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Understanding Disabled Persons Organisations

A Disabled Persons Organisation or DPO, is an organisation that is mainly made up of and led by people with disabilities. DPOs advocate for the rights and interests of individuals with disabilities. They aim to ensure their full inclusion and participation in society.

DPOs can be local, regional, national, and international. They address issues such as accessibility, discrimination, healthcare, education, employment, and social inclusion.

DPOs typically engage in activities such as advocacy, awareness-raising, capacity-building, peer support, and policy development. They play a crucial role in representing the diverse perspectives and experiences of people with disabilities, advocating for their rights, and promoting positive change in laws, policies, and attitudes towards disability.

DPOs can vary in size and can include a wide range of organisations such as advocacy groups. Some DPOs may be specific to certain types of disabilities. For example the National Platform of Self Advocates works with people with intellectual disabilities.

DPOs serve as important forums for people with disabilities to come together, support each other, and work collectively to achieve greater inclusion and equality. 

The National Platform of Self Advocates is part of the DPO Network in Ireland. The DPO Network is a group of 5 DPOs that work together to advance the full implementation of the UN CRPD in Ireland.
The ethos of the DPO Network is:

  • Respecting diversity and difference
  • Finding commonalities between groups and encouraging collaboration
  • Ensuring participation and inclusion in meetings