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Lessons learned from partnerships with organisations of persons with disabilities – read the full report

Posted on: Friday, April 8th, 2022

On 6th April 2022, CBM UK hosted a virtual event to launch the findings from our new report: “We have a key role now”: Lessons learned from partnerships with organisations of persons with disabilities”. Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs), INGOS and development practitioners from across the sector attended to discover what our partners said and how we’re responding as an organisation.

The report shares the outcomes of a listening exercise with 32 OPD partners in 14 countries which was undertaken as part of CBM UK and CBM Global’s commitment to building authentic partnership with, and accountability to, the Disability Movement. We’re proud to share our findings which you can now download:

We are so appreciative for the hugely valuable contribution made by our Disability Movement partners to the report and this event. Our speakers Lucy Nkatha from Kiengu Women Challenged to Challenge Kenya, Emile Vuningabo and Jean Damascene Nsengiyumva from National Union of Disability Organisations in Rwanda (NUDOR) and Irene Ojiugo Patrick-Ogbogu from Disability Rights Advocacy Centre in Nigeria (DRAC) openly shared their experiences, both positive and negative. We are listening hard in order to be better, more equal partners, and ensure we build meaningful and authentic partnerships with OPDs.

In discussion, our four panellists from OPD partners explored what this means to them.

Lucy commented that: “For me, equal partnerships means that we can communicate between the OPDs and development partners. We have a feedback mechanism where we are able to give feedback positively – and get the feedback that is required. Also, it means understanding from both sides; as OPDs, understanding our partner’s work and also them understanding how we work.”

Jean Damascene highlighted thatWe have to create a win-win situation on both sides. In mutual respect, recognising cultures on both sides so that we open up discussions.”

Our OPD partners also gave tangible examples of ways in which international organisations, like CBM, can address some of the challenges OPDs (and other partners) face around organisational strengthening and direct funding.

Emile suggested “The best way to support or strengthen an organisation like OPDs, we need first of all to work with the partner in terms of conducting the organisational capacity assessment to identify the gaps and weaknesses but also the opportunities that an organisation already has. After conducting the assessment we need to have a clear plan. …The plan will help us work together to support and strengthen the organisation in different ways.”

Irene Ojigo voiced a challenge too: “At what point do OPDs begin to also support other local organisations that they work with, that they engage with? One of the best ways to do this… is through sub granting. But we cannot subgrant what we don’t have! And that’s why we keep agitating that at some point we also need to be strengthened enough to access direct funding.”

We were grateful to have input too from Harriet Knowles, Senior Programme Manager in the FCDO Disability Inclusion Team. She has been the lead on OPD consultation for the recently launched FCDO Disability Inclusion and Rights strategy. What they discovered in that process very much aligned with our own report, especially in relation to recent experiences around the effects of COVID-19 and safeguarding. As a result, the FCDO aims to foster greater inclusiveness in the way that they work.

CBM’s next steps

As a result of the findings in the OPD report, we made 23 Commitments at the Global Disability Summit that signal the measures that CBM Global/UK are taking to strengthen its partnerships with Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and engage with the disability movement. You can read CBM’s commitments here (open in new tab).

As part of acting on these commitments, we’re implementing new approaches within programmes and sharing our lessons learned in shifting power and building better partnerships with the sector.

If you or your organisation are interested in learning what disability movement partners have to say about how INGO’s like CBM can work alongside them more effectively, download the full report now.