From August 3-25, 2013, twenty-one disabled women activists from all over the globe gathered in Eugene, Oregon, for the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) 2013 to strengthen their leadership skills, and feel empowered in leading change to improve conditions and create opportunities for women and girls everywhere who live with disabilities.
Like last year’s event, WILD was implemented by Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and funded by USAID through a grant from the Leadership, Management and Governance (LMG) Project and the Eugene community. WILD delegates attended sessions on inclusive education, accessible transportation, international and national disability policies and legislation, higher education, reproductive health, HIV & AIDS, domestic violence, sexual assault, self-defense, as well as individual site visits to disability programs in the Eugene area. They also participated in some great team building and personal challenges activities, including river rafting, bicycling, wheelchair rugby, swimming, and participating in a challenge course—going far beyond what was thought possible for women with disabilities.
The program ensures that each participant will have developed an action plan that she will implement in the six months following WILD based on their lessons and experiences. To decide on the focus of their action plans, the participants were asked to initially come up with five ideas and then select one idea based on specific criteria (i.e. whether it can be implemented in six months, whether additional resources are needed and if they can be obtained, whether obstacles will be met and if they can be overcome, etc.) Most women easily came up with five ideas for their action plan, and some had difficulty deciding on which idea of the five to choose.
Over the next six months, LMG and MIUSA staff will be working together to support the WILD women during implementation of their action plans developed during the institute, and to document their accomplishments. By including action planning in the WILD training curriculum, MIUSA intends to more fully document the results of WILD in terms of what the participants are able to do once they return to their communities as a result of the training they have received. The results of the evaluation will also be used to improve the delivery of the next WILD program, scheduled in 2015.
By the end of August, the WILD women had finalized their action plans and would begin implementing them immediately upon return to their countries of origin. We can’t wait to see what these exceptional women leaders will accomplish!
Para los que hablan español… a TV clip of Peruvian Barbara Ventura, one of 21 women who participated in the MIUSA Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) 2013 last month in Eugene, Oregon, USA, supported by the LMG Project.Barbara talks about what she learned at WILD, including leadership and action planning. Barbara is an incredible leader.