What do 633 disability leaders from 29 countries spanning six out of seven continents have in common? 100% believe that organizations led by people with disabilities are left out of disaster relief funding from foundations, corporations and governments. When disability-led organizations are left out of funding and planning, people with disabilities are left without the support they need to maintain their health, safety independence, dignity and even their lives. This has already resulted in high death rates for people with disabilities in all disasters – including COVID-19.
That is why World Institute on Disability (WID), the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (the Partnership), and ONG Inclusiva have joined forces to form the Global Alliance for Disability Resource Acceleration (Global Alliance or GADRA) as a “Call-to-Action” to galvanize disability-led organizations, foundations, corporations, and other allies to identify needs and link partners to accelerate assistance and resources, both during and after disasters.
“People with disabilities are 2-4 times more likely than others to be injured or die in disasters, primarily due to inadequate community-wide planning and access to emergency and disaster assistance. The Global Alliance is a direct response to COVID-19, which is impacting multiply-marginalized people with disabilities even more disproportionately than other disasters, with devastating outcomes,” stated Marcie Roth, CEO of WID. “The Global Alliance is also being built as a resource for rapid response to disasters that will surely follow.” Forbes contributor Stephen Frost reported on the critical need for the Global Alliance in his Deadly Discrimination: The Forgotten Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities article.
From our partners:
“Disability-led organizations, despite consistently being first on the ground to help their communities in disasters, always struggle to meet urgent needs and fill resource gaps, rarely qualify for government funding to continue operations, and often lack bandwidth to compete for charitable disaster relief funding. The Global Alliance is a collaboration that recognizes that this exclusion must end and that we are stronger and more resilient together,” added Germán Parodi and Shaylin Sluzalis, Co-Executive Directors of The Partnership.
“The Global Alliance will connect local disability-led organizations directly to funding partners that would like to target their support to better serve disaster impacted people and communities directly. In this regard, the Global Alliance will serve as a matchmaker to identify urgent needs and accelerate resource allocation to disability-led organizations and advance inclusive disaster response solutions,” stated Carlos Kaiser, Executive Director, ONG Inclusiva.
“Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) is committed to inclusivity, equity and supporting people with disabilities both in the workplace and in our communities. Our Differently-Abled Workplace Network (DAWN) is an employee-driven resource group working to address the needs of individuals with disabilities and to promote their positive contributions to BMS’s business performance worldwide. We know there is a gap of resources available for the disability community when crises and disasters hit. That’s why both DAWN and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation are pleased to join with the World Institute on Disability (WID) in making it a top priority to fill this gap. Our goal in becoming members of the Founders Circle of the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration with WID and its partners – which uniquely focuses resources to help support the disability community across the nation and around the world – is to enable more individuals who are often left behind or without aid to receive the resources they need” according to Tinamarie Duff Global PBRG Lead, DAWN (Differently-Abled Workplace Network) and PBRG (People & Business Resource Group)
“The COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting people with disabilities and has shown all of us that we need to take a different approach to disaster preparedness and response,” said Daren Chan, External Affairs, AT&T. “AT&T is proud to support the Global Alliance initiative to help meet the needs of people with disabilities who live in areas that are impacted by a natural disaster.”
In order to effectively accelerate resource allocation, the Global Alliance will:
- Engage regional, national and global disability-led organizations to jointly identify and meet needs of people, organizations and communities impacted by disasters through a virtual n Emergency Operations Network.
- Identify corporate & foundation disability inclusive diversity priorities that align with disability-led organization needs.
- Establish a “Founders Circle” of corporations, foundations, and disability-led organizations.
- Center Black, Brown, Indigenous and other disabled people of color. A core tenet of this Alliance is a stated and genuine commitment to seeking, welcoming, and supporting the leadership of multiply-marginalized people with disabilities who are most disproportionately impacted in disasters;
- Engineer individual and collective relationships to connect communities, accelerate solutions, measure outcomes and promote results.
- Match corporate and foundation resources with disability-led organizations to meet critical needs.
- Shatter myths that people with disabilities are vulnerable, expendable, and a liability in disasters.
Building the Global Alliance
The Global Alliance is an unprecedented collaboration of disability-led organizations, foundations, and multi-national business and industry. On July 9, 2020 at 12 noon pm ET, the Alliance announced our Founder’s Circle and our plans for disrupting exclusion in disaster response and assistance through resource acceleration, enabling disability-led organizations to drive radical inclusion in disaster-impacted local communities around the world.
Global Alliance partners include:
Disability-Led Organizations include ONG Inclusiva; Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies; World Institute on Disability; United States International Council on Disabilities
Corporate partners include Bristol Meyers Squibb, AT&T, and Benetech
Foundation partners include Bristol Meyers Squibb Foundation
Consulting Partners include LaVant Consulting, EIN SOF Communications, and ForwardWorks Consulting
Additional Founders Circle partners are being welcomed through December 2020.
We are seeking disability-led organizations, disabled leaders, foundations, corporations, businesses and other allies who are interested in collaborating towards disaster resource acceleration. We encourage you to fill out the registration form to tell us more about how you want to engage – whether you need resources for your disability-led organization’s disaster relief work, have resources to share, or want to be a part of decision making, outreach, and resource matching, we have a place for you as a member of the Global Alliance! After you fill out the form, we will contact you with additional information.
If you would like to schedule a meeting with WID, the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, and ONG Inclusiva to discuss how you can best support this work, please email Heather Duncan at email@example.com
Plan to join us for our first Twitter Chat on Thursday, August 13, where where LaVant Consulting, Inc., led by disability justice advocate and Global Alliance Founders Circle member, Andraéa LaVant will be leading us in discussion about the Global Alliance, the disaster experiences of people with disabilities, and how we can build a disaster response alliance that works for all of us. More information soon to come!
More about our partners
World Institute on Disability was established in 1983 as one of the first global disability rights organizations founded and continually directed by disability leaders. WID works to advance the rights and opportunities of over 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, bringing research and policy into action and operationalizing inclusion. WID’s work centers around Digital Tools for Optimizing Community Living and Employment; Accessibility Solutions; and Excellence in Disability Inclusive Emergency Preparedness, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Climate Resilience.
The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies is the only U.S. disability-led organization [and one out of only two global] with a focused mission of equal access to emergency programs and services for people with disabilities and people with access and functional needs before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. The Partnership achieves its mission by being Disability rights experts before, during and after disasters; Community organizers and capacity builders; Boots and wheels on-the-ground response.
Inclusiva NGO (ONG Inclusiva) is the first disability-led organization (and one of the only two such organizations in the world) with a focused mission of promoting Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction. That means full inclusion and observance of the rights of people with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies and disasters. It is expressed in programs and services for people with disabilities and people with access and functional needs in the whole disaster cycle. Inclusiva works with networks as community organizers and capacity builders.
Global Disability and Disaster Town Hall Meetings
Leading up to the launch of the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration, we hosted two Global Disability and Disaster Town Hall Meetings via Zoom, bringing together hundreds of disabled leaders to discuss the experiences of people with disabilities and disability-led organizations in the coronavirus pandemic.
We will continue to host these Global Disability and Disaster Town Hall meetings, with our third one scheduled for August 27, 2020 begininning at 12 noon ET/4 PM UTC – more info coming soon!
To learn more about the Global Disability and Disaster Town Hall meetings, including video recordings, transcripts, and polling results from previous sessions, visit the Global Disability and Disaster Town Hall page and COVID-19 page on WID’s website via the linked images below:
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