02 Feb 2014 Building Communication Rights to Access Social Services Bolivia
Summary of Results Achieved and Performance
77 male and 65 female of different ages and with disabilities (PWD) (PWD) living in La Paz and Ciudad de El Alto have gained new knowledge to claim their right to communication and information (RTCI) in order to attain better access to their rights and entitlements in education, health, housing and employment.
PWD living in La Paz and Ciudad de El Alto have been empowered and have increased confidence and knowledge to advocate for their rights. They have new awareness and understanding and are able to express these as demonstrated in public events and fairs as well as in encounters and workshops.
Organizations of PWD living in La Paz and Ciudad de El Alto have a new understanding of the importance and role of mass media and are able to interact with media in order to pursue better and fairer representation of people with disabilities.
SECRAD has established an inter-institutional agreement with Bolivia’s National Confederation of Peoples with Disabilities, (CONALPEDIS) and the Bolivian Institute for Blind People (IBC).
Under the theme “People Above All” people with disabilities have advocated successfully during 8 advocacy campaigns for their specific needs in education, health, housing and employment and for better access to those services.
Organizations of PWD have access to a media monitoring manual prepared with the collaboration of eleven media professionals.
Eleven media professional have made a personal commitment to continue covering issues of disabilities and PWD rights.
PWD have access to documents which articulate Bolivia’s existing legal framework of disabled people’s right, including the new disability law promulgated in March 2012 by Bolivia.
Production of 6 reports, are available for PWD and the public in general: Baseline Report; Manual on communication and disability; Self-determination and Leadership and People with Disabilities; Media Monitoring Manual; Booklet on UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and Article 12 of Bolivia’s New Disability Legislation; Index.
Indigenous Aymara Component
71 female and 32 male Indigenous Aymaras living in Tiwanacu, Ciudad de El Alto, Viacha and Pucarani have increased knowledge about their rights in the areas of education, health, housing and employment and have begun to understand their right to communication and information (RTCI) and to speak of this new right to other people in their communities.
Indigenous Aymaras living in Tiwanacu, Ciudad de El Alto, Viacha and Pucarani have established links with local decision-makers in those communities and have increased confidence and new skills in formulating advocacy actions.
Indigenous Aymaras living in Tiwanacu, Ciudad de El Alto, Viacha and Pucarani have new understandings of the importance and role of the mass media and know how to evaluate mass media representation of indigenous people as well as how to engage the media.
Indigenous Aymara living in Tiwanacu, Viacha, Pucarani and Ciudad de El Alto have completed an audio visual pilot advocacy campaigns using Radio Chaca, Radio Letanias, Radio Kollasuyo and Canal 18 TV as well as Viacha’s TV Channel. The audiovisual campaigns were accompanied by leaflets distributed in meetings, public events and to the public in general in the four communities.
Indigenous Aymara living in Tiwanacu, Viacha, Pucarani and Ciudad de El Alto have advocated for their specific needs in education, health, housing and employment and for better access to those services.
A seven minutes documentary on the project and the RTCI has been produced and distributed in the communities that did not directly benefitted from the project.
Indigenous Aymara have tested and validated the Index of the RTCI to monitor local government accountability in relation to education, health, housing and employment services.
Indigenous Aymara living in Tiwanacu, Viacha, Pucarani, and Ciudad de El Alto know the authorities and have established working relationships and synergies with local decision makers, including ombudsman and city mayors as well as local authorities’ Human Development Officers. They all acknowledge that participants in the project are recognized as key people and opinion leaders for the authorities to understand and know what the population is thinking and demanding of its local authorities.
Indigenous Aymara living in Tiwanacu, Viacha, Pucarani and Ciudad de El Alto have access to a manual explaining what the media is and are better able to understand its role in influencing policy and decision making, and they are able to identify and understand how to assess media representation of indigenous people and how to relate to the media.
Indigenous Aymara living in Tiwanacu, Viacha, Pucarani and Ciudad de El Alto have contributed to the developing of a media monitoring tool.
Media professionals working in radios with large audiences in Indigenous Aymara communities have made a commitment to discuss the beneficiaries’ demands and needs, including Indigenous Aymara women and have begun to speak themselves of the RTCI of Indigenous people and explain it to other people.
Production of 5 reports and audiovisual materials are available for the beneficiaries as well as the general public: Base line, Bulletin the Right to Communication and Information, Basic Media Monitoring Manual, Training Manual on the Right to Communication and Information and Index.
During the course of the project, it became necessary to change one of the municipal locations from Coroico to Viacha. The expected outcomes and output statements were modified accordingly.
Summary of Key Lessons Learned
The theme of the project was new for organizations of PWD and one that they need to continue to work on since they had never explored the role of and need for communication in their work.
The existence of two components in the project, disability and Indigenous Aymara, made it difficult to have a single, unified approach and to apply the same logic to both components.
It is not possible to have a single criterion when working with the representatives of the four disabilities (intellectual, visual, hearing and physical). Attention needs to be given to specific needs and different understandings.
With regard to the Indigenous Component, the lessons learned included the need to prioritize working in alliance with other groups and networks and to spend time creating awareness of the need for such alliances, networking and cooperation.
It is important to assign adequate time to training processes since short time periods are insufficient, especially when the training involves working with new concepts and ideas.
Particularly in the context of Bolivia, the gender equality strategy must include males. The dominant social order has in practice created a male stereotype which informs and conditions the male presence. It is also important to include the colonial past to fully understand Bolivia’s current social order and the levels of exclusion and marginalization it presents. This was not originally part of a cross-cutting strategy but by the end of the project its importance and relevance was clearly evident.
Organisations of PWD need to review their internal policies regarding communication and information if they are going to be able to empower their members.
It is urgent and necessary to make efforts to strengthen the programmatic work of organizations of PWD.
It is urgent and necessary to support cooperation between organizations of people with disabilities in Bolivia to improve their ability to exercise strong and effective leadership and purposeful presence in decision-making, in coordinating instances and in public policy formulation. Working committees established by the government to implement public policies related to disabilities should be composed equally of people with and people without disabilities.
The State needs to launch advocacy actions jointly with organizations of PWD in order to promote a positive social image of people with disabilities. These actions should have a gender dimension.
The State needs to ensure the collection of statistics pertaining to disability and this information needs to be constantly updated and widely communicated.
The issue of disabilities, communication and use of new communication technologies (ITCs) needs to be worked on continuously and expanded to ensure wide participation of people with disabilities in society.
Indigenous Aymara Component
It is highly important and urgent to begin a longer process of reflection on the right to communication and information which is included in the Bolivian Constitution. The way in which this right is portrayed in the Constitution reveals a trade unions and journalists’ approach. In this context it creates difficulties since it seems to represent the right of journalists and media professionals rather than the possibility of self-expression for all sectors of society. This is point that needs further and longer term discussion than was possible in this project.
It is important to think about and highlight the issue of equality as a process of leveling. During the project it was noted that in State norms and regulations and even in the Constitution itself, equality before the law is assumed as a given. The project partners believe that this is not enough since in reality inequalities continue to pervade the social order. Efforts need to be made to develop processes that contribute, concretely to achieving equality. It is not sufficient for the Constitution to acknowledge the right to communication and information but rather it is important to begin processes which will ensure that the right will be a reality.
Finally, it is recommended that in order to make this project’s outcomes sustainable and the processes it has started, it is necessary to maintain networks and alliances and to build on the experiences and work achieved.