South Sudan: Data Collection Central to Inclusion of People with Disabilities
Photo: United Nations Disability
Juba - Susan Atala is a Roving Project Officer for the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). She works for DTM in South Sudan and has been involved in two very important disability data collection exercises that DTM did in partnership with Humanity and Inclusion (HI), an INGO that supports people with disabilities in situations of poverty and exclusion. This first one was carried out in Bentiu in December 2017, and it is now being repeated in Wau.
The data collection in South Sudan was carried out to better understand the barriers faced by persons with disabilities, in order to ensure that IOM programmes offer adequate protection and meaningful access to these persons when providing services.
"I learnt how to look at my work with a different lens,” Atala said, reflecting on her participation in these exercises. “Every activity I plan, every time I speak to people in a POC, every time I plan my visits, I think about how to adapt my actions so that a person with a disability is not excluded from what I am doing."
Through her work on the DTM, Susan Atala has developed both interest and expertise in data collection. In February 2019, she was invited to attend a workshop in Geneva, Switzerland organized by the UK Government’s Department for International Development: “Guidance on Strengthening Disability Inclusion into Humanitarian Response Plans.”
She took part in key discussions about the collection of data to help towards the development of Humanitarian Response Plans. She also gave practical examples of ways to make sure that the subject of disability would be consistently highlighted during planning.
"I feel even more motivated than before because I know that all the other UN agencies here today and all the NGOs are committed to the same thing: for the rights of persons with disabilities to not be forgotten,” she said after the workshop. “I will make sure that I advocate strongly for this at a local level and within IOM South Sudan.”