The Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability

Author: 
JICA

The Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (ACPD) Project with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), launched in 2002, encourages people with disabilities to empower themselves by supporting the capacity of individuals and organizations to network and form coalitions for change with local and regional governments, NGOs, and others. ACPD puts people with disabilities at the centre of its work, supporting their own efforts to empower themselves. It builds bridges between individuals, governments, and the private sector, and aims to promote a barrier-free society that does not discriminate against people with disabilities.

Development results

Results have been achieved in many countries, including the Philippines and Thailand, where the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability has helped to strengthen the relationships between people with disabilities and central and local governments, as well as NGOs and the private sector.

In the Philippines, former participants of the APCD training on Non-Handicapping environments built a network with the National Council on Disability affairs and the United Architects of the Philippines, applying the knowledge acquired in the training. The participants subsequently developed close relations with the Department of Social Welfare with support by the APCD. As a result of this outreach, these three organizations led the adoption of a barrier-free approach to socio-economic infrastructure with other government departments and local governments.

Former participants of APCD trainings have also been empowered to interact with the private sector and lobby for barrier-free economic infrastructure. For example, one training participant worked closely with the president of a private company operating in the finance, banking, and real estate sectors to promote the construction of facilities including shopping malls accessible to people with disabilities. The company also trained its 250,000 employees in barrier-free environments, and trained its guards and parking lot attendants in helping people with disabilities.

In Thailand APCD piloted a project in the Khon Kaen province, where it worked with communities to strengthen their collaboration with local authorities to transform a wide range of community facilities and initiatives to make them friendlier to people with disabilities.

Enhanced performance

APCD was established as a platform to empower people with disabilities to advocate for barrier-free societies and to sensitise policy makers and administrators to the needs of people with disabilities. Its human resource development component comprises training to government officers and to leaders and members of associations of persons with disabilities. APCD also played a facilitator role, offering advice and recommendations to beneficiaries who spearheaded initiatives promoting barrier-free environments in their respective countries. APCD leveraged its facilitating position to strengthen Regional networks, support the transfer of resources from one country to another, and provide a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences.

APCD has invited policy-makers from participating countries to its seminars, where government representatives have shared their experiences and good practices. This knowledge sharing initiative has allowed policy makers to gain an understanding of how improvements can be made in their own countries, compare their countries’ performances against targets, assess the gaps, and identify opportunities for improvement. The learning processes have helped senior officials become more understanding of the needs of people with disabilities, and more committed to addressing such needs.

Today APCD has the reputation and recognition of being an international organization and regional hub for supporting capacities to promote barrier-free socieites.

Support to the capacity development process

National investments

The work in the Philippines has influenced both the central government and local authorities to become more sensitive and respondent to the needs of people with disabilities. For example, the Department of Public Works and Highways prepared a checklist with which to evaluate the accessibility of its facilities. Upon request by the APCD’s training participants, the Department held an advisory meeting that included private companies operating public transport systems to consider options for improving accessibility to primary, middle, and high schools, as well as universities. A special budget allocation to support the implementation of the identified options was agreed.

in Thailand, the Nonthanburi city hall has recognised the capacity and dynamism of the Nonthaburi Independent Living Center, whose goal of changing the conventional wisdom about people with disabilities is underpinned by clear plans and programmes, by supporting the center financially (providing funding for 100,000 baht). The Nonthaburi Independent Living center has advocated the rights of people with disabilities and promoted improved accessibility of socioeconomic infrastructure. A member of the Independent Living Center, a person with disabilities, ran for election, providing a role model of social participation. The Chonburi Independent Living Center called for a non-handicapping environment when the City of Pattaya hosted an international game for disabled persons. The initiative resulted in an increased accessibility of public spaces for people with disabilities.

Development partners’ support

The Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability was established with the cllaboration
of the governments of Thailand and Japan, in connection with the Asia Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993-2002). The Center was endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific as a regional cooperative base for the Decade. with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) In line with the principle of trilateral cooperation, the Center has signed agreements with over 30 government agencies responsible for issues related to disability, along with some 200 associate organizations.

Find out more

Please contact Megushi Nishimura, Social Security Division, Human Development Department, JICA
Email: hmtss@jica.go.jp
Phone: 03-5226-8332
Web: www.jica.go.jp

Year of publication: 
2011
Collection: 
LenCD "Capacity: Results"
Themes and sectors: 
Disabilities

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