AGENDA collaborates with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to support regional research activities related to political participation for Persons with Disabilities.

Four second year Master’s degree students from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) will work with AGENDA in Indonesia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic as part of their Workshop in Development Practice which last from November 2012 to May 2013. Through the workshop, student teams add value to the network’s current and future programs through focused desk reviews, field research and analysis, and practical recommendations. The workshop encourages students to explore the intersection of development concerns with human rights, corporate social responsibility, humanitarian affairs, conflict resolution, education, public health, gender, environmental policy, entrepreneurship and private sector development, and traditional and new media.

A main component of AGENDA is to develop new regional partnerships for improved data collection through research. Data from these activities will be used to produce a regional index which will help persons with disabilities and election administrators identify priorities for reform and set targets for improved accessibility.

In January 2013, Alison Hamburg and Samir Ashraf, visited Laos for two weeks to assist the Lao Disabled People Association (LDPA), AGENDA’s partner in Laos, in compiling its research report on election access for persons with disabilities. Christopher Wooley and Dennis Jitae Kim, will visit Indonesia in March for two weeks to work with the research team on the compilation of the regional research report on election access for persons with disability in Southeast Asia. The visits are part of the six-month collaboration between AGENDA and the School of International and Public Affairs in the research on political participation and capacity assessment of AGENDA and its regional partner organizations in seven countries.

The edition of the current newsletter will feature two short articles from Alison and Samir on their experiences in volunteering with LDPA.