After three years of implementation Project SCOPE’s efforts to enhance the lives of more than 19,000 persons with disabilities in Parañaque, Taguig, and Pateros have paid off.
Project SCOPE empowered children with disabilities, their parents, caregivers, organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), and other civil society organizations (CSOs) to engage effectively with local governments by expressing their rights and monitoring the use of public resources for their benefit. This participation, in turn, helped improve policies, programmes and services for children with disabilities.
The PhP33.4 million project was funded jointly by the European Union (EU) and Save the Children and was co-implemented by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability—East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP).
During the closing ceremony, the EU and Save the Children Philippines underscored the critical role of organizations of persons with disabilities, groups of children with disabilities, and parents to advocate for their rights and their inclusion in the local governments’ policies and programs.
“While Project SCOPE is ending this month, the work has just begun for the local government units (LGUs), OPDs and CSOs whose capacities were strengthened to work together to develop and implement laws/policies, programs and services to fulfil the rights of persons with disabilities, especially children, and to allow them to participate in the design of those policies” said Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines.
“We hope to share our lessons in empowering children with disabilities to more partners so that more local governments will recognize the capacities of children with disabilities living in an enabling community,” said Atty. Alberto Muyot, CEO of Save the Children Philippines.
People with disabilities, in particular children, in Parañaque, Pateros, and Taguig are now represented in planning and policy-making bodies such as the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC), Municipal Development Council (MDC), and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC). As one of the project’s activities, Project SCOPE has also developed a database of people with disabilities to help the LGUs ensure policies and programmes are inclusive and leave no one behind.
Save the Children Philippines also helped organise children with disabilities groups, namely, Parañaque Dream Chasers (PDC), Pateros Fighting Scholars (PFS), and Sipag at Pangarap, Accessible at Equal Education (SPACEE). As a result of the project’s activities children with disabilities have also been able
to challenge social perceptions that influenced their self-awareness and limited their personal development. According to Aimylyn, 16, a youth advocate and member of partner organization Parañaque Dream Chasers “Through Project SCOPE, I learned to become more confident. Now, I am not shy to speak-up among my peers. I am also able to share my opinions and listen to others in activities like consultations of government.”
As a result of Project SCOPE’s involvement, anti-bullying and anti-discrimination measures against persons with disabilities were filed in Taguig. Also, the Children’s Code in the three LGUs was revised to include provisions for the welfare and participation of children with disabilities. Project SCOPE also supported the OPDs in their advocacy efforts in support of Republic Act 11650, or the Act Establishing a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education, which was signed into law on March 11, 2022.
During Project SCOPE’s culminating activity, the six OPDs, three children with disabilities groups, and three parent groups exchanged best practices in advocacy and local governance.