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CSW67 Session report from SISEAP Assistant Programme Convenor Cesarina Gigante.


Presented by: WWDA (Women With Disabilities Australia) Saphia Grant

Saphia Grant WWDA project: Lead project manager is disabled and a carer/parent of a child with disability with extensive experience and a broad background of over 20 years in community development, arts, events, education, climate change/environment, community mobilisation and organising, human rights activism, advocacy and campaign work. 

Saphia led us on a powerful, informative, inspiring and inclusive journey about the WWDA and Lead project (Lead, Engage, Activate, Drive).

Key messages revolved around the themes of ‘Women, girls and nonbinary people with disabilities are already powerful’, Nothing about us without us’ inclusion not segregation’ and ‘the conversation hasn’t started until every view is heard’ highlighting the importance of co-design. Co-design is seen as going beyond consultation and including participants as active members when building programs as they see ‘women with disabilities not being problems that need to fixed, they are problem solvers’.  Saphia led by example when presenting to be inclusive when delivering presentations using strategies including speaking clearly and slowly, describing what was each slide and using appropriate images. The images and icons that were used throughout the presentation and on the WWDA materials are indicative of the diversity that exists and how this diversity can be represented.

The presentation then when onto describing the LEAD Project developed during the pandemic to engage, build and allow capacity exchange between community members online. The principles of the project are to:

  • Lead by lifting others up
  • Value diversity and lived experience
  • Challenging and transforming traditional views of leadership
  • Care for self to care for the community
  • Nothing about us without us

The project included webinars, peer networking, scholarship and mentoring programs, an art prize and leadership blogs. Further information can be found on the project on the WWDA website HERE.

During the pandemic more inclusive strategies were developed that increased participation but it also bought about knowledge of the digital divide that exists especially in more remote areas. Also, not all had the skills or could access the adjustments needed to participate. The most important part on communication exchange is to ask the participant what their needs are in order to engage. These issues were worked on throughout the project by the WWDA team. It was also raised that now that many activities are returning to face to face events if live streaming or hybrid options are not available participants may now be excluded. 

Cesarina Gigante

SISEAP Assistant Programme Convenor

SISEAP Membership

Soroptimist International is a global movement of women, with members belonging to more than 3,000 clubs in 126 countries/territories, spread over 5 Federations