Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN)

Advocating for the participation of persons with disabilities in the spiritual, social and development life of church and society

Since the 1960’s, the WCC has championed the ecumenical response to disability among its member churches when it first explored the need for a Church to be a more inclusive society. This work gained momentum in the following years leading to the establishment of Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) during the WCC 8th assembly in Harare, 1998. After its establishment EDAN has sought to pursue the place of persons with disabilities in a just society.

The network is managed as a decentralised operation with a governance board and a secretariat hosted by the All Africa Conference of Churches in Nairobi, Kenya. It is led by a programme coordinator, who is assisted by an international reference group which helps to envision and continuously evaluate the work. The work is backed by eight volunteer regional representatives drawn from each of the eight WCC regions.

Vision

A church of all and for all, an epitome of a truly inclusive society.

Mission

To improve the livelihoods of persons with disabilities through advocating for their inclusion, participation and active involvement in all spiritual, social, economic and structural lives of church and society.

Persons with disabilities are still excluded from interacting with other people on equal terms, even in their churches. As the global community shifts towards a human rights approach to disability inclusion in all aspects of life, the network takes the role of shaping a theological reflection on what it means to be the church, on its nature and mission in promoting disability inclusion.

This work takes the form of:

  1. Using an ecumenical approach based on two WCC theological statements on disability: ‘A Church of All and for All’ and ‘The Gift of Being: Called to be a Church of All and for All’ to provide a basis for discourse, reflection and action on disability.

The churches which we have been able to reach with these documents have began to respond positively to the need for equal participation of persons with disabilities in spiritual and social life.

  1. Engaging with theological association and institutions at the national and regional levels to influence curriculum development to include disability concerns. This is based on our appreciation of the significant role theological institutions play in ministerial formation. The aim of this work is to influence inclusion of persons with disabilities in these institutions both as students as well as faculty members but even more importantly, to prepare theological students for ministry with and among persons with disabilities as a way to improve the attitudes held by the churches and society on persons with disabilities.

This work has seen disability studies introduced in various theological institutions as well as development of various disability and theology resource materials.

Despite the fact that disability rights are human rights, persons with disabilities continue to suffer violation of their rights due to inadequate disability provisions in national legislation, negative societal attitudes towards persons with disability, retrogressive cultural practices and inadequate representation in political and public life resulting in inappropriate decisions made on their behalf and undermining their dignity as members of the society.

We work with the UN, various regional and national ecumenical bodies, other disability organizations as well as other interested stakeholders to campaign, advocate and lobby for the ratification and domestication of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as enactment of national enabling laws by state parties.

Persons with disabilities still suffer from exclusion from many development processes resulting in high levels of illiteracy, inadequate access to healthcare, and high levels of unemployment/under-employment. The situation is further worsened by the weakening of community institutions offering support/safety nets to the persons with disabilities. 

Using evidence-based practices, we work with churches, national and regional ecumenical organizations and development agents to advocate for the inclusion, participation and active involvement of persons with disabilities in development initiatives. We are strongly involved in ensuring the inclusion of disability issues in the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Gift of Being

The Gift of Being: Called to be a Church of All and for All

A Church of All and for All

A Church of All and for All - an interim statement

Get involved: 

  • Ongoing and upcoming  activities
  • Sign up for EDAN E-newsletter
  • Connect with us through our email address: Info@edan.or.ke and our facebook page

 

Contact us:

Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) 
All Africa Conference of Churches, Bishop Kibira House,
1st Floor, Room 20, Waiyaki Way, Westlands.
P. O. Box 22-00300, Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +254 204445837 and +254 202362623
email: Info@edan.or.ke