The growth of Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs) can be viewed basically as the consequence of exclusion and discriminatory practices toward disabled people. Very much in line with the emergence of consumer movements in the seventies, a search for emancipation took place from the early eighties in western societies as well as in lesser-developed countries. In some ‘third-world’ countries DPOs became powerful and politically driven organizations demanding a strong stake in, for instance, a new political dispensation.
The role and position of disabled people in rehabilitation programmes should be seen in the context of the global history of disability and rehabilitation on one hand and the more recent history of the disability movement on the other hand. In this section an overview is given of - at times - coinciding developments.
CBR as it developed in the late seventies and early eighties was largely a response to the physical rehabilitation needs of many disabled people who by that time were not reached through so-called institution-based rehabilitation. CBR became an approach to make rehabilitation accessible to disabled people at the community level. CBR in those days developed from within a medical model perspective, implemented in the context of the health sector, and was concerned with coverage.
The role of disabled people in CBR is increasingly being seen as of vital importance for the success of CBR. In actual fact, participation of disabled people and self advocacy have become two of the principles of CBR as seen by the World Health Organization and associated organizations behind the new CBR thinking.
During this session, the participants discussed the following points:
• CBR resources available in the various countries to share with each other, in terms of information, training and material resources
• The role that APCD can play as a facilitating and coordinating agency for the collection and dissemination of these resources.
CBR is considered as the most significant innovation over the last quarter century for people with disabilities, especially for those in rural areas in developing countries. The positive benefits of CBR are documented in evaluation studies from different countries. The term “CBR” is now a strong brand in itself, recognised all over the world. It is arguably the only “brand” that has survived for such a long time in the development sector.
The key questions for discussion on this theme were:
• Why are partnerships needed between DPOs and CBR?
• What are the barriers to such partnerships?
• What strategies are needed to build more effective partnerships between DPOs and CBR?