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A workshop on Social Entrepreneurship for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) was organized by DOSMEP in Vientiane, Lao PDR, 14–17 November. Twenty-two participants from 14 APO members attended the workshop led by three resource persons from Japan, Lao PDR, and the Philippines, which focused on leveraging social entrepreneurship tools to address the challenges faced by PWDs, such as securing employment and overcoming societal barriers.
The workshop served as a platform for discussing the difficulties encountered by PWDs and exploring innovative solutions to foster inclusive, sustainable workplaces. By sharing insights on social entrepreneurship initiatives designed specifically for PWDs and strategies to improve productivity, the workshop contributed significantly to achieving inclusive productivity. Participants were presented with case studies showcasing successful social entrepreneurship models. Local site visits to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) Visitor Center, Women with Disability Association, and Lao Pride Inc. Co., Ltd., offered practical insights into effectively integrating PWDs into the workforce.
In light of the substantial economic and social losses estimated at 3–7% of GDP in Africa and Asia due to the unemployment, underemployment, and exclusion of PWDs from the labor market (ESCAP, 2020), the workshop underscored the critical need to incorporate disability inclusion into policy-making. This approach is essential for supporting decent work and productive employment, thereby contributing to the realization of the APO’s Vision 2025 for a more inclusive, innovation-driven productivity landscape in the Asia-Pacific region.