The purpose of having a World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) policy paper in the field of development work is to provide guidelines for those of WFD’s member organisations that carry out development assistance projects in developing countries.
The paper focuses on the following areas:
- Origin of the co-operation
- Partner in the donor country
- Partner in the recipient country
- The co-operation
- Control measures
- Long term objectives of the work
- Priority areas for the co-operation
- Stationed personnel / expatriates
- Training of people in the recipient country
- Termination of co-operation
- Information and coordination
1. Origin of the co-operation
The initiative for the co-operation has to come from the recipient country, and not from the donor.
2. Partner in the donor country
The member organisation in the donor country should ensure that no commercial interests (for instance agreements with hearing aid companies) influence the project. The project should be run by Deaf people themselves – and in accordance with the organisation’s objectives and ethics. However it is advisable to note that almost always a funding agency will be involved, whose regulations both partners must adhere to. In this case it is important to ensure that the recipient partner understands these regulations from the very beginning of the co-operation.
3. Partner in the recipient country
Any project that targets Deaf people in any country should be implemented in close co-operation with the national association of the Deaf in the said country – if such association exists. If it does not exist, it is advisable to include the encouragement of developing such an association in the project plans – in order to have an appropriate partner in the co-operation which can represent the target group of the project: namely Deaf people in the country. Moreover the regional secretariat of the WFD in the region should be kept informed of the co-operation.In cases where a Deaf association does exist, it should be ensured – before acceptance as a partner in the co-operation – that it is a democratic organisation, and that it is open to all Deaf people, and does not exclude any group from participation on the basis of tribe, religion, sex or similar.
4. The co-operation
There is need for awareness of the fact that the conditions for co-operation (one partner is a donor and one is a recipient) make it difficult to obtain a truly equal partnership. However it is important to have a certain minimum of democracy in the co-operation, so that the recipient partner’s points of view are taken into consideration. Most of all it is important to agree on how to share responsibilities and decision making as the project develops (for instance: what decisions can the donor influence and what decisions can the recipient partner take alone?)It is also advisable to agree upon specific measurements of how the co-operation will be monitored on both sides: involvement of board or commissions, written agreements, internal/external evaluations, project visits, publication of reports, etc.
5. Control measures
The partner from the donor country must set up clear guidelines on how to keep account of the funds and other valuables in the project. It is important that the recipient accept these demands, as they usually are pre-requisites for the co-operation in any case. It is also advisable to be clear about how to deal with the situation if cheating or fraud with money and valuables is discovered.
6. Long term objectives of the work
The long-term objective of projects should be for Deaf people to attain equal status in society.
7. Priority areas for the co-operation:
The WFD recommends the following to be given priority in co-operation work:
- Establishment/strengthening of an organisation of the Deaf
- Sign language work
- Income generating and vocational training
- Labour market
8. Stationed personnel
In the case of stationing personnel from the donor organisation in the recipient country, as opposed to employment of people from the recipient country itself, it is important that the intentions of this are clear. Having stationed personnel is almost always more expensive than employing people from the recipient country, so it is important to compare the advantages and disadvantages, before deciding on this option. If local people are not qualified to perform certain tasks, it must be part of the project’s aim that stationed personnel pass on skills to people from the recipient country. It is also advisable to clarify the competence of the stationed personnel, especially in relation to the recipient association – and vice versa.
9. Training of people in the recipient country
Bringing people from the recipient country to the donor country for training carries the risk of alienating them from their own culture, and making implementation of new skills more difficult because they were not taught in the environment where they are to use the skills. However there are also be advantages, such as creating visions for the future, by having people from the recipient country see what has been achieved in the donor country.
No matter which way is chosen it is important to set up priorities for the training, and be aware of the above-mentioned difficulties. The WFD recommends that if training is carried out in the recipient country, it should be for a limited period of time.
10. Termination of co-operation
Donors should always strive for sustainability in the project. The objective must be for the partner in the recipient country to become independent of the donor. At all costs it must be avoided that it becomes a permanent condition that the Deaf association from the recipient country becomes dependent on the support from the donor country. As early in the co-operation as possible specific deadlines for decline of the support should be agreed upon.
11. Information and coordination
The WFD encourages all member associations that implement development assistance work to co-ordinate the work within this field, and to share all relevant information with the WFD as well as with other partners working in the same or related areas.
The WFD is also willing to assist in finding experts if outside help is needed in a project – for instance for solving problems in the co-operation or for taking part in reviews or evaluations.
27 September 2001