Emancipatory Research as a participatory approach to foster inclusion of women with disabilities in Palestine
Location: West Bank (Palestine)
Duration: August 2015 – January 2016
Project Title: PARTICIP-ACTION — “Active Participation and Social Inclusion of Disabled People in Palestine through the Empowerment of Local DPOs” (AID/01086/EDUCAID/TOC)
Funding: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (AICS)
Partnership: RIDS (“Rete Italiana Disabilità e Sviluppo”), General Union of Persons with Disabilities (Bethlehem and Hebron sections), Stars of Hope, and Asswat.
People with disabilities face several obstacles on a daily basis: limited access to quality services, a hostile social environment, poor employment opportunities, and exclusion from social and cultural life. Discrimination against disabled women is especially pronounced, which makes them one of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in Palestinian society.
Promoting the empowerment of people with disabilities, with special emphasis on encouraging the inclusion of disabled women by strengthening the Organizations of Persons with Disabilities.
What we did
In the Palestinian context, emancipatory research was conducted in two groups of women with disabilities and one composed of mothers of people with disabilities. The women involved took part in the identification of well-being dimensions that play a major role in their lives, as well as of the hindering factors preventing them to equally participate in society. The identification of causal relationships among barriers represented the starting point to identify the research questions.
The three groups developed three distinct research protocols that can be summarized as follows:
Bethlehem / Hebron Group: the research focused on inclusion of women with disabilities on the job market and on the transition from education to employment. The group conducted a quantitative survey, during which 200 working age women have been interviewed.
Ramallah Group: the group focused the research on the relation between women with disability and their families. Wishing to analyse gender in a comparative perspective, we opted for conducting life-course interviews to both women and men with disability. Focus groups discussions with relatives of people with disabilities have been conducted as well.
Nablus group: the group consisted of female care-givers (i.e. mothers of persons with disabilities), who represented the subject of the research. In particular, the use of time has been analysed by applying a quantitative methodology. During the survey, the women from Nablus interviewed 160
mothers of persons with disabilities.
ARCO presided also over the following activities:
- Creating data collection tools (questionnaires, interviews, and data entry), training three groups of women on their use, and assisting them in the data collection process
- Drawing up the final report
- Disseminating the results