Tawafuq Program
Human Resources Development Fund

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Prior to the launch and development of the Tawafuq Program at HRDF there were no clearly developed or defined services to promote and support the employment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). Services were provided on a case by case basis with no systematization, scalability, safety nets to insure that individuals were not left behind, or tracking (i.e. no KPIs or data collection). For all practical purposes there were no services that targeted or included PwDs.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
To create a fully inclusive eco-system for the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector that encompasses legislations, policies, services, and training aiming to advocate, promote and support and implement recruitment that leads to suitable and sustainable employment of PwDs. The full implementation plan for the Tawafuq program sets a comprehensive approach to address the most pertinent challenges directly affecting the whole process of employing persons with disabilities guided by the following values: 1. Rights-based approach; 2. Inclusion; 3. Focus on abilities; 4. Disability confident work environments.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
• The number of employees with disabilities in the private sector increased from 15,500 in 2011 to 62,728 in 2016. • Tawafuq is now part of the “National Transformation Plan (NTP) for Saudi Arabia's 2030 Vision”. • By 2020, it is planned that an additional 4,200 companies employ persons with disabilities, an additional 48,500 employees with disabilities, and an additional 3,200 companies are disability-confident and compliant with Mowaamah. • Estimated cost of Tawafuq Program 2012 – 2016: EUR 18.3 million (Service launch 2014) • Of the 647,823 people with disability, 62,728 were employed by 31,790 companies by 2016; 17,332 persons were subsidized. • By 2016, 17 companies joined the Qaderoon: Business Disability Network, whilst 45 companies applied for membership. 7 member companies increased the number of employees with disabilities. • As of 2016, 17 companies have started the Certification System for Disability Confident Work Environments process, and 7 companies have complied and are ready for certification. • Various employment channels trained in inclusive jobseeker journey: TAQAT, 30 of 30 Nation-wide Job Placement Centers, 60 of 98 Human Resources Development Fund Nation-wide Branches, Recruitment offices, Telework Program, Job Fairs, etc.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Inclusion-centred - Tawafuq strongly focuses on inclusion, providing a fertile ground for building and promoting inclusive employment opportunities. It has mandated that services for PwDs be included in all the services provided by HRDF to persons without disabilities It promotes abilities and disability-confident work environments. Technology-based delivery - Providing quality services with impactful outcomes, by using technology (for instance, a sign language call centre, the Taqat - National Labor Gateway, Doroob Training) and by ensuring that all e-platforms become accessible. Case study reviews- A case review process was established to build capacity and solve disability-related challenges. Service providers and employers can call and engage with a local specialized team of experts to find a solution related to employment of persons with disabilities

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The initiative was implemented by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) who were responsible for enhancing the legislation to be inclusive of person with disabilities. The Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) was responsible for the establishment, development and execution of all the employment services that targeted PwDs in the private sector. Of the 647,823 people with disability that were identified, 62,728 were employed by 31,790 companies by 2016; 17,332 persons were subsidized.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
In-order to achieve the goals that the Tawafuq Program aspired to an inclusive engagement approach was started in April 2012 which included the following activities: - Establishing a baseline via a comprehensive study to understand the overall demographic status of persons with disabilities in KSA; - A study that focused on understanding the employment experience of persons with disabilities in KSA; - An international benchmarking study of employment of persons with disabilities- - Review KSA Labor Law and the Executive Resolutions of the Labor Law; - Assessing KSA laws and regulations pertaining to the employment of persons with disabilities; - Benchmarking of other service that support the employment of persons with disabilities (public education, vocational education employer best practices, social benefits systems, etc.); - A study to ascertain the environmental and contextual issues and constraints impacting the employment of persons with disabilities; - The above was used to develop a strategy and framework for required services The service development approach began with the establishment of a methodology to identify individuals with functional limitations (disabilities) that require person centered services and potential minimal accommodations from the Taqat database - as jobseeker initially enter the system virtually via an electronic platform. A job seeker journey was development based on international best practice and was fine-tuned over a pilot period of one year with key service providers. Individuals who flagged as potentially having functional needs were contacted to verify the needs and were referred to face-to-face services where the employment counselors were trained by the Tawafuq team to implement the inclusive job seeker journey that focuses on identifying abilities, job-skill matching, need for and type of accommodations, utilization of the case study review process, awareness raising with employers, and follow-up support for sustainability for a mandatory one year duration with check-ins at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. An Internal Monitoring Framework (IMF) was developed to insure the quality of the execution of the job seeker journey to identify issues and gaps and actions for improvement. This allowed for the fine tuning and further development of the job seeker journey. Once complete the journey was developed into a five-day training module that was delivered by the Tawafuq team to over 1000 employment counselors and HR specialist in the HRDF service delivery network to execute around the country. Once training was complete the service was rolled-out nationwide for implementation. A support/subsidy program was also developed. These subsidies fall within two major categories. Subsidies that are offered to any job seeker and /or employer that include persons with disabilities and subsidies that have been specifically designed to address the accommodation needs of persons with disabilities and employers of persons with disabilities. These subsidies are under the umbrella of the Disability Employment Support Program (DESP) that was developed based on outcomes and needs of the Tawafuq service pilot and employer survey. Six subsidy programs were identified. They include: 1. Case Study Review; 2. Disability Awareness Training; 3. Job Coaching; 4. Transportation; 5. Building Accessibility; 6. Individual Accommodations. Of the six listed, two have not been activated yet. Job coaching and Transportation. Each subsidy program (specific and non-specific to persons with disabilities) has it’s own policy and guidelines in relation to how it works, financials, and timing and they are governed by an internal subsidy committee that meets weekly at HRDF to insure no delays. In addition, a full KPI and data collection and tracking was established and developed to ensure the ability to report on all aspects of the program. The above job seeker journey was impeded and included in all HRDF employment channel services and types of employment programs. This includes: Job fairs (liqaat), virtual job fairs (e-liqat), Recruitment offices, Job Placement Centers, Telework, Part-time Work initiative, National Labor Gateway and Subsidy Programs. The second phase of the program was to develop the public communication and awareness about the program and mindset change program. The next phase involved developing inclusive measures in the upskilling and training programs for pre-employment that are subsidized by HRDF. This included insuring that all virtual platforms such as Doroob were universally accessible to persons with disabilities. Estimated cost of Tawafuq Program 2012 – 2016: EUR 18.3 million (Service launch 2014). This was funded by HRDF.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
A Steering Board - Chaired by H.E. the Minister of Labor who is also the Chairman of the Board for HRDF - was created to serve as advisors to ensure the reliability and validity of the program and to oversee its initiation and roll-out. The Board was comprised of representatives from Disability NGOs, key persons with disabilities, families of persons with disabilities, and experts in the field. The various service providers (Job Placement Centers and HRDF Branch senior and implementation staff) were actively involved in the design of the Job Seeker Journey that has been developed and serves as the minimum standard of the service delivery of job placement service contacts. Qaderoon – Business Disability Network (one of the early projects started by Tawafuq that later spun off into an independent entity) serves as the private sector employer stakeholder voice to raise and address issues specific to the employment of persons with disabilities from an employer perspective.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
1. A comprehensive and inclusive Job Seeker Journey that is adaptable to all service channels. 2. An Internal Monitoring Framework Tool that has been developed into an online program for ease of execution. 3. A centralized Case Study team and process. 4. A policy and procedure and process for inclusion of persons with disabilities within the development of projects and programs via the project management office to insure that all ongoing and new projects and programs are inclusive. 5. Development of accommodation kits and local resources the Saudi and Arab region that is specific to the 24 most seen disabilities that have been seen most in the service.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The first obstacle was not having the stakeholder of job seekers with identified disabilities to target and include for services. This was managed by focusing on the remit of HRDF to only serve persons who had self-identified as a job seeker in the Hafiz database at HRDF. This meant that we started with a pool of ~3 million individuals. To further narrow this down a survey was developed based in the Washington Group questions to serve as a flagging method. Anyone who flagged on this was then contacted to verify if they had a diagnosed disability or a need for accommodations. If this was verified then they were sent for the face to face service to further identify needs. Another challenge was the lack of professionals around the country to determine appropriate supports and on the job intervention. The Centralized case study review process was developed with a central core of specialist that remotely serve all the service providers Kingdom wide.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The key benefit major was the establishment of a tracking system to look at PwDs and employment. By establishing a weekly reporting level system and procedure we are able to track employment at HRDF by gender, disability type, location, educational level, employment sector, salaries, subsidies, and accommodations. There is now a major initiative to work with PwDs who are in the welfare system and enable them into employment by working closely with MLSD.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Yes it did by making the invisible visible. For the first time, data regarding persons with disability and employment was made available to decision makers. In addition, the tracking of the issues and challenges and success factors were being tracked and reported on an ongoing basis. Something that was not being done systematically previous to the program.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
As the program was developed as a fully inclusive program it was developed to include both male and female job seekers. In 2016, the majority of person with disabilities employed and supported were females (9,273) as opposed to (2,801) males. This is due to the fact the majority of jobseekers in the HRDF database (over 90%) are females.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Human Resources Development Fund
Institution Type:   Other  
Contact Person:   Heidi Alaskary
Title:   Director, Tawafuq Program  
Telephone/ Fax:   966505205706
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   halaskary@hrdf.org.sa  
Address:   Po Box 67778
Postal Code:   11517
City:   Riyadh
State/Province:   Riyadh
Country:  

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