Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD)
In 2005 several individuals in Ethiopia came together to discuss how to address the challenge of more effectively meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia, and ensuring their access to mainstream service delivery as well as development programs. They decided to create a new type of Ethiopian organization, one that would promote and facilitate disability inclusion, but not by providing disability or rehabilitation services to individuals. They decided to create an organization that would reflect, in its structure and programs, certain core values: majority governance by persons with disabilities and family members, gender equality, and positive bias (affirmative action) in the employment of staff. Finally, rather than create a membership organization of persons with disabilities, they decided to create an association composed of prominent individuals, both professionals with and without disabilities, 50% women, reflecting different aspects of society.
Disability Inclusion in Action!
Thus the Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD) was born and registered with the Ministry of Justice in December 2005. Following the Charities and Societies Proclamation of 2009, ECDD was re-registered by the Charities and Societies Agency on 6 December 2012, as an Ethiopian Residents Charity, Registration No. 0321. By 2012 ECDD Association membership had grown to over 60 members and its staff had increased to 18 full-time employees, over half of whom are persons with disabilities. Today ECDD has a staff of more than 100 persons with branch offices in Mekele, Tigray Region and in Hawassa in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State, and Local Disability Advisors in Afar, Somali, and Oromo Regional States.
ECDD works collaboratively with other organizations to promote and facilitate “disability inclusive development” in Ethiopia – the inclusion of disability issues and persons with disabilities in mainstream government and non-governmental service delivery and development programs.
ECDD envisions an inclusive Ethiopia, where persons with disabilities exercise the same rights and have access to the same services and opportunities enjoyed by other citizens.
Non-discrimination on the basis of disability, age, gender, religion, ethnicity or any other basis in it’s membership, staff and programs.
Accessible premises, events, information and communications in all it’s action.
Safe – guarding of community resources on behalf of those it serves
Affirmative action, for qualified persons with disabilities and women, in recruitment, training, advancement and retention of staff.
Accountability and transparency in its program activities and finances
Commitment to knowledge, learning, and change as an organization in collaboration with its partners
Fundamental human rights of persons with disabilities, as specified by UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Commitment to staff development and the competence and excellence of its full – time and part – time staff, and interns and volunteers.
Team spirit and sense belonging among its personnel
ECDD action relies upon the following strategies to accomplish its Mission
Training for awareness creation
Creating disability inclusion awareness, change of attitudes and motivation among the public, government officials, development personnel, employers, and persons with disabilities
Influencing the policy and practices of organizations and their personnel for disability inclusion through disability awareness training, accessibility audits, and technical support
Promoting partnerships and participating actively in national and Africa regional networks
Communication and Media
using social media, and working with print, radio and TV media to create awareness and disseminate information
promoting accessible ICT, maintaining a website, and a public Disability Information Center, preparing guidelines, checklists, and brochures
empowerment of persons with disabilities and their organizations for self-reliance, participation and to support disability mainstreaming
providing or arranging disability adjustment and accessibility supports including organizational accessibility audits, technical standards for accessibility, Braille transcription of documents, sign language interpretation, and wheelchair accessible transportation
data collection, management and analysis for performance assessment to improve program implementation and impact
gathering evidence for disability inclusion, sharing of good practices and lessons learned, and promoting learning through documentation and action research
Age ranges from 20+ to 65+ years
30% of staff have a disability
(visual, hearing, physical)
Our staff members speak all major languages of Ethiopia and use Ethiopian Sign Language