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Addressing Gender and Disability Concerns in the Provincial Road Improvement and Maintenance Program in Lombok

An inclusive approach to sustainable development requires action to address societal barriers that prevent vulnerable groups, such as women and people with disabilities, in having equal access and opportunity. Regardless of the social construct towards their identity and role, women and people with disabilities can explore their potential as individuals and participate as active members of the community.

In the Provincial Road Improvement and Maintenance (PRIM) pro-ject supported by IndII, a workshop on gender and disability was held on 27-28 April, 2016 in Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB). It was facilitated by two consultants, Elly Mahmudah and Jaka Ahmad (who is blind) and IndII’s Gender Officer, Eko Utomo. Forty participants including representatives from local government, DFAT, consultants, contractors, members from local NGOs, and the Road Traffic and Transport Forum (RTTF) attended the workshop. The two-day workshop aimed to strengthen the capacity of the program to integrate gender and disability dimensions in all activities. Gender and disability are no longer abstract concepts that cannot be translated into real action.

Often vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, are treated in a pitiful manner (‘weak’, ‘should not be left alone to travel’, etc.) and hence not encouraged to be independent or con-tribute more to their community. This perspective was challenged during the workshop. One powerful way to improve awareness and to create a sense of involvement was through a role play as disa-bled people. Toni, a participant from the Association of People with Disability in Indonesia, expressed his enthusiasm of the session. “Disability issues have never been openly considered and discussed by infrastructure people in NTB. So this is really a big challenge and opportunity,” he said.

At the end of the workshop, all participants valued the changes in their perspective towards integrating gender and disability to im-prove road sector activities in their own areas. Furthermore, the workshop was followed with a write-up of a workable action plan which addresses these two aspects. The PRIM team will now coor-dinate with stakeholders to ensure concrete efforts are embedded in activities to address equal participation. Further, an equal op-portunity for employment will also be encouraged. PRIM will also amend contractual obligations for contractors to include specific treatment for women and people with disabilities.