On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, USAID Notes Progress and Calls for Continued Commitment

Speeches Shim

Thursday, December 3, 2020

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, USAID Notes Progress and Calls for Continued Commitment

“Georgia’s future as a democratic, prosperous, and stable society depends on all of its citizens, including persons with disabilities, being included in the development journey,” USAID/Georgia Mission Director Peter Wiebler. 

On December 3, USAID marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities by calling for continued support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Georgia.  

In recent years, USAID has worked with Georgian and international partners, including the Government of Georgia, civil society, and the private sector, to create an environment where persons can participate more fully in Georgian society. 

Along with our partners at UNICEF, we have helped the authorities in Adjara pilot the social model of disability assessment, a more flexible, personalized system for providing services to persons with disabilities. Georgia is preparing for the nationwide rollout of this model in 2021. 

USAID also supported the Government of Georgia to pass and implement the new Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Law entered into force on September 1, advancing the rights of persons with disabilities and giving local municipalities increased responsibility for inclusion. 

To support the Law’s implementation, we launched the USAID Independent Living in Georgia Program. In partnership with the McLain Association for Children, we will work with local governments across the country to open a network of independent living centers.

USAID is also supporting local government officials to improve their communication and outreach with persons with disabilities. Through USAID’s Good Governance Initiative, we trained more than 100 civil servants in Batumi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, and Ozurgeti to more effectively communicate with persons with disabilities. 

July marked the opening of the Ken Walker University Clinic for Medical Rehabilitation supported by USAID’s Physical Rehabilitation Program. The state-of-the-art facility is a public-private partnership that helps persons with disabilities participate more fully in Georgian society.

Moving forward, USAID will continue to engage Georgia’s private sector along with the Government and civil society in efforts to empower persons with disabilities, adding sustainability and domestic ownership to social inclusion initiatives.