[accessbangla] Information is Power: But are we hearing what the grassroots have to say?

  • From: Vashkar bhattacharjee <vashkar79@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <accessbangla@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 May 2012 22:01:50 +0600

 

Information is Power: But are we hearing what the grassroots have to say? – 
Javed Abidi, April 2012

In my 20 odd years of work in the disability sector in the not-so-popular 
domain of advocacy, one mantra that has led me is that ‘Information is Power’.  
This is especially true for those of us who have the privilege to be based in 
big cities, capitals and places where the movers and shakers who shape 
policies, operate. 

With the coming of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
(CRPD), there is suddenly a sense of hyperactivity towards two supposed power 
centres: Geneva and New York. Everybody who is anybody in the disability world 
seems to want to be seen there. As our mailboxes incessantly beep with incoming 
messages with tidings from Geneva and New York, I am apprehensive.

When I see this sudden flurry towards a top down flow of information, it makes 
me nervous. Communication is neither a top down nor a bottoms up approach. It 
needs to give equal weightage to both. In this case, however, I dare say it 
needs to pay more attention to the bottoms up traffic.

CRPD is a great tool no doubt. But what does it say that the disability sector 
has not known for years. Not much. The right to education, access, information, 
health, social security, and so on and above all the dignity and integrity of a 
person with disability is not something that dropped down in the form of CRPD 
like manna from heaven. We all knew all of this before CRPD and we all know it 
now. But suddenly, all our energies seem to be focused on what is happening in 
Geneva and New York, on submissions, on reports, on Committees, on resolutions. 
While I am not denying the importance of those processes, I am cautioning 
against neglecting national issues, local issues, and what is happening in our 
own backyards.

CRPD will not be implemented by either Geneva or New York. CRPD will be 
implemented by the grassroots persons with disabilities by ensuring that 
disability is an integral part of their local and national policies. CRPD will 
be truly implemented when people with disabilities at the grassroots become a 
force to be reckoned with in their own locality, province and country. 

Note: This article was published as a blog on the Disability Rights Knowledge 
Network, hosted by the Commonwealth Connects Portal. 
http://www.commonwealthconnects.org/connects/.




----- Original Message ----- 
From: Chairperson DPI 
To: IDA_CRPD_Forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Cc: secretariat@xxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 7:54 PM
Subject: [IDA_CRPD_Forum] Information is Power: But are we hearing what the 
grassroots have to say? – Javed Abidi, April 2012


  

Information is Power: But are we hearing what the grassroots have to say? – 
Javed Abidi, April 2012

In my 20 odd years of work in the disability sector in the not-so-popular 
domain of advocacy, one mantra that has led me is that ‘Information is Power’.  
This is especially true for those of us who have the privilege to be based in 
big cities, capitals and places where the movers and shakers who shape 
policies, operate. 

With the coming of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
(CRPD), there is suddenly a sense of hyperactivity towards two supposed power 
centres: Geneva and New York. Everybody who is anybody in the disability world 
seems to want to be seen there. As our mailboxes incessantly beep with incoming 
messages with tidings from Geneva and New York, I am apprehensive.

When I see this sudden flurry towards a top down flow of information, it makes 
me nervous. Communication is neither a top down nor a bottoms up approach. It 
needs to give equal weightage to both. In this case, however, I dare say it 
needs to pay more attention to the bottoms up traffic.

CRPD is a great tool no doubt. But what does it say that the disability sector 
has not known for years. Not much. The right to education, access, information, 
health, social security, and so on and above all the dignity and integrity of a 
person with disability is not something that dropped down in the form of CRPD 
like manna from heaven. We all knew all of this before CRPD and we all know it 
now. But suddenly, all our energies seem to be focused on what is happening in 
Geneva and New York, on submissions, on reports, on Committees, on resolutions. 
While I am not denying the importance of those processes, I am cautioning 
against neglecting national issues, local issues, and what is happening in our 
own backyards.

CRPD will not be implemented by either Geneva or New York. CRPD will be 
implemented by the grassroots persons with disabilities by ensuring that 
disability is an integral part of their local and national policies. CRPD will 
be truly implemented when people with disabilities at the grassroots become a 
force to be reckoned with in their own locality, province and country. 

Note: This article was published as a blog on the Disability Rights Knowledge 
Network, hosted by the Commonwealth Connects Portal. 
http://www.commonwealthconnects.org/connects/.



-- 

Javed Abidi
Chairperson, Disabled People's International

Chairperson's Office:
A -77, South Extension Part II
New Delhi - 110 049, India
Tel.: 91-11-26265647 / 26265648 
Telefax: 91-11-26265649 
Website: www.dpi.org



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