Our organization in the Philippines have been involved in some of this IFI-funded project including in the consultation activities towards development of new safeguard policies. This happened because Bank Information Center reached out to out network in the Philippines. What we have observed is the lack of knowledge amongst the members of the project team on how to ensure that the project is inclusive of persons with disabilities. Even with the existence of local laws and policies, for example accessibility law, it is not part of the design in the planning, and even if it is in the plan, it is not implemented.
OPDs have competing priorities, oftentimes focused on local concerns. Though we have OPDs working at national level, there is little knowledge amongst OPDs about the role of IFIs in promoting disability-inclusive policies, programs and activities. For instance, if OPDs were part of the bank-financed social protection program like the conditional cash transfer program, the design of the program could have been more inclusive and could have addressed the issue on why so many children with disabilities who are beneficiaries of the program are not in school. On the resettlement project funded by IFIs, despite recognition of the accessibility law in the plan, visit on the project site reveals that none of the project sites implemented the accessibility law. In one project site, the feedback we received suggested that there were no persons with disabilities identified during the mapping of the population that will be affected by the resettlement. However, during the course of the implementation, one beneficiary acquired disability. If only all project adheres to universal design, such problem could be addressed.
Based on my experience, it is important for an international organization such as Bank Information Center, the ADB forum, and hopefully the International Disability Alliance to continue their working as big player in engaging this IFIs. All this organization should build their network in every region and as well as in country level to facilitate linkage of this organizations to IFIs. To support OPDs in their participation. I believe, developing and supporting people with disabilities to work on this is crucial. Otherwise, involvement of OPDs in IFI-funded project will always compete with other priorities. We need to find champion amongst OPDs who could to the work. And to support them on this.