Missing Voices: 2030 and Counting
Youth with disabilities track progress on the Sustainable Development Goals
“What has stood out is the resilience of people living with disabilities, who have used their struggles and challenges as an inspiration to not just get by in life, but to become agents of the change that they want to see.”
Regina, Youth Reporter, Kenya
We have a long standing partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability. We first worked together in 2012 to develop an accessible training programme for citizen reporters living with disabilities. This programme has been honed through numerous partnerships with their young disability rights activists around the world. In 2018, we added a peer mentoring layer to the programme which enabled a wider network of disabled young people to report on the progress of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Kenya, the Philippines and Zambia. They mobilised behind the rally cry of ‘leaving no one behind’ by tracking the daily frustrations and rights-infringements faced by young people with disabilities.
The reporters spent six months collecting hundreds of inspiring and emotive untold stories that demonstrated how people with disabilities are often discriminated against and left behind in their communities. Their videos were published by the Telegraph and the reporters findings were turned into a global report.
Youth with disabilities are experts in their own experiences and can help enable deeper insight around the challenges they face and those of their peers. Trained to use a mix of simple and smart mobile devices, they were able to share personal insights in their own words, in their own time, and on their own terms. This generated more powerful and persuasive data than traditional methods.
For this project, the methodological approach has consisted of community conversations and interviews to ‘collect’ constituent perspectives on key SDG themes. This ‘deep dive’ method is most suited to respond to communication gaps or needs that require in-depth community-driven reporting on a static story of international relevance. The approach deployed a network of trained community reporters to crowdsource insight from wider community groups who may have lacked the mobile connections, language, literacy or perhaps confidence to engage as reporters in their own right. This allowed for the time investment required to delve deeper into a variety of stories.