Expertise: Microfinance and Livelihoods Development, Civil Society Development
In February 2015, World Education received funding from USAID to implement the Kann Let Program Victim Assistance and Disability Project in Kayah State. This project successfully worked with 83 landmine survivors, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and their family members to increase household income and economic opportunities, to promote access to services and to increase civil society’s understanding of disability inclusive development. In addition to providing financial and training support to PWDs and their families, WE worked with local organizations and government staff to their build their capacity to meet the needs of PWDs. WE helped to organize, coordinate, and facilitate quarterly Victim Assistance and Disability Working Group meetings with the Department of Social Welfare (DSW), which provided an opportunity for stakeholders to meet and discuss how issues related to PWDs, learn how to implement development projects that were inclusive, and network with PWDs in attendance.
In order to increase the information available about PWDs in Kayah State and their needs, WE collected data on PWDs in Kayah State, with the goal of better understanding who the PWDs were and where they lived, how disability impacted their lives, and to identify gaps in services. Through the assistance of local community based organizations (CBOs), data was collected on 527 PWDs from 188 villages across all seven townships in Kayah State. Data collected though the survey not only assisted WE in implementation of the project but also will give local stakeholders and government officials concrete data to use when addressing PWD needs and policy making.
Throughout the project, WE worked closely with PWDs and their networks to mobilize at the community level and bring more awareness to the inclusion of PWDs within their communities. This included PWDs establishing seven disability self-help groups (SHGs) with three SHGs receiving livelihood start-up kits for income generation projects, with income going toward supporting PWDs in their communities. WE also served as an advocate for PWDs by participating in meetings and advocacy events as well as helping to organize and support events for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Loikaw.