The Development and Ability Organization (DAO) was founded in 2004 to advocate, raise awareness and carry out research for people with disabilities throughout Afghanistan.
The organization has an active board of directors entirely comprised of people with disabilities. DAO as the organization of Disabled People (DPO) has developed a training manual for Rights, Disability Awareness and Self Advocacy which can be utilized for local and even national level projects if the project is expanded and funds are granted.
The goal of DAO is to create an inclusive, barrier-free and rights based society for people with disabilities in Afghanistan. It also aims to protect and promote the rights and dignity of disabled people within the framework of the Afghan Constitution. Disabled Afghans are entitled to the enjoyment of the full range of civil, political, socio-economic and cultural rights declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (UNSRPD) and the Afghan constitution.
In the past, DAO has received funding from UNICEF, the UN University in Japan as well as some material/logistical support from UNMACA, OMAR and MDC offices in Kabul.
The Development and Ability Organization (DAO) is currently carrying out the following activities:
- Rights and disability awareness training in 15 provinces of Afghanistan.
- Leadership and management training for government officials and heads of Disabled Peoples' Organizations (DPOs).
- Production and distribution of "Gadoon", a bimonthly magazine which covers the activities of the Development and Ability Organization as well as news of interest to all Afghans with disabilities. 2000 copies are printed in English, Pashto and Dari.
- Production of dictionaries on national disability terminology in English, Dari and Pashto.
- Provision of logistical support for DPOs around the country.
- Production of TV and radio programs for people with disabilities on Afghan National TV and Radio Salaam Watandar.
- National coordination of DPOs' activities.
- Installation of equipment for the Orthopedic Center in Khost, with financial support from the UNDP
- Employment support programs for people with disabilities to help them find suitable jobs.
DAO is running a rehabilitation center in Kunar province for men and women with disabilities. The centre provides artificial limbs, calipers, gait training and assisting devices such as walking frames, elbow and auxiliary crutches and physiotherapy.
With financial support from UNICEF, DAO has also conducted a survey to identify access barriers in the city of Kabul for people with disabilities. This type of survey is needed throughout Afghanistan by rehabilitation and reconstruction designers, donor agencies and their implementing partners. This is with the view towards ensuring that people with disabilities will have access to public buildings, recreational parks, schools and other public spaces.
The main objective of this research project was to identify the major difficulties, with regards to access, people with disabilities face using public services and public spaces like ministries, recreational parks, hospitals, clinics and schools. Questions regarding people with disabilities' rights and their expectations from the government, UN agencies, NGOs, communities and families were also included in the survey.
It is hoped that by providing this kind of information to the government, UN agencies, and NGOs, proper access for people with disabilities to all buildings under renovation or newly constructed sites will be available. The information collected through this research will be useful for the Afghan government and assistance organizations, sensitizing them to the needs of people with disabilities as well as influencing future development and reconstruction plans for Afghanistan.
Currently, DAO is the leader in providing awareness training for people with disabilities about their rights and methods of self-advocacy. It also provides management training for DPOs and income generating projects. It works in the major regions of Afghanistan.