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In a recent review of the 2012 Country Office Annual Reports by UNICEF Disability Section, 85 out of 112 countries reported results on children with disabilities.
Programmes on the inclusion of children with disabilities undertaken by UNICEF country offices cover a range of areas.
47 country offices across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe reported programming on issues related to inclusive education such as school enrolment of children with disabilities, teacher training and inclusive early childhood education.
14 countries, particularly in the Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEECIS) Region mentioned institutionalisation of children with disabilities as a problem and reported work to address the issue.
16 countries across regions reported work on social protection and rehabilitation in support to children with disabilities and their families.
Collection of data and evidence on issues related to children with disabilities was also a key focus area and 32 country offices (including 5 countries in East Asia and Pacific Region) reported work to strengthen information, knowledge and evidence to inform policies and programmes on children with disabilities.
Campaigns and awareness raising initiatives to combat stigma and discrimination faced by children with disabilities was undertaken in 20 countries. The Day of the African Child in 2012 which focussed on children with disabilities provided major opportunities to Country Offices in Africa to bring them to the spotlight.
SPECIFIC EXAMPLES FROM UNICEF COUNTRY OFFICES:
UNICEF assisted the government develop its draft Law on Persons with Disabilities, and undertook a legal analysis of domestic legislation on people with disabilities.
UNICEF also successfully campaigned to improve the legal framework for children with disabilities in the education system.
UNICEF supported research on children with intellectual disabilities and on attitudes towards residential care. These studies resulted in the development of national guidelines on community-based rehabilitation for children with disabilities.
As part of the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, a methodology for tracking out-of-school children with disabilities has been developed and field tested in Cambodia.
Turkey, Mozambique and Uruguay:
Children and adolescents with disabilities are participating in consultations that are contributing to the development of national policy.
UNICEF’s 2012 ‘It’s About Ability’ campaign launched by 100 national and international organisations, set out to tackle negative attitudes towards children with disabilities. Billboards showed them as active members of society.
A year on, the campaign was found to have contributed to an 18 per cent increase in the number of people who consider children with disabilities as equal members of society. Behaviour towards and communication with children with disabilities had also improved.
With UNICEF support, Serbia’s education laws, for example, based on anti-discrimination and the best interest of the child, are encouraging schools to be more inclusive – not by targeting children with disabilities, but rather by dismantling the barriers they face in their everyday lives.
Mozambique, Kenya, Burkina Faso and South Africa:
NGOs, disabled people’s organizations, parents’ groups and local authorities are working together to promote inclusive education and build inclusive capacity.
UNICEF has helped restructure the National Teacher Training System so as to ensure that teachers have the skills and knowledge to address the specific needs of children with disabilities.