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Local to National Community Development

  1. 1. A Social Innovation Approach to Transforming Communities – Local to National Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society’s (IRIS) and the Canadian Association for Community Living Presenter Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development - IRIS
  2. 2. Presentation Format 1. The Problem: social change is slow 3. Example – education attainment of people with disabilities in Canada 5. A Strategy - The local to national community development strategy – can it work for education? 7. How about in your country?
  3. 3. The Problem Research - people with disabilities and educational attainment  nature and prevalence of exclusion and promising practices. Impressive models of inclusive education in Canada But the statistics are not changing...
  4. 4. People with disabilities experience a shortfall in education because they have not, and continue not to be, adequately included and accommodated in the educational system.
  5. 5. The example of children/adults with intellectual disabilities  52% of young adults with an intellectual disability (aged 20 – 29 years) are neither working nor attending school, compared with 12% of those without a disability.  Young adults with intellectual disabilities are five times more likely than those without disabilities to have no formal education certificate.
  6. 6. No education No job  No money! Canadians with disabilities have lower levels of educational attainment than non-disabled Canadians. 25% of non-disabled Canadians are without a high school diploma compared to 37% of those with a disability
  7. 7. Children in exclusive schools ... Research demonstrates that if proper supports are in place to have children with disabilities included in regular classrooms, all students benefit. Yet schools and classrooms are inadequately supported and the system generally resists a truly inclusive school environment.
  8. 8. More inclusion means more students get to know children with disabilities = less bullying… Recent study - 41% children with disabilities felt threatened at school or on the school bus within the past year and more than a third (36%) were assaulted at school or on the school bus.
  9. 9. Reason for lack of progress complex  How funding is given out  Competing priorities of advocacy groups  Weak partnerships  Absence of a sense of solidarity and common vision  Tight fiscal realities.
  10. 10. Successful Community Development  Involves all key sectors, i.e. schools, relevant government bodies, disability organizations Leadership comes from families and self- advocacy groups Equal attention is paid to process and outcome.
  11. 11. UN Millennium Project Report - 2005 The need to scale up arises from the limited impact of pilot projects, or “islands of excellence” amidst a sea of inertia – small projects aimed at local or district levels without a measurable impact on national indicators…
  12. 12. Scaling up ... National scale-up is the process of bringing essential services to most or all the population quickly, equitably, and lastingly… Equality and non-discrimination, ensuring the services reach all of the population, especially the most disadvantaged, are central.
  13. 13. The Approach ... Needs a national framework Rooted in local communities Intentional attempts to build the capacity of local communities People with disabilities lead Work with key local sectors
  14. 14. Multi-level At the same time leveraging multi-level support and influencing broader level policy change.
  15. 15. A community development strategy – rooted in the local community...
  16. 16. What does this really mean? Bring people together from all levels, diverse sectors to have conversations that they typically would not have.
  17. 17. Does child walk or prefer to run? A child with a disability has difficulties going to school due to the attitudes of teachers, school boards and possibly parents who are unable to adapt to students with different needs and learning capacities.
  18. 18. On the individual level People with disabilities and families from that same community are supported in developing self identified, realistic short and long term plans. The framework for these plans matches individual needs and wants with what is actually available or could be made available in the community. Plans are built around individual’s needs and wants
  19. 19. On the community level Disability sensitivity training for educators and school boards. Teachers, local school boards are given tools to help them support individuals. Inclusive youth programs in schools
  20. 20. On the broader provincial /territorial/ national levels  National advisory groups made up of provincial/territorial organizations who bring local learnings to a national forum Customize learnings to each P/T Provincial/territorial/national investments are made
  21. 21. Why will this strategy work?  It is specific to a local community – the process develops community-specific inventories of resources, programs, policies, and community information that would support people’s dreams Children/adults with disabilities and their families are supported to be the leaders of this process Outreach process that identifies isolated people
  22. 22. More on outreach The outreach process really understands where people are located and how to communicate/reach them, i.e. immigrant families The outreach process is delivered by organizations and partners that have relationships in local communities and are thus trusted The outreach process understood diversity and how to make the process sensitive and accessible to all segments of the target population.
  23. 23. Why will this strategy work?  Supports/services in both the education sector and disability sectors are brought together. Information on supports will be presented in an accessible, straight forward, uncomplicated manner and context specific manner.
  24. 24. Successful because it works on many levels Identifies individual solutions; Identifies collective group solutions; Identifies and engages the broader local community to examine themselves and respond to those specific individual and group needs; Identifies broader policy & program solutions for advocates/relevant advocacy groups to pursue.
  25. 25. Based on a similar CACL project - positive evaluation results  Gains in knowledge about their rights and entitlements  Exposed to the range of options and brought all service/support info together  Stress the need for individual plans/building of support circles around individuals  Acquired a better sense of what people need, rather than having to fit into what the system offers;  Importance of a collective identity for social change.
  26. 26. Questions to guide the work... What is the role of a national coordinating body in a local to national strategy? What is needed to establish a national infrastructure with the capacity to support local communities to organize around the issue? What partnerships need to be in place and what types of social and economic investments need to be committed at the national level?
  27. 27. More questions ... What is needed to establish a local infrastructure that supports a community to organize around the issue? What partnerships need to be in place and what types of social and economic investments need to be committed at the local level?
  28. 28. Questions ... What is the best way to convene local level community dialogue around the issue? Who needs to be involved and why? What are the socio-environmental and historical determinants of marginalization experienced by the affected population? What are the key components of an inclusive consultation process that recognizes the barriers to communication and the articulation of needs for the affected population?
  29. 29. And more... What are the key characteristics of a social problem that are critical to understand in order to address it? What is the past and present policy and program framework related to the social issue? What characteristics of the local geographic community can be seen as assets or liabilities in addressing the social problem?
  30. 30. Still coming at you with questions! What are the kinds of tools and resources that would best support that strategy? What ways can local level results have an impact and influence national policy and broad scale social change? What needs to be in place to support the sustainability of local work in order to ensure curative short term outcomes and positive long term quality of life results?
  31. 31. The most important question... How can the people with disabilities/families be empowered and supported to be leaders of the local level process?
  32. 32. The Concept of Inclusion The strategy empowers the group who has been marginalized to self facilitate towards better articulation of their needs and the development of strategies that will mobilize and also empower the various sectors towards an effective community and broader societal response.
  33. 33. How about where you live? Would this work? Could you establish a local infrastructure that works within a national framework to ensure that positive outcomes at the local level are shared towards promising practises reflected in policies?
  34. 34. Building strong inclusive communities

Editor's Notes

  • Adapted from As citizens they expect parity, not charity! ©2011 Reach Canada.
  • Overcoming Barriers to Training and Education among Canadians with Disabilities
  • Sachs, J. (2005). Investing in Development: A Practical Guide to Achieve the Millennium Goals United Nations Development Programme, 98.
  • From Special Education Blog –