On February 16, General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) virtually held the Global Disability Summit 2022 Side Event with the theme “Using Regional Good Practices to Enhance OPD Advocacy”. The side-event focused on the challenges and successes of disability rights advocacy in Southeast Asia and highlighted the work regionally and national level OPDs have done to mainstream the Enabling Masterplan. The executive director of the National Council for Blind Malaysia (NCBM) Wong Yoon Loong, the chairman of the ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) Lim Puay Tiak, and a disability rights advocate of Center for Advocacy, Learning, and Livelihood (CALL) Foundation Jennifer V. Garcia were invited to speak and discuss the impact of the AGENDA’s capacity-building activities on their advocacies.
Lim stated that the capacity-building activities provided by AGENDA have allowed ADF to reach and work together with various key stakeholders including the ASEAN officials. ADF has also become more creative in terms of connecting with more people digitally in this pandemic situation. A similar outcome was also expressed by Jennifer that she said the training particularly on strategic communication and social media training has enhanced her skills to conduct digital advocacy such as public contests through the utilization of social media channels. Meanwhile, Wong stressed the importance of collaboration among OPDs to advocate for disability rights with the government.
A total of 39 participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Fiji, Finland, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, and the United Kingdom attended the one-and-a-half-hour side-event with 26 of them were female participants. 10 participants are identified as youths with the age range between 19 – 35 years old and 6 participants are identified as indigenous people or persons from an ethnic or racial minority. Among the participants, there were participants with physical disabilities, visual disabilities, hearing disabilities, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, and whom family members are persons with disabilities. The participants represented OPDs, CSOs, NGOs, UN agencies, and educational institutions. The side-event also welcomed a number of government representatives including the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, the Indonesian National Commission on Disability, and the provincial government of Antique in the Philippines.