The first of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals is to “Eradicate Hunger and Poverty.” People who are impoverished are concentrated in developing countries. Moreover, it is widely acknowledged that poverty is strongly intertwined with disability. In fact, approximately twenty percent (20%) of the poorest living in developing countries are said to have a disability of some kind. Such individuals may receive sympathy but not a chance for education or employment, as opportunities of social participation are hindered by prejudice and discrimination. This indicates that unless persons with disabilities are included in the development of the mainstream society, the goal – eradication of hunger and poverty – will not be achieved.
In order to change the current situation and promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, persons with disabilities must generate movements for change, involving their families, friends and organizations. With the recent adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, it is time for persons with disabilities themselves to stand up, form strong networks and strive for the creation of a society wherein every person can enjoy an independent and public life. In order to make this happen, we need to train and produce leaders with disabilities. Based on this understanding, this training program was developed and first implemented in 2011 by JICA.
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This program aims to transmit knowledge and skills to the participant and enable him/her to work towards a better protection of human rights and improved living standards of persons with disabilities in their country/region.
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This program is designed for persons with disabilities who are a middle-ranking officer at their organization with a total of 5 to 20 years of experience in the disability field. In addition, they must demonstrate a clear intention to work for their organization upon returning from Japan.
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In this program, the participant will obtain knowledge and skills through the means of lectures, site visits, workshops and discussions on a wide range of issues related to leadership development. At the end of the training course in Japan, the participant, by making use of newly acquired knowledge and ideas, shall develop Project Plan describing his/her planned activities after going back home. Project Plan should be the first step to tackle problems that his/her home country is facing and improve the situation surrounding persons with disabilities in society. After six (6) months of returning to home country, the participant is required to submit Progress Report to JICA as a final output of this program, reporting on how the planned project is implemented.
Information on the past training courses can be obtained from “Training” pages of the “JICA friends” website (http://www.jicafriends.jp), which was created to facilitate information exchanges among ex-participants of the two training courses – “Leadership Development of Persons with Disabilities” and “Employment Promotion and Realization of Decent Work of Persons with Disabilities.”