It’s About Ability

It’s about ability training of trainers



Contact Person(s) and Details Miriam Rahali
Program Officer, World Enabled
Project It’s About Ability Training of Trainers
Implementing Partners The Pineda Foundation for Youth/World Enabled
National Commission on Disability
Community-Based Rehabilitation Program (CBR)
Location Georgetown, Guyana
Date of Project October 5-8, 2009
Primary Objective To enhance understanding of the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (signed by Guyana on
April 11, 2007) and to provide action planning workshop to make
local communities more inclusive.
Target Population Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs)

Relevant Government Bureaus

Children and youth with disabilities


Facts: Guyana

(Source: LCD, 2012)

  • Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America and borders Brazil, Surinam and Venezuela. The country stretches 450 miles along the Atlantic coast into dense equatorial forest.
  • The most recent census puts the population at 770,794 people, of whom 68.7% are between the ages of 15 and 64. Different estimates of the number of people with disabilities range from 3% to 9% of the population
  • 15% of the adults with disabilities surveyed have never attended school. The situation has now changed for the better:, 61% of disabled children currently attend mainstream schools and 29% attend special educational needs schools.
  • 17% of people with disabilities are employed, with half of these being self-employed and half employed by the private sector. 47% of the unemployed disabled people surveyed needed training or some other kind of assistance to be considered employable.
  • Guyana’s constitution was recently amended by Bill 9 of 2003, which declared discrimination against people with disabilities unconstitutional. The government did not, however, sign the Inter-American Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination Against People with Disabilities.
  • Guyana’s economy is diverse because of natural resources and exports that include gold, diamonds, bauxite, timber, rice and sugar. Economic growth has slowed over the past eight years, however, and in March 2007 the Inter-America Development Bank cancelled the country’s US$470 million debt.

The Project
Approximately 25 participants from 6 different regions of Guyana attended the 4-day human rights education training based on the UNCRPD. They represented organizations such as the Disabled People’s Network, the Kitty Deaf Club, the Department of Education, the Victoria Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Youth Challenge, and the Community Based Rehabilitation Program. Three participants had visual impairments, one participant had a hearing and speech impairment, and six participants had physical disabilities.

The training took place at the Canadian International Development Agency Conference Center in Georgetown, Guyana. The program was broken into sessions of direct instruction (i.e. – factual information was presented on UNCRPD, and contextual information was presented on how to be an effective facilitator) and participatory group activities; where the majority of participant time was focused.

About Ability

Eloisa Smith (left) from the Ministry of Education of Guyana with Miriam Rahali (right), Program Officer, World Enabled.

The design of the workshop was based on the World Enabled “Training of the Trainer” model. Lessons and activities of Day One and Day Two were facilitated by the lead instructors, who modeled the process that would later be adapted by the participants in the field. For many of the activities, participants worked in teams (which varied by exercise) and found most enjoyable the lessons where they were able to engage in “role play” of different advocacy situations. Day Three and Day Four were participant driven, with an emphasis on their delivery of the content and lessons, and action plans for future workshops.

Day One provided an introduction to human rights and disability, wherein facilitators briefly explained the Convention and Human Rights. Participants completed exercises on the importance of being a part of a group highlighting the abilities all members of a group can bring to the table. Participants learned that it is necessary to draw on the strengths of one another in the community, and that each individual has a vital role to play.

Day Two focused on the interdependence of human rights. In the morning, participants engaged in a Human Rights “cascades” activity, followed by an activity designed to explain the differences between the Medical, Charity, and Social Model of disability. The majority of the afternoon was devoted to facilitation—the role of the facilitator, the characteristics of the facilitator, and techniques for facilitating learning. At the end of the day, participants were briefly introduced to the concept of equality and discrimination, and had a discussion on societal myths and stereotypes.

On Day Three, selected groups of participants, with minimal support from lead instructors, facilitated different activities from the learning guide. Topics included “Freedom from Violence and Abuse” and “The Right to Home and Family”. The lessons deviated slightly from the objectives, and were consequently too long in length, resulting in a revision of Day Four’s agenda to allow for adequate time on action planning.

One lesson was presented by the participants on Day Four based on the theme of “Home and Family”. Facilitators focused more of the day on detailing “What is advocacy?” and “What qualities should an advocate have?” At the end of this brainstorming session, participants mapped their dreams for a better future on an empty canvas. Following this exercise, everyone was separated into groups based on their region to develop concrete action plans. There was not enough time to review action plans as a group, so they were collected by the local NCD and CBR representatives who will be helping to facilitate the first session back in their respective communities. The workshop ended with an evaluation survey and a closing ceremony.



  • Participants became familiar with the UNCRPD and developed action plans
  • New disability/human rights advocates and activists were trained
  • Rights-based model of disability enunciated


  • Duration of workshop was insufficient
  • Local capacity was weak

Lessons Learned

  • Training allowed participants to disseminate human rights knowledge among rural school districts
  • Additional time needed to be spent on basic concepts of planning
  • Additional training with this cohort should focus on basic skills development

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