International Day of Persons with Disabilities: MAP’s commitment to inclusion and accountability

In all of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s programmes and partnerships, we are committed to promoting inclusion of and accountability to marginalised groups, including people with physical and psychosocial disabilities.

In honour of International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022, and every day, we are striving to improve. We are currently turning our commitments into action through three major cross-organisational initiatives that aim to make our work more inclusive and accountable:

1. Developing a disability language guide:

In line with MAP’s commitment to supporting a social and human rights approach to disability, and recognising the negative impact of using inappropriate language, MAP has created a language guide – informed by our valued community partners and the perspectives of people with disabilities with which they work – to use in both our internal and external communications when talking to or about people with disabilities. By adopting language that celebrates diversity, we will strengthen our human rights-based approach and contribute to creating a more inclusive world.

2. Joining the Leave No One Behind Coalition:

MAP has recently joined the Leave No One Behind Coalition for the occupied Palestinian territory, a coalition made up of international and national civil society organisations, civic platforms, and community-based organisations committed to giving a voice and agency to marginalised groups who are at risk of being overlooked in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

3. Committing to the Core Humanitarian Standards:

Consistent with our ongoing efforts to develop and continuously improve our approach to inclusion, MAP continues to work towards accreditation against the Core Humanitarian Standards on Quality and Accountability.

These commitments are reflected in the work MAP and our partners are doing, as detailed below by our staff in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.


Ghada Alnajar, Community Programme Manager

In Gaza, MAP has two main projects focused on the inclusion of people with disabilities. Firstly, in partnership with the Social Developmental Forum, we work to develop the skills of people with disabilities to advocate within their communities and with local-decision makers for their own rights, through designing digital advocacy campaigns. Secondly, with our partners the Culture and Free Thought Association, the Abdel-Shafi Community Health Association and the Stars of Hope Society, we work with girls with learning disabilities and their caregivers, to enhance their understanding of bodily autonomy and support essential daily life activities, and communication, social and cognitive skills.

Beyond these disability-focused projects, we promote inclusion and accountability in all of MAP’s community partnerships and our work responding to emergencies and improving complex hospital care services. We deliver a ‘Disability Equality Training’ to all new staff and local partners, which was developed by people with disabilities to challenge negative perceptions in Palestinian society and promote a rights-based approach to disability. So far, we have delivered the training to 120 people, including 10 people with disabilities, since the training started last year.

West Bank

Haya Butmeh, Programme Officer

For the past two years, MAP has been mainstreaming disability inclusion in our work in the West Bank. In 2020, the Palestine Circus School (PCS) delivered a training on social inclusion, especially for people with disabilities, which was attended by MAP’s staff and partners in the West Bank – including the Saraya Centre, Dunya, and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) – and Gaza.

In 2021, PCS produced 20 educational videos to help raise awareness about the importance of the medium of ‘social circus’ as a tool to support mental health, inclusion and wellbeing. They also aimed to shed light on the rights of children with disabilities, child protection policies and mental health issues.

PMRS, which MAP supports to provide a mobile clinic for marginalised communities in the West Bank, has also been actively enhancing the inclusion of people with disabilities within their work. The mobile clinic teams attended a training on disability, and are working to improve the collection, analysis and reporting on the needs of persons with disabilities in the communities the clinic serves.

In addition, MAP employed a disability consultant to deliver a series of workshops on disability to MAP staff, and review the inclusiveness of MAP’s projects and the needs within the disability rights sector in the West Bank. Based on the recommendations from this review, MAP is now exploring potential new work to empower people with disabilities to advocate for their own rights using participatory research and rights-based advocacy campaigns.


Wafa Dakwar, Senior Programme Manager

In Lebanon, MAP has been working to improve the inclusion of children and young people with disabilities across its programme and in social and educational activities in general. MAP supported a two-day training course facilitated by our local partner, Community Based Rehabilitation Organisation, which included 20 nursery teachers and community workers from 12 local NGOs working in the Palestinian refugee camps. The course aimed to increase participants’ knowledge and skills related to the inclusion of children with disabilities in the activities they run.

Earlier this year, MAP also supported a residential workshop, organised by NGO Beit Atfal Assomoud, for around 30 peer educators and social workers. The workshop focused on increasing participants’ ability to include young people with disabilities in peer education activities. An improvement in inclusion has already been observed in the activities run by the trainees. 

Read more about MAP’s work on disability here.

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