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Co-creating inclusive public spaces: Learnings from four global case studies on inclusive cities

PATRICK, Michaela
McKINNON, Patrick
June 2022

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Public spaces, including recreational and social spaces, are often not prioritised. Inclusive public spaces are fundamental to participation and inclusive in society. Including persons with disabilities in the design and planning of the built environment supports equal rights and helps identify people’s aspirations for inclusive environments. Four city case studies will be discussed in this paper: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Varanasi, India; Surakarta, Indonesia; and Nairobi, Kenya.


The Journal of Public Space, 7(2), pp. 93–116

doi: 10.32891/jps.v7i2.1500.

From disability budget commitments to budget execution in Kenya: Matching disability approved allocations to actual spending and performance

Development Initiatives
May 2022

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This paper builds on previous analyses conducted by DI on disability budgeting. In this paper, we match budget commitments to implementation; first by mapping the extent to which disability-relevant budget implementation information is accessible, then by analysing financial and non-financial performance in Kenya over the financial years 2016/17 to 2020/21. We have analysed disability budget implementation in five counties (Baringo, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, and Vihiga) and two national sectors (Education and Social Protection).

Labour Market Assessment: Pakistan 2022

GLOW Consultants
May 2022

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This labour marker assessment has identified how the Pakistan market works and the possible entry points, so that youth with disabilities, are included in the benefits of growth and economic development. Initially the report focuses on analysing the macro-economic indicators and the sectoral contribution to GDP, followed by evaluation of labour market data, in order to identify employment rates and employment propensity of sectors and sub-sectors and to identify sectors with highest absorptive capacity. Priority subsectors were selected on the basis of the employment rate, GDP contribution and government prioritization. Value chain analysis of the selected priority subsectors was conducted to analyse possible entry point for people with disabilities in various stages of the value chain by identifying required skills and education. Subsequently, education stocks and flows were analysed to assess whether the demand of skills was coherent with the supply of skills. Existing systems were reviewed to assess the inclusion of people with disabilities in government initiatives and programmes. Likewise, government-formulated polices and legislation were appraised to understand their contribution in improving lives and safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities, followed by analyses of existing labour market information systems. Shortcomings and limitations in policies were identified, emerging issues were highlighted, and recommendations were provided to improve implementation of existing policies.

Global Report on Assistive Technology

May 2022

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The WHO-UNICEF Global Report on Assistive Technology (AT) reveals that more than 2.5 billion people need one or more assistive products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or apps that support communication and cognition. Yet nearly one billion of them are denied access, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where access can be as low as 3% of the need for these life-changing products.

The Global Report provides the best available evidence about the barriers currently preventing access, how access can be improved, and how enabling environments and AT can enable persons with disabilities to enjoy their human rights while generating a tremendous return on investment for governments. The report also makes 10 key recommendations for concrete actions that will improve access to AT, for everyone, that needs them. 

Access to assistive technology for children with disabilities is often the first step for childhood development, access to education, participation in sports and civic life, and getting ready for employment like their peers. Children with disabilities have additional challenges due to their growth, which requires frequent adjustments or replacements of their assistive products.

Explosive ordnance in Syria: impact and required action

May 2022

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Explosive ordnance (EO) puts one in two people in Syria at risk of death and injury and impedes the delivery of crucial humanitarian assistance. However, the extent of EO in Syria and its devastating impact is not sufficiently known or discussed among donors and humanitarian actors. International humanitarian mine action (HMA) actors operating in Syria for over ten years have come together to address this gap, sharing data and insight from their work on the ground. They produced a report to highlight the extent of EO contamination in Syria; its devastating impact on people, vital infrastructure and provision of humanitarian assistance; the crucial activities performed by humanitarian mine action (HMA) actors; and the action required to address this issue

Qualitative Study Exploring access to learning opportunities for children with disabilities during school closures of COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Mrittika Barua, Sayema Akter, Shamsul Kabir, Faria Binte Arif, Abdul Mannan, Protyasha Ghosh, Jannatul Hridhi, Sumata Chakma, Kamrul Hasan
April 2022

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant challenges to education globally, as schools were closed, and alternative means had to be sought to enable students to continue with their studies. In the resource-constrained setting of Bangladesh, the pandemic impacted on the education of 37 million children (UNICEF 2021), of whom children with disabilities have been amongst the most severely affected. Already disadvantaged compared to children without disabilities in terms of access to education, the pandemic and the challenges of accessing remote learning have deepened inequalities between children with disabilities and their able-bodied peers. This study was undertaken as part of DID Task Order 13 Bangladesh, the goal of which is for girls and boys with disabilities to have equal access to quality education and support. Interventions are based in the two districts of Narsingdi and Siranjganj and the subdistricts of Narsingdi Sadar, Tarash and Sirajganj Sadar. The aim of this research was to explore the experiences of children with disabilities, their parents and teachers in respect of access to learning opportunities during school closures and beyond. Its findings inform the interventions of the project, specifically the support required for individual learners with disabilities and their families as well as for the schools where they are enrolled. Method: This qualitative study was carried out in the three sub-districts of Bangladesh mentioned above and based in schools denoted for project intervention. Children with disabilities were purposively selected from school records to represent a range of ages, grades, type of disability and different sexes. Screening was conducted using the UNICEF Child Functioning Module (CFM). Data was collected between October 2021 and February 2022 and included in-depth interviews with 22 children with disabilities, 23 caregivers and six teachers, as well as through household and school observations. Findings: Based on the CFM, 91% of the children interviewed have difficulties in more
than one functional domain, with the most common being difficulties in controlling behaviour, learning and communication. The study found the CFM to be more sensitive to identification of functional difficulties than the teachers’ assessments. Through the interviews, a range of challenges were raised regarding continuation of learning during the pandemic. Almost all the children mentioned that they missed their schools, and particularly their friends. Caregivers expressed concern about their children being out of touch with their studies, acknowledging that schools provide an environment that helps students learn. When movements were restricted, and children could not go to
coaching classes or be with their friends, some children displayed regressive behaviour such as increased agitation because of the social isolation. One of the most common supports that facilitated learning during school closures was the appointment of private tutors. In addition, family members helped their children study at home. Where teachers were able to visit children and provide structure and support for home learning (in the form of assignments), this significantly contributed to children’s motivation to continue with their education. While the caregivers tried to support their children as far as possible, several factors impacted negatively on learning viz. lack of motivation of children to continue with their studies, inadequate support from teachers and financial constraints undermining the ability of families to cover the costs of education. Especially challenging was the lack of access to technological support and limited time and skills of parents to support their children with disabilities, in addition to their household responsibilities and other children to look after. Although caregivers talked about the lack of support from teachers, the teachers, on the other hand, mentioned that they were not fully equipped with knowledge and skills to appropriately support learners with disabilities. In some instances, children with disabilities were kept behind a grade for not passing their class assessments or were allowed to progress to the next grade without achieving the required competencies. Observations of homes revealed that almost all of the children with disabilities interviewed were living in low-income households, with overcrowding, outside washrooms, minimal furniture and no conducive study areas. Some houses had mud flooring and tin rooves, posing multiple safety and physical barriers for children with disabilities. School visits enabled identification of inaccessible infrastructure, including access roads, entrances and washrooms. Although all of the schools visited had ramps, none of these were fully usable and none had rails. As schools reopen, interviewees identified various strategies that would contribute to encouraging learners with disabilities to return to school and participate effectively in learning. These include specific focus on learners with disabilities by teachers in order to
provide targeted support; ending discrimination against those who do not perform well academically; and differentiation of the curriculum and assessments for learners with intellectual disabilities. These interventions, together with ensuring accessible school infrastructure, will contribute to creating a more enabling environment for learners with disabilities.
Recommendations: The COVID-19 pandemic has further deepened vulnerability of low income families and exclusion of children with disabilities from education. In order to address the potential widening gap that could be created by a surge of dropouts following school closures, various interventions need to be prioritized. These include building on the strategies of resilience already developed by families to support learning of their children; and enhancing parents’ confidence in providing support themselves. In addition,linkages between home and school need to be strengthened and appropriate learning resources made available to children at home, taking cognizance of the inaccessibility of
technology and remote programmes for children with disabilities (both in terms of devices and connectivity). It is essential that teachers’ role in supporting learning at home for children with disabilities be strengthened; and that teachers are equipped with skills to cater for disability and diversity among learners. This needs to be accompanied by removal of barriers in the built environments of schools and their surrounds.

Paralympic broadcasting in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sport, media and communication for social change

MAGALASI, Mufunanji
April 2022

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The purpose of this commentary is to discuss how Paralympic coverage in sub-Saharan Africa can be effectively mobilised to stimulate discursive and structural change around disability. Paralympic coverage has demonstrated its pedagogical power to engage public(s) and challenge stigma toward disability. Yet, the Global picture of Paralympic broadcasting is deeply uneven, with audiences in parts of the Global South afforded limited opportunities to watch the Games. Considering this, the International Paralympic Committee has begun to broadcast Paralympic coverage across sub-Saharan Africa with an explicit aim to challenge stigma toward disability. In this article, we draw on examples from research to argue that ideas from the field of Communication for Social Change (CfSC) can add value towards this aim. We begin by providing a brief overview of CfSC before critically examining one of the field’s key concepts – Communicative (E)ecologies. Following this, we critically reflect on the potential of Paralympic broadcasting as a vehicle for social change and disability rights agendas in sub-Saharan Africa. We argue that thinking with CfSC concepts show the importance of a ‘decentred’ media approach that engages with disability community advocacy groups, localised communication activities and practices, and culturally specific disability narratives.


Communication & SportVolume 10, Issue 5, September 2022, Pages 1001-1015

Global disability financing in the context of Covid-19

Development Initiatives
March 2022

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The main objective of this analysis is to track global financing towards disability in near real time, which is an extension of our work on real-time data on aid before and during Covid-19 and financial tracking on disability investments. The current analysis assesses changes in global disability aid financing in the context of Covid-19 between 2019 and the third quarter (Q3) of 2021. The review uses data from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and considers full calendar years for 2019 and 2020 and three quarters in the year 2021.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All: Disability Inclusion from Theory to Practice Women’s Integrated Sexual Health 2 Action Project (WISH2ACTION)

BERGER, Gisela
ARESU, Alessandra
March 2022

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The overall objective of this Guideline is to support project and programme developers, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) public and private service providers, and advocates to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate inclusive SRH programmes. Realising SRHR for all requires a comprehensive, multi-sectoral, and coordinated approach, involving a range of actors and actions. The Guideline is designed to be a resource on the human rights standards and key principles required to achieve disability inclusion, with more specific guidance available for actors working at different levels of SRH service programming and service delivery. This Guideline is intended primarily to support SRHR actors and practitioners who are active at the local level. The chapters provide relevant background information and refer to selected national and international data. It contains practical recommendations to support implementation and advocacy activities, accompanied by a list of the most relevant resources available on the subject

Inclusive Design and Accessibility of the Built Environment in Solo, Indonesia

PATRICK, Michaela
FUAD, Jamil
March 2022

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This case study builds a picture of the current state of inclusion and accessibility in the built environment and infrastructure in Solo, Indonesia, through engaging local stakeholders and communities and exploring the understanding of and potential for inclusive design to address some of the current barriers to inclusion.

Surakarta (known as Solo) is a city in Central Java, Indonesia, with a population of 557,606 people. The city has a strong history of inclusion, recognised as a great place for persons with disabilities in Indonesia to live. Solo city is a leader for inclusion in Indonesia, demonstrated through city regulations on disability inclusion that pre-date the ratification of the UNCRPD. There is great progress in implementing inclusive environments in Solo with numerous accessible infrastructures, but the city would benefit from a more holistic approach, support by a robust inclusive design strategy that integrates inclusion, sustainable and resilience to ensure long-term progress. One of the aspects that makes Solo unique is its strong community relationships, community-led approaches and leadership from the community is active and valued. This is also supported within urban governance, facilitating opportunities from grassroots leadership and inclusive participation for persons with disabilities.

The research identified that to create more inclusive environments, the physical infrastructure, planning and design is crucial, but equally important are the processes of inclusion and participation. Creating robust mechanisms of community participation and leadership is fundamental to ensure long term sustainable and continued progress to being a more inclusive city.

Across Indonesia, action towards inclusive cities is supported through the work of the Inclusive Mayor’s Network in Indonesia demonstrating country-wide leadership. The findings of this case study will serve Solo as a city but also have relevance for other cities across Indonesia and support the implementation of best practices found in Solo. 

This is the third of six case studies of the Inclusive Infrastructure programme analysing the state of accessibility and inclusive design in low-resource contexts around the world. 

Are persons with disabilities included in the effort to leave no-one behind? Mapping disability data in development in Asia and the Pacific

February 2022

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In the Asia Pacific region, UNFPA and partners work together to implement the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities. The Incheon Strategy is the region’s first set of disability-specific development goals to track progress towards the fulfilment of rights of persons with disabilities.

In the region, it is estimated that there are over 650 million persons with disabilities. However, without accurate, timely and disaggregated data, countries are unable to develop effective policies and programmes, monitor the wellbeing of persons with disabilities and evaluate the equity and impact of development efforts. This endangers country commitments to ‘leave no one behind’ and undermines their obligations to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This groundbreaking report demonstrates the importance of ensuring data is inclusive and provides recommendations for immediate action in order to improve the collection, analysis and reporting of disability data

Global Disability Summit 2022 - Oslo, Norway

February 2022

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The International Disability Alliance (IDA), the Government of Norway, and the Government of Ghana hosted the second Global Disability Summit on 16 and 17 February 2022 (GDS22). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure inclusive participation at the Summit, the event was held on a digital platform.

The first Global Disability Summit (GDS18), held in 2018 in London, generated an unprecedented level of focus on and commitment to disability-inclusive development. 171 national governments, multilateral agencies, donors, foundations, private sector, and civil society organisations made 968 individual commitments. More than 300 governments and organisations signed the GDS18 Charter for Change, encouraging the focused implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The Global Disability Summit 2022 (GDS22) in was built on the results achieved at the first Summit, to further accelerate much-needed progress towards the fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities worldwide.

The Summit led to concrete commitments that brought genuine change for persons with disabilities. GDS22 gathered a total of 1413 commitments on disability inclusion.

People with disabilities want equality through access and participation. To obtain lasting change at the country level, we seek collaboration with States, multilateral organisations, and civil society. We seek action and we seek the voices of persons with disabilities themselves.

Global Disability Youth Summit and a Civil Society Forum. was also held under the auspices of the GDS22.


The Chair's summary, recordings of GDS22, commitments made and the program are available.

Global Disability Youth Summit 2022

February 2022

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IDA, UNICEF, and the Atlas Alliance, represented by Youth Mental Health Norway, co-hosted a Youth Summit on 14 February 2022 to ensure the inclusion of youth in the Global Disability Summit. 

All planning and decision making around the Summit were led by youth with disabilities, including through the design of a novel format to ensure the participation of youth from around the globe, from local to global.


The Summit showcased the innovations of organizations led by youth with disabilities. Youth with disabilities at the local, regional and global levels have created groups and activities, both online and offline, fostering a sense of community, even during the COVID-19 period. Through the Summit, the youth focused on topics that they have identified to be particularly important in this regard, such as participation of youth in OPDs and youth mainstream organizations, inclusive education, deinstitutionalization and community inclusion, access to employment, climate change, new technologies, humanitarian action, access to inclusive healthcare including sexual reproductive health and mental health, among others.


A working group consisting of co-hosts and selected partners was responsible for developing a Youth Charter for Change - summing up and challenging the commitments


Towards a disability-inclusive humanitarian response in South Sudan?

FUNKE, Carolyn
February 2022

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The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (2019) set out four ‘must do’ actions to identify and respond to the needs and rights of persons with disabilities. This study investigates how humanitarian organizations implement the four ‘must do’ actions in South Sudan. It shows that mainstream and inclusion-focused organizations actively promote their implementation to make disability inclusion an integral part of humanitarian action, investing heavily in capacity-building and awareness-raising at all levels of the response. Nevertheless, serious gaps and challenges to disability inclusion remain. 

Barriers and facilitators to providing assistive technologies to children with disabilities in Afghanistan

WOOD, Gavin
February 2022

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Due to the impacts of the ongoing conflict, Afghanistan’s child population is at high risk of being born with or acquiring a primary or secondary disability. According to a recent estimate, up to 17 per cent of Afghanistan’s children live with some form of disability. Assistive technologies (AT) – the systems, services and products that enhance the functioning of people with impairments – are likely to be required by a large proportion of children with disabilities in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which includes a commitment to provide AT equitably to all who need it. However, little action has been taken to meet this commitment, and there continues to be a vast gap between the need for AT and its provision. This work presents the landscape of AT provision, the barriers and facilitators to provision, and provides recommendations to begin to close the gap. 

Semi-structured interviews were conducted to build on the evidence in the literature, and to understand the factors affecting AT provision in Afghanistan

Using radio drama to tackle disability discrimination in Nigeria

BBC Media Action
Inclusive Futures
February 2022

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As part of the Inclusive Futures programme, BBC Media Action produced a radio drama, Story Story, and accompanying social media content, to tackle stigma and discrimination around disability in Nigeria. This content was broadcast from November 2020 to November 2021 through local radio partners in six states – Enugu, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kano, Kaduna, Kogi and Lagos.

This briefing draws on a literature review and key insights from BBC Media Action’s mixed-methods evaluation of the drama conducted in June and July 2021.

Unemployment in women with psychosocial disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons from Tana River County, Kenya

IBUENYI, Ikenna D.
TELE, Albert
February 2022

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In low-income settings, the informal economy is a practical alternative to work and employment for persons with disabilities. However, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the informal economy. This study aimed to explore the experiences of women with psychosocial disabilities in Kenya during the pandemic. We found that the pandemic worsened their experiences of work and employment, and they did not receive any social welfare or support from the government. Our findings suggest that pandemic management must adopt inclusive and context-sensitive approaches that support persons with psychosocial disabilities. Social welfare and protection for persons with disabilities are relevant for socio-economic empowerment and inclusion.


Journal of International Development, volume 34, issue 5