Just as many societal factors influence and create, exclusion, segregation, and isolation, INclude has learned over the last 20 years that there are factors that can promote and enable inclusion, community involvement, and engaged citizenship. INclude seeks to identify factors that can generate movement toward inclusion, and invest in efforts that can leverage these factors to reinforce human rights protections, and make inclusion more possible.
People with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities have been stigmatized, excluded, and incarcerated in institutions and prisons, by design. Legal and medical systems, government policies and practices, media stories and images, cultural folklore, and beliefs have determined where people will be “placed”, where they “belong”, or where they “do not belong”. Segregation and isolation are reinforced by an array of cultural and political forces.
Just as many societal factors influence and create, exclusion, segregation, and isolation, INclude has learned over the last 20 years that there are factors that can promote and enable inclusion, community involvement, and engaged citizenship. INclude seeks to identify factors that can generate movement toward inclusion, and invest in efforts that can leverage these factors to reinforce human rights protections, and make inclusion more possible, including:
Laws and Legal Frameworks
Countries may have laws that promote human rights, protect equality, and the rights of citizens. This is in contrast to laws that do not recognize or protect human rights, and in fact remove the status of citizen from people who are identified with intellectual or psycho-social disabilities. Progressive legal frameworks are only the beginning: Significant effort must be invested to ensure their implementation.
An Active Civil Society
Civil society exists when citizens choose to gather and act on issues and ideas that they share. Some countries promote and value the role of civil society as playing a critical role in any open and tolerant societies that celebrate diversity.
An important aspect of an active civil society is conducting advocacy that raises consciousness in society about issues that affect citizens, Our focus is on people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities—advocating for changes in laws, governmental policies, and practices that make equality and support for inclusion possible.
There are times when political and social momentum for change is moving in the direction of expanding human rights, enhancing citizenship, building healthy communities, and promoting inclusion. This is in contrast to political movements that restrict the rights of citizens, and enforce segregation and exclusion.
Media and Education
Entertainment and news media, and what is taught within education systems, powerfully shape and influence the way citizens think and see people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. These communication vehicles broadcast cultural and news stories that we pass on, influencing how people think about prejudice and stigma.
Financial Investment in Community Health and Support
Governments and the private sector choose to invest in community-based support mechanisms when they recognize evidence of the social and economic benefits of healthy, inclusive communities in contrast to segregated institutional systems of previous eras. Communities that embrace these models organize and develop the capacity to deliver support for people who need it that enables them to remain in the context of important social and family relationships that can support and sustain them over time.
INclude partners with local and regional grassroots allies to identify the greatest combination of enabling factors that can be uniquely leveraged in a given country or region, and then determine which investments can maximize the greatest possibility for change.