July 23, 2018

Amanda Crookes

Amanda Crookes joined Send a Cow in April 2018 as Gender and Social Inclusion Coordinator.

Amanda supports each country office in mainstreaming gender and social inclusion in programmes, policies, practices and culture.

She says "In addition to the vulnerability caused by poverty, it is important not to ignore possible additional vulnerabilities due to perceptions about gender, age, tribes, professions and disabilities."

What was your journey to Send a Cow?

Since 2000 I have been working in inclusion and disability roles in international development with Handicap International and VSO living and working in Rwanda, East Timor and most recently in Sierra Leone. This has been within different sectors including community engagement to include people with disabilities with different needs in the response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, inclusive education, facilitating the development of the national action plan to implement the disability policy in East Timor and community based rehabilitation through volunteer networks.

What are your hopes for social inclusion within Send a Cow?

Send a Cow has made a commitment to mainstream disability and inclusion. My hopes are that our projects will support vulnerable people in communities who may be left out because of negative attitudes about who they are. I hope that we will be able to demonstrate how it is possible for people to participate, break down some of the barriers which prevent them from doing so and that an inclusive approach is automatically applied in every project and activity.

What are some of the standout moments from your recent trip to our country projects?

My first country visit with Send a Cow was to the ADIMAP, AWDA and Kamuli projects in Uganda. Some of the standout moments are firstly seeing in reality what I had read about with people talking animatedly about how they are using their land, cultivating, eating well, and generating a little more income.

I talked with families who explained that they now see their children who have a disability more positively; women with disabilities who no longer have to beg within their families but are able to buy their own soap and have a little more control over their own lives; men and women who have changed the way they relate to each other, talking to each other, making decisions about the family together. I was saddened by the lack of services and assistive devices for people with disabilities, making it such a struggle to move about freely and communicate. The self-help groups are bringing people together, out of isolation, with the potential to find common solutions.