My desire for development motivated by my own disability saw me scour a variety of resources for information specific to development and disability. This is when i came across Mobility International USA (MIUSA). An exceptional organization offering leadership and development exchange programs for women with disabilities. Attending any one of MIUSAs workshops would be a dream for any woman from a developing nation, let alone a disabled woman. The networks one would create would be an invaluable resource.
However, getting accepted into any of their programs is extremely difficult due to the competitive application process, not to mention the daunting visa application procedure at the US Embassy.
There is hope though, the US Foreign Policy stresses the importance of women in development and as we strive for a more inclusive society in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I believe this policy is also referring to women with disabilities and the importance of the participation of these women in leadership and decision making positions.
This is an excerpt of a speech delivered by Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the Heinrich Boll Foundation Event in Washington DC on January 19, 2012 which she says “We all know that to ensure sustainable development, among the challenges we need to address are those posed by climate change, natural resource degradation, gender inequality, and the shortcomings of the global economy.
To do this, we need to harness the immense human capacity to innovate and develop solutions to these and related complex, interconnected challenges. And no effort to advance sustainable development will succeed that does not take into account half the world’s population. We’ve known this for some time, but recently, and in large part due to all of you, I believe there is greater awareness of these issues. Momentum is building to not only acknowledge the vital role that women can and must play in building a sustainable future, but the need for action to unlock the potential they represent.
First, we must continue to elevate women’s leadership and participation in key policy bodies. Women should have an equal seat at the table in decision-making processes that impact environmental policies and natural resource investment decisions at all levels of government. From local village councils, to cities, to national planning processes, to international and multilateral development institutions and funds, it is essential that policies and programs be instilled with a spirit of inclusion, innovation, and equal participation of women”.