Leave No One Behind in Education: Advocating for disability rights in Nepal

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

Abstract: Despite international regulations such as the Convention of the Rights of the Child andthe Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the global SustainableDevelopment Goals in Agenda 2030, everyone does not have the same rights toeducation. Children with disabilities are the most marginalised and excluded groups insociety and also overrepresented among those who are not in school. Disability rightsadvocates are advocating for children with disabilities having the right to education anddiscovering new ways of making their voices heard through digital media. This degreeproject explores how these advocates act as change agents in the Nepal disability rightsmovement, with a focus on communication and the role of media.Through the lens of communication for development and social change, the theoreticalframework outlines advocacy communication for social justice, and social movementsas ‘experience movements’. The material was collected during a two months field studyin Nepal between March and May 2019. A qualitative study was conducted withinterviews as the primary method (semi-structured and focus group discussions) andfield observation as secondary.The findings suggest that advocacy communication was used by all advocates and thatdigital media and information communication technology provided the potential toreach new audiences, without replacing the public sphere. Language and voice werehighlighted as invaluable for effective communication. The movement was not limitedto special education, rather advocated for equity, access and participation in qualityeducation for all children. Digital, policy and behavioural changes were seen; peoplenow talk about children with disabilities and inclusive education. Challenges for themovement (i.e. budget, human resources, collaborations, voice, defined target group(s),data collection) still persisted, nevertheless improved collaborations between thegovernment and the disability people's organisations outlined a will for improvement inparticipation and empowerment.

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