Focusing on Disability through the lenses of social research and data analysis: the Inclusive Development Unit has elaborated 10 training lessons for the General Directorate of Social Promotion of the Ministry of Social Affairs (MAS) in Tunisia. This training aims at strengthening the knowledge of MAS Staff on social research methodologies and techniques, in order to contribute to lay the foundations for the creation of a Central Unit for Data Collection and Analysis at national and local level. The Central Unit will provide the necessary information for the implementation of disability related policies in Tunisia.
In 2008, Tunisia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Subsequently, in 2011, a Tunisian Inter-Ministerial Commission was set up to elaborate a “National Strategy for the Socio-Economic Integration of Persons with Disabilities” whose work should result in the elaboration of a National Action Plan on disability policies. To support the Tunisian Ministry of Social Affairs (MAS), the Italian Development Cooperation Agency financed the project “Support to the implementation of the International Convention on Persons with Disabilties” involving the NGO AIFO – Friends of Raoul Follerau and the Italian Disability and Development Network -RIDS (that involves AIFO itself but also the organisations DPI Italy, EducAid and FISH).
ARCO’s Inclusive Development Unit, involved by AIFO, developed and will carry out 3 training cycles on social research, data analysis and data collection tools for officers from the MAS and the National Institute of Statistics. Following the training, the officers will then ensure the implementation of the project activities in the Governorates of Ghafsa, Seliana, Sidi Bou Zid and Tunis.
In line with the project’s activities and objectives, the Inclusive Development Unit designed a training methodology that fosters both a cultural change concerning disability and a change in the operational and programmatic approaches usually employed to deal with disability issues.
Therefore, alongside the transmission of key concepts related to disability and social research, the training aims to transfer a pragmatic and programmatic knowledge and provide the necessary tools to understand and react appropriately to the complexity of the context.
The first training cycle was successfully completed in December. At the end of the lessons, the participating MAS officers agreed to be involved as trainers for the next two cycles to be held at local level. They will, thus, put skills into practice, strengthen institutional ownership of the training activities and overcome any language blocks. By developing a multilevel training structure, the MAS Central Unit will be able to take on the role of a reference point for the collection and analysis of data on disability at local level.