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Dominic Andrew commented on Disable Resource Centers (DRC's).

How does this idea consider user needs? For example, did PwDs request this? How would they be involved in the future project development/expansion?
Our organization is key on the user needs, because there is no way we will achieve the needed impact if the disables are not using our proposed services. Therefore, before submitting this idea to OPENIDEO we initially spoke with some few members for various disable organizations who are collectively part of the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI) through these discussion we were able to develop this idea and our circle of services that will be provided at each center in the regions. Also during the review stage, we met with two organizations working with disables in Makeni and Kono, if you go through our idea now you will see that we have improved on it based on the additional feedbacks we received from the disables we engaged with in this two districts. Like, we stated previously even in this pilot phase we will not be working in isolation, but together with the so many disable organizations in Sierra Leone including the disability commission and the Sierra Leone Union on Disabilities Issues and this will continue in future project development and expansion. We will continue to engage with the disables in improving on this idea even during the execution of the pilot phase and scaling up period to ensure we are better able to serve the targeted disable communities.

Will they provide coaching and peer mentorship? Do they need support after they get a job to navigate stigma? Will they be coached on ways to request needed accommodations/deal with discrimination?
All our beneficiaries will be provided with coaching and peer mentorship. As an organization will ensure that most of the staff employed by this project are persons with disabilities, so that they could serve as role models and also help to provide peer mentorship to the other disables who will be coming to access services at the centers. When we support a disable to get a job, we additionally provide follow support on this disable in her/his employment in order to help her/him not only to navigate stigma, but also build a good working relationship with others in the organization. Former participants of the DRC, who will be gainfully employed will be regularly invited to participate in career talks, where they coach their counterparts on issues regarding managing job stress, accommodations and dealing with discrimination.

“I would love to learn more about how you came to this solution and about your identification of the (resume and interview coaching) as the tipping point for change. Why this and not job training or employer partnerships? Who will be selected and how?”
When specifically working on youth employment issues over the years, I have participated in several HR forums and job fairs in Sierra Leone. In each of these sessions issues hinging on resume and interview techniques were top on the list why young people were not getting jobs in the formal sectors. Based on this in 2007 Restless Development Sierra Leone, as a youth serving agency in Sierra Leone established youth information centers in universities. These centers helped young people graduating from the university to learn how to develop their resume. Similarly, as an organization in 2015 we partnered with The Conservative Society from UK to organise CV writing and interview coaching for young people in Freetown. However, we have not only considered resume and interview coaching as the only tipping point for change, but considered a collective package of services which includes job training, employer linkage and quiet recently business clinic which was recommended by the disables we met during the feedback period, as the hull mark for change. Largely, our services will be open to disables seeking employment opportunities in the formal or informal sectors. We will work through the disable organizations, who will identify and link disables to our centers in their regions.

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Dominic Andrew commented on Disable Resource Centers (DRC's).

What is the cost structure to provide these services and how will PwDs travel to the center/pay for transport?
Generally, our organization is looking at an average cost of 30,000 USD to run and manage each center in a region. This will largely include operation, program and administrative costs. Basically, we’re at the idea generation stage, but when once we want to fully establish the centers we will closely work with the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and also other disable organizations in the regions where these centers would be established, in order to have their perspective around location. Based on their views will ensure that the centers are located in areas easily accessible by the disable community in each region. Also in the regions where these centers will be established there are disable organizations with their own means of transportation. During our operation we will link up with these organizations as well to see how they could support their members to come to the centers. We have already met with some of these organizations during the feedback period in Makeni and Kono.

Will they provide food for those who cannot afford to buy it? How do you match and setup PwDs for success in attaining these jobs?
Our approach focuses on ensuring that our targeted beneficiaries are meaningful engaged and included in activities which makes them economically independent and self-reliant. So we’re not planning to provide food for these disables on a daily basis at the centers. However, for activities that they will be engaged in that goes above two hours like the business development clinics, cover letter and CV writing sessions, mock interviews and job linkages we will ensure that light refreshment is provided to the targeted participants during the cause of these activities. In addition we will always have tea and water available at these centers to provide to disable person that require such. In order to match the disables for success in attaining these jobs, our team will be looking at each job and see if such role aligns with the qualifications, previous experiences and skills of the disable person who is planning to place an application, when this is done the team will further provide the needed support to this disable in pursuing this job, as part of our career mentorship and job linkage packages. During the idea review stage, we came into contact with another an organization on the OPENIDEO platform which has started working in Sierra Leone. This organization has asked to identify 100 persons with disabilities to be employed to run their smart centers across Sierra Leone.

What does a sustainable model look like? Can they partner with employers to help pay for these services and create a partnership model that engages corporations and governments so that they change the way they hire and make their adverts more accessible to begin with?
A sustainable approach is where employers, government and the general public sees the employment of people living with disabilities as normal just like employing an able person. However, it takes time for this to happen, just like it happen in the case of women’s empowerment which took series of advocacies. Today every job advert published comes with a caption that says “Women Are Strongly Encourage to Apply”. Therefore, the issue of employers and government providing such services also requires a well-structured advocacies which may even take five to ten years like it happen for the establishment of the disability commission and also if employers and government want to provide such a services they need the model to build on. That is where exactly our centers will be stepping to take the lead in addressing these challenges thereby making it look as priority for the government and other organizations across the country. Secondly, our disable centers will be run a comprehensive package with so many other services for people living with disabilities and not only advert translations. Our service circle is attached to our idea for additional reference.

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Dominic Andrew commented on Disable Resource Centers (DRC's).

Hi Ommy,
Thanks for your comment and concern.
As an organization we do not actually want to broaden our work that it will end up interfering with the other areas of the challenge. We want to remain focused on economic inclusion as our key priority specifically for the sake of challenge. However, where necessary we will work with other organizations that would be working on the other areas of the challenge and also those who'll be working on economic inclusion for people living with disabilities.
Secondly, as organization we are aware of the fact that disable persons are faced with several challenges as outlined in the three areas of this challenge, but unfortunately one organization can be able to do everything, so there is absolute need for effective collaboration.

Lets stay connected.
Cheers
Dominic