This paper explores the significance of engaging with the lived experiences of disabled people in countries like Burkina Faso in order to implement long-lasting and beneficial development. It looks at the way disability was conceived of in pre-colonial times and how knowledge imported from the colonisers conflicted with, and continues to influence today, indigenous knowledge in Burkina Faso. Although Burkina Faso obtained its independence from European colonisers over fifty years ago, disability as a terrain for intervention continues to be colonised by international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) that frame their approaches in western models, which are not necessarily applicable in countries like Burkina Faso. In a context where the predominant view of disability is that of disabled people being an economic burden, many disabled people in Burkina Faso feel the need to prove themselves as economically independent; and yet development agencies often do not engage with disabled people’s voices when designing and implementing development programmes. This paper argues that there is a need to engage with disabled people’s lived experiences and knowledges through processes such as participatory video which create spaces where marginalised people’s voices can be heard and listened to by the development agencies that influence disabled people’s lives.
Disability and the Global South, 2018, Vol.5, No. 2