In support of NDI’s commitment to increasing the inclusion of marginalized populations in political processes, we’re highlighting the essential work of partners who are at the forefront fighting for greater levels of equality, shifting norms and perceptions, and reducing barriers to political participation for persons with disabilities.
NDI interviewed Association of Indonesian Persons with Disabilities - Padang City Chapter (PPDI Padang), a partner working to advance the rights of persons with disabilities in order to obtain equal opportunities in all aspects of life. PPDI Padang told us how they are raising the visibility of persons with disabilities within local government and ensuring local processes related to budgets and development planning are inclusive and accessible.
What does accessibility mean to you and/or your organization?
Accessibility is not only about making sure the built environment accommodates the needs of people with disabilities. Above all, it’s about creating equality and equity in all aspects of life.
Describe some of the ways that people with disabilities in your country are participating politically. What challenges or barriers to political participation remain?
People with disabilities in Indonesia can participate both as voters and political candidates because the national disability law guarantees their rights to all forms of political participation. However, accessibility and reasonable accommodation required for meaningful political participation is far-fetched. Some political parties see candidates with disabilities as only useful for their parties’ good image. Some people with disabilities did try to participate as political candidates in previous general elections, but none of them were elected for various reasons from lack of financial support and resources to stigma and lack of accessibility when they pursued their political campaigns.
How is your organization working to address these barriers/challenges and to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in your country?
PPDI Padang has been consistently conducting direct and indirect advocacy to local governments in our region for disability inclusive policies in all their programs and activities. We work closely with other local non-governmental organizations and local media to raise our voices and gain the government’s attention.
As the world continues to battle COVID-19 almost two years later, has the pandemic presented any opportunities for your organization and/or for persons with disabilities in your country?
The common use of online platforms has enabled our organization to get involved actively in a nationwide project organized by national disabled persons organizations and disability non-governmental organizations. We participated in an online research with other disabled persons organizations across Indonesia to investigate the impacts of COVID-19 on Indonesians with disabilities.
In the past year, can you briefly share a success story from your organization’s contribution to strengthening the disability rights movement in your country or within your region?
Apart from our unprecedented active involvement in the nationwide research on the impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities, PPDI Padang with the support of NDI, was successful in building stronger relationships with our local government. Such a good relationship enabled collaborative efforts between PPDI Padang and the City Development Planning Department (The Bappeda) to promote disability inclusion in local development planning and budgeting processes. For example, for the first time ever in our province, PPDI and the Bappeda successfully organized a special Musrenbang (local development consultative meeting) for people with disabilities in April 2021.
What impact has NDI’s partnership had on your organization?
NDI’s partnership has been able to raise our organization’s name as a respectable disabled persons organization in our city. The support we are receiving has enabled us to demonstrate to the local government that we are a resourceful disabled persons organization that can actively contribute to promoting and advancing disability inclusive local development.
NDI is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization that works in partnership around the world to strengthen and safeguard democratic institutions, processes, norms and values to secure a better quality of life for all. NDI envisions a world where democracy and freedom prevail, with dignity for all.