The ILO–FEAPD’s twenty-five year successful partnership on disability rights and inclusion in Ethiopia
The ILO and FEAPD have also positively impacted policy and legislation changes in favour of disability rights and inclusion in Ethiopia.
The Federation of Ethiopian Associations of Persons with Disabilities (FEAPD) is a network of six disability focused national associations established in 1996. Its mission is to promote the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia.
The ILO has been a close collaborator and partner to FEAPD since its establishment and over the last two and half decades of FEAPD’s journey, significant progress has been realized in promoting the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Ethiopian society. The ILO partnership with FEAPD started with technical and financial support on organisational development at the early stage of FEAPD.
In early 2000, ILO’s technical support included entrepreneurship development, skills and employment promotion to men and women with disabilities through the Irish Aid Partnership Programme. FEAPD and ILO have also collaborated in advocating for the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities in Ethiopia through project funding from the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD).
In June 2004, with ILO technical support, FEAPD formed a cooperative named “Yenegew Sew” (Tomorrow’s Person) run by persons with disabilities after winning a World Bank Development Market Place (DM) prize of USD 200,000. At its inception, the cooperative employed 250 persons with disabilities whilst providing essential sanitary services in 30 sites in Addis Ababa. Disabled members of “Yenegew Sew” cooperative still operate the sanitary units which used to be run by Addis Ababa Municipality. Presently more than one thousand family members pursue their livelihood from this enterprise.
As a result of the ILO–FEAPD facilitation of injecting seed fund into Gasha Microfinance Institution (MFI), hundreds of women with disabilities were able to run micro businesses. The success of this pilot scheme has encouraged most MFIs to provide financial services to persons with disabilities.
The ILO has used FEAPD’s media outlet; “Biruh Tesfa Radio Programme” to raise public awareness on the rights and the need for inclusion of persons with disabilities in skills, employment, and livelihood development programmes in Ethiopia. It has also enabled FEAPD’s members to participate in inclusive trade fairs and exhibitions in which entrepreneurs with disabilities displayed and sold their products.
The ILO and FEAPD have also positively impacted policy and legislation changes in favour of disability rights and inclusion in Ethiopia by closely working with the Government and relevant stakeholders, including the Proclamation No. 676/2010, Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD).
Presently, FEAPD and the ILO are working together for the effective inclusion of persons with disabilities in the social protection system in Ethiopia in the context of the European Union (EU)-funded Project on “Improving Synergies between Social Protection and Public Finance Management (SP&PFM)”.