A Practical Guide for Disabled People’s Organizations to Engage Political Parties

Thursday, June 6, 2024

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Political parties play an important role in aggregating and representing public interests, shaping political agendas and developing government policies and programs. Parties are also a vehicle for contesting power and earning the right to govern through peaceful elections. To become more competitive, parties can make room for diverse voices within their organizations and practice more inclusive policy-making and decision-making.

Despite making up 15 to 20 percent of the world’s population, the number of persons with disabilities elected to office and who hold leadership positions within political parties remains low. However, parties that embrace accessibility and the inclusion of diverse disability voices when developing political party priorities, increase their chances for success. 

This guide is designed to support disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and disability rights advocates to engage political parties on substantive public-policy issues and disability inclusion priorities. The guide draws on the diverse perspectives and experiences expressed by disability rights leaders and activists representing four global regions. Once developed, the guide was tested and validated by NDI’s local DPO partners in two different geographic regions. The main features of the guide include: 

  • An overview of political parties and the various roles they play in politics and public decision making;

  • Approaches DPOs can utilize when preparing to engage parties to advance social change;

  • Strategies for DPOs to initiate and sustain political party engagement; and

  • Annexes to support DPOs in mapping political parties and conducting accessibility audits.

The guide is available in English, French and Spanish, and the executive summary is presented in Easy Read format.


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