AIFO, together with DPI-Italia and the support of the University of Rome ''La Sapienza'' - CIRPS (Inter-University Research Centre for Sustainable Development), have held a meeting in Rome on April 5, 2006 with the aim of introducing the project to Italian organizations, already active and sensitive to the disability issue, gathering suggestions and contribution for its implementation. The intention of the two organizers has been, additionally, to constitute a permanent coordination forum on the theme of 'disability and development cooperation'.
The permanent coordination forum
Invitees spanned among NGOs, DPOs and local entities which have been active in the past on this issue and that were in charge, today, of designing development cooperation policies. Unfortunately, due to political elections that were about to be held, participation has not matched the expectations. However many persons showed much interest in the future development of the project.
The group eventually reached a common understanding on the importance of close collaboration, both for the positive outcome of the 'mainstreaming' project and for the added value that such group could provide for the national scene.
AIFO and DPI-Italia stressed the importance of involving Universities and research centres in the project activities (mapping, national and regional workshops organization). In addition work is being done to insert training modules about disability and cooperation issues in Master and specialization courses with the idea of providing continuity and sustainability to actions resulting from the project. To maximize the unique opportunity offered the mapping exercise and raise awareness on the issue, a MoU has been undersigned between AIFO and CIRPS. As a research centre, CIRPS will coordinate the mapping of activities linked to the disability and cooperation issue being undertaken in Italy.
In this context, it is important to highlight that CIRPS has provided its availability in hosting the first national training (fall 2006) as well as one of the two regional trainings. The University of Padua is also interested in hosting another national training. Participants' inputs on the mapping sounded quite promising. The group has provided ideas for new contacts and offered collaboration with the dissemination of information about the project and the identification of key people and entities.
It has been decided that the next meeting of the permanent coordination forum will be held on May 31, 2006 in Naples, just after the IDDC meeting. Participants were asked to provide, by that date, suggestions for discussion themes for the national trainings.