Today Finnish Association of the Deaf (FAD) and the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) presented a “Manual for Sign Language Work within Development Cooperation” at the one-day WFD Workshop addressed to members of the WFD. In total more than 80 representatives from 51 countries applauded the presentation of Mr Florjan Rojba, Mr Arttu Liikamaa and Dr Karin Hoyer explaining the contents of the Manual. It is intended to be a tool for enhancing human rights of deaf people through sign language work in practice. The manual is available both in International Sign and in English.
The web publication “Working Together – Manual for Sign Language Work within Development Cooperation” is a set of guidelines and examples of best practice on how to conduct Sign Language Work together with a Deaf Community. Sign language documentation and research is the starting point for the empowerment of the Deaf Community in Sign Language Work. This manual emphasises the importance of a community-based approach, where deaf signers are conducting the Sign Language Work in practice themselves.
Sign Language Work incorporates several important elements, and entails much more than compiling a sign language dictionary. The focus of Sign Language Work is to awaken the linguistic awareness of the Deaf Community, and to create opportunities for deaf people to learn about linguistics, research methods, and human rights issues which in turn raises linguistic awareness, capacities and skills. Sign Language Work may eventually lead to a governmental or legal recognition of a sign language.
The manual aims to share ideas about how Sign Language Work should be conducted. Deaf Community members can acquire the knowledge and skills that they need to improve their situation in society with the support of an advisor. This Balkan model of Sign Language Work presented in the manual has been implemented by the Finnish Association of the Deaf in development cooperation projects together with the Deaf Communities in Albania and Kosovo.
The frame of reference used in the manual is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The UN CRPD recognises that equality and the human rights of deaf people depend upon access to sign language. The manual also follows the policies set out by the WFD.
The information in the manual is available both in International Sign and in written English. Target groups of the manual are deaf people (in low-to-middle-income countries), advisors working with a Deaf Community, organisations and institutions funding and implementing development projects, as well as stakeholders, governmental institutions and representatives collaborating with Deaf Communities.
The manual is a result of cooperation between FAD, the WFD, the Albanian National Association of the Deaf and the Kosovar Association of the Deaf.
You can find the manual here: www.slwmanual.info