This study is informed by a rights-based approach to disability issues and examines the role PWDs play in these issues so as to introduce a positive change to their current status. The rights-based approach is based on the fact that any change to the reality of PWDs depends on the roles of these people themselves in working towards materialising equality.
The research initiative stems from the experience of the Empowerment of People with Disabilities to Claim their Rights and Entitlements Project. Starting in September 2010, the project was implemented over a period of 42 months by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) at Birzeit University in partnership with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). In addition to difficult access to public services, this significant exercise sheds light on challenges PWDs face, particularly in marginalised areas. The project team introduced appropriate modifications to ensure PWDs’ effective participation in the project activities. These included adjustment of participants’ houses, provision of assistive devices, and necessary modifications made at the CDS. Working experience in disability issues is a learning method PWDs and relevant disability actors can use. To introduce the desired change in participants’ local communities, advocacy for disability related issues is the hub and goal of this project.
Primarily, this research paper summarises disability-related literature and current situation of disability and advocacy in Palestine. It provides a broader idea of the project and an analysis of data collated during the project life. To assess the changes materialised, databases are compared to data collected in the aftermath of the advocacy phase of the project.