Global guidance recognizes the importance of engaging organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) in the design, implementation, and evaluation of humanitarian responses. Such guidance also calls for understanding intersectionality—how gender, age, location, and type of disability may affect risk, as well as access to power, resources, and opportunities—and promoting the participation of underrepresented groups of persons with disabilities, such as women and girls with disabilities.1,2 As governments around the world put in place strategies to contain, delay, or mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, there is an increasing reliance on remote and online modalities for consultation and engagement with stakeholders, including organizations of women and girls with disabilities.
From July to September 2020, the Women’s Refugee Commission, South Asian Disability Forum, the Network of African Women with Disabilities, and UN partners,3 with support from the Australian government, conducted a series of webinars on the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action for gender and gender-based violence (GBV) actors in Africa and Asia. The webinar series sought to bring together humanitarian actors and women-led OPDs to introduce the IASC Disability Guidelines, including recommended actions for disability inclusion in gender equality and GBV programs and activities; share examples of disability inclusion in gender equality and GBV activities from across each region; and facilitate collaborations between stakeholders on the implementation of the IASC Disability Guidelines.
This paper describes the strategies employed, ongoing gaps faced, and recommendations for engaging women with disabilities in all their diversity in online networking for inclusive humanitarian action.