International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment


ANNUAL REPORT


2003


INTRODUCTION

This report covers the activities of ICEVI for the year 2003 and marks the first time ICEVI has issued such an annual report to its members and supporters. The principal officers of ICEVI took the decision to compile this report because we felt that the increased activity of our organization over the past few years warranted a separate annual report. While the report covers activities in 2003 it is important to look back to the year 2002 to place this report in perspective.

In February 2002 the ICEVI Executive Committee met to develop a Strategic Plan to guide the work of ICEVI in the years ahead.

This Strategic Plan built upon the principles of a policy document adopted at the 10th World Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1997. The Sao Paulo policy document was formulated from the results of an extensive survey of individuals and organizations that had traditionally been active in the work of ICEVI. It outlined a new framework for ICEVI designed to build the organization by strengthening and empowering its seven regional units.

The development of a Strategic Plan was the next logical step in building a ‘new ICEVI’. The process and product of that effort has resulted in significant changes within ICEVI over the past two years. The volume of activity, particularly at the national and regional levels has increased dramatically over the past year, as this report will indicate.

However, none of what you will read in the pages that follow would have been possible without the generous contributions that many organizations have made to ICEVI during the past year. A list of those contributors can be found on the outside cover of this report.

This annual report shares with the readers accomplishments of 2003 as measured against the six strategic goals of the ICEVI

Goal 1 : To ensure access and full participation in education for all visually impaired children and youth by 2015.

Goal 2 : To promote and assist in building of local capacity to develop curricula, to provide training and to identify and provide equipment and materials to children and youth with visual impairments and their parents, teachers and others in their communities.

Goal 3 : To collaborate with and make use of networks to ensure that substantially more visually impaired children and youth receive quality and comprehensive
education.

Goal 4 : To ensure that ICEVI initiatives are based on current evidence of best practice.

Goal 5 : To provide information on ICEVI and its services through all possible and appropriate media to all target groups.

Goal 6 : To build an appropriate and sustainable organizational structure for ICEVI, to include the required financial base.

In the next section of this report you will find ICEVI activities and achievements for 2003 highlighted and discussed under three major headings that collectively represent the six major goals of the ICEVI Strategic Plan.

In the final section of this report we will take a look ahead at what is in store for ICEVI as we move into 2004 and beyond.

Larry Campbell, President


SUMMARY OF 2003 ACTIVITIES

In response to the Strategic Goals of ICEVI, the activities of 2003 are presented under three major categories, namely

· Advocacy, Collaboration and Information Dissemination
· Creating Awareness, Capacity Building and Best Practices
· Organizational Development

Advocacy, Collaboration and Information Dissemination:

ICEVI believes that children with visual impairment can manifest their abilities when they are given equal educational opportunities as well as experiences that are provided to sighted children. The advocacy campaign of ICEVI in collaboration with like minded organizations centres around the theme “creating equal access”. This message is disseminated through ICEVI documents, website, and publications and also by extending support to similar initiatives taken by the United Nations and other international organisations.

In the year 2003, the following activities related to advocacy, collaboration and information dissemination took place.


1. ICEVI extended support for the proposed UN Convention on Rights of Disabled People.


2. Since the world conference, ICEVI has been represented in meetings of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UN-ESCAP), UNESCO Flagship programme, The World Bank, World Blind Union (WBU), International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Inclusion International, Asian Blind Summit, Osaka Forum, to name but a few. At all meetings ICEVI has voiced concerns regarding the high percentage of children with visual impairment who have no access to education.


3. ICEVI and WBU have adopted a joint policy statement on inclusive education that has been widely disseminated. They have recently completed work on a general policy document on education that is being reviewed by the Executive Committees of both organizations.


4. ICEVI assisted the World Bank in the process of developing a publication titled, “EnVISIONing Education in Low Income Countries” for dissemination throughout the World by the Bank.


5. ICEVI has recently begun discussions with the Lions Clubs International Foundation on the development of a global strategy to address education of children with visual impairment within the next phase of the “SightFirst Program.”


6. Collaboration with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), and International Mobility Conference (IMC) are being strengthened, keeping in view the campaign to provide comprehensive services
covering early childhood intervention, education, sports, orientation & mobility, etc.


7. Preliminary planning has already begun to host the 12th World Conference of ICEVI in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July 2006. The program committee of the conference met once in 2003 and prepared a tentative conference schedule.


8. During the year 2003, two issues (January 2003 & July 2003) of The Educator – ICEVI’s bi-annual magazine focusing on ‘Early Childhood Education’ and ‘Inclusion’ were published. The Educator is being sent to nearly 4000 individuals and organizations in 171 countries throughout the world. The Educator is now available in inkprint and Braille in both English and Spanish. The first issue of a new on-line Japanese language version has just been released.


9. ICEVI is regularly trying to improve the layout, content, and accessibility of the ICEVI Website. A link to leading service providers for persons with visual impairment has been created on ICEVI website.


10. This year our electronic newsletter, The ICEVI Newsline, was distributed in April and October to approximately 4000 individuals and organizations on our database.

Therefore, considerable progress with regard to advocacy, collaboration and information dissemination has been made by ICEVI during 2003. The initiatives taken in 2003 are expected to improve considerably in 2004 due to better collaboration, stronger advocacy and wider information dissemination.


Creating Awareness, Capacity Building and Best Practices:

Capacity building is one of the key elements in serving persons with visual impairment. During 2003, a series of activities on creating awareness and capacity building of teachers and other personnel were carried out by ICEVI with the assistance from Drs. Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Charitable Foundation.

During the year 2003, 79 projects covering the following themes were implemented in Africa, East Asia, Latin America and West Asia regions of ICEVI

1. Awareness on information technology for the persons with visual impairment
2. Inclusive education for persons with visual impairment
3. Teaching-learning materials
4. Community-based rehabilitation
5. Parental education
6. Braille codes
7. Computer literacy
8. Evaluation strategies
9. Education of low vision children
10. Teaching mathematics
11. Education of deafblind children
12. Education of children with multiple disabilities
13. Orientation and mobility
14. Early childhood intervention
15. Visual stimulation
16. Regional and national networking
17. Non-formal education
18. Effective teacher preparation programs
19. Plus curricular activities for children with visual impairment

Countries served in 2003 through the Lee Projects are:

Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil,Cameroon,Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal,
Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Uruguay, and Venezuela

ICEVI also published a handbook describing the procedures involved in implementing projects supported by the Lee Charitable Foundation.


3855 teachers and personnel were trained through these projects who in turn helped 55634 children with visual impairment in the four regions.


ICEVI is proud of its collaboration with Drs. Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Charitable Foundation and looking forward to further collaboration in the future.

Best Practices: ICEVI believes that documentation of good practices in serving persons with visual impairment should happen mostly through research and empirical evidence. ICEVI is also trying to find out cost-effectiveness among best practices in order to achieve more with fewer resources. Three such innovative efforts initiated in 2003 are worth mentioning for the benefit of our readers.

ICEVI – Hadley Initiative: ICEVI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hadley School for the Blind to offer distance education courses for the benefit of professionals, parents, and teachers in developing nations. The joint program is called GLOBE (Growth and Learning Opportunities in Blindness Education) ALL. The Hadley School offers these courses free of cost to those registered through ICEVI and the Regional Chairpersons are popularizing these courses in the regions. As human resource development is one of the key areas to achieve the goal of education for all children with visual impairment by 2015, this collaboration will go a long way in addressing this global objective.

Research in Uganda: ICEVI has initiated research in Uganda to establish the critical conditions that need to be in place to allow children who are blind and who have low vision to be successfully educated in local primary schools. The research team developed appropriate tools such as interview schedules, questionnaires for teachers, observation schedules, etc., and provided training to 8 research assistants in Uganda. As the study is adopting an emergent design, a participatory approach will be applied in validating the findings of the research at every stage. Based on the outcomes of the study in Uganda which will be known by the end of 2004, research may be undertaken in other countries in Africa and other regions of the world too in the subsequent years.

ICEVI/ON-NET Mathematics Project: ICEVI and the Overbrook Nippon Network on Educational Technology (ON-NET) have begun development of a mathematical package for teaching secondary level mathematics to visually impaired children. The package covers six areas, namely

1. Methodology of Teaching Mathematics
2. Use of Abacus
3. Use of Mathematical Braille Code
4. Instructional Strategies
5. Creative Mathematics
6. Low-Cost Teaching Aids

The above package will be accompanied by instructional material on a low-cost teaching aids kit for secondary level mathematics instruction. The entire package is likely to be ready by late 2004.

Organisational Development:

ICEVI is growing as an organisation with its focus on the regional structure. Since 2002, ICEVI is registered as an association in the United Kingdom. The activities of the ICEVI are carried out by 7 regions as per details given below:

ICEVI Executive Committee is assisted by a full-time Secretary General. In order to coordinate ICEVI work in the light of its Strategic Goals, the following initiatives aiming at strengthening the organisational structure of ICEVI, have been taken in 2003.

1. The work of ICEVI Secretariat has been streamlined.
2. Regional Committees have been formed in all 7 regions.
3. The Executive Committee of ICEVI met in South Africa in 2003.
4. All regions have conducted at least one Regional/Sub-Regional committee meetings in 2003
5. The Principal Officers met in Bensheim, Germany in October 2003.
6. The ICEVI Treasurer has developed and implemented a series of new policies and procedures that have improved accountability.
7. Necessary funds were generated for ICEVI activities.
8. Membership structure for ICEVI has been evolved.
9. Procedures for the conduct of elections during World Assembly have been developed.
10. More organisations around the world are being invited to become International Partners of ICEVI.

As is evident from the achievements in 2003, ICEVI is undergoing a transition from ‘Volunteerism’ to ‘Professionalism’ with the establishment of a full-time Secretariat and networking with organisations which share the vision of ICEVI. This is just a beginning in the organisation building of ICEVI and there is a long way to go.

A LOOK AHEAD
The first goal of the strategic plan is to address the global issue of education for all children with visual impairment by 2015. This is in line with the Dakar Declaration of achieving educational access for all children by 2015. ICEVI is determined to see that the phrase “all children” really means all children! Through our regional/sub-regional committees and national networks ICEVI is working to create awareness, influence policy and take all necessary actions to assure that all children with visual impairment have the educational access that is their basic human right. A position paper and a global action plan is currently under development.

This global action plan envisions collaboration with the relevant agencies of the United Nations, national governments, service providers, funding organizations, parents of children with visual impairment, and disabled peoples’ organizations. We will develop national task forces to help facilitate the planning and implementation frameworks that will assure educational equity for all children with visual impairment. Through such collaborative efforts, ICEVI believes that a rights based, barrier free and inclusive society can be created for persons with visual impairment in line with the goals of the Biwako Millennium Framework.

ICEVI will be able to report more tangible results on this initiative in its annual report for the year 2004.


THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
ICEVI wishes to place on record our sincere thanks to the many organizations that have made financial and in-kind contributions to our work in 2003. Your support is allowing our mutual vision of educational equity to move “from dream to reality” for thousands of children with visual impairment around the world. THANK YOU!

Major International Donor Partners
1. Asian Foundation for the Prevention of Blindness
2. Christoffel-Blindenmission
3. Drs. Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Charitable Foundation
4. Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles
5. Sight Savers International

Other Supporting Organisations
1. African Braille Centre
2. American Foundation for the Blind
3. Associations and Federations of the Blind in all countries
4. Blind People’s Association
5. Blindeninstitutsstiftung
6. Cataract Foundation Philippines Inc.
7. Deafblind International
8. Hadley School for the Blind
9. Hibiki no Kai (Echo Society), Japan
10. HSBC, Hongkong
11. International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
12. International Blind Sports Federation
13. International Mobility Conference
14. Lions Clubs International Foundation
15. Mazars Worldwide
16. Overbrook School for the Blind
17. Perkins School for the Blind
18. Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya
19. Royal National Institute of the Blind
20. The Hong Kong Society for the Blind
21. The World Bank
22. Tsukuba University
23. UN Bodies
24. University of Birmingham
25. University of Melbourne
26. World Blind Union

For further details, contact :

President : Larry Campbell (larry@obs.org )
or
Principal Officers / Regional Chairs (log on to ICEVI Website www.icevi.org )
or
Secretary General : M.N.G. Mani (sgicevi@vsnl.net )

ICEVI Secretariat
IHRDC Campus, Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya,
Coimbatore – 641 020, INDIA