Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Community-based rehabilitation & UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

An international workshop on "Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR) and UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities" was held in Bangkok (Thailand) in February 2009, as part of the first Asia Pacific CBR Congress. About 80 persons from more than 20 countries participated in this workshop.

The final recommendations of this workshop were as follows:

1. CRPD is a legal instrument and it reinforces the CBR programmes. CRPD is based on the human rights approach and the CBR principles fit in with the CRPD.

2. CBR approach places special importance on working with poor, disadvantaged and discriminated persons in both rural and urban areas and is a key tool in promoting empowerment of persons with disabilities.

3. CBR is a strategy for inclusive development and should be promoted as part of all development efforts. CBR programmes should have a critical self-appraisal if their own activities, organisation and implementation are in line with CRPD. Persons with disabilities should play central role in all the processes of CBR, from planning to implementation to monitoring and evaluation.

4. CBR programmes should work to disseminate CRPD in all communities and among other stakeholders. For working with CRPD, CBR programmes also need to network among themselves.

5. CRPD and other rights-based instruments should be incorporated in all training programmes related to CBR. The regional and national CBR strategies, millennium development goals, other strategies should keep account of CRPD.

6. DPOs and CBR programmes should work together. CBR programmes should facilitate, promote and strengthen DPOs at all levels, with appropriate empowerment activities and instruments. CBR programmes should support networking between DPOs at grassroots level and national level. At the same time, DPOs should support strengthening of CBR programmes.

7. To develop concrete policies on disability, at local and national level, it is necessary building a Disability Action Plan, based on CRPD and involving DPOs in all phase of the process. CBR should be one of the components of Disability Action Plan.

8. Persons involved in CBR programmes, in collaboration with DPOs & disability movements, should continue to advocate in their respective countries for signing and ratifying of UN CRPD and its Optional Protocol.

9. CBR programmes should work together with persons with disabilities & DPOs in advocacy for making the governments accountable in implementation of UN CRPD. CBR programmes have a role in promoting advocacy for making sure that national laws are in line with CRPD.

10. CBR programmes can also support monitoring of implementation of CRPD in the programme areas, based on principle of the art. 33 of CRPD.

11. CBR can play important role in reaching more discriminated groups of persons with disabilities such as women & children, emigrants with disabilities, persons with complex dependency needs, persons who can’t represent themselves, etc. for ensuring that benefits of CRPD reach them.

You can download the full report of the International Workshop on "CBR and UN CRPD" as well as presentations made during this workshop from the AIFO website.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Community-based Rehabilitation and Mental Health

An international workshop on "CBR and Mental Health" was organised just before the First Asia-Pacific CBR Congress held in Bangkok in February 2009. 50 persons coming from 20 different countries had participated in this workshop.

The full report on CBR and Mental Health can be downloaded from AIFO website in Word and PDF formats.

The main conclusions of this workshop were as follows:

Persons with mental illnesses are often surrounded by strong stigma and prejudice. Persons with mental illness and their families are often marginalised. Their human rights are often violated, they may be put into prisons like criminals and many countries have laws that violate their human rights. Some times, persons with mental illness are closed in old institutions and kept in inhuman conditions.

There are few mental health referral services and professionals in many developing countries. Similarly, community mental health programmes are very few and limited. Often persons with mental illness lack access to mental health services and face barriers including difficulties of accessing regular medication.

Many CBR programmes do not include persons with chronic mental illness in their work. There is lack of understanding, knowledge and skills about management of mental illnesses.

There are positive examples of CBR programmes showing great deal of convergence with community mental health programmes. Both are based on human rights approach. CBR is an effective and empowering approach for reaching persons with disabilities including persons with chronic mental illnesses.

There is need to develop capacities of persons with mental illness, their families, communities, primary health care workers and CBR workers about mental illnesses and how can persons manage them more efficiently at community level. CBR can be the vehicle to extend and support the community mental health services. CBR programmes have to make efforts to promote inclusion of persons with mental illness in their work.

CBR programmes work through active participation of persons with disabilities, who are supported to form user groups, self-help groups, peer groups and DPOs. Supporting and promoting user groups of persons with mental illness is an effective way to promote their active participation in the CBR programme. If user groups can play decision making role in all stages of CBR programme from planning, to implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities, programmes can answer their real needs and it is empowering.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Inclusion of Disability in University Training Courses

You download the full publication by AIFO/Italy and Disabled Peoples International (Italy) on a training module to mainstream disability in graduate and post graduate level university courses (PDF format, 800 KB). This document was published in 2008 under the IDDC joint project on "Mainstreaming Disability" co-funded by European Commission.

Here is a brief extract from the introduction to this document:

Centuries of segregation and exclusion have impoverished persons with disabilities who face obstacles and prejudices in all aspects of life and communication; at the same time, society itself lost out in terms of its knowledge of and abilities regarding persons with disabilities, impoverishing itself in its solutions and support modalities towards the full participation of its members in community life. The role of education in the disability field becomes key in building inclusive and participative societies in which everyone can express themselves and exchange capacities and competencies and to build fruitful relationships.

This cultural transformation of the condition of persons with disabilities as been elaborated upon quite rapidly; from 1971 when the UN approved the first resolution on persons with mental retardation to 2006 when the Convention was approved, only 35 years have passed! In many ways, this transformation did not reach the academic world, and so there has arisen the need to develop training modules to introduce the new vision of persons with disabilities in university trainings.


Welcome to this blog on Learning Resources on Community-based rehabilitation (CBR). AIFO, an Italian NGO has been involoved in CBR programmes over the past 20 years and collaborates actively with Disability and Rehabilitation team of World Health Organisation (WHO/DAR).

The purpose of this blog is to introudce you to the different learning resources on CBR, available on the AIFO website.

Online learning resources on AIFO website also include materials on leprosy (including Leprosy Mailing List) and some materials on Primary Health Care & Development.