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A manual on sign language work in developing countries

Article publié le Sunday 4 January 2015.


WFD and FAD partners in publishing a manual on sign language work within development co-operation.

In which ways is sign language work relevant for the improvement of human rights of deaf people in developing countries - in their strive for equal opportunities and access to society? What does an organisation need to bear in mind when it works with a deaf community in a developing country context? How can I as a foreigner in a developing country communicate respect and gain the trust of the local deaf community? Why is it crucial that I learn the local sign language? What is the connection between vitalizing a sign language and empowering the signing deaf community? Why is it important to document and conduct research into the country’s own sign language(s)?

The forthcoming manual on sign language work aims at giving answers to these kinds of questions. ‘Best practices’ and ‘lessons learned’ in and for sign language work within development co-operation will be documented in this manual in English and International Sign. The publication is planned for 2015, and the manual will be available online.

Sign language work covers a wide range of sign language topics such as language documentation and description, linguistic awareness raising, and advocacy for sign language recognition and services in sign language. The documentation of sign language use - i.e. videotaping deaf people’s signing - is usually the first step for getting information about a sign language that has not been researched before. This signing data forms the basis for research and for a description of the language - in vocabularies, dictionaries, grammars and teaching materials.

Usually empowering a deaf community starts with supporting and strengthening the deaf organisation. In addition to organisation support, sign language work is crucial for improvement of human rights, equal access to society and equal opportunities in education, information and services. In order for development co-operation projects among deaf sign language users to succeed, many factors that differ from mainstream development co-operation work need to be taken into consideration, i.e. how to work with the deaf community; the question of language use between partners, international advisers and local deaf people; the importance of involving advisers who are familiar with deaf culture; the use of visual teaching methods, etc.

Beneficiaries of the manual will be deaf people in developing countries, the sign language work advisers working with deaf communities, and other stakeholders involved in sign language work. The manual is published in partnership with the Finnish Association of the Deaf (FAD) and the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). The manual content will be based on the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and follow the principles and policies of WFD.

The manual work is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland via the Finnish Disability & Development Partnership Programme of FIDIDA, and the Finnish Association of the Deaf. The FAD has the responsibility for the manual production process, and it works together with its development co-operation partner, the Albania National Association of the Deaf (ANAD).

For more information please contact Karin Hoyer at FAD (karin.hoyer@kl-deaf.fi) or Florjan Rojba at ANAD (anad.coordinator@gmail.com).

You are here: Home / News / A manual on sign language work in developing countries A manual on sign language work in developing countries

WFD and FAD partners in publishing a manual on sign language work within development co-operation.

In which ways is sign language work relevant for the improvement of human rights of deaf people in developing countries - in their strive for equal opportunities and access to society? What does an organisation need to bear in mind when it works with a deaf community in a developing country context? How can I as a foreigner in a developing country communicate respect and gain the trust of the local deaf community? Why is it crucial that I learn the local sign language? What is the connection between vitalizing a sign language and empowering the signing deaf community? Why is it important to document and conduct research into the country’s own sign language(s)?

The forthcoming manual on sign language work aims at giving answers to these kinds of questions. ‘Best practices’ and ‘lessons learned’ in and for sign language work within development co-operation will be documented in this manual in English and International Sign. The publication is planned for 2015, and the manual will be available online.

Sign language work covers a wide range of sign language topics such as language documentation and description, linguistic awareness raising, and advocacy for sign language recognition and services in sign language. The documentation of sign language use - i.e. videotaping deaf people’s signing - is usually the first step for getting information about a sign language that has not been researched before. This signing data forms the basis for research and for a description of the language - in vocabularies, dictionaries, grammars and teaching materials.

Usually empowering a deaf community starts with supporting and strengthening the deaf organisation. In addition to organisation support, sign language work is crucial for improvement of human rights, equal access to society and equal opportunities in education, information and services. In order for development co-operation projects among deaf sign language users to succeed, many factors that differ from mainstream development co-operation work need to be taken into consideration, i.e. how to work with the deaf community; the question of language use between partners, international advisers and local deaf people; the importance of involving advisers who are familiar with deaf culture; the use of visual teaching methods, etc.

Beneficiaries of the manual will be deaf people in developing countries, the sign language work advisers working with deaf communities, and other stakeholders involved in sign language work. The manual is published in partnership with the Finnish Association of the Deaf (FAD) and the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). The manual content will be based on the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and follow the principles and policies of WFD.

The manual work is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland via the Finnish Disability & Development Partnership Programme of FIDIDA, and the Finnish Association of the Deaf. The FAD has the responsibility for the manual production process, and it works together with its development co-operation partner, the Albania National Association of the Deaf (ANAD).

For more information please contact Karin Hoyer at FAD (karin.hoyer@kl-deaf.fi) or Florjan Rojba at ANAD (anad.coordinator@gmail.com).

About the World Federation of the Deaf

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organisation representing and promoting approximately 70 million deaf people’s human rights worldwide. The WFD is a federation of 133 nations; its mission is to promote the human rights of deaf people and full, quality and equal access to all spheres of life, including self-determination, sign language, education, employment and community life. WFD has a consultative status in the United Nations and is a member of International Disability Alliance (IDA). (www.wfdeaf.org )

About the Finnish Association of the Deaf

The Finnish Association of the Deaf (FAD) is advocacy, expert and service organisation. FAD develops with other organisations living environment suitable for all, where also deaf sign language users are equal citizens. The association produces expert and other services also for sign language and sign-supported communication users as well as others who need these services. Development cooperation work form a large part of FAD international activities. Projects with our sister organisations are being carried out in Africa, South East Asia and in the Balkans. (www.kl-deaf.fi/en-GB)

About the Albanian National Association of the Deaf

The Albanian National Association of the Deaf (ANAD) is a national level non-governmental organisation of the deaf founded in 1993. ANAD is a member of the World Federation of the Deaf since 1996. ANAD is the only deaf organisation in Albania with the aim of facilitating the process of integration of the deaf into the Albanian society by raising government awareness and empowerment of the deaf community. ANAD and FAD have been working together in project cooperation since year 2000 on organisational development, advocacy, sign language work and interpreter training. (www.shknd.info )

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