Youth Empowerment




Contact Person(s) and Details Dr. Valerie Karr
Head of Research, World Enabled

Stephen Meyers
Research Associate, World Enabled

Project The “It’s About Ability” Youth Empowerment Study: Evaluating Youth Inclusion in Cambodia and Indonesia
Implementing Partners Pineda Foundation for Youth/World Enabled

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)

Local Partners (Cambodia): CDPO (Cambodian Disabled Peoples’ Organization), and KYSD (Khmer Youth and Social Development)

Local Partner (Indonesia): Luminosity

Location Cambodia and Indonesia
Date of Project March 15 – December 15, 2011
Primary Objective Conduct a detailed Youth Empowerment Study (YES) through
the parallel implementation and evaluation of the “It's
about Ability” program in Cambodia and Indonesia.
Target Population Cambodia – the Cambodian Disabled Student and Development
Organization and Yodifee were invited to nominate youth with
and without disabilities to participate in the YES

Indonesia – (a) KBR Radio, PPCI, and the Sehjira Deaf Foundation
nominated youth and (b) the experts who participated
in the University of Indonesia interview, RisnawatiUtami
from UCP Wheels for Humanity Indonesia, and JakaTanukusuma
from Luminosity were offered official partnerships to assist in planning
and organizing the YES training.


Facts: Cambodia

  • Cambodia has experienced extensive social and economic turmoil in recent decades.
  • The country ranks 129th out of 177 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) and 73rd of 102 developing countries for the Human Poverty Index (UNDP, 2006).
  • The disability prevalence rate in Cambodia is estimated at 4.7% of the population, i.e., more than half a million people in Cambodia have a disability.
  • More than half of those with disabilities are under 20 years of age. Factors placing children and youth at high risk for disability include lack of health care facilities, war and displacement, malnutrition and low vaccination rates, especially in rural areas (National Institute of Public Health and National Institute of Statistics in Cambodia, 2005).

Facts: Indonesia
(Source: LCD, 2012)

  • Indonesia is made up of 17,000 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited. The total population is more than 245 million.
  • According to the World Health Organization, Indonesia has a disabled population of approximately 20 million people. Official statistics states that out of the total disabled population, 40.3% have locomotor disabilities, 17.0% are visually impaired, 13.4% are intellectually disabled, 12.0% are hearing impaired, 7.2% have a speech impairment, 6.8% come under the category of mental illness and 3.2 % constitute people with multiple disabilities.
  • Indonesia has national disability legislation (National Act No. 4 of 1997) and is a signatory of the UNCRPD.
  • There are 17 government organisations providing services to disabled people as well as 8 national NGOs and 6 INGOs.
  • Government statistics also show that almost one quarter of all persons with disabilities lives in extreme poverty.
  • In 2003 the government stated the country was home to 1.3 million children with disabilities, but only 50,000 of these attended school. The actual number of children with disabilities is believed to be much higher.
  • Human rights activists in the Indonesian city of Surabaya have reported that discrimination against persons with disabilities exists in the employment and education sectors.

The Project
Stakeholder interviews of DPOs, NGOs and Government organizations were conducted in Cambodia and Indonesia to determine the needs of each country with respect to the state of disability rights for youth in each country;

youth emviorment

The IAA workshops were tailored for each country to best suit the identified needs;

The IAA workshop in Indonesia consisted of 18 youth (ages 14 – 25) with and without disabilities exploring social activism of environmental conservation through accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community and action planning; and,
The IAA workshop in Cambodia consisted of 18 youth (ages 14 – 25) with and without disabilities identifying social problems affecting young people, developing advocacy and awareness raising skills to address these problems, interviewing NGOs as to how they address these problems, learning about human rights and accessibility addressed in the CRPD, and action planning.



The Cambodia workshop brought about changes in awareness raising (of human rights; of NGOs; and of rights, participation, and working with youth with disabilities), action planning, leadership, advocacy, communication, and mainstreaming youth with and without disabilities.

The Indonesia workshop brought about changes in awareness raising (of human rights and of the rights of persons with disabilities), inclusion and personal expression of rights, action planning, leadership, advocacy, communication, and mainstreaming youth with and without disabilities, meeting people, and appreciation for persons with disabilities.

For both Cambodia and Indonesia, an increased understanding of the legal framework; the institutional organization of the government and higher education systems; the current inclusion of persons with disabilities in civil society; the institutional capacity of existing youth and disabled persons organizations; the potential partners necessary to build and sustain a project; the cultural applicability of the training and knowledge the lessons learned.

Recommendations for each country to improve their state of implementation of disability rights mandated by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Recommendation for conducting a 3-year “It’s About Ability” Youth Empowerment Project in Indonesia.

After the Cambodia workshop, our local partner (CDPO) followed up with the participants and finalized their action plans into three proposals concerning healthcare, education, and employment which are being implemented with seed money from this Grant.

After the Indonesia workshop, our local partner (Luminosity) followed up with the participants to finalize the two action plans. One of the two groups of participants were not able to coordinate and execute their action plan as they failed to arrange a meeting after being contacted multiple times. The other group of participants were successful in finalizing their action plan into a proposal concerning the accessibility of public transportation in Jakarta (specifically train stations) that was successfully implemented with seed money from this Grant.


In the Cambodia workshop, timing of training [began each day earlier as youth in Cambodia are accustomed to longer trainings (9 am – 5 pm)]; organization of the site visits (to map locations and discuss the objectives of the training with NGOs ahead of time); translational gaps in participant understanding; the lack of “buy-in” from our mainstream youth organization; most students being late on the last day of the training; the issue of HIV; and the visiting of NGOs with little or no accessibility. These difficulties can be fully addressed in future trainings with long-term partnerships in country (local trainers) and a more sustained program over time.

In the Indonesia workshop, Traffic delays in Jakarta that caused a delay in the workshop and tardiness of some participants (this can be addressed by hosting or funding a workshop at a retreat center); the length of the commute for participants was tiring for some participants; youth in general were very busy and had school and other volunteer activities to attend throughout the workshop; translation and lack of accommodations from a braille press to simultaneous transcription for those with hearing impairments; limited time to action plan and fully process all of the workshop activities; the high cost of implementing a workshop in Jakarta; parental interference; and the lack of invitations for more youth to participate. These difficulties should be fully addressed in future trainings with additional time and funds for implementation.

Lessons Learned

  1. Ways process or outcome could have been improved by:

    In the Cambodia workshop, more discussion in exchanging personal experiences; greater participation by the participants; having trainings available for the future and providing information to participants about the future trainings; greater team building; clearer explanations from the facilitators to the participants; application of the information learned in the training to reality; including more on overcoming the lack of available employment for educated people with disabilities; including more on basic leadership, organizational training, and spreading awareness of disability rights; developing foundational skills to speak in front of a group and make a presentation; having individuals from companies and NGOs attend the workshop.

    In the Indonesia workshop, more frequent workshops; inclusion of games; greater implementation of action plans; more youth participation; a more direct correlation between the materials and themes; more general knowledge (especially pertaining to creating equality); providing audio-visual accommodations (such as braille); a greater space for the venue; and disclosure of the goals and action plans of the workshop and of additional details of the Pineda Foundation to the participants.

  2. Key factors informing any success (what were the facilitating factors):

    In the Cambodia workshop, having youth with and without disabilities mainstreamed together in the workshop; developing the action plans and utilizing the seed funds to implement the action plans through follow up with the local partner; showing interest, learning information, asking questions, and networking were student-led activities that are a form of advocacy and awareness-raising and helped to develop communication and presentation skills; the social activities(students were able to interact and experience activities that they had never tried such as traditional Khmer dancing); small group and interactive activities (the role play) were much more successful than lecture; and students understood action planning and its relation to human rights more readily than expected.

    In the Indonesia workshop, the inclusion of a mainstream organization (the World Wildlife Federation) presented a social issue relevant to youth with and without disabilities and was engaging and instrumental to connecting disability issues to the broader community; the use of experiential community-based activities (the youth were actively engaged in the learning process from going out to eat to assessing the accessibility of the local community; one youth with a disability indicated that he had never had the opportunity to eat out with friends before); the mixing of participants into diverse groups; small group activities that allowed everyone’s voice to be heard; youth presentations, action plans, and the seed funding incentive.

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