Claire O’Reilly

This is a great discussion prompt, thank you for launching this discussion!

In 2020, Heartland Alliance International partnered with the Iraqi Alliance of Disability Organisations and other local OPDs to conduct research into the experiences of gender based violence for disabled people in Iraq, and barriers they faced in accessing care.

All of the data collectors were persons with disabilities, and I agree with others that this was a positive and vital step. It improved our questions and tools, the quality of the data gathered, and the credibility and applicability of our findings.

I want to add to the discussion that having people with disabilities lead dissemination activities was another key step. Having local people affected by the findings advocate on the results and solutions was very powerful. It was much more engaging than an International NGO telling local policy makers, academics and service providers about what needs to be done.

One spillover benefit of collaborating on dissemination was the opportunity for the INGO to gain experience developing accessible materials, and to see the benefit of them. Heartland Alliance International is now working on making more materials accessible, for example through easy-to-read versions, across its programming.