Poverty reduction and disability

Disability and poverty are intricately linked in a vicious cycle: people with disabilities are more prone to live in chronic poverty, which in turn can lead to disabling conditions. Disability movements advocate for a break in this link through the systematic inclusion of disability as a cross-cutting issue within all development processes.

More research is emerging in the field about the complex association between disability and poverty in developing countries; however, there are challenges with the studies such as limitations with disability measures, economic indicators and methods.

This key list of resources provides a general overview, both of broad theoretical discussions as well as more practical resources, specifically relating to poverty reduction strategies and the millennium development goals (MDGs). The section on case studies applies these issues to geographical areas in Africa and Asia, and to topical areas such as gender and employment. We welcome your suggestions: please send comments or suggested additions to sourceassistant@hi-uk.org.

Selected resources

Introductory resources

Chronic poverty and disability

YEO, Rebecca
2001

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This report summarises the interconnections between disability and chronic poverty. After giving general information about different stakeholders, principles and structures, it presents two case studies (from India and Uganda) where action is being taken to mitigate or reduce chronic poverty among disabled people

Disability and development

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB)

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Part of the website of the Asian Development Bank, this section provides information on disability and development workshops that ADB has organised in Manila and on disability projects it supports - for example an employment project in Mongolia. ADB documents on disability can be found by typing 'disability' in the website search box

Disability and poverty : a survey of World Bank poverty assessments and implications

BRAITHWAITE, Jeanine,
MONT, Daniel
February 2008

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"This discussion paper reviews the World Bank poverty assessment literature on the relationship between disability and poverty. The paper found that using standard assumptions about the distribution of household consumption among household members and the typical way that poverty lines are set in World Bank poverty assessments was not as significant as common sense and anecdotal evidence would suggest"
Social Paper Discussion Paper No 0805

Disability and poverty in developing countries : a snapshot from the World Health Survey

MITRA, Sophie,
POSARAC, Aleksandra,
VICK, Brandon
April 2011

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This paper outlines the economic and poverty situation of working-age persons with disabilities and their households in 15 developing countries. Using data from the World Health Survey, the study presents estimates of disability prevalence, individual-level economic well-being, household-level economic well-being, and multidimensional poverty measure. Detailed appendices are provided to support the results of the study. This paper is useful for people interested in the social and economic conditions of people with disabilities in developing countries
Social Protection Discussion Paper No 1109

Disability Knowledge and Research (KaR) Programme website

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The Disability KaR programme is part of the UK Department for International Development's (DfID) broader programme to eliminate poverty in poor countries. This website provides information about the programme, research reports and publications produced as part its activities and signposts useful information sources on disability issues. It also includes a useful synthesis of 'Lessons from the Disability Knowledge and Research Programme'

Disability, poverty and development

DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (DFID)
2000

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This is a major policy document from DFID, the British government's overseas aid department. It assesses the significance of disability as a key development issue, and its importance in relation to poverty, human rights and the achievement of internationally agreed development targets. It also sets out ways in which development cooperation, including DFID's own work, can help incorporate the rights and needs of disabled people into the mainstream of poverty reduction work and the achievement of human rights. It is useful for disability policy makers, NGOs and disabled people working in advocacy and development

Fact sheet on persons with disabilities

UNITED NATIONS ENABLE

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This resource highlights facts about disability globally and describes people with disabilities as the world’s largest minority. Key information is provided about education, employment and violence with respect to people with disabilities. It would be useful for people interested in learning about global disability issues

Fact sheet on poverty and disability

INCLUSION INTERNATIONAL
2005

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This factsheet gives some statistics on the international prevalence of disability and poverty and describes the poverty cycle they create. It goes on to describe poverty reduction strategies

Hear our voices : a global report

INCLUSION INTERNATIONAL
November 2006

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In this resource, intellectually disabled people and their families speak out about social exclusion and poverty. The broader scope of this work is to understand why this group has not managed to benefit from the millennium development goals and examine regional barriers to change. This document concludes with a set of recommendations and best practices from NGOs, civil society members and government officials. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in social exclusion disability and development

Intergenerational poverty and disability : the implications of inheritance policy and practice on persons with disabilities in the developing world

GROCE, Nora Ellen,
LONDON, Jillian,
STEIN, Michael Ashley
2012

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"In this paper, we examine the existing data and discuss the implications of current inheritance policies and practices that affect the lives of persons with disabilities and their families, arguing that when persons with disabilities are routinely denied equal rights to inherit wealth or property, this denial has a profound impact on their ability to provide for themselves and their families. The stigma, prejudice and social isolation faced by persons with disabilities and the widespread lack of education, social support networks, and the right to appeal injustices at the family, community or national level, further limits the ability of persons with disability to contest inequities encountered in inheritance policies and practices"
Working paper series No 17

Poverty and disability : a critical review of the literature in low and middle-income countries

GROCE, Nora
et al
September 2011

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"This paper critically reviews and synthesises the currently available evidence base regarding the relationship between disability, poverty and health. While it is widely asserted that disability and poverty are closely linked, this is the first review that explicitly asks: ‘What is the current evidence base for the link between disability, poverty and health in low-and middle-income countries?...This paper presents findings from our critical review, and a discussion of those themes that emerge from the small evidence based sample we found. However, our most significant finding is the current lack of strong evidence on the links between disability poverty and health - evidence which is needed to build effective international development policy and global health programming"
Working paper 16

Poverty and disability : a survey of the literature

ELWAN, Ann
1999

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This review summarises the literature on disability and its relationship to poverty, including education, employment, income, and access to basic social services. Despite the dearth of formal analysis, it is clear that in developing countries, as in more developed areas, disabled people (and their families) are more likely than the rest of the population to live in poverty. It is a two-way relationship -- disability adds to the risk of poverty, and conditions of poverty increase the risk of disability. Disability in developing countries stems largely from preventable impairments associated with communicable, maternal and perinatal disease and injuries, and prevention has to remain a primary focus. An increasing emphasis on community- based participatory rehabilitation reflects growing recognition of the inadequacy of past official programmes, particularly those involving specialised and exclusionary institutions

Poverty, disability and impairment in the developing world

DURHAM, Michael
2003

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A summary of the report "Perspectives on disability, poverty and technology" written by Albert, McBride and Seddon. This summary defines disability and impairment, and emphasises the social model of disability. It demonstrates the links between poverty, disability and impairment, and advocates for the mainstreaming of disability into all development projects

Resources

END THE CYCLE

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This online resource library provides informative links to videos and stories, information booklets, factsheets and lessons plans about key topics related to poverty and disability

Poverty reduction strategies and disability

Disability and poverty reduction strategies : how to ensure that access of persons with disabilities to decent and productive work is part of the PRSP process

INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION (ILO)
2002

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The World Bank and International Monetary Fund's poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) approach has been widely adopted by many countries. However the examination of current PRSPs shows that disabled people have been forgotten in most of them. This paper summarises reasons why it is important to include disabled people in the PRSP process. It also presents how disabled people should be included in the PRSPs and analyses the way disability has been treated in the PRSP sourcebook

Making PRSP inclusive

HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL

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This website offers suggestions on how to include people with disabilities in national poverty reduction strategies (PRS). It comprises an impressive range of general background information, links, resources and tools on key issues regarding PRS, disability and project and process management, in addition to tools on advocacy and lobbying

Poverty and disability : breaking the vicious cycle through inclusion

MOORE, K,
YEO, Rebecca
December 2003

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This article highlights the fact that disabled people and disability issues are largely excluded from international development organisations and research. The Chronic Poverty Research Centre and Action on Disability in Development undertook research on disability and poverty which showed that most disabled people are vulnerable, excluded and deprived. The article advocates for mainstreaming and inclusion to break the links between poverty and disability

Poverty reduction strategies : their importance for disability

BONNEL, Rene
July 2004

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This report reviews the disability policy content of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) to analyze if disabled people are included in the poverty reduction programs. The report focuses upon whether the specific poverty dimensions of disabled persons are acknowledged and whether the critical interventions for improving the economic and social integration of disabled persons are included in PRSPs. This report is useful for people interested in disability and the PRSPs

Technical assistance for identifying disability issues related to poverty reduction

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB)
2000

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This article provides tools that help to address the situation of disabled people living in poverty. It helps to identify national policies, programmes, projects and initiatives concerning disability and poverty to develop action plans. The article will be helpful for project and programme managers, policy advisors, NGOs and development aid agencies

To what extent are disabled people included in international development work? How can the barriers to inclusion be overcome?

YEO, Rebecca
2003

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This paper is a result of research carried out with international development organisations in the UK to examine the extent to which disabled people are included in their work and to look at the barriers to inclusion and at strategies to overcome these barriers. The paper examines the problems that organisations have in including disabled people and solutions that might overcome these.

Toolbox of disability and poverty reduction strategies

THE WORKING GROUP ON DISABILITY AND POVERTY REDUCTION OF THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP OF DISABLITY AND DEVELOPMENT (GPDD)

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This strategy toolbox highlights the importance of including disability in poverty reduction strategies. The toolbox contains introductory information, tools and guides for inclusion, examples of good practice, links to additional resources and links to field projects. This toolbox is useful for people who are interested in disability and poverty reduction strategies

MDGs and disability

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals for all

INCLUSION INTERNATIONAL

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Inclusion International’s MDGs provide an agenda for inclusive policy and programming in education, maternal and child health, poverty reduction, human rights, gender equality, HIV/AIDS and global partnership. Clear targets are outlined for each MDG by the year 2015. This information is interesting for people interested in disability and the MDGs

Disability and the millennium development goals

PLATFORM DISABILITY AND DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (PHOS)
March 2010

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This resource explains the links between disability and the millennium development goals (MDGs) and identifies the underlying rights of persons with disabilities as they are formulated in the UN Convention. It concludes with recommendations for recommendations for policy makers as how to advance the inclusion of disability

Disability and the millennium development goals : a review of the MDG process and strategies for inclusion of disability issues in millennium development goal efforts

GROCE, Nora
2011

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This report provides an overview "for why and how disability can and should be included in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of MDG related programmes and policies." This report is useful to people working in disability advocacy, programming and outreach efforts, as well as people those working on MDG-related efforts

Keeping the promise : realizing the Millennium Development Goals for persons with disabilities towards 2015 and beyond

UNITED NATIONS
July 2010

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This report presents a "comprehensive biennial review on the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, and the progress and challenges concerning the advancement of persons with disabilities in the context of development and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals." It consists of an introduction, five informative sections, and recommendations to advance disability-inclusive Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals by member states and other stakeholders. The detailed annexes provide further technical information in support of the recommendations

Reports from the European conference on Millennium Development Goals : inclusion of people with disabilities

CHRISTIAN CHILDREN COMMUNITIES MOVEMENT (eRko)
2007

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This conference report examines how well the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have addressed the concerns of persons with disabilities in developing countries and provides recommendations for the inclusion of people with disabilities into development cooperation. The report provides presentations from the panel discussions and the plenary sessions, workshop reports, and recommendations. The participants included EU actors and stakeholders from 27 countries. This report is useful for people interested in the disability and the MDGs
Millennium Development Goals : Inclusion of People with Disabilities Conference
Bratislava-Senec, Slovakia ”14-15 May 2007

The time is now|Ensuring development for all : disability and the millennium development goals

THE IRISH ASSOCIATION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATIONS (DÓCHAS)
September 2010

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This paper provides a summary of the global progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and highlights that the MDGs will only be achieved by addressing the needs of the most marginalized, such as those with disabilities. The paper outlines the links among disability, poverty and the MDGs, and provides recommendations to Ireland to achieve the MDGs. It is useful for anyone interested in the MDGs and disability

Case studies

Chronic poverty and disability in Uganda

LWANGA-NTALE, Charles
2003

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The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of long-duration poverty and disability. It seeks to summarise the current state of knowledge about disability and chronic poverty in Uganda; discuss factors that lead to disabled people living in perpetual poverty; describe efforts to address the long-term poverty of disabled people in Uganda; and propose policy interventions aimed at the inclusion of disabled people in Uganda's development process

Economic implications of chronic illness and disability in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union

METE, Cem
Ed
2008

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Specific to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, this comprehensive resource aims to examine the poverty-disability relationship in transition countries. It explores the linkages between disability and employment, school enrolments, and the time-use of adults. This report also considers more broadly the nature of service delivery and the socio-economic implications for disabled people

Measuring welfare for small but vulnerable groups : poverty and disability in Uganda

HOOGEVEEN, Johannes G
2004

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When vulnerable groups such as disabled people are surveyed, representative welfare estimates from non-purposive sample surveys becomes an issue. This paper takes the example of Uganda and describes the connections between disability, poverty, wellbeing and social welfare. This is possibly the first time that statistically representative information on income poverty amongst disabled people has been generated for a developing country

Participation of disabled people in the PRSP/PEAP process in Uganda

DUBE, Andrew K
2005

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Disabled people have been neglected in programmes for poverty allevation. Uganda was one of the first countries to develop a poverty reducation strategy paper (PRSP) and also started to include disabled people into the follow up phases. This report shows the challenges that the disability movements in Uganda and other African countries are facing in the processes of poverty allevation programmes. It seeks to document the experience in Uganda to draw out lessons for other countries going through PRSP processes.

Project updates|Mainstreaming disability in development : the PRSP way

ZIEGLER, Stefanie,
MILLER, Ursula
2006

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This newsletter series highlights the project activities of "Mainstreaming disability in development - The PRSP way" through sharing knowledge and experience of specific country projects. This resource is useful to people interested in project initiatives focusing upon mainstreaming disability and poverty reduction
Project update No 1
Project update No 2
Project update No 3
Project update No 4
Project update No 5
Project update No 6
Project update No 7
Project update No 8
Project update No 9

Spatial variation in the disability-poverty correlation : evidence from Vietnam

MONT, Daniel,
NGUYEN, Cuong
August 2013

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"Poverty and disability are interrelated, but data that can disentangle the extent to which one causes the other is not available. However, data from Vietnam allows us to examine this interrelationship in a way not previously done. Using small area estimation techniques, we uncover three findings not yet reported in the literature. First, disability prevalence rates vary significantly within a county even at the district level. Second, the correlation between disability and poverty also varies at the district level. And most importantly, the strength of the correlation lessens based on district characteristics that can be affected by policy. Districts with better health care and infrastructure, such as roads and health services, show less of a link between disability and poverty, supporting the hypothesis that improvements in infrastructure and rehabilitation services can lessen the impact of disability on families with disabled members"
Working Paper Series, No 20

Understanding vulnerability of Afghans with disability : livelihoods, employment, income

BAKHSHI, Parul,
TRANI, Jean-Francois
2006

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This report , written in a clear, accessible style, aims to identify the main priorities to be followed to improve livelihoods for disabled people and other vulnerable groups in Afghanistan. It pays particular attention to approaches that promote empowerment, mainstreaming and equalisation of opportunities. One aim of this work is to highlight the disability movement in Afghanistan and advocate for government labour laws that encourage the employment of disabled people. This work would be useful for anyone with an interest in livelihoods, disability and development