In a significant stride toward enhancing the advocacy capabilities of Disabled People Organizations (DPOs), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) conducted a two-day training program for partners of the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA). Held on August 29 and 31, the training focused on negotiation, lobbying, and diplomacy, aiming to fortify partners’ advocacy capacities for the implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Enabling Masterplan 2025.

The first day of the training was dedicated to honing negotiation skills and understanding the nuances between sustainable lobbying and campaigning. Led by Rebecca Aaberg, IFES Senior Disability Inclusion Specialist, and Tolhas Damanik, IFES Disability Rights Advisor, participants delved into the intricacies of negotiation strategy development. The sessions aimed to equip attendees with the tools needed to navigate the complexities of advocating for the rights of disabled individuals within the ASEAN framework.

On the second day, Dr. Rex Bernardo from the Center for Advocacy, Learning, and Livelihood (CALL) Foundation joined Rebecca Aaberg to facilitate a role-play session focused on sustainable lobbying. This hands-on exercise allowed participants to apply the negotiation strategies learned on day one in real-life scenarios. The day continued with a comprehensive session on diplomacy, where attendees gained insights into information flows, policy recommendation development, and effective writing techniques to engage indirect recipients. IFES, through its tailored training program, has taken a crucial step toward fostering a more inclusive and empowered advocacy community. By arming DPOs partners with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective negotiation, lobbying, and diplomacy, the training contributes to the broader goal of realizing the principles outlined in the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025. As these advocates continue their work, the ripple effect of this training is expected to enhance the representation and rights of disabled individuals, fostering a more inclusive society within the ASEAN region.