World Blind Union-Asia Pacific (WBUAP)Quadrennium Plan of Action (QPA) 2012-2016
Update to the 2014 WBUAP Mid-Term General Assembly, Hong Kong.
This QPA is drafted under the five new goals of the WBU developed April 2013.
1. Human rights and representation
- Representation at UN agencies and other global (regional) bodies at international, regional and national level United Nations Economic and Social Committee Asia Pacific, (UNESCAP) conference on disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction at Sendai: April 22/23 2014, attended by Michiko Tabata
· – Involvement in implementation of Incheon Strategy: The first session of the UNESCAP Working Group on the Third Asia and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons: February 25-26 2013, Incheon, Korea, attended by Michiko Tabata.
· International Council for the Education of People with Vision Impairment (ICEVI) on Education For All children with vision impairment (EFA VI) WBUAP Board and Policy Council (BPC) member Kevin Murfitt is a member of ICEVI Pacific committee. respectively
b. Advocating for human rights of blind and partially sighted persons
· Copyright Treaty
· WBUAP BPC member Neil Jarvis has been appointed Regional Champion for the implementation phase of the Copyright or Marrakesh Treaty with assistance from BPC member Chong Chan Yau. Current status
The Right To Read campaign has continued with focus being on efforts to gain as many ratifications as possible for the Marrakesh Treaty, which was adopted by WIPO in June 2013. Each region of the WBU has identified priority countries on which to focus with a view to getting past the initial target of 20 ratifications so that the treaty may come into force.
The AP region identified Australia, China, Mongolia and New Zealand as its top four priorities. Mongolia and China signed the treaty at the time it was adopted last year, and Australia signed in June this year.
New Zealand has not yet signed, and at the time of writing was in the midst of a general election campaign which will end in September. However, the out-going Minister of Commerce has instructed his officials to prepare a document which will eventually become a Cabinet Paper, necessary for the introduction of minor legislative changes to bring the country into line with the requirements of Marrakesh. The new Minister of Commerce is an MP to whom we gave a detailed briefing about the Marrakesh Treaty in June this year. WE therefore have reason to be optimistic that progress towards ratification will remain on-track.
Mongolia now has an active broad-based ratification campaign group which is being led from within the blindness and libraries sectors. An advocacy campaign is now under-way following the translation of the treaty into Mongolian which was completed in August.
Outside the immediate priority countries, Singapore has passed legislation which will enable it to ratify in the near future. We are also conversing with a team from the UN Development Programme, whose AP region is based in Bangkok. They are keen to support capacity-building activities aimed at advancing treaty ratification in countries throughout the region.
Finally, the BPC has begun discussions with the AP region of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to run a joint campaign in the region for ratification of the treaty.
2. Capacity building
a. Working with international development organizations
· DANIDA project and extension with Myanmar Current status:
The WBUAP-DAB-DANIDA Project:
WBUAP is most thankful to Ask Abildgaard and Susanne Koch Andersen of the Danish Association of the Blind (DAB) for their hard work in drafting and successfully seeing to the application to the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) for a grant of US $3 million to implement the Third Phase of the Project on the Capacity Building of Organisations of the Blind in the WBUAP Region. The approval was given on 3 September and subsequently signed by the Minister of Development of Denmark. The 3-year Project will run from October 2014 – December 2017.
The First Phase, which began in 2006 and ended in 2009, helped to strengthen the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind (MNFB) by increasing their branches to cover half of their 25 provinces, and set up the Lao Association of the Blind (LAB).
The Second Phase from 2010 – 2013, saw the further strengthening of MNFB with more branches to cover almost the entire country and the setting up of Info-Centreas and massage facilities. Similarly, it strengthened LAB with the setting up of 3 branches, the organising of training courses for its leadership and members, and enabled LAB to conduct Advocacy and Public Awareness activities. The Second Phase also saw the DANIDA Project helping WBUAP to set up the WBUAP Website in collaboration with the National Council for the Blind of Malaysia (NCBM).
The Third Phase will aim to achieve the following results:
(a) Further strengthen MNFB with their management structure, empower the Women and Youth wings to take up leadership roles, enhance their Advocacy work and help with income-generating projects, such as massage centres and FM radio stations.
(b) Consolidate the progress made in LAB by strengthening and increasing the number of branches, enhance its Advocacy and Public Awareness roles, help in setting up income-generating and training facilities such as massage and vocational training centres, etc.
(c) To help WBUAP to further develop the Website to provide more timely and useful information. One possible way is to encourage and strengthen the collection of information from Affiliate-Countries and disseminate it through the proposed WBUAP Internet Radio.
(d) With the lifting of sanctions imposed by the West on the military-run Government of Myanmar for many years that resulted in the country being isolated from international trade and humanitarian activities, Myanmar will now see more foreign assistance and collaboration with the outside world. This also means that the DANIDA Project can be extended to help the blind and partially-sighted people from the Myanmar National Association of the Blind (MNAB). What the Project did for MNFB and LAB during these years, will also happen to Myanmar. Thanks to DANIDA and the team from DAB, we will definitely see more developments taking place in MNAB for the benefit of its members.
· Onkyo Braille Essay Competition WBU-AP Gen Sec Ivan Ho Tuck Choy leads this Braille essay competition that attracted over 20 entries in 2013 from across the region and runs each year.
The WBUAP Onkyo World Braille Essay Contest 2014:
The Board & Policy Council of WBUAP would like to express their deep gratitude to the Onkyo Corporation and the Braille Mainichi Newspaper of Japan for sponsoring the 2014 Contest in promoting Braille literacy in this and other Regions of WBU.
The WBUAP Onkyo Selection Committee (WOSC) met from 2 – 3 August in Kuala Lumpur and went through the 32 best essays received from 10 countries and territories of WBUAP. The WOSC members were: Hiroaki Ishiwata and Naomi Yuki from Japan, Jordina Howell from Australia, Kamonwan Inaram from Thailand, Godfrey Ooi and Ivan Ho as Chairman from Malaysia. It was a tough job deciding on the 7 winners as the essays were all verygood.
As the results cannot be revealed until the Sponsors have given their approval in November, the WOSC can only disclose that the 7 winners came from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Myanmar, New Zealand and Vietnam.
The WOSC wishes to thank all the countries for participating in this year’s Contest and we extend our congratulations to the winners from the countries mentioned. We hope Macau, Malaysia Mongolia and Philippines, will try again, and more countries will join next year if the Sponsors should decide to continue funding the project.
· WBUAP also assists in the promotion of the Teruko Ikeda Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Training course for people who are blind or have low vision in the AP region each year. Approx. 12 applicants are selected to undertake 2 weeks of training on a range of accessible ICT which they take home to enhance their independence and skills for such things as employment. Wong and Christina Yoon Loong run this great capacity building program.
WBUAP has established an Employment and Economic Empowerment (EEE) Committee Chaired by BPC member Andrew Daly. Current Status: Sharing Expertise in the Job Readiness Programme:
Having successfully obtained a grant of US $60,000 from the Standard Chartered Bank under their Seeing is Believing Innovative Fund, to conduct a Pilot Project on Adaptive Equipment Loan Scheme to enhance the employability of the blind, the WBUAP Committee on Employment & Economic Empowerment selected National Council for the Blind Malasia (NCBM) to trial the Scheme.
Realising that it lacked the expertise to help the blind job-seekers in acquiring the necessary skills and confidence to enter the open job market, NCBM requested assistance, and Andrew Daly of the Royal Society for the Blind of South Australia (RSB) kindly sent Brian Dibbins, an Employment Consultant, to Malaysia to conduct a Job Readiness Workshop from 23 – 27 June 2014. In the spirit of regional co-operation, NCBM in turn fully sponsored 4 participants from the Myanmar National Association of the Blind, the Indonesian Blind Union and the Philippines Blind Union to join with the 10 local participants in this very beneficial Workshop. Invitations were also extended to Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore but they were unable to accept due to various reasons.
Some of the main topics and objectives of the Workshop were:
(a) Group Leader Training: To provide information on how to effectively deliver training to participants so that staff can deliver training to job seekers.
(b) Client Assessment & Action Plans: To provide assessment tools and information on identifying what the job seekers are able to do, and what barriers prevent them from working that can be addressed.
(c) Placement Activities: To ensure participants are aware of and able to utilise all of the various activities that can lead to employment outcomes.
(d). THE 12TH WBUAP MASSAGE SEMINAR
Soon after the conclusion of the 11th WBUAP Massage Seminar held in Kuala Lumpur in 2012, the Massage Commission had held 3 planning meetings in preparing for the 12th event held from 5 – 7 May 2014 at the Golden Tulip Sovereign Hotel in Bangkok. Despite the political unrest taking place at that time, 305 participants had registered – 128 from overseas and 177 from Thailand. One of the emphases of the Seminar was on branding – “Lifting Massage to a Higher Level”. Apart from the plenary sessions to exchange ideas, workshops to demonstrate the various techniques, and networking among masseurs and masseuses, there was a contest to choose the best-managed massage centre in the Region. Among some of the criteria to be fulfilled are: 1. The contesting centre must be nominated by a national or local organisation, registered with a government agency, and have a floor space over 100 metres. 2. The centre must be open all year round, in operation for three years, run professionally and
be able to make profit. 3. All its masseurs and masseuses must be trained and certified, have received accolades/compliments from establishments or customers. 4. If the centre is selected, it must be willing and able to receive visiting masseurs to learn its management model.
Three nominations were received from China, Hong Kong and Thailand, and the winning centre came from Thailand. Our hearty congratulations to them.
c. Reaching out to diversity groups such as: youth, women/girls, and older persons
We now have the following representatives to lead work in these areas: Women/Girls: BPC member Martine Abel-Williamson Martine has a well established network of women communicating mainly via email across the region.
One new resource and 2 training opportunities were passed on to women, namely, the new Health and Human Rights Resource Guide – Updated 5th Edition, the 17th Duskin Leadership Training Programme and Second Advocacy Gala Accademy Training opportunity.
There will also be a Women’s Forum at WBUAP Mid Term Regional General Assemblyon 21 November
Presentations will cover topics including:
Updating on blind/disabled women’s initiatives and activities in developing countries such as Fiji, China and Vietnam as well as from developed countries such as Australia.
Participants will have the opportunity to discuss current themes of issues affecting blind women and recommendations will be formed re what to do at national and international level to progress the wellbeing of blind and vision impaired women.
· Low vision: Aria Indrawati Older Persons: BPC member Andrew Daly
· Including various language communities Currently BPC member Andrew Daly is investigating the feasibility of a translation service that may be operated by people who are blind in in the region.
Other diversity groups The Organizing Committee of the WBUAP Mid-Term Regional General Assembly 2014 is inviting young people with visual impairment in the Asia Pacific region to attend and submit innovative proposals for presentation at the Youth Forum.
The Forum will be held on 21 November 2014 to mark the beginning of the General Assembly. We are pleased to invite Ms Sabriye Tenberken, founder of a Training Centre for blind people in Tibet and Braille Without Borders to share with us her extraordinary personal experience. Moreover, there will be presentations of the outstanding projects proposed by visually impaired youngsters and roundtable discussion to brainstorm recommendations to WBUAP and governments in the region for promoting equal opportunity and building of an inclusive society.
This is a great opportunity for youngsters with visual impairment in the region to exchange opinions and share their innovative ideas and dreams. It also serves as a platform to link up the projects with the resources required as potential funders will be invited to attend the event. Writers of 30 outstanding proposals will be sponsored to participate in the General Assembly.
d. Members understanding and use of UN instruments/treaties
· CRPD training and advocacy BPC member Martine Abel-Williamson has been appointed as WBUAP Regional CRPD Coordinator Martine has contacted member countries to gain their selections of person/s to be CRPD Champion/s in their country. Martine also attended training for Regional CRPD Coordinators in the U.S. in late 2013.
Current Status: Eight countries have now appointed National CRPd Champions. The new general comments that the UN published on CRPD articles 9 and 12 were distributed to National Champions to assist in their work when drafting shadow reports and for enhanced advocacy efforts in the fields of access to the environment, transport and access to legal systems.
· WBUAP has established an ICT Committee under the Chairmanship of BPC member Neil Jarvis. Committee members come from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand Key objectives of the ICT Committee reflect the broader WBU technology committee objectives with some additions: The original priorities identified by the global WBU Technology Working Group are: Objective 1: Institute and consolidate access to television through audio description. Objective 2: Institute and consolidate access to mobile telecommunications through text-to-speech technology: (i.e., development and information about what is available and basic phones/devices. Objective 3: Investigate and influence the regulatory framework for access to financial services, and Influence the design of core technologies that affect such lifestyle activities as travel, shopping, managing money and reading. Objective 4: Develop an alternative format production toolkit for developing countries including Braille modified print and simple architecture for text-to-speech. Objective 5: Transform access to Braille through the development of low cost refreshable Braille displays. In addition to those five objectives, the committee added: Objective 6: promote and support the development of access to low-cost or no-cost technologies like NVDA and others, since it is clearly an important issue for people in this region. Objective 7: promote the adoption of internationally-recognised standards when it comes to accessibility of websites, products and technology-based services provided throughout our region. Current Status:
· To date, the Committee has focussed on Objective 6, but, through its members, is also working on Objectives 2 and 5 and members report on them to the committee. The Committee will give fuller attention to these once it has completed its major task under Objective 6, which is the production of a living document which will be a resource pack detailing available low-cost and free-to-the-end –user technologies.
b. Environment – mobility and transportation BPC member Martine Abel-Williamson has experience and expertise in these areas and will lead/disseminate information re activities in these areas
· Silent Car WBU Position Paper The Policy has been loaded up on the wbuap.org website
· 4. Information Sharing and Collaboration
As one of WBUAP’s major roles is information provision we have a variety of methods for information gathering and dissemination including:
· Our regional magazine: East Wind
· WBUAP website;
· Updates and proceedings from BPC meetings
· Gatherings such as mid-term assembly and national conferences/workshops
· Mr Wong Yoon Loong is Editor of East Wind and also manages the WBUAP website (www.wbuap.org)
equipment recycling project The WBU-AP has established an equipment recycling website where such things as magnifiers, white canes, and other low tec equipment can be distributed and requested/donated (www.rsb.org.au/wbu) Current Status: A range of low and high tech braille and low vision / magnification equipment has been donated by Pacific Vision in New Zealand for use in the Pacific-Oceania region. The equipment was passed on for distribution in Papua New Guinea Fiji, and Vanuatu.
Blind citizens Australia (BCA) delivered a braille embosser to Papua New guinea Association of disabled Persons for use by members who are blind or have low vision.
· The WBUAP Website has many resources to share on such topics as fundraising, capacity building etc..
· Social enterprise collaboration is being investigated, led by BPC member Chong Chan Yau assisted by Monthian Buntan in such areas as Dialogue in the dark and Braille without Borders
· 5. Enabling priority
· An application to WBU for fee relief for Fiji has been facilitated by Chair Pacific-Oceania Kevin Murfitt and submitted to WBU February 2014. WBU subsequently approved the fee relief and Fiji will update membership at the mid-term assembly.
· WBUAP through the host organization , Hong Kong Blind Union and Hong Kong Society for the Blind, provides Sponsorship to the mid-term assembly for selected eligible delegates from developing countries including Fiji, China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam. A special thanks to Chong Chan Yau for facilitating Macao’s attendance at the MRGA for the first time.
b. Overseeing financial resources
· Treasurer role. BPC member Dr Kevin Murfitt elected as Treasurer for 2012-2016 quadrennium
· Resource Generation strategic plan a. To provide member countries with resources and advice re fund-raising Current status: fund-raising tips and tricks on WBUAP website
b. Reach out to potential donors for cash and ‘in-kind’ donations to further WBUAP’s work Current status: Balance is 9268.00 up from $6,192.87. at the start of Quadrennieum.
so we are getting there but welcome donations on the wbuap.org web site. Donations have been gratefully received from the Onkyo Braille Essay Competition committee, NCBM, and from staff at the Bank of Japan.
There will be a ‘silent auction’ at the mid-term assembly where items of cultural significance donated by member countries will be auctioned to raise funds;
· A brochure detailing the value donors generate and gain by donating to WBUAP’s work is currently under development, and a final draft will be submitted to the BPC at the November 2014 meeting.
c. Achieve a balance in excess of Aus$ 10,000 in the WBU-AP account Current status: balance is of: $9200.00
Resource generation is a permanent business item on all BPC meetings.
Finally, we need to thank Chong Chan Yau and Stella Ho and their team for organizing this great event of the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific Mid Term Regional General Assembly. It is a huge amount of work and I encourage all to participate as fully as possible.
BPC Board Member and Treasurer