Trinity collaborates in the National Dialogue for the Revision of the National Disability Policy in Timor-Leste
Professor Malcolm MacLachlan and Ms Tessy Huss of the Centre for Global Health & School of Psychology, together with UNESCO and UNESCAP consultants, recently participated at the National Dialogue for the Revision of the National Disability Policy in Timor-Leste.
The National Dialogue was the culmination of a 7-month assessment of the inclusiveness of the National Disability Policy, and which involved a close collaboration between Trinity academics and the National Policy Working Group. The outcomes and recommendations from this policy assessment will be presented to the Council of Ministers in Timor-Leste over the coming months and will guide the revision of the National Disability Policy.
Prof MacLachlan said “People with disabilities have been recognised as a particularly vulnerable group in the Timorese context and it is therefore critical to revise policies to make them more inclusive of marginalized groups. The project report and its recommendations will be presented to the Council of Ministers over the coming months and I am confident that the work undertaken together with national stakeholders and UN consultants will contribute to a more inclusive policy environment for people with disabilities. Through their participation in this project, the government of Timor-Leste is demonstrating a commitment to social inclusion, a key objective of the Sustainable Development Agenda”.
Ms Huss, who is conducting a policy analysis of the National Disability Policy in Timor-Leste as part of her PhD, said “spending significant time with the National Policy Working Group, informed my understanding of the current implementation gaps of the National Disability Policy. The disability scene in Timor Leste is quite small, yet very active and engaged. I believe that the Inclusive Timor Leste project generated a momentum that civil society must use to their advantage. Disability has not been a priority of the government of Timor-Leste for a long time, but I believe that our project helped draw attention to certain exclusionary practices”.
Funded by the Malaysia Funds-in-Trust to UNESCO, the Inclusive Timor-Leste project is the second module of the three-country Inclusive Asia project, which also involves Dr Hasheem Mannan of University College Dublin. Dr Mannan and Ms Huss attended a National Dialogue in Putrajaya, Malaysia in March this year, where they concluded the first module of the project. The Inclusive Cambodia project will be launched later this year. The Inclusive Asia project forms part of an on-going collaboration between Trinity College and UNESCO.
The agenda is available here.
Pictured are the Minister for Social Solidarity (centre left), Mrs. Isabel Guterres, with Prof Malcolm MacLachan (centre right), Tessy Huss (centre right – second row), Irakli Khodeli (Head of Social & Human Sciences, UNESCO (Jakarta)) (centre), Alexander Hauschild (UNESCO consultant) (centre – back row), Mrs. Angelina Sarmento (Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Timor-Leste, UNESCO) (front row, third left), Mr. Aba Mendonca (in-country project coordinator, UNESCO) (front row, far right) with members of the National Policy Working Group, civil society representatives and representatives of UN agencies.