419 or the Inter-American Institute on Disability and<br />

Inclusive Development (IIDI) luterag@ice.co.cr

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