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Civil Society Partnerships

UNICEF Image: Kazakhstan, 2010: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Batyrkhan Shukenov speaks at a Special Olympics Kazakhstan sports event.
© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-2523/Giacomo Pirozzi

A vibrant, energised, and effective civil society is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for all children. Collaboration with civil society is critical to the success and sustainability of UNICEF’s efforts to realize the rights of children with disabilities and promote the equity agenda.  Strategic partnerships with civil society support resource mobilization efforts, amplify the impact of equity-focused policy advocacy, strengthen the reach and impact of services and programmes for the worst deprived children and communities, and ensure results are sustainable.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) says: ”States Parties recognize the importance of international cooperation and its promotion, in support of national efforts for the realization of the purpose and objectives of the present Convention, and will undertake appropriate and effective measures in this regard, between and among States and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities.”

With their knowledge of the national political context, numerous social networks, and direct access to communities, civil society organizations have the potential to dramatically strengthen the reach and impact of interventions in child protection, education, health, nutrition, HIV and AIDS, and water and sanitation.

In line with the spirit and principles of the CRPD, UNICEF considers the following measures for the realisation of the rights of people with disabilities through civil society partnerships:

  • Advocate for and facilitate dialogue with civil society organizations (international and national non-Governmental organizations and community-based organizations, civic movements and advocacy groups, trade unions, religious communities and professional voluntary associations) for the realisation of rights of children with disabilities; and promote ratification, implementation and monitoring of the CRPD with governments;

  • Facilitate and support capacity-building of organisations of people with disabilities (DPOs), including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences and training programmes, to effectively advocate for ratification of the CRPD and monitor its implementation, especially with regard to the rights of children with disabilities;

  • Ensure partners cooperate to make development programmes inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities while making sure to engage with DPOs, NGOs and parents’ organisations which have expertise in disability, to leverage results for children with disabilities. Paying attention to promote involvement of children and young people with disabilities in community life, as well as specific efforts to elicit their views and increase their self-esteem and self- reliance.  As an example of the cooperation at global level, in September 2012, a first partner’s forum on children with disabilities and development took place in New York, in which partners came together to discuss and raise awareness about issues facing children with disabilities in development. They made a call upon the child rights movement to increase attention to the needs of children with disabilities and likewise for the disability movement to pay more attention to the needs of children.

Photo Caption: Kazakhstan 2010, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Batyrkhan Shukenov speaks at a Special Olympics Kazakhstan sports event.



From the field

Montenegro's "It's about ability" campaign promotes the inclusion of children with disabilities into society. Story  - Music Video

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