Disability Promotion and Advocacy Association (DPA) is the national Disabled Persons Organization (DPO) of Vanuatu. DPA was established on 4th April 1999 with the mandate to advocate for rights and promote abilities of persons with disabilities in Vanuatu. On 13th September 2002 DPA was formally registered as a charitable organization with the Financial Services Commission.
DPA has contributed significantly to advancing the rights of people with disabilities through the development of its affiliate members and through developing a positive and proactive working relationship with the Government of Vanuatu. As a result, disability is on the local, national and regional agendas.
At the local level, DPA has worked with volunteers from all provinces to set up local member organizations, comprising of people with disabilities who work to raise awareness and advocate for disability inclusion at the community level. DPA supports this work through bringing volunteers together regularly for the opportunity to share and learn, and through sourcing funding from donors to support activities at this level.
DPA has worked nationally with the Government of Vanuatu towards the signing and ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD); Vanuatu was the first Pacific country to ratify on 23rd April 2008, and DPA has since had the UNCRPD translated into Bislama. Through a collaborative approach, DPA and the Government of Vanuatu produced the National Disability Policy and Plan of Action 2008 – 2015, and the national Inclusive Education Policy in 2012.
Regionally, DPA has been the national focal point for the Biwako Millennium Framework for the Asia Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2003 – 2012. DPA has also participated in the development of a Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability. It remains the obligation of all DPA members to advocate the local, national, regional and international commitments both DPA and the Government of Vanuatu have made according to the UNCRPD, the Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability, the National Disability Policy and Plan of Action, and the Inclusive Education Policy.
DPA achieved much during its last strategic plan period, including, importantly, the ratification of the UNCRPD and the development of a national Inclusive Education Policy. DPA’s achievements result from a collaborative approach with the committed agencies of the Government of Vanuatu, including:
- National Disability Committee
- Department of Justice and Social Welfare
- Department of Education
- Department of Health
- Department of Foreign Affairs
- Department of Infrastructure and Public Works
- National Statistics Office
- National Disaster Office
- Department of Finance
- Provincial Governments of SANMA, TORBA, MALAMPA, TAFEA and SHEFA.