Creating Safe Spaces for Girls and Women with Disabilities
UNABU will launch an improved scorecard on disability inclusion, which will enable proactive problem solving and collaboration.
Self help group of women with disability in Rwamagana District from their regular weekly meeting
Women with disability participating in exhibition at the 2016 international women day celebration
Training of disabled girls and women community mobilizers from Musanze and Nyabihu Districts
What problem does your idea solve?
Being discriminated, isolated and invisible in community life leads to high poverty and GBV among disabled women. UNABU assessment revealed they never attend community meetings (32%), Umuganda (67%) where decisions discussed .79% of who attend never spoken due to lack of self-esteem, fear and less value given to their opinion. 47% reported SGBV cases. Stigmatized from early childhood, many grown up lacking sense of self-worth and dignity to demand their rights, raise voice against such abuse.
Explain your idea
Equipped with knowledge/skills on their rights, self-advocacy and engaged in economic activities with disability inclusion accountable community leaders, disabled women lead change towards inclusive community free of stigma, violence and poverty. UNABU builds their through training on their rights, advocacy and inclusion score card to effectively engage with community leaders to voice out discrimination and violence they face. Through disability inclusion score card they meet local leaders/service providers to discuss identified issues by disabled women themselves supported by trained mobilizers. They demand their rights and hold community leaders accountable to their inclusion, safety and protection from violence. It builds their sense of responsibility to participate in community life like meetings. By our experience, self-help groups are entry point for many interventions. Including none disabled women in groups creates supporting environment for them. It enhances their relationship while exercising leadership. They are trained on saving methodology. After 6 months using their savings in small business, they are trained on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. 2/3 of award will be invested in revolving loan for emerging entrepreneurs to grow their business. Loan is paid back with interest of 1% per month while preparing them to formal financial linkage. Generated interest will be used to scale up the idea, multiply impact by reaching out more disabled women.
Our theory of change
We directly targets all age 2,400 girls and disabled women from remote rural areas initially from the districts of Rutsiro, Gicumbi,Nyanza and Bugesera. Our current experience is that when disabled women organized in community groups they design themselves solutions to solve some of their pressing issues including poverty. Disabled women self-help groups will also welcome up to 20% (480) of the groups for none disabled women and disabled men for community engagement and supporting voices
Empower disabled women to lead the change themselves. Odette member of UNABU facilitating the training of 25 disabled women community mobilizers from the Districts of Muhanga and Rwamagana on UN Convention on the rights of persons with disability and Rwanda GBV law ( Photo May 2016)
How is your idea unique?
1) Women with disabilities are highly discriminated against and they are not currently reached by services offered by NGOs, government and development agencies.
2) This project uses a human centered design approach beginning with disabled women empowering disabled women.
3) We will pilot a “disability inclusion scorecard” which will strengthen the voices of the disabled women to ensure that the design of services incorporate their needs and assets
4) Use of an integrated cost effective, scalable disability inclusion model combining approaches to address environmental and psycho social barriers to inclusion.
Tell us more about you
UNABU is non- profit organization standing for Umuryango Nyarwanda w’Abagore Bafite Ubumuga and translated in English as the Rwandan Organization of Women with disabilities based in Kigali City. It was established in 2004 by and for women with disabilities with an overall vision of ensuring “Women with disabilities enjoy equal and equitable opportunities and actively participate in the country’s development”.
UNABU empower disabled women from the remote rural areas. This is a photo of Abanyamahoro group in Nyarusange Sector, Muhanga District during the visit by Diana CEO of Disability Rights Fund (Photo February 2017). Under DRF financial support UNABU created 30 self help groups in Musanze, Nyabihu. Muhanga and Rwamagana that bring together 673 disabled girls and women. For more information on UNABU link to www.facebook.com/unabu.rwanda.7
Together we can achieve more! Sustainable Partnership and community engage is our strategy. This is a photo of UNABU members, representatives of UNABU community self help groups and representatives of key Gender Based Violence (GBV) stakeholders organizations and goverement institutions like Ministry of gender, National Council of Women at a national workshop in December 2016 for dissemination findings of the assessment on GBV cases among disabled women conducted under Disability Right Fund
What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?
The only most unanswered questions we still have is how the community engagement should be effectively operationalized to foster inclusion of women with disabilities in the community decision making processes.
Where will your idea be implemented?
Experience in Implementation Country(ies)
Yes, for more than one year.
Expertise in Sector
I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.
We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.
Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.
How has your idea changed based on feedback?
We organized groups’ discussions with disabled women. They welcome the idea and recommended some adjustment to respond to the needs of disabled women:
• The interest charges for revolving loan should not lower than the interest in the groups to ensure disabled women do not tend to request revolving loan rather their group internal saving because of lower interest. Revolving should be requested by and disbursed to group rather individual to maintain group cohesion and facilitate repayment.
• Linking disabled women members of self-help groups without business idea with existing business in their location that will contribute to fostering inclusion of disabled women in the community.
• Participation of disabled women family members in some particular training sessions including disability rights and GBV law to address issue violence to disabled women by their family members highly recommended
• Non-disabled women mother of disabled girls children given priority to join group
Disabled women participants in the group discussion on the innovation idea disabled women recommended that mother off disabled children shoukd be given periory when inviting non-disabled women to join slef help group
Atete community mobilizers in Muhanga District of talking about the negative effects that providing revolving loan at a lower interest rate may have on both individuals disables women and group cohesion
Who will implement this idea?
The implementation of this ideas involves the team of 5staff 100% allocated to the project including the Executive Director, Advocacy and disability inclusion advisor, revolving loan officer, 1 community mobilizer and accountant. There are also 5 part time support staff expert in some components of project including trainers . They are disabled women trained as trainers on these particular subjects. 60 community mobilizers and council of women and the council of disabled will be involved
Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?
General assembly is the supreme organ of UNABU with power to decide on strategic directions of organization : approve strategic plans, annual activities plans, budget, annual narrative and financial reports. It is made of all members and meet every year in their ordinary meeting. Prior to the implementation of the idea the general assembly is communicated and provided with information on new project . When they information it is up to the governing Board to oversee the project implementation and address all the issues arising from the implementation in their quarterly meeting and the Executive Secretary participate in the Governing Board meeting. While approving changes, the governing board requires feedback from staff and other stakeholders. Staff and beneficiaries are communicated
What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?
Amplify provides learning opportunities form other change makers of the platform but also from beneficiaries and other stakeholders during the feedback phase in addition to the technical support Amplify plan to give to winners. We appreciate the feedback from the team which is not really the case for traditional model funding.
What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?
(1) The most individual challenges reported by disabled women during feedback phase include the lack of information on their rights, lack of self-esteem and poverty that lead to violence disabled women are facing in their community.
(2) The biggest systems- level challenges are the blind gender laws and policies on disabled women issues as well the lack of representation of disabled women in decision making structure as a particular group of women with particular issues
Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?
Impact: We aim at reaching out 7200 disabled women and 1440 other community members by 2023 knowledgeable about disability rights, GBV and facilitated to access financial services to run small business and therefore lift out poverty to enjoy their human rights in a supporting environment free of violence and stigma.
Question: How do we maintain cost effectiveness of the approach while delivering quality services and influence hey stakeholder to buy in disability inclusion score card
How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?
How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?
Between 5-10 paid, full-time staff
Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?
We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.
My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:
Between $50,000 and $100,000 USD
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