Working with Mauritius to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

9th July 2021 by Ellie Thompson

What was the challenge?

In 2019, the government of Mauritius announced that they would be making higher education free for all Mauritian students at public universities. We wanted to provide training to those supporting disabled and neurodiverse people, ensuring there are no barriers preventing disabled learners from accessing the same high-quality education as their non-disabled peers.

By partnering with Mauritius-based international NGO Global Rainbow Foundation (GRF), and intergovernmental organisation the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), we’re contributing to Mauritius’s progression to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; particularly Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Reduced Inequalities.

What did we do?

Diversity and Ability first visited Mauritius in November 2019, conducting research and collaborating with local and global organisations to create our very first two-course programme and introduce practitioners to assistive technology and disability needs assessments. Our Pilot, delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Global Rainbow Foundation (GRF) was delivered to 41 participants.

The blended nature of our online learning course combines asynchronous and synchronous teaching methods, with a mixture of both E-learning modules and live interactive webinars.

We delivered the programme to 41 participants from 14 different organisations. Participants varied in background knowledge, from those with very little experience to some with over 10 years of experience working in the sector.

What were the highlights?

27 learners passed the two-course programme, with three even receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award (Nitishah Naugah, Bibi Ruksar Hosany, and Modhoshnee Devi Molloo)! 100% of participants who responded to a post-course survey said that they would recommend the course to colleagues working in the disability sector.

And, on Tuesday 23rd February 2021, participants joined D&A, COL and GRF to celebrate the completion of their course in a virtual graduation ceremony. Special guest speaker Professor Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of COL, complimented the ceremony as an “important milestone in our efforts to provide quality learning opportunities for all, regardless of disabilities and location.”

Professor Kanwar continued to stress the value of the programme: “In inclusive systems, every learner must feel valued and respected. This course is a step in the right direction because it starts with identifying needs and providing solutions on the kinds of assistive technology that can be used to support learning.”

What were the highlights?

“I find it very interesting and rewarding,” shares Angel Anne-lise Charlot Colomes, Project Coordinator at GRF, “it encourages me to question my own perceptions about the disability sector in Mauritius. It is such an enriching course that presents new working materials that will allow me to better [support those] I work with and adequately respond to their distinctive needs.”

Dr Mairette Newman, Education Specialist at COL, further praised the course: “it’s a flexible, convenient way for disability practitioners from the island of Mauritius to learn from some of the best disability experts in the world. It minimizes barriers and makes learning more accessible not only for those who experience challenges but for all learners.”

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