For Immediate Release


Rhonda Neuhaus, Making it Work Program Manager,
Phone: +1 (301) 891-2138,
E-mail:; or
Lea Radick, Communications Officer,

Phone: +1 (301) 891-3002,

Handicap International

Making it Work Makes Important Strides Toward Disability Rights

WASHINGTON - Launched one year ago at the second session of the Conference
of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(CRPD), the Making it Work initiative has made important strides in
collecting and exchanging examples of good practices that have made a real
difference in addressing the barriers experienced by persons with disabilities.

Making it Work is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by
Handicap International that engages partners from disability, human rights and
development organizations in different regions of the world to promote
effective implementation of the CRPD by identifying and exchanging good
practices on key disability issues, generating evidence to improve the
knowledge of decision-makers and practitioners and inspiring actions toward
sustainable social and political change.

The CRPD is a
groundbreaking international law that ensures persons with disabilities have
access to the same basic rights enjoyed by all human beings. In most countries,
however, the reality for people with disabilities differs significantly from
the standards established by the CRPD and national policies.

This year, the Making it Work International Coordination Team
held a side event on Thursday at the third United Nations Conference of States
Parties to the CRPD at which five panelists discussed lessons learned from
ongoing Making it Work projects in West Africa, Latin America and the
Middle East. 

“We are not trying to change what you do, but [we are]
encouraging the documentation and sharing of what you are doing for everyone's
benefit,” said Rhonda Neuhaus, panel moderator and Making it Work
program manager. “The CRPD will not be achieved working in isolation or
only by focusing on what does not work,” she added.


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Francesca Piatta, who works with Handicap International’s
West Africa program, presented Rights in Action, a regional initiative that
seeks to promote practical, evidence-based recommendations on how to achieve
inclusive local governance in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone
and Togo so that people with disabilities have an active role in shaping the
local policies and services that directly affect their lives.

In Guatemala, where public transportation is not accessible and safe to
persons with reduced mobility, EL Colectivo de Vida Independiente de Guatemala
is using Making it Work methodology to address the issues of
accessibility, political participation and personal mobility by focusing on
accessible transportation in Guatemala City.

Asdown and Fundamental Colombia are implementing a Making it Work
project in Colombia to transform the current condition of people with
intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, whose rights to exercise their
legal capacity and citizenship are not recognized under existing Colombian law
1306, according to speaker Monica Cortez with Asdown. These organizations hope
to introduce proposals that will amend the existing law to be congruent with
Article 12 of the CRPD on legal capacity.

In the Middle East, the Disability Monitor Initiative, started in 2008
by CBM and Handicap International in cooperation with a regional steering
committee, is tracking legislative change, social innovation and public
policies related to disability with the goal of empowering regional
stakeholders and stimulating policy change by showing good practices.

For more
information, please visit the Making
it Work website:


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Handicap International works to improve the living conditions of people living in disabling situations in post-conflict or low-income countries around the world. Our programs reduce and address the consequences of disabling accidents and disease; clear landmines and prevent mine related accidents through education; respond fast and effectively to natural and civil disasters in order to limit serious and permanent injuries and assist survivors with social and economic reintegration; and advocate for the universal recognition of the rights of the disabled through national planning and advocacy. Handicap International is a co-founder of the Cluster Munition Coalition and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

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