ENGAGE: Pilot Project in Inclusive Education
The USAID-funded ENGAGE Project is introducing inclusive education for children with disabilities in Bagh, Pakistan. Twenty-five teachers in Bagh are participating in Pakistan's first project to introduce inclusive education training in a public school setting. This project is being implemented by AIR, in collaboration with local Pakistani experts from the Allama Iqbal Open University’s Department of Special Education, and Orgone International, an Islabamad-based Pakistani NGO. The AIR ENGAGE Project began working with its local partners to adapt teacher training materials to make them inclusive. This effort was led by Dr. Mahmood Awan, the Chairman of the AIOU Department of Special Education, with technical support from ENGAGE Project experts. The curriculum addresses three basic areas of pedagogy: (1) teaching content (math, science, social studies, and English) in (2) a multi-grade setting that (3) addresses inclusive education strategies for children with disabilities. The curriculum is based on that used under the successful USAID-funded RISE Project,a teacher professional development program for the earthquake-affected areas, including Bagh, that is also administered by AIR.
Pakistan is just one of three countries where the ENGAGE Project is working. In Zambia, ENGAGE is bringing a disability focus to USAID funded programs addressing HIV/AIDS, and in Mexico, ENGAGE has helped to establish Mexico’s first cross-disability advocacy coalition, and has positioned that coalition to be a leading force for civil society to ensure that the Mexican government adheres to the newly approved UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.