Plan of Action for Development of Youth with Visual Impairment in the Asia Pacific Region



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Plan of Action for Development of Youth with Visual Impairment in the Asia Pacific Region

Martine Abel reports:



1. Background

This plan of action was adopted from the 1st Asia Pacific Visually Impaired Youth Summit held in Penang, Malaysia from 7-9 August 2015. The summit was organized by the Society of the Blind in Malaysia in collaboration with the National Council for the Blind Malaysia, the Japan Braille Library and World Blind Union - Asia Pacific. This summit brought together 92 participants from 15 countries in the Asia Pacific Region.



2. Fundamental principles

The Plan of Action for Development of Youth with Visual Impairment in the Asia Pacific Region is developed by grounding all its measures on the following fundamental principles:

2.1 Individuals' rights and responsibilities: all youths have personal rights to autonomy, to access and to have equity to fully participate in various aspects of societal life, and they also have responsibilities and are expected to be accountable in practising their own rights.

2.2 Mutual respect: every party should acknowledge and respect the rights of youths with visual impairment, and their difference in needs, potentials, and capabilities of diverse group of youths with visual impairment, regardless of their abilities, gender, race, ethnicity, belief, social status and geographical location.

2.3 Person-centered approach: all policies, regulations, guidelines and programmes should recognize and accord to the needs, capabilities and potentials of each individual youth in its planning, implementation and review processes.

2.4 Accessibility: all policies, regulations, guidelines and programmes should recognize and include accessibility aspects for youths with visual impairment, in terms of processes, information dissemination, content design etc.

2.5 Gender equality and gender sensitive: all policies, regulations, guidelines and programmes should recognize and ensure equality of access and equity between youths of opposite gender, as well as gender-sensitive planning and implementation.

2.6 Partnership: to achieve all targets outlined in this plan, all parties should recognize, promote and employ partnership approaches in every stage of development, namely in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of any project or programme with all stakeholders which deal directly and indirectly in the youth development such as policy makers, blind people's organizations, private sector, parents, and civil society.



3. Goal

This Plan of Action for Development of Youth with Visual Impairment in the Asia Pacific Region aims to establish an inclusive and enabling region for the development of youths with visual impairment that is based on the youths' rights, needs, capabilities as well as their potentials which will then bring to a full and effective participation amongst these youths in social, cultural, economic and political aspects of their lives.



4. Strategic areas

4.1 Target: Foster inclusivity in political and governance system

4.1.1 Measures for implementation

i. Encourage the governments in the Asia Pacific region to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

ii. Conduct continuous disability awareness training for policy makers in different sectors.

iii. Organize continuous advocacy and lobbying to all stakeholders involved in the development of youths with visual impairment.


4.2 Target: Institutionalize the participation and development of youths with visual impairment in the Asia Pacific region

4.2.1 Measures for implementation

i. Establish a Youth Committee, with equal status as that of other bodies established within its structure with a Chair serving on the Policy Council.

ii. Establish national youth committees or youth wings (where they do not exist) to focus attention on issues concerning the youth with visual impairment in each member country.

iii. Appoint representatives to serve on the WBUAP Youth Committee with support, or designate personnel to liaise with the WBUAP Youth Committee in carrying out its agenda.

iv. Provide annual allocations to the national youth committees (or youth wings) to enable them to carry out their activities.

v. Continue the organizing of the Asia Pacific Visually Impaired Youth Summit to serve the purpose as a platform to share information, good practices, success stories, etc.
4.3 Target: Enhance the inclusion of youths with visual impairment in employment & economic sector

4.3.1 Measures for implementation

i. Organize continuous awareness programmes for employers, both in the public and private sector, as well as for the public community.

ii. Introduce job readiness programmes which focus on fresh school leavers, vocational trainees and college / university students.

iii. Upgrade training institutions and the training programmes to ensure the programmes offered match the current and future market demand in this region.

iv. Provide consultancy services for employers and employees with visual impairment through job coaching and ICT facilities sensitization.

v. Provide proper support to persons with visual impairment from primary level to university level to increase their academic success, which results in enhancing their access and equity in employment sector.

vi. Provide career education and career counseling for youths with visual impairment.

vii. Develop and provide support for internship programmes to help graduates with visual impairment to acquire more on-the-job training experience.

viii. Promote diversity programmes at the workplace in public and private sectors.

ix. Promote and provide support such as training and funding for social entrepreneurship among youths with visual impairment.

x. Document and disseminate information related to best practices in workplace inclusion and successful social entrepreneurship of persons with visual impairment.


4.4 Target: Empower youths with visual impairment through capacity building programmes

4.4.1 Measures for implementation

i. Organize Asia Pacific Youth Leadership Training annually to develop necessary skills among youths with visual impairment.

ii. Organize Youth Exchange Programmes to give opportunity to youths from less developed countries to study best practices in the inclusion of person with visual impairment from developed countries.

iii. Organize Youth Camps at national level to build up necessary skills among youths with visual impairment such as leadership, self-motivation, decision-making, etc.

iv. Encourage youths with visual impairment to participate in mainstream training programmes with the support provided by the blind people organizations, especially in accessibility information and ICT equipment sensitization.


4.5 Target: Enhance international networking & collaboration for the development of youths with visual impairment

4.5.1 Measures for implementation

i. Encourage all representing national bodies to send at least two (2) youths with visual impairment as part of their delegates in each World Blind Union and World Blind Union Asia Pacific related events, such as general assembly and so on.

ii. Establish a social network platform for all representing national bodies in Asia Pacific region to share best practices and other information on combating discrimination and issues relevant to the development of youths with visual impairment in this region.



5. Evaluation mechanism

This Plan of Action for Development of Youth with Visual Impairment in the Asia Pacific Region requires all representing national bodies from each country to promote the implementation of this plan, monitor and review its progress through appropriate measures and report its implementation to the World Blind Union - Asia Pacific (WBUAP) annually.






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