On September 18-19, 2019 IFES Kyrgyzstan with financial support of USAID and in cooperation with the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, held BRIDGE Disability Rights in Elections workshop in Bishkek for representatives of State Personnel Service, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Bishkek Mayor’s Office and disabled people organizations.
Twenty-four participants (14 females and 10 males) were gathered to discuss the rights of people with disabilities in the context of Kyrgyzstan. It was the second Disability Rights in Elections Workshop organized in the country (first Disability Rights and Gender in Elections BRIDGE workshop was organized in 2018). Selection of the rights of persons with disability module for the second BRIDGE workshop came in respond to the electoral stakeholders’ (state and local bodies) requests and demonstrates their readiness to have an open and constructive dialogue and cooperation. The workshop is one of the attempts to ensure inclusion at their workplace for state and local bodies. Moreover, the workshop became a platform for representatives from different state bodies and civil society organizations to discuss burning issues of inclusion of people with disabilities and ensuring their rights. This workshop is essential for the preparation to local elections this year, Parliamentary Elections in 2020 and given recently ratified Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities.
The workshop conducted by the Country Director of IFES Kyrgyzstan office and accrediting BRIDGE facilitator, Renata Levovski, and BRIDGE TtF completed facilitators, Alexander Orehov, Bermet Mameyeva and Anastasia Griadasova as well as invited expert on inclusion, Sania Amirhanova, was focused on approaches towards the disability and rights-based language, myth and stereotypes related to persons with disabilities, international principles and standards and modeling accessible environment for people with disabilities. The workshop methodology is especially designed for adult learning and included theoretical and practical perspectives. During the simulation exercise participants had to vote at accessible and inaccessible polling station trying different types of disabilities on mock Election Day.
Participants highly appreciated the organization of interactive workshop and facilitation style which they found very creative and unusual type of the seminar they ever took part. Participants mentioned that the workshop helped them understand better the needs of people with disabilities and necessity to provide accessible conditions for everyone. Representatives of the different state and civil society organizations built a network for further cooperation in promoting the rights of people with disabilities in Bishkek city and other regions of Kyrgyzstan.