Isack Idama

“Inclusive education can be defined as a situation in which all learners with and without disabilities participate equally and learn together in the same classes. This can only be achieved if the learning  environment is friendly to all”, says Isack. As a person with albinism and a disability rights advocate who works for the Tanzania Federation of Disabled Peoples Organizations (SHIVYAWATA), Isack is able to draw upon profound personal experiences when discussing challenges that Tanzanians with disabilities encounter when seeking education. In his capacity as a Project Advocacy Officer for SHIVYAWATA, Tanzania’s largest DPO coalition, Isack organizes project activities and writes proposals for initiatives that educate the public and government officials about the rights of people with disabilities. He also networks with civil society organizations and other development partners to urge education policymakers to commit to implementation of inclusive practices in Tanzanian schools. Isack represents the Federation in workshops and meetings conducted by the Tanzanian government and oversees monitoring and evaluation of his organization’s projects.

Prior to the ADA International Fellowship, Isack worked as an Education Officer for Under the Same Sun, an acclaimed Christian charity that advocates for people with albinism. Secretary of State John Kerry recognized the organization’s work in Tanzania when he awarded the 2016 International Women of Courage Award to its executive director last year.

Isack would like to use his Fellowship opportunity to develop a program that will model inclusive education in primary schools. He will leverage SHIVYAWATA’s partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to implement the program in two school districts. The project will contribute to SHIVYAWATA’s broader work to support enactment of Tanzania’s National Strategy on Inclusive Education. Isack intends to use his Fellowship to obtain access to resources and knowledge that he can use to prepare a teacher training manual and conduct a community awareness campaign. He will also hold consultative meeting with Ministry of Education officials and monitor targeted schools to determine increases in enrollment of students with disabilities.

Isack will pursue his ADA International Fellowship training at the University of New Mexico Center for Development and Disability.