In case it is your first time to plan a disability-inclusive meeting or focus group discussion (FGD), consult with men and women with disabilities during the process. This is the most effective way to ensure that nothing is overlooked. To optimise people’s participation during meetings and to ensure everyone gets the possibility to voice and express him/herself it is important to make your meetings accessible:

  • Choose an accessible venue or place to organise the meeting.  

    • Place should be easy to reach by public transport, roads or paths;

    • Entrance should if possible be step-free, if not a ramp should be available;

    • Toilets, washrooms and eating place should be accessible and well signed;

    • Communication of the meeting should reach everyone, including people who are deaf or blind;

    • Some persons with disabilities have personal assistants or caregivers with them, plan this ahead of the meeting;

    • Think of the chain of movement, from the entrance to the meeting room, the toilet and catering place. The autonomy of the person with disabilities should be optimal, use visible, legible and clear signage.  

  • Include people with different impairments as they will have different requirements and needs. Women and girls with disabilities are often underrepresented and organisations should strongly facilitate their participation:

    • Some deaf people will require presence of a sign language interpreter to participate to the meeting, or a family member that can interpret. Search useful contacts and information from local organisations of persons with disabilities or local authorities, such as social welfare or education departments.

    • Blind people or persons with low vision may be supported by receiving electronic version of all materials prior to the meeting. In some contexts, Braille printing of key materials is very useful. Organisations of persons with disabilities could be supportive with such adaptations.

    • People with intellectual disabilities might need facilitators or family members that interprets technical and complex terms into simpler language.

Any participant, with or without disability, may wish to ask the speaker to stop or slow down if they are having trouble understanding what is being said. A system of communication using color cards can be used, whereby participants can raise a red card when they have not understood some information. A yellow card is used to show that the speaker is talking too quickly, and a green card to show that they have understood the content of a speech.