Michele Lunsford

  • published Call for good practices 2020-06-26 11:18:50 -0400

    Call for good practices

    How does your company carry out inclusive recruitment for persons with disabilities?

    According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 386 million people of working age have disabilities. A recent study shows that the employment-to-population ratio of people with disabilities is 36% on average, compared to the 60% for persons without disabilities. Such difference is deeper in developing countries. This situation is even worse for women with disabilities, who face even more barriers for equal opportunities to access to wage employment.

    However, there are organizations, companies and people advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities, especially, concerning inclusion in the working world. In these efforts, the Michelin Corporate Foundation and Humanity & Inclusion are conducting research on good practices regarding the recruitment process of persons with disabilities. The aim is to promote good and effective disability inclusive recruitment policy in businesses and organizations worldwide, especially in developing countries.

    We invite all businesses and organizations to share their good practices with us! These good practices will serve as an input for our primary research, which will be used to develop an open source technical publication, spotlighting best practices around disability inclusive recruitment, which will be widely disseminated.

    All organizations having submitted a good practice will be named in it, creating a network of companies and Human Resources actors willing to share their experience and learn from each other. Humanity & Inclusion and the Michelin Corporate Foundation will also share the results of the study among various global and local networks, including the ILO Global Business and Disability Network.

    There is no cost to participate, and the businesses who choose to do so have the option to highlight their brand as a disability inclusive employer free of cost.

    What type of businesses and/or organizations can submit their successful practices?

    All businesses and organizations across the globe can apply, regardless of size, nature, and scale of operations.

    They may have in place a well-established policy, or guideline that includes specific steps to be taken for recruitment of persons with disabilities; they also may have hired persons with disabilities without any formal policy in place, and have experimented good practices to share for potential replication.

    What kind of practices can be shared?

    These good practices can relate to any step of the recruitment cycle, from identifying the hiring need to the induction of the new employee. They may be formally documented or informally practiced.

    How to apply?

    The study will be led from June to early September, leading to a publication by the end of 2020.

    • Step 1: Organizations can complete a survey regarding their good practices by following the link below
    • Step 2: All good practices received will be reviewed by a multi stakeholder committee who will choose 15 best practices to highlight. The Committee will be made up of the Michelin Corporate Foundation members, HI members, Disabled persons’ organizations representatives and labor experts.
    • Step 3: The owners of the practices selected will be interviewed to document and collect additional information about their good practice and its impact. We will get in contact with the selected practices in August 2020

    Answer the survey in English.

    Answer the survey in French.

    Answer the survey in Spanish.

    For more information, please contact Chin-Lu Guidotti, Humanity & Inclusion's Graduate Intern, at [email protected].


  • signed up on Sign up | Videos, stories, and the latest news 2020-07-01 14:38:53 -0400

  • signed up on Sign up | Videos, stories, and the latest news 2020-07-01 14:38:50 -0400

  • COVID-19 in Pakistan | Distributing food and keeping vulnerable families safe

    As of June 29, more than 206,500 people have contracted COVID-19 in Pakistan, a country with one of the world’s most highest daily infection rates. Pakistan has not implemented lockdown measures, which makes the situation particularly concerning.

    Humanity & Inclusion donors are assisting the most vulnerable individuals, including Afghan refugees. Their generosity has enabled distributions of food kits, as well as hygiene and prevention kits, to families who need it most in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Peshawar and Peshawar districts. Donors have placed such essential supplies in the homes of 1,840 families.

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    Teams are sharing information with Pakistani children and their parents about the risks of COVID-19 and how to stay safe. We’re also spreading awareness messages in Afghan refugee camps and making sure that health professionals working with vulnerable populations know how to protect themselves and the individuals they work with.

    In the video below, Angelina Robinson, Humanity & Inclusion's Director in Pakistan, tells the story of a beneficiary who could not take her sick child to the hospital due to her disability and the ongoing pandemic.

    Focus on the most vulnerable 

    As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, Humanity & Inclusion donors ensure that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--they need to stay healthy. Learn more about Humanity & Inclusion's vast COVID-19 response.

    Begin a monthly gift today to help sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

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  • published Help victims of conflict 2020-06-23 14:40:24 -0400

    Help victims of conflict

    Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaign in places where "standing tall" is no easy task

    Over the past four decades, Humanity & Inclusion has evolved into the world's most comprehensive humanitarian mine action organization, working to prevent accidents through education and clearance, and to provide steadfast support the victims.

    Jemerson, 12, from Colombia, holds his prosthetic arm after losing it in a mine explosion.

    When you support Humanity & Inclusion, you help: 

    • Ensure victims can recover from their injuries both physically and mentally;
    • Clear remnants of war so that families can live without fear, in safety;
    • Educate the local population, especially children, how to spot, avoid, and report the weapons they find.

    Please help victims of conflict.
    Make a gift today.

    Share our critical, life-saving petition

    Together, as a community of compassion, we have the power to shift policies that can save and protect innocent lives. Share our petition with your friends  so they can join you in the fight to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas for good.

    Donate

  • published Demand the U.S. to stop using landmines 2020-06-23 14:19:54 -0400

    Demand the U.S. to stop using landmines

    Target: U.S. President, Donald Trump

    Humanity & Inclusion needs your help. On January 31, President Donald Trump reversed an Obama Administration policy, and decided to allow the U.S. military to again use landmines in conflicts around the world. 

    More than 70% of landmine victims are civilians. In 2018, landmines killed 3,059 and injured 3,837 people. 54% of civilian casualties were CHILDREN. With landmines impacting communities in more than 60 countries and territories, the danger is very real.

    164 countries have signed on to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. In 1997, the U.S. participated in the Ottawa process to ban landmines, but never adopted or signed it. 

    50,405 signatures
    Add signature

  • published Welcome to our community! 2020-06-23 14:16:36 -0400

    Welcome to our community!

    We're so happy to have you!

    Now that you're signed up, you've got the power to inspire your friends and family to follow your lead by joining Humanity & Inclusion or becoming a donor. Send them this link to join today and learn more about what we’re doing in nearly 60 countries by visiting our news page. 

    Keep up with us! 

    Never miss an update. Be sure to like Humanity & Inclusion on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 


  • signed up on Sign up | Videos, stories, and the latest news 2020-07-01 14:38:46 -0400

  • published Thank you! 2020-06-23 14:12:58 -0400

    Thank you!

    Thank you for making a gift today. Your generosity and commitment make it possible to keep civilians safe when conflict is on their doorstep.

    We hope you’ll take time to learn more about the values that drive this critical work. You can do that right here on our website by exploring our history, global footprint (where), and award. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Thank you for being a part of our community!


  • Burkina Faso | COVID-19 and its impact on Sonia’s future

    When Sonia was two-years-old, she contracted meningitis, causing her to have hearing loss and blindness and one eye. Today, the 19-year-old attends a college that is adapted to her specific needs, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Sonia is in her third year, studying for a diploma in hospitality. Once she’s finished with her studies, she hopes to open her own restaurant. But like many other students with disabilities, she’s concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic will affect her plans for the future.

     

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    Living in poverty

    Sonia lives with her mother and seven brothers and sisters nearly 19 miles from the country's capital, Ouagadougou, where she studies hospitality. During the academic year, she lives with a host family next to her college.

    Her family is extremely poor. Sonia's mother grows vegetables on a plot of land and breeds a few animals. She extracts sand and gravel, and sells it in the city. Her brothers and sisters work in the fields. During breaks from school, Sonia helps take care of the peanut crop.

    Attending college and learning a trade

    Sonia will soon earn her diploma in hospitality, but her classes have been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her school was closed for two months and now she is worried about her future. "It's difficult for a hard-of-hearing person like me to find a job because it’s not easy to communicate,” Sonia says. “When people don't understand what you're saying, or when they think you can't understand, they automatically pigeonhole you without thinking about what you are capable of."

    Sonia often struggles to communicate with her host family in Ouagadougou. The family goes the extra mile to make her feel welcome, but they find it difficult to communicate because no one in the family knows sign language.

    Obstacles to self-reliance

    Living in a large city with heavy traffic is a challenge for Sonia. She's afraid to travel without help. “I find it frightening when I move around by myself, especially on a bike, because of my disability. If someone blows their horn, I can't hear it and my vision is also very limited. I can ride my bike in the village, but in the city, it's very difficult for me.”

    School closure: future in jeopardy?

    Schools and colleges were closed for two months to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and have only just reopened. Sonia's was no exception.

    “I’m wondering how the college closure is going to impact on my future. I have to take an exam this year and I don't want to miss it. I'm trying very hard to succeed. My future depends on this college. I really need my diploma. Besides, I miss my courses and my classmates!"

    After her diploma, Sonia plans to make her dream a reality by setting up and managing a small restaurant.

    Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

    As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

    Begin a monthly gift today to help sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Become a monthly donor


  • New report | Yemen and explosive weapons: A death sentence for civilians

    Bombing in populated areas has wiped out decades of development in Yemen, according to a new Humanity & Inclusion report, “Death Sentence to Civilians: The Long-Term Impact of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in Yemen.”

    Download report

    In five years of war, Yemen has experienced every manner of explosive weapons—aerial bombs and missiles, artillery, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and much more. The explosions destroy bridges, ports, roads, hospitals, water systems, and generate long lasting civilian harm. When explosive weapons strike roads and bridges, they greatly increase the time it takes to re-supply cities. Such damage cuts deeply into food and water access, and has negative effects on population health.

    “Bombing urban areas is a slow and silent health crime,” says Alison Bottomley, Advocacy Advisor for Humanity & Inclusion. “Vital medical health structures are being wiped out: 50% of health facilities can no longer fully function, reducing the country's medical and health-care capacity by half. Repetitive bombing of medical facilities and the destruction of sewage systems is decimating Yemen’s health infrastructure, encouraging the return of water-related diseases.”

    The report highlights six case studies, showing the extent and impact of such bombings. The effects of the Hodeidah port bombing in 2015 can still be felt today. This single event triggered major, ongoing disruptions to the supply of basic goods, and resulted in steep price hikes for essential items, such as food. 

    In fact, up to 600 civilian infrastructures were destroyed or damaged each month in 2018, according to the Humanitarian Needs Overview. In a country where 24.1 million people (three quarters of the population) need humanitarian aid, such damages only exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.

    Fifty percent of medical facilities no longer function, while 19.7 million people are in need of healthcare and 17.8 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation. The economic blockade and disruption to the economy have inflated the cost of food and fuel.

    With social and medical services disorganized and further weakened, the population is left acutely exposed in health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. “Entire populations—especially displaced people—are extremely vulnerable and have the least access to the health, water, and sanitation services they need to protect themselves from COVID-19,” Bottomley adds.

    Civilian harm

    Explosive weapons killed or injured nearly 16,300 people in Yemen between 2015 and 2018, according to the organization Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). About 80% of them were civilians. When explosive weapons were used in populated areas in Yemen, AOAV found that 95% of casualties were civilians.

    “Bombing and shelling in Yemen kills and injures civilians on the spot,” Bottomley adds. “It also has a lingering and long-term impact for generations of people that will survive the war. If the war in Yemen were to end today, people would still have to bear the brunt of destroyed roads, bridges, hospitals and harbors. Even before the conflict, Yemen had insufficient health, water, and transportation infrastructure. Access to basic goods, including medicine and basic services, is much more limited now.”

    Extensive bombing of populated areas has set Yemen back 21 years, according to the 2019 UNDP report, Assessing the Impact of War on development in Yemen. That’s a whole generation. Yemen will not be able to bear the appalling cost of reconstruction, or even the vital decontamination of explosive remnants of war that will be necessary prior to any reconstruction.

    Diplomatic process to end bombing in urban areas

    Humanity & Inclusion, as a co-founding member of International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), is working with States to develop a strong political declaration to end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas and to ensure support to the victims of these weapons.

    Negotiations for a political declaration to end the human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas started in Vienna on October 1-2, 2019. Two rounds of negotiations took place in Geneva during November 2019 and February 2020 and will be followed by another round of consultations later in 2020. This diplomatic process will be finalized with a political declaration that will be opened for endorsement.

    So far, the U.S. has sent a delegation to meetings about the political declaration, but has opposed the political declaration.

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  • Colombia & Peru | Assisting thousands of Venezuelan refugees amidst COVID-19

    Since 2013, Venezuela has experienced its worst economic, political, and social crisis in 45 years. This has limited access to health care, sanitary facilities and food, and significantly increased humanitarian needs. At least 4.7 million Venezuelans have fled to countries around the world, including 1.8 million to Colombia and 1 million to Peru. Many have also taken refuge in Ecuador and Brazil. Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are providing emergency assistance to the most vulnerable individuals.

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    Psychological support and rehabilitation

    Since April 2019, Humanity & Inclusion has been providing psychological support to nearly 4,000 people in the Maicao transit center in Colombia which is run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the border with Venezuela.

    Humanity & Inclusion, in partnership with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Pastoral Social (Caritas Colombia), provides rehabilitation care for 400 people, including people with disabilities, older people and indigenous groups. In addition, we provide technical support, such as training to local rehabilitation organizations, and help organize social cohesion activities, including sports, for Colombians and Venezuelans in order to promote peaceful understanding between communities.

    COVID-19 in Colombia

    During the COVID-19 crisis, Humanity & Inclusion’s teams have continued to carry out some activities in the Maicao centre. Our psychologists have organized remote psychological support and rehabilitation sessions via videos and WhatsApp. We've also provided families with information on how to protect themselves from the pandemic.

    Essential support in Medellín

    Humanity & Inclusion is supporting more than 2,000 Venezuelans in Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia, in conjunction with Medellín city council. Our teams provide them with psychological support by organizing one-to-one and group sessions, and help them complete legal formalities to access basic services such as health care. We also organize sports and cultural activities to strengthen the social cohesion and social and cultural inclusion of Venezuelans in Medellín. Our teams run similar activities in Bogota and Barranquilla on the Atlantic coast.

    Training other organizations to ensure inclusion for all

    In Colombia, we’re training 30 members from other national organizations to help ensure that they take into account the needs of the most vulnerable individuals when implementing their own projects. In May 2020, following an assessment of the humanitarian aid needs of Venezuelan refugees in Peru, we launched inclusive trainings for organizations located in the country, so they too can ensure their response is inclusive for all.   

    Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

    As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

    Begin a monthly gift today to help sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Become a monthly donor


  • COVID-19 in Rwanda | Leaving no one behind, including students with disabilities

    Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda by distributing awareness-raising messages, handing out masks and food, providing online therapy sessions, and adapting online educational courses for students, particularly for those with disabilities.

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    Prevention and awareness

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on people living in Rwanda, where Humanity & Inclusion has worked since 1994.

    Our teams have adapted activities where we operate, including refugee camps in the eastern province of Nyabiheke. We’re distributing awareness-raising messages on the risks of the virus and its transmission among refugees. In addition, we’re sharing information about how to protect oneself by washing hands, staying at home, and refraining from touching the face. Our teams are also distributing water basins, soap, and other hygiene items.  

    Distribution of food

    Humanity & Inclusion is distributing bags of flour to parents of children with disabilities in the Mahama refugee camp in Eastern Province to help prevent malnutrition. We also handed out food and protective masks to more than 330 families of people with epilepsy in Rubavu district.

    Online therapy sessions

    Our teams of psychologists have been conducting online counseling sessions which help provide psychological support to the many individuals who are affected by the lockdown.

    Inclusive education at home

    Schools in Rwanda have been closed since March 16, and will not reopen until September. Humanity & Inclusion’s inclusive education team is helping to promote access to school for children with disabilities by having school lessons broadcast on television, complete with sign language interpreters. We’re also supplying printed learning aids in Braille and in large print, so that students with visual disabilities can access materials. In addition, we developed lessons that are adapted to the needs of students with intellectual disabilities. These lessons are then broadcast on the radio and television.

    Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

    As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

    Begin a monthly gift today to help sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Become a monthly donor


  • COVID-19 in Rwanda | Distributing food to Rwandans who need it most

    The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on people living in Rwanda, where Humanity & Inclusion has worked since 1994. Our teams have adapted activities where we operate. In the district of Rutsiro, we're distributing food so that families have enough to eat during the lockdown. We’re also providing other supplies to help individuals protect themselves and their families from the coronavirus.

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    Humanity & Inclusion has also distributed bags of flour to parents of children with disabilities in the Mahama refugee camp in Eastern Province to help prevent malnutrition and to strengthen their immune systems.

    At the end of May, we also provided food and protective masks to more than 330 families of people with epilepsy in the Rubavu district.

    Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

    As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

    Begin a monthly gift today to help sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Become a monthly donor


  • Clubfoot | Early detection becomes a ray of hope!

    When a couple in Jajarkot, Nepal welcomed their first baby boy, Pascal, they couldn’t have been happier. Like most new parents, they experienced their fair share of worries. When they started noticing that their baby’s feet had some kind of abnormalities, they became increasingly concerned and worried that he may never be able to walk.

    Neighbors and relatives would show sympathy to Pascal’s parents. But at times, they would blame his mother for his disability, stating that it was due to something bad she may have done in her previous life.

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    Pascal’s parents belong to a marginalized community who make clothes as a way to earn a daily living. When Pascal was two or three months old, he caught a viral flu and was taken to the nearby health post for treatment. While there, a health worker noticed that his feet did not look like they typically would at that age, but didn’t know what exactly was wrong. With a lack of knowledge on clubfoot, the health worker hesitated for proper counseling and sent the baby home after receiving treatment for the flu. Pascal’s parents thought that his feet might self-correct as he grew.

    One day, a female community health volunteer met Pascal while visiting the community. When she noticed his feet, she recalled learning about clubfoot in an early detection training provided by Humanity & Inclusion, with support from USAID.

    Shortly after, she identified Pascal as having bilateral clubfoot and helped counsel his parents, sharing with them, what she had learned from her training. That was the ray of hope Pascal’s parents needed.

    c_HI__Humanity-_-Inclusion's-Smirti-with-a-beneficary-who-has-clubfoot.jpg

    With her expertise, she is helping them understand the importance of early detection, and referred him to a nearby health post where the trained health worker confirmed the case to be bilateral club foot.. “Thanks to early detection training, I was provided with the knowledge about clubfoot and when identified at an early and timely matter, a child’s feet can be corrected, ensuring a better quality of life,” the trained health worker says.

    The child was then referred to the specialized center for intervention.  

    After getting to the specialized center, Pascal’s father saw many other children with clubfoot who were also undergoing treatment. Being able to talk with other parents gave him a better understanding of clubfoot and the importance of early intervention. After six-month-old Pascal was assessed by the specialist, he was fitted with a specialized plaster cast to help move the feet into proper alignment. After his cast was removed, his parents took him home.

    Recently, Pascal has been provided with a brace to help ensure that his feet don’t revert back--protocol in managing cases like Pascal’s. Frequent check ins are also important factors during the rehabilitation phase. Parents are counseled to visit the center within three months after the final session of cast has been removed. 

    Pascal’s parents are very grateful for the early detection training that the Humanity & Inclusion health worker and female community health volunteers participated in. The skills that she and other staff learned from the training help ensure that more children like Pascal can live full, independent lives.

    Through this pilot project funded by USAID, Humanity & Inclusion trained 159 health workers and 205 female community health volunteers to detect different types of disabilities on children five years old and younger.  

    c_HI__Humanity-_-Inclusin's-Smriti-leading-a-training-of-female-health-workers-in-Nepal.jpg


  • COVID-19 | Leaving no one behind, including children with disabilities

    This story originally appeared on Global Campaign for Education

    The unprecedented impact of the COVID -19 pandemic across the world is well documented, including its negative effect on education systems, learners, and communities. But marginalized groups, such as children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable if there are prolonged school closures, and when schools reopen.

    Dishita is a 10-year-old girl and lives in Nepal. Because she has Autism, she relies very heavily on routines, and she finds it hard to understand why she has to stay at home all the time now. This change to her educational routine is also making life much more challenging for Dishita’s mother, the main breadwinner.

    Children with disabilities face increased risks, as they are likely to be more affected (1) by reduced access to prevention and support measures. School closures also lead to disruptions in daily routines which can be particularly difficult for many children with developmental disabilities and cause significant pressure on their families and caregivers, who require additional support. (2)

    Schools closures, impacting over half of the world’s population of school children, not only disrupt learning, but also access to food programs, social support, personal assistance or medical care, which are often available through schools. Without the protective and social environment of schools and the services associated with it, children are more exposed to violence and vulnerability. And this has the potential to be for a prolonged period of time especially in areas where it will be harder to control the spread of the disease. (3)

    In the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, the closure of temporary learning centres means that many children will not be receiving critical daily healthy meals. Some school systems have set up takeaway meals; others are advocating for cash transfers or voucher systems that would allow families to purchase food normally provided by schools. (4)

    Girls and boys with disabilities often live in some of the poorest families, face discrimination in their communities and are not prioritised in terms of education. The risk of exclusion is even higher in this time of crisis. Children with disabilities are also more likely to drop out of school than their peers – and there is a real risk that those who leave school now may not return in the long-term. (5)

    Alongside other actors, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) and its partners are supporting national and local authorities to ensure that children with disabilities are prioritised in public initiatives to target the most marginalised groups. For example, it is crucial that any education cluster contingency plans promote active learning solutions and are inclusive, child-friendly, and accessible for all children.

    Most countries, including low and middle income countries (i.e. Rwanda, Malawi and Somalia) (6), are trying to put in place home schooling options, either through online alternatives, sending work home to the children via schools, or by radio or television transmission, internet platforms or a mixture of these approaches. For example, in Rwanda, HI are supporting the government to make sure that scripts and lessons for television programmes are developed in an inclusive way, following inclusive education principles, and ensuring that sign language interpreters are also part of the broadcasts.

    While considering alternative provision to education during this pandemic, reasonable accommodations and accessibility measures should be provided, to support the individual needs of children with disabilities. For example, children who are deaf should be able to access the same information as is provided on a radio broadcast such as access to written materials, or video options with sign language.

    There are also a number of open source distance learning options that are possible to use offline such as Kolibri, which provides access to an openly licensed educational content library.  Kolibri is compatible to be used with software such as screen readers, to support learners who are blind for example. UNESCO’s compilation of specific distance learning solutions gives a range of options, and there is also a wealth of useful resources at INEE , including some specific recommendations about distance learning for children with disabilities.

    Children with intellectual disabilities must also be considered, by ensuring that the content of the lessons is appropriate for them, delivered at a speed they can understand and follow, and their learning should be supported as much as possible (7).

    When schools were closed during the Ebola outbreak in 2015, in Sierra Leone, HI was involved in supporting radio lessons by mobilising community-based rehabilitation volunteers to support learners   with intellectual disabilities in small groups. Such close proximity between groups of individuals is difficult in many countries at present, but in the post- acute phase, this kind of approach could be helpful to allow learners to understand content better. At the moment, individual support to the most vulnerable families, is being provided, to help with home-based learning.

    SDG 4 sets the commitment to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, including persons with disabilities. The global review of SDG 4, in 2019, showed that the world is not at all on track to deliver on its education commitments by 2030. The call to focus on equity must now be prioritised for targets to be met. At least 50% of children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries were already out of school before the pandemic. (8)  The COVID-19 crisis is negatively affecting the schooling of all children and young people, especially vulnerable groups, thus jeopardizing the SDG 4 promise even more than before.

    The unprecedented scope and gravity of this crisis calls for international solidarity and a coordinated and ambitious response at global level. Civil society organisations, teachers, learners and families should now join together to call for quality and inclusive education both during and beyond this crisis. HI has joined wider education advocacy on COVID 19, at national and global levels (for example, via a national coalition in Uganda (9) and within the Global Campaign for Education and global partners). It is essential to mobilise adequate political will, technical resources, and funding to support accessible forms of distance learning, investment in teacher training and sufficient funds for innovative, accessible technology.

    Funding for inclusive education is needed now, more than ever before.

    Written by:

    Valentina works as an advocacy officer at Humanity & Inclusion (HI), focusing on the topics of inclusive education and rehabilitation in health systems. Prior to joining HI, she worked in the fields of advocacy and project management for different NGOs and networks (including Youth for Understanding, Tostan, and the International Diabetes Federation), both in Europe and overseas. She has academic background in human rights and international development.

    Julia is a Global Inclusive Education Specialist and Team Leader for Education projects, at Humanity & Inclusion.  She is a co –chair of the Inclusive Education Task group in the International Disability and Development Consortium, and an active member of the Global Campaign for Education UK. She has 18 years’ professional experience including overseas experience in the education development sector, working in Nigeria and Uganda as a teacher trainer and lecturer with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), supporting the development of inclusive schools and previously working as a speech and language therapist in education settings.  She has an academic background in International development with a focus on disability and Inclusive Education.

    1. INEE, UNICEF, Save the Children, Plan International, Humanity & Inclusion, Finnish Church Aid, ‘Learning must go on: Recommendations for keeping children safe and learning, during and after the COVID-19 crisis’, April 2020.
    2. UNESCO, How is the Coronavirus affecting learners with disabilities?
    3. UNESCO, Coronavirus School Closures
    4. Kolibri
    5. UNESCO
    6. INEE
    7. IDDC, ‘IDDC Inclusive Education Task Group response to COVID-19’, 6th April 2020.
    8. Education Commission, ‘The Learning Generation Report : Investing in education for a changing world’, 2016.
    9. AWYAD, AVSI, Catholic Relief Services, Finn Church Aid, Humanity & Inclusion, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service, Norwegian Refugee Council, PALMCorps, Plan International, Save the Children, Street Child, Tutapona, War Child Holland, Windle International Uganda, ZOA, ‘COVID-19 response in Uganda: Keep children learning and safe while schools are closed’, 27th March 2020.

     


  • COVID-19 in Central African Republic | Ensuring the most vulnerable are not left behind

    Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world that is already confronted by one of the worst humanitarian crises. On top of everything else, the country now faces the threat of COVID-19. Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are working to ensure people with disabilities and vulnerable individuals who are at risk of exclusion are included in the crisis response.

    “CAR is already experiencing a serious humanitarian crisis,” explains Perrine Benoist, Humanity & Inclusion’s operations officer in CAR. “The country has been racked by civil war for seven years. More than a quarter of the population was displaced by violence in 2013. The east of the country is currently the worst affected. Various highly active armed groups continue to hold sway. This regularly displaces people, which could worsen the pandemic.”

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    “The civil war is gradually chipping away at local support networks. This is really worrying because many people are highly vulnerable to the new humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The people assisted by our teams—displaced, older or isolated people, people with disabilities or individuals with chronic illnesses, some of whom do not speak the country’s majority languages, and the poorest people who live in dire conditions—are among the most vulnerable.”

    Against this background, our teams are working to improve awareness messages and the need for community involvement. We’re working harder than ever to ensure the most vulnerable are prepared and know how to protect themselves. We’re also providing support to local actors, authorities and organizations, to help build their capacity to monitor and prevent infections. This is done in coordination with the national crisis unit.

    Humanitarian assistance for all

    “During a conflict or mass displacement, people with disabilities are often left behind and forgotten in needs assessments or aid planning. The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic in CAR, added to the existing humanitarian crisis, means they face even more obstacles than usual. Long distances, an environment that makes travel difficult and poor access to information can, for example, prevent them from accessing food distribution points or hygiene kits,” Benoist adds. 

    In a situation made worse by COVID-19, people with disabilities, particularly the most dependent who have a sensory or intellectual impairment or who require regular care, a lack of information, difficulties accessing services and added stigma, can lead to communities to stop taking care of them. This can prove fatal. A study by Humanity & Inclusion in CAR revealed that 43% of people with disabilities face discrimination when accessing care and social services and humanitarian aid.

    However, people with disabilities are not the only ones to face this problem. Many other groups risk exclusion, including older people and displaced people, many of them destitute, and the chronically ill. As a result, we work at multiple levels, taking a highly integrated approach to raise the awareness of other actors to help ensure the most vulnerable individuals are systematically included in all assistance services, including emergency response.

    Inclusive messages and actions

    Humanity & Inclusion’s COVID-19 awareness-raising and prevention actions are designed to ensure that no one is left behind. We adapt our messages to each vulnerable group—people over the age of 60, members of Organizations for People with Disabilities (OPDs or DPOs)—so they pass on these messages to their own networks in turn. HI visits people’s homes to raise awareness of hygiene and basic personal precautionary measures that help prevent the spread of the virus. They also train community representatives, members of young people’s organizations, women and people with disabilities to teach basic precautionary measures and best practices to members of their networks.

    Logistical support

    Our logistics teams transport humanitarian aid at no cost and uses this opportunity to make road haulers aware of basic precautionary measures as they frequently pick up supplies in Cameroon—a country which is greatly affected by the virus.

    Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

    As of May 27, we count 171 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

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  • COVID-19 in Bangladesh | Adapting activities in Rohingya camps

    Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are concerned about COVID-19 spreading in overcrowded camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, which have a population density of 40,000 people per sq. km. It is incredibly difficult to social distance under these conditions, and the situation could deteriorate quickly.

    Due to the coronavirus, humanitarian organizations are much less active in the camps. Humanity & Inclusion has adapted its work in order to assist the most vulnerable individuals—people with disabilities, older people, and isolated women and children.

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    We’ve continued organizing rehabilitation sessions and providing psychological support to people living in the camps in compliance with safety guidelines, such as wearing masks and social distancing. We’re also providing refugees with awareness messaging on the virus.

    Combating rumors 

    Some people in the camps believe that prayer or a special herbal tea can help protect them from the virus. Others fear that they will be captured or killed if catch the illness. Humanity & Inclusion’s teams provide them with information on COVID-19 and help raise their awareness on the pandemic in order to better protect themselves.

    Reducing stress

    Humanity & Inclusion’s teams and voluntary workers provide psychological support to people in need. They help individuals manage stressful situations and provide personal support, including to women who are experiencing difficulties because they feel isolated or anxious.

    We also run protection activities in refugee camps by assessing and reporting safety incidents in the camp, and by identifying people who need support and referring them to relevant organizations.

    Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

    As of May 20, we count 166 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

    Begin a monthly gift today to help sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

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  • COVID-19 in Gaza | Lockdown disrupts injured dad's recovery

    COVID-19 in Gaza means more isolation and despair for people with disabilities as aid and services for them have been suspended. This is especially true for Ihab, a father of two.

    Ihab lives with his wife, 4-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old son in a small house in Gaza. In 2019, as he was selling seeds and cold drinks, violence erupted at a demonstration. Ihab was caught in the attack and both of his legs were injured. The lockdown measures put in place due to COVID-19 complicates his recovery. Humanity & Inclusion’s team recently checked in on Ihab. Here’s what he told us:

    The injury changed my life completely. It’s been one year, and I am still in pain with medication and have very limited mobility. I can only walk with crutches. I'm stressed and nervous. I think often of my future and my family. How I can support them and earn money to meet essential needs? I'm still a young guy and I can't walk more that 100 meters due to the injury.

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    Loss of income

    The situation worsened after the lockdown. Markets shut down, so now I can’t sell chickens that I raise on the roof of my house. The chickens have become too big and now, no one will buy them. How will I reimburse my loans and debts?

    Fear of the virus

    I became afraid to leave the house to avoid the spread of the virus among my family. I spend all day at home. I’m depressed, nervous, and spending a lot of time thinking of my future and my family. I used to spend time with my friends or family who visited me at home. They can no longer come, and now I feel isolated.

    Rehabilitation services via WhatsApp

    In-person rehabilitation services have  been suspended. I receive rehabilitation care from Humanity & Inclusion’s partners by phone, which includes physical therapy and wound dressing. They provide me with the dressing materials and I perform it at home and they monitor any complications.

    I am in pain when I do the session myself and don't trust my skills even though I'm trained and monitored by the teams. I'm afraid that the wound will get infected. Going to the rehabilitation center was a good opportunity to meet people, and to talk and express my feelings. Now that has come to a stop, and I’m totally depressed.

    Hygiene against COVID

    The easiest measure for me is to stay home and keep social distancing. I don't have money to purchase the essential needs, so cleaning materials and disinfectants are not priority for me. I have a small water tank. When I sweep the floor, wash clothes, have a shower and wash dishes, it uses all of the water for the day.

    Isolation and depression

    My life became even more difficult after COVID-19. I'm feeling depressed and worried about the future for myself and my family. I’m worried about the impact of the injury on my future and the ability to join any work. I'm afraid that the relationship between me and my wife will worsen more and more since I can't meet the essential need of her and the kids.

    I miss meeting people, especially the outreach team, and the services I used to receive after the injury to improve my physical and psychological condition.

    Humanity & Inclusion works to protect the most vulnerable 

    As of May 15, we count 166 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

    Begin a monthly gift today to help sustain this work and reach as many people as possible.

    Become a monthly donor


  • published Accessibility Statement 2020-05-13 14:59:09 -0400

    Accessibility Statement

    We’re committed to accessibility for all

    Humanity & Inclusion is committed to making our website as accessible as possible to people with disabilities, including those with visual, hearing, cognitive and motor disabilities. We're constantly working toward improving the accessibility of our website to ensure we provide equal access to all of our users.

    We always make sure that our website follows accessibility best practices by following the principles of universal design. This ensures the site is flexible and adaptable to different users’ needs or preferences and is accessible through a variety of different technologies, including mobile devices or assistive technologies.

    We work diligently to follow WebAIM’s Principles of Accessible Design, and also try to help improve the accessibility of our website for users with disabilities. Wherever possible, the hi-us.org site will adhere to level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).

    We don't like to make mistakes, but we are human after all. If you spot something on our site that is not accessible, please send us an email at ReachOut.usa.org, call us on (301) 891-2138, or send us a letter at 8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 420, Silver Spring, MD 20910.