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Advisory Working Group Reflections

When our Advisory Working Group started in the fall of 2019, we could have never imagined what the next two years had in store for us (and our world). But now, we have reason to look back and celebrate our team’s journey thus far...

A Cambodian classroom with a teacher showing a picture to a group of students sitting on the floor.

  • We came together to form a team because of the mission and vision we share.

  • We learned about and from each other, bringing many different experiences and areas of disability and international development skills and perspectives to the table.

  • We gained an understanding of the current realities in Cambodia and learned from DSI’s partners, in-country stakeholders, and DSI’s previous experiences in-country.

  • We took time to learn from other international development-sector organizations and from relevant research and resources.

  • We constructed our Theory of Change and DSI's TOT Model.

  • We created a module format for our training that breaks down the complex sector of disability content and professions into components in order to help in-country changemakers.

  • When COVID began and then continued on, our team remained dedicated, changing the when and how of our work, but not the goal.

  • We collaborated with two of DSI’s first interns to fill gaps and areas we needed, while also broadening their learning experiences.

  • We worked diligently to balance professional-level disability concepts and vocabulary, while still giving understandable content by limiting jargon and acronyms.

  • We intentionally thought and planned for how we would measure the impact of this work, looking both at the model and the training interventions to inform us as we continue on.

  • We hired a part-time Cambodia Program Coordinator to continue helping us to support our partners and grow this program work, especially during this time when our US-based team members based in the US have been unable to travel to Cambodia as planned.

  • We built the first module of DSI’s disability training curriculum ‘Helping Children with Disabilities Learn’ along with elements that will be useful and replicated in future modules too.

  • We began a partnership with the UMN Institute on Community Integration.

  • We generated the interest of the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth, & Sport’s (MoEYS) National Institute for Special Education (NISE) who are now showing an increased interest in ongoing collaborations with us to develop their trainers' capacity.

  • We are now preparing to train the first cohort of 20 Cambodian DSI Master Trainers!

  • And the list goes on...

Our dedicated skilled volunteers have helped make all these gains happen. We can never thank them enough for their commitment to this mission and to DSI.

And we know this is only the beginning. We can’t wait to see what the next two years will bring for our growing disability training work.


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