Towards a Latin American Network of Youth and Inclusive Development

March 26, 2014
Source: Inter American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development (iiDi)

Towards a Latin American Network of Youth and Inclusive Development
Until now, the fight for disability rights and efforts to ensure inclusion in the Post-2015 Development Agenda has been mainly in the hands of adult leaders. It is critical to the continuing movement for the rights of disabled people that a new generation of young leaders – with and without disabilities -- emerges with the capacity to speak out about the need for sustainable, equitable societies. A year ago, iiDi took action by identifying young activists throughout Latin America who will take work together to promote awareness of disabled communities.
With local and international support and in partnership with disability rights organizations, we organized the attendance of 4 young people with disabilities from Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico to the FIDE/IDEA Forum (International Debate Education Association, Mexico, July 2013), as a way to create exchanges between the disability movement and other social change actors. The event attracted a mass of young social activists with the attitude, knowledge and skills to focus on ending stigma, barriers and drafting public and social policies inclusive of persons with disabilities.
The participation of iiDi’s young representatives had positive and tangible consequences. They brought a unique contribution to the conference, by representing the voices of nearly 10 million young people living with disabilities in Latin America. They learned how essential it is to create momentum and engage with the human rights movement in collaboration and mutual advocacy. Since returning to their individual organizations, the resources and skills they gained are being disseminated throughout local communities.
In order to advance with the development of our group of young leaders, iiDi is actively searching for partners to amplify the network throughout Latin America, seeking those who share similar project ideas and could collaborate to offer future initiatives and workshops.
Where have we been?
Irapuato, Guanajuato, México (July 2013)
Ana Maria Canseco from Mexico, Natalia
Farías from Uruguay, Matias Ferreyra from
Argentina and Luis Cambronero from Costa Rica represented
iiDi in a two-week workshop for young people from throughout Latin America for an event promoting intercultural learning through debate. iiDi’s representatives were the first young activists with disabilities to ever take part in such an event. They shared their experiences as community educators and activists for the rights of people with disabilities (PwD). They also attended trained for debate techniques and took part in a major educational debate competition.
The experience is summarized in two videos:
“We are creating something that does not exist.”
“I will look at disabilities in a different way.”
The Inter American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development was founded in 1999 by disability activists and others interested in inclusive societies. iiDi works from a standpoint of Human Rights and Inclusive Development and is recognized for training, capacity building and mobilization of disabled peoples' organizations.
In addition to a central office in Montevideo, Uruguay, iiDi operates out of two other regions, with representatives in San Jose, Costa Rica and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
More on iiDi
Contact us: iidienred@gmail,com
Making Youth Policies Inclusive, Montevideo, Uruguay (September 2013)
A National Conference on Young People organized by the Uruguayan government attracted more than 5,000 young Uruguayans to
discuss an inclusive youth development agenda and share experiences. During the conference, iiDi led a workshop to spread
awareness about disability. Participants included members of Promotores de Inclusión, UNCU (National Federation of the Blind), and
APASU (Association of Deaf People of Uruguay), and debate technique was taught in relation to inclusion issues.
Since 2012, iiDi has been working with Deaf adolescents and young people to develop health education media and communication
resources in LSU (Uruguay Sign Language) and train Deaf youth in advocacy. For the materials produced, iiDi was acknowledged by
National Research and Innovation Awards 2013 for sex education materials it developed with/for the Deaf adolescents. This task was
essential because Deaf youth are at high risk for unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Building Bridges (Buenos Aires, December 2013)
This workshop was attended by 25 young people with and without disabilities from anti-discrimination and anti-poverty
organizations, including the National Agency Anti-Discrimination of Argentina (INADI), "Corriente Villera Independiente", "Manos
Unidas del Sur", "Red Mate" (FAICA), "Programa de Educación domiciliaria/hospitalaria del Ministerio de Educación", "Inclusión
juvenil, Moreno", "Recreando Moreno" y "Red Argentina sin Fronteras" ...all working for youth and inclusion.
Link to the workshop photo album:
Youth and Inclusive Development, San José, Costa Rica (February 2013)
iiDi collaborated with the Centro Nacional de Recursos para la Inclusión Educativa (CENAREC) for a two-day conference facilitated by
the young inclusion activists who attended iiDi’s previous workshops. iiDi´s President, Luis Fernando Astorga of Costa Rica, and
Sergio Meresman, iiDi’s Project Coordinator in Uruguay, provided support and presented on themes of inclusive development that
envoked a multitude of questions from attendees.
The group navigated the San José streets and one participant from Colombia, Luis Francisco Abreu, performed an improvised rap
about the conference and participants:
The conference involved debate on topics of inclusive development and health such as HIV and pregnancy prevention. An activity
was conducted in teams to rehearse the drafting and proposition of a project in front of a board of administrators of a funding
organization. The 40 participants also viewed films, heard from guest speakers and participated in an inclusive dance workshop. The
evolving network of Latin American Youth for Inclusive Development was finally established:
Red de Jóvenes Latinoamericanos por el Desarrollo Inclusivo
The following are links to iiDi’s photo albums of the moments throughout the workshop:
In addition, follow these links to view the HIV prevention and condom use publications produced by iiDi’s Deaf youth group,
Promotores de Salud, in Montevideo:
A video created by UNICEF with the assistance of iiDi that both demonstrates the need for a more inclusive society: