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close this bookSustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)
close this folderSection III: Lobbying, networking and building alliances
close this folderChapter 10: Strategies for lobbying, networking and building alliances
View the documentPWDs are their own principal change agents
View the documentLobbying, advocacy and networking
View the documentBroad alliances
View the documentAction guidelines

Broad alliances

We need a proactive strategy of engagement and confrontation, and not a defensive strategy of (passive) resistance. Co-option into the neo-liberal project of the World Bank, or resistance without engagement are both dangerous. We have to actively engage the state in debate on economic policy and national development.

One issue that the Entebbe Workshop did not consider is the matter of forming broader alliances that go beyond the more immediate concerns of the people with disabilities. Although the issue of Structural Adjustment Programme was considered (see Chapter 3), it did not lead to further discussion on how the PWD movement might join forces With other organs of civil society to do something about SAPs and their generally negative consequences for all vulnerable social groups, including PWDs.

In a world of poor options and scarce resources, alliances may be the easiest way to go global.

At what Levels do we Network and Lobby?

Local Level

National Level

Regional Level

Pan-African Level

International Level

Funding available for lobbying and networking

The ILO representative at the Entebbe Workshop informed the participants that ILO funds were now available for purposes of lobbying and networking, as well as for IGPs and general mobilizational work.

It is important that the issue of forming broader alliances is taken up by the disability movement, not only in relation to the SAPs but more generally in relation to all major social issues that are coming on to the agenda of regional and global conferences - such as the issue of "sustainable development," that of the environment, of population and development, of women and development, of international trade and liberalisation, and so on. We live in changing times. A new epoch is on the horizon. Never before have so many issues hit the global agenda in such dramatic fashion as today. And so the disability movement should reflect on how it is part of that process of global dynamic change.

The Disability Movement needs the support of other lobbying and networking organisations (besides those that specialise exclusively on disability issues) in order to struggle against larger issues that impinge on the lives of the poor and oppressed people the world over. At the same time, the Disability Movement itself, given its global networking infrastructure and decades of struggle against discrimination and prejudice, can make a valuable contribution to struggles of peoples in similar, if not identical, situations.