In November 2018, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) interviewed participants of its "Strategic Communications and Advocacy" training in Jakarta, Indonesia. The training brought together disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) from eight countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community. AGENDA, a network of DPOs and election-focused CSOs in Southeast Asia, was founded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in 2011. An English transcript of the interview with the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) is available below and has been edited for clarity.
Interviewer: We are currently in the middle of AGENDA Training on Strategic Communication and Advocacy for Regional Disability Inclusion in Jakarta Indonesia, which running from first to fourth of November 2018, and we are very pleased to have one of the participants here to be interviewed by us. Hello, good afternoon?
Song: Hello, good afternoon. My name is Pongsak Chan-on I am coming from Thailand. I am working with ANFREL, the Asian Network for Free Elections. We are working for the election issues and political participation around Asia.
Interviewer: So, Mr. Song, what do you think [are] the most important skills required for the implementation of the Masterplan?
Song: In this training, it is quite interesting, I learned how to do an advocacy campaign by using the different tools to [increase] public awareness. This issue is very interesting because it is talking about persons with disabilities’ rights and how to approach the public and the stakeholders.
Interviewer: Do you have any specific stakeholders to further direct the…well since we are talking about communication strategy, we can place the stakeholders you just mentioned as an audience, right? When we would like to target…can you please elaborate?
Song: Yeah, I think the important stakeholders to do the implementation of the Masterplan are our government [and] ASEAN governments, of course. The Masterplan should ensure the inclusive society. You know, all of the stakeholders should come together to implement. The government plays [an] important role to make it concrete. This is also the thing that we need to cooperate with the government.
Interviewer: In this training, you worked with the disability rights advocates from across the region to develop the message about the Masterplan. What do you think the message you want to deliver to your government?
Song: Actually, I work with this issue [and] understand that the civil society [are] always thinking about how to work …to be [what] we call the rights-based approach. Also, it is difficult; we need to work with the conscious of thinking of the people. However, this Masterplan will ensure this implementation to be concrete, as I said.
Interviewer: I believe you have gained a lot of insights and knowledge from this training, but can you share with us one thing that you would like to highlight? One most striking, you know, lesson learned that you can share with us here among the peers that attend this meeting?
Song: OK, I agree with my friends that actually the persons with disabilities need to be united, and inclusion needs to start with us, and we need to [raise] awareness by ourselves. Then we go to the family, we go to the community, go to the country, and then regionally. Then this collective power can change.
OK, Thank you Mr. Song for your time and your insightful commentary on this.
Song: Thank you, too.