Core Commitee of National Disability Network (NDN) during their discussions. Core Commitee members include: Kanchan Pamnani, M. Srinivasulu, Pradeep Raj, Arman Ali and A.S. Narayanan (represented here by Anuj Jain of NAD) and Dr. Shanti Auluck (not in picture) in New Delhi, India
National Disability Network (N.D.N.)
The idea of forming a national-level disability network came from the need to build a strong cross-disability rights movement in India.
To create a movement it was important to link disability groups around the country so that they could all share ideas and participate in the decision-making process. So far, groups in different parts of the country had been doing exemplary work without sharing their experiences.
The network's mission
The aim of the National Disability Network (N.D.N.) is that the cross disability rights movement is spread equitably across the entire country, and that there is an environment of empathy towards the rights and the needs of persons with disability. The goal of the N.D.N. is to have at least one disability organisation/disability group in all 593 districts of our country.
- To promote local advocacy groups and build leadership in the disability sector.
- To facilitate local advocacy groups to join hands with state-level groups to eventually form a National Network that will act as a pressure group to influence meaningful policies at various levels - village, block, district, state and national regarding persons with disabilities.
- To empower disabled people and organisations and to sensitise other concerned sectors through systematic information dissemination on disability related issues like legislations, relevant policies, research findings and current developments.
- To closely monitor and jointly lobby with the governments, corporates and other allied sectors to advocate the adoption and implementation of appropriate policies / legislations.
- To bring issues related to disability to the forefront of national development through a network that will have representation from all states, union territories and districts of the country.
- To build a common cross-disability platform for sharing of concerns by disabled people from all the corners of the country and to build a joint strategy for a cohesive disability movement in India.
- Role of the State Partners The National Disability Network has carved a niche for itself at both the state and national levels. Many disabled leaders and self help groups have emerged at not just the state level but also at the district levels:- 1. The N.D.N. provides its partners with a clear set of expectations to guide their activities. These are:Expansion of the network: A state partner, in the first year, must forge three partnerships at the district level. These could be with an N.G.O. or a disability group or even a disabled individual, who is interested in taking the disability movement forward in that district. The responsibilities of the state partner would include coordinating with the district partners to carry out the various activities at the state / district level; keeping the state network vibrant through regular communication with its partners; planning the agenda for advocacy in the state and communicating back to N.C.P.E.D.P. and other state partners on the various activities of the State Network.
In the second year, three more partnerships will have to be forged at the district level. The idea is to map the entire state in a span of five years.
Information dissemination: It is the responsibility of the state/U.T. partner to send disability related information and important updates that they receive from N.C.P.E.D.P. and other sources from time to time, to their district partners and others in their state and to also encourage them to disseminate those materials widely.
Joint advocacy campaigns and activities with partners:Our state/U.T. partners are expected to provide the much needed momentum to the disability movement in their respective states/U.T.s in collaboration with their district partners. Joint activities and campaigns should be taken up to bring to the fore and to the attention of concerned authorities the various issues concerning disabled people.
There are various instances of collective pressure applied by our network members at the policy level, which have yielded positive results.
Unified World Disability Day celebrations: The World Disability Day (3rd December) offers an excellent opportunity to bring the needs, concerns and rights of people with disabilities to national attention. One of the annual events for the National Disability Network is celebrating World Disability Day in a unified manner. This is done by having a common theme for an All India celebration.
Sustaining the N.D.N. is a very big challenge for all of us. All the Partners should work towards making the Network vibrant. From our side, N.C.P.E.D.P. would like to make a commitment to send an information package to all the state/union territory partners at least once every month. This is apart from the regular mailers that go out to everyone on our mailing list. We would organise national and zonal Meets for the Partners for them to interact with each other and get further trained in advocacy issues/strategies. We would also diligently compile all the reports received from the state/union territory Partners and present them in the form of a 'Yearly Report of the National Disability Network'.
Similarly, we would like our state/union territory partners to also make a few commitments. They should endeavour to work towards fulfilling the goals of the Network and keep other partners and N.C.P.E.D.P. informed about the various achievements and challenges faced in building the state union territory Network. The state/union territory partners should send a report on their state network once a quarter (once in every three months). The state partners should encourage their district partners to share information and report progress on a regular basis with them.