The Disability Accessibility Training programmes include persons with diverse disabilities, ways in which their physical and emotional well-being are fulfilled and legal aspects of accessibility to the built environment.
The objective of the initiative is to develop the capacity of local #authorities and raise awareness among technical officers, officials in the decision-making process, Engineers, Architects, and Officials in the Planning Divisions. It is expected that this intervention will ensure that people with disabilities can access all public buildings and make use of the facilities inside those buildings as Regulations are intended to be accomplished.
The team from EFC led by Manique Gunaratne which included persons with diverse disabilities conducted the Badulla 1 training workshop at the Bandarawela Rest House in Badulla district, in Uva Province in October 2022.
The project is a part of the European Union’s STRIDE (Strengthening Transformation, Reconciliation, and Inclusive Democratic Engagement) programme focused on strengthening the capacities of local government authorities to be inclusive, responsive, and accountable, and improve service delivery.
Together with the Capacity Development of Local Governments (CDLG) Project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC), implemented this project on Disability accessibility audit and enhancing the capacity of technical officers in the local government structure.
The EFC is the representative employers’ Organisation in Sri Lanka on social issues. It has a membership of 680 plus member Companies. Formed in 1929, it was the first organization to register under the Trade Unions Ordinance and is the principal Trade Union representing employers. The EFC, with funding from the #ILO, developed the Employers’ Network on Disability to facilitate employment and training opportunities in the Private Sector for disabled jobseekers, which was officially launched in the year 1999.
The “Disability Accessibility” project implemented by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre is a part of an initiative supported under the Capacity Development of Local Governments (CDLG) project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka with the financial assistance of the European Union (EU).
Disability inclusion is one of the key strategic priorities for UNDP Sri Lanka in keeping with the commitment of UNDP globally and the new initiatives of disability inclusion strategy and their commitment to leave no one behind.
The importance of this workshop was that all resource persons were persons with disabilities. Manique Gunaratne conducted the session on “Technical specifications on accessibility” and Anil Seneviratne conducted the session on “law and access”. People with physical disabilities, hearing impaired persons and vision impaired persons spoke on the barriers faced by persons with disabilities and possible solutions.
Participants with non-disabilities got the opportunity to experience using a wheelchair, walking with a white cane, walking blind folded, wearing socks and shoes without using hands and communicating in sign language.
These efforts are supported by the European Union, and the World Bank.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) together with the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) have designed a series of awareness programmes to conduct in selected 12 districts to make the technical, senior staff and members of the Local Government Authorities to sensitize on accessibility for Persons with Disabilities.
Unlike most state government institutions, Local Governments are multi-functional, with extensive responsibilities and activities across property, community, and human service areas and, in addition, have the capacity to make policy level decisions at the local level.
Country Representative – World Disability and Rehabilitation Professionals’ Association (WDRPA)