TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR DEVELOPING A POSITION PAPER ON EDUCATION AND VISUAL IMPAIRMENT
The human right of all people to education was first defined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and further elaborated in a range of international conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and more recently in the CRPD with which the Government of Rwanda ratified in 2008. The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first binding instrument in international law to deal comprehensively with the human rights of children, and is notable for the inclusion of an article specifically concerned with the rights of children with disabilities.
In Article 24 the CRPD stresses the need for governments to ensure equal access to an “inclusive education system at all levels” and provide reasonable accommodation and individual support services to persons with disabilities to facilitate their education.
Article 24 of the CRPD also addresses the specific needs of children with severe and complex sensory impairments for access to specific supports to learning such as sign language, Braille and low vision aids. Other children with disabilities may also need modifications to the curriculum, to styles of teaching and to the organization of the classroom. Support to all children with disabilities has to be individually tailored and resourced both in terms of time and staffing. Clearly, parents and the children themselves have to be partners in deciding the nature and intensity of such support and ways in which it can be reduced as both child and teacher become more confident and competent (see chapter 6 below for further discussion of education).
According to the world report on disability; statistical data indicates Rwanda has achieved significant success in education but there are still significant disparities in education access and outcomes across the income distribution, by geography, gender, and disability. Children with disabilities have continuously experienced barriers in Rwandan Education system as they are often not provided with appropriate instructional resources, services and approaches. In particular, the learners with visual impairment are still struggling to access the quality education as all other students with and without disabilities in Rwanda.
II. About RUB
Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) is a national non-governmental organization legally operating in Rwanda since 1995.
Its activities aim at improving the living conditions of persons with visual impairment through advocacy, promoting the education of CWV, capacity development of members and rehabilitation program/service. Currently RUB has 60 well-established branches in 29 out of 30 districts. It has about 2500 members across the country.
RUB promotes the rights of people with vision impairment through advocacy assistance, education and outreach to build the Rwandan society awareness and support for inclusion. Its members are supported in a wide range of situations, including cases where they have been denied their right to education, to work, to live independently, to access a good standard of healthcare and to enjoy participating family and community life.
Most of RUB’s activities are based on advocacy work which aims at supporting Rwandan people living with visual impairment in a wide range of situations, including cases where people have been denied their right to education, to work, to independently living, to access a good standard of healthcare and to enjoy participating in family and community life. It utilizes advocacy and lobbying, capacity development and other various strategic mechanisms in order to promote access to necessary services and inclusion for persons with visual impairment and to improve a corresponding adequate legal and institutional framework in Rwanda. RUB considers advocacy as instrumental in ensuring that the views, wishes and feelings of visually impaired people are heard when decisions are made about their lives.
RUB uses the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) as part of its National Rights advocacy to address the denial of human rights to persons with visual impairment in Rwanda. It aims to legitimize the needs of persons with visual impairment as rights holders as declared in CRPD.
III. About the project
People with visual impairment in Rwanda are among the most disadvantaged groups in the country with limited access to basic needs and social services such as health, rehabilitation, education, employment and microcredit just to name a few. The myths and beliefs associated with disability have created ignorance about their capabilities and have led to their low status in society. This has led to discrimination and isolation of Persons with blindness, as they are regarded as people who are incapable of learning or being gainfully employed to take care of themselves and contribute to family and community development.
To ensure that RUB keeps serving as a watchdog for the realization of the rights of persons with visual impairment in Rwanda, and to hold the government accountable for its commitments towards inclusion of PWDs including those with visual impairment, RUB works to address the needs of persons with visual impairment and strives for the improvement of corresponding adequate legal and institutional framework.
It is in this context that in the year 2019, RUB has been awarded a grant by Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (“DRAF”) to implement a 1 year project entitled, “Advocating for accessible material for visually impaired persons in Rwanda’’ to advocate for accessibility printable format for the persons with visual impairment and for a new paradigm where the government officials come to the level of recognizing their role and responsibility as duty-bearers and hence bound by the convention not only to be conversant with the articles, but also to institute the necessary mechanisms for the implementation of government commitments towards the 2018 Global Disability Summit, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), UNCRPD and ratification of Marrakesh treaty to enable intervention and realization of rights of persons with disabilities including those with visual impairment.
The project has been purposefully designed to advocate on accessibility printable format for the visually impaired people in Rwanda. It will also advocates for a new paradigm where the government officials come to the level of recognizing their role and responsibility as duty-bearers and hence bound by the convention not only to be conversant with the articles, but also to institute the necessary mechanisms for the implementation of the SDGs, UNCRPD and ratification of Marrakesh treaty to enable intervention and realization of rights.
IV. The purpose and objective of the assignment
To ensure that RUB keeps serving as a watchdog for the realization of the rights of persons with visual impairment in Rwanda, and to hold the government accountable for its commitments towards inclusion of PWDs including those with visual impairment in development programs, RUB uses the human rights based approach to address the needs of persons with visual impairment in Rwanda and strives for the improvement of corresponding adequate legal and institutional framework in Rwanda .
Under a DRF funded project, RUB conducted a desk review to assess gaps on accessibility related policies which are not friendly to visually impaired persons and to assess if the Special Needs and Inclusive Education policy include recognition of CRPD standards, enabling persons with visual impairment have access to educational and other rights on an equal basis with others.
To better understand the current situation related to the education of learners with visual impairment in Rwanda, also conducted the district stakeholder mapping on the situation of education of student with visual impairment in 10 schools/centers admitting student with visual impairment.
It is against this background that RUB would like to hire a consultant to develop a position paper on the education of learners with visual impairment based on the reports on the desk review of the SNE&IE policy and of the district stakeholder mapping .
4.1. General objective
The overall objective of the position paper which reflects the views of RUB on education in relation to the well-being and access to quality and equitable education for visually impaired people in Rwanda.
4.2 Specific objectives
It is intended that in developing the position paper ,the consultant will have the following points in mind:
• Provide a clear picture of challenges faced by learners with visual impairment in education which affect the equitable quality education and inclusion of visually impaired persons in the education system
• To provide recommendations to the relevant ministries and other institutions which might be involved on critical areas of intervention for the education system to be more inclusive to persons with with visual impairment
• Provide a report which will support the project implementation process and inform RUB advocacy work on access to equitable quality education for children/learners with visual impairment in Rwanda.
V. Scope and focus of the assignment
The consultant will be responsible for the whole position paper development process which will involve the workshops and meetings with some persons with visual impairment and RUB officials, review the available reports on education with visual impairment including RUB studies , develop a position paper and submit the final position report.
i) Tasks and suggested timeframe
|a. Facilitating the workshop for inception report presentation and gathering the basic information which will gather key board /sub-committee members and key staff||1 days|
|b. Literature review, meeting with RUB officials, consolidation of data and information gathered develop a position paper||5 days|
|c. Validation workshop||1 days|
|d. Submit 2 hard copies of well bound final position paper document and electronic copy.|
|Total days||7 working days|
ii) Approach & timeframe
The assignment will be conducted primarily through workshops, meeting with RUB board and secretariat. The approach will be mixed, including the review of similar tools, literature review, reports and frameworks. The consultant has to ensure that the position paper has all the information needed and clearly defines the RUB’s position on the education of the visually impaired people in Rwanda.
iii) Deliverables of the assignment:
The key deliverables of this assignment include:
(a) Inception report.
(b) First draft report
(c) Final position paper document
The assignment will be conducted within 7 working calendar days.
VI. COMPETENCIES REQUIRED:
Having at least Master’s degree level in education or international human rights
Knowledge and proven experience in development of position papers
Be able to provide evidence of developing high quality assignment and reports in English, and working within tight schedule.
Ability to provide an example of similar conducted work
Experience of working with persons with different type of disabilities especially those with visual impairment.
VII. HOW TO APPLY
Interested applicants should submit their curriculum vitae (CVs), Education certificates/degrees, technical and financial proposals, an example of their work and a letter of application. The letter of application should briefly describe how the consultant intends to undertake this assignment for the “Engendering the visually impaired women in Rwanda into social services” project.
Note: Due to the expected high volume of applications, we regret that only short-listed applicants will be contacted. If you have not heard from us within one week after the application closing date, please consider your application unsuccessful.
Application documents should be in hard copies and sent to RUB office. The deadline of application for this consultancy work is Monday, 30 September, 2019 at 12 noon.