Study on the Participation and Representation of Dalits, Madhesi andIndigenous Nationalities with Disabilities in Private and Public Spheres in Madhesh Province

People with disabilities are not a homogenous group. They have multiple identities. Disability is not just a single identity of an individual that determines whole social status. Since Nepal is a multilingual, multiethnic, patriarchal, and caste-based hierarchical society, the multiple identity of an individual, particularly of his/her/their caste, ethnicity and gender matters. Therefore, their participation and representation in the private spheres to the public spheres situated accordingly. In the context of Nepal, the limited and conventional understanding of disability, mainly from the charitable and medical approach has focused on the impairment. Due to this reason, people with disabilities from Dalits, Madhesi and Indigenous identities have no or unnoticeable participation and representation in the public spheres. Therefore, this research study focused on identifying the situation of participation and representation of Dalits, Madhesi and Indigenous Peoples with disabilities in private and public spheres in Madhes province.
The study was designed to apply qualitative methodology to primarily gather the information using FGDs, KII and case studies methods. The guiding questionnaires were designed, tested and finalized accordingly to gather the information. The collected data and information were analyzed and interpreted accordingly aligning with the study objectives and research questionnaires. The respondents were provided fully safe space to share their opinions and their individual personal information are fully kept confidential. This study was conducted in two districts of the Madhes province on a sampling basis.
The overall study identified evidently that the situation of participation and representation
of Dalits, Madhesi and Indigenous Peoples with disabilities is limited and minimal compared to others in the public spheres. The major reasons behind this situation are due to the existing socio-economic, cultural, systemic, attitudinal, physical and environmental, access to spaces, information, institutions and communication barriers. The limited understanding of the multiple identities from intersectional approach of an individual has also pushed them out from the margins. Therefore, it is very imperative to conduct various academic, developmental and disability focused research studies applying an intersectional approach to generate the evidence for advocacy and policy intervention. The government bodies and other key concerned stakeholders and duty bearers should work to remove existing various barriers that are obstructing them from having equal access to facilities and services and ensuring their meaningful participation and representation. The massive awareness raising and sensitization are equally needed from household levels to the public domains so that the existing prejudiced attitudes, structures and practices are removed.

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