Disability inclusion technical partnership with the Australian aid programme

News-iag, Project | November 19, 2021

The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) administers their aid program. DFAT has been proud of taking a leading role on disability-inclusive development since being among the first bilateral donors to create a specific disability inclusion strategy for the aid program in the form of the first Development for All strategy in 2008.

In order to embed disability inclusion within international development it is important that staff and partners have access to disability inclusion technical support, including capacity building, evidence and learning, and access to technical advice when they need it.

The partnership between DFAT and CBM Global’s Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) is the mechanism through which IAG provides support to help DFAT achieve their own disability inclusion objectives as set out in the Development for All strategy. The current contract between DFAT and CBM/IAG is the fifth multi-year arrangement in support of DFAT’s disability work.

“There was a lot of really positive feedback from the training…it was definitely providing what we needed, which was that initial foundational step of getting everyone on the same page around what is disability inclusion, what does it look like, why is it important to us, why do we need to be thinking about it, and just getting people in that mindset of being on board with doing more on disability inclusion, which was a real success to the training.” – DFAT staff member, Annual Report 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.

The Australia team of our Inclusion Advisory Group works together with the DFAT Canberra-based Disability, Indigenous and Social Inclusion Section (DIS) to help systematise and embed disability inclusion practice within the work of DFAT and its partners.

This is done through the provision of both short- and long-term demand-driven technical assistance and analytical support to design, implement, monitor and evaluate disability-inclusive policies and practice.

IAG is providing disability inclusion advisory support towards four shared outcome areas:

  1. The disability inclusion awareness, capacity, policy and practice of DFAT and implementing partners is improved.
  2. Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) are supported to engage in and influence development processes.
  3. Evidence of good practice disability-inclusive development is collected, disseminated and used.
  4. Australia demonstrates global and regional leadership in disability inclusive development.

“The advice provided by the Helpdesk has been incorporated into our new program design which will help to ensure that DI is mainstreamed in all our activities. Additionally, inputs have been provided into an online training module that the Post is developing on Safeguarding which will help to ensure the training content is inclusive and takes into consideration people with disabilities.” DFAT staff member, Annual Report 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.

The partnership continues to build disability inclusion understanding and capacity amongst both DFAT staff and implementing partners. This increases the reach of Australia’s development program, the quality of life of people with disabilities and their contribution to economic development.

IAG and DFAT have developed an online help desk platform where DFAT staff can request short-term, tailored technical advice. IAG has been responding to help desk tasks through the online DID4All system since November 2014. So far, 626 tasks have been raised in total. Feedback consistently indicates that IAG’s advice in response to help desk requests is of high quality, well targeted, timely and usually practical. One DFAT office indicated that CBM had “revolutionised” the way that disability was understood.

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