Network building and consultation meeting with OPDs for Disability Inclusive Electoral Candidacy

Published on: August 23, 2022

20 peoples including representatives from OPDs are standing in two row for photo

On August 14, CIL Kathmandu conducted a consultation meeting under the project of promoting the electoral candidacy of persons with disabilities, including the women and marginalized groups within the disability at Shital Chautari Restaurant Baneshwar. The consultation which was part of the project supported by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), was organized to develop networking and build a force of advocacy, campaigning and empowerment in the mission to lead people with disabilities ahead. So as to promote the independent living of persons with disabilities, political representation, inclusion, and participation in the electoral process would serve as means. Hence, the interaction intended to obtain solidarity from the participating organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) and disability rights activists for electoral access. Around 25 OPD Leaders and disability campaigners attended and contributed to the discussion. The semi-formally held session started with a brief introduction of the organization and overview of the project, followed by a presentation on the major objectives and activities of the project. Then, the floor was open for discussion, with the expectation of suggestions, feedback, cooperation, and solidarity of all the participating leaders from the disability movement. During the discussion, the general secretary of CIL Kathmandu Ganesh KC said that the programs will be organized to empower and capacitate the persons with disabilities to declare their electoral candidacy, and also to create an environment with the advocacies and lobbies with all the concerned holders including the civil society organizations, election commission and the political parties and leaderships. He added that the programs are planned to restrict the misuse of the rights and opportunities entitled to persons with disabilities through awareness and capacity-building activities. The chairperson of the Blind Youth Association Nepal (BYAN), Kaladhar Bhandari alerted all the activists on the risks of misrepresentation or negligence of persons with disabilities from the political forces during the proportionate system and the chance of including the persons with disabilities in the end of the closed list of the candidates for the shake of formalities. Similarly, the president of the National Association of Physical Disability (NAPD), Kiran Shilpakar focused on the necessary dialog and pressurizing with the political leaderships and sister unions, especially the disability unions of the political parties to make their party inclusive of persons with disability in terms of electoral candidacy. The president of CIL Kathmandu, Tek Bahadur Gurung highlighted the necessity of unity of all the people with disabilities regardless of their political affiliations to pressurize the political forces and the stakeholders to prioritize the inclusion of PWDs in the electoral process and ensure their representation in the policy levels. The project will also emphasize the media mobilization since the mass media seem to have ignored or have not drawn enough attention to political access and representation of PWDs.