The power of partnership
26 April 2018
By Ola Abu Al Ghaib
I was delighted to attend the Business Forum alongside Jazz Shaban from long term collaborators Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International), an organisation working in partnership with disabled people living in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster.
The opportunity at CHOGM was two-fold; to raise awareness of our work and the disability and development gap issue, and to influence governments and corporate businesses to progress more persons with disabilities into full time employment. CHOGM is an important space to share our experience and advice with high-level ministerial and business representatives and ensure that disability features in national discussions.
Jazz and I joined a panel that discussed 'What works with business to progress inclusive economic empowerment' at a joined Womens and Business Forum session. The purpose of the session was to discuss inclusive employment as its estimated that as many as 90% of people with disabilities are unemployed in developing countries. We also had the chance to share how International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs) can work with the private sector to provide advice and support around diversity.
I talked about our Access to Livelihoods programme (part of our partnership with Accenture) has enabled skills training for more than 25,000 persons with disabilities, while around 18,000 are employed or have started their own business. I shared how our collaboration has helped us identify some of the best ways to support people with disabilities into employment.
Both Jazz and I talked about our Good for Business report, which shares some of the easy ways companies and NGOs can collaborate and businesses can hire and retain employees with disabilities. It was developed with HI and launched at the Harkin International Disability Employment Summit last November.
Leonard Cheshire and HI share a common interest in promoting access to good quality, adequately compensated work for people with disabilities through innovation, in partnership with the private sector. HI currently runs 60 projects focusing on employment, and like us, partner with small, medium and multinational corporations to help them create and strengthen their diversity and inclusion practices.
Partnerships can be, by design, mutually beneficial. The sharing of skills, knowledge and expertise can trigger innovation. This is good for inclusion and good for business. CHOGM was a chance for us to reinforce these benefits and opportunities for the private sector to work with organisations like Leonard Cheshire. For too long, disability has been left out of business discussions at an international level and this is a great chance to address that.
Ola Abu Al Ghaib is our director of global influencing and research.