Since 2002, EWDNA has striven to provide valuable opportunities for women with disabilities to improve their lives and overall standing in society through initiatives focused on the following areas:
- Develop and facilitate economic opportunities and training for women with disabilities to promote self-reliance and an improved quality of life
- Create awareness on critical issues and concerns of women with disabilities
- Disseminate knowledge about HIV/AIDS and reproductive health
- Promote the social inclusion of women with disabilities and reduce discrimination, misconceptions, and stigma surrounding disabilities
- Provide psycho-social support to EWDNA members
According to the International Rehabilitation Review, nearly ten % of the world’s population lives with a disability, of which 80% live in developing countries. Women with disabilities constitute more than half of this population. Children and women are the most vulnerable. In developing countries, disability also occurs at a higher rate due to poverty and lack of understanding and resources in primary health care during antenatal, birth, and postnatal stages.
When it comes to access to rehabilitation services, disabled people (and specifically disabled women) in developing countries are often denied such support outright due to a lack of resources and low levels of awareness. As a result, in every sphere of life, women with disabilities in the developing world experience a triple bind of discrimination on account of their sex/gender, disability, and poverty. Women with disabilities also experience a high incidence of abuse (physical, psychological and sexual), and are frequently victims of discrimination, social marginalization, and neglect.
As one of the 15 least developed countries in the world, the situation for differently abled- women in Ethiopia is particularly severe. Traditional beliefs and practices hinder to access of education, information, health service, social interaction, and employment opportunities. Challenges in transportation, building access, and infrastructure serve as limiting factors for many women with disabilities in enjoying public spaces and social services. Disabled women face these problems even at home – from stairs to toilets to living spaces that do not adequately accommodate them. Communication issues serve as another barrier for many women with hearing and visual impairment. The list of challenges goes on and on.
For these reasons and so many more, EWDNA is dedicated to serving and empowering women with disabilities in Ethiopia. There is much, much more work to be done!
- Hosting twice monthly coffee sessions for members to socialize and discuss important issues
- Providing interpreters for the deaf at hospitals and in legal situations
- Providing vocational training and livelihoods development support for economically vulnerable women
- Serving as a liaison between members and government agencies, NGOs, and supporters.
- Providing social support, counseling, home visits for differently- abled women and their families
- Helping women to access credit through Hulun Alfa Credit Association (an off shoot of EWDNA)
- An environmentally sustainable sheep raising and wool producing project in Mehal Meda
- Educating differently- abled women on the existing legal frameworks and empowering them to press for enhanced services and recognition.
EWDNA sources funding from different International and national donors, the Ethiopian Ministry of labor and social Affairs and contribution from members.
EWDNA works in partnership with Threshold Association. Throughout the project differently -abled women has been capacitated. Awareness raising programs with major stakeholders have been conducted. EWDNA internal capacity has also been enhanced.
Partnering with Womenkind Worldwide, EWDNA is promoting inclusion of differently- abled women in key socioeconomic sectors. It also works in identifying the gaps in services available to differently- abled women through research. It advocates for its members and encourages them to seek greater rights.
In conjunction with the ABILIS Foundation EWDNA is undertaking an environmentally sustainable sheep rearing and wool producing project in Mehal Meda.
Partnering with the Ethio-American Hearing laboratory Test Center differently abled women are trained to be audiologists as well as and provide hearing test.
The Fedral Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Labor and Social Affair through activies in EWDNA
In previous years, partnership with, Vision Global Empowerment, Concern Ethiopia, Action AID Ethiopia ,Mobility International USAID, in doing so, it has been instrumental in changing the lives of differently-abled women, and directed the attention of the Government towards differently- abled women.