Disability Rights and Civic Education

12 January 2023


Under the USAID Youth ALLIES Program, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) brought together a dynamic group of 32 electoral stakeholders, including youth, disability rights advocates, civil society representatives, and voter education experts, for a Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) custom module on inclusion and voter education on January 13, 2022. The module run in Guyana was a custom module – designed to cover issues of inclusion, access and voter education. This workshop was facilitated by IFES Guyana Country Director Meredith Applegate, IFES Senior Global Inclusion Advisor Virginia Atkinson, and IFES Senior Global Advisor, Training and Capacity Building Rushdi Nackerdien.

The workshop highlighted international standards, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the electoral cycle, access and inclusion in the electoral cycle, and the electoral period. Participants worked together to design voter education messaging, collaborate on potential solutions to obstacles to accessing the electoral process for people with disabilities, and learned from each other’s experiences.

The workshop included a polling simulation where participants were either blindfolded or wheel-chair users experiencing either an accessible polling station or an inaccessible polling station. One participant, who is blind, remarked: “I know it was only a simulation, but this was the first time I have been able to cast my vote independently… honestly, it got me quite emotional because it reminded me of the first time I had access to a screen reader and could read again. That feeling of freedom and independence… I hope this can be a reality here someday.”

This workshop was made possible through the support of the USAID.

Meredith Applegate, Rushdi Nackerdien
Mixed (face to face and online workshop)
Audience(s) for this workshop:
Electoral Management Body, Civil Society Organisation, Students
Modules used at this workshop:
Voter and Civic Education, Disability Rights and Elections
Expected Outcomes: