With the increased attention to disability as a vulnerability criterion in the Sustainable Development Goals, international organizations and NGOs within the international development sector have started to pay explicit attention to persons with disabilities, including the collection of data on persons with disabilities. The Washington Group Short Set of Questions, which focuses on functional limitations, has been gaining popularity as an assessment tool for disability. This set of questions reflects a categorization of disability that does not necessarily correspond with subjective disability assessments, such as the yes/no question (“do you have a disability?”) which many development actors have used in their assessment tools when they collect disability data This study compares the subjective and the functional limitations assessment tools for disability to answer the question: do they identify the same individuals as persons with disabilities? Based on a survey carried out amongst persons with disabilities in Cambodia, we included both the Washington Group Short Set and a subjective question asking respondents to self-identify their disability type. We find that, although all respondents self-identified as disabled, not all respondents would be considered disabled according to the Washington Group Short Set of questions. In addition, there is little overlap between specific disability types according to a subjective classification method and the domains of functioning measured through the Washington Group methodology. Our findings affirm that categorization as abled or disabled depends on the tool used. This is important, as the assessment approach chosen by those collecting disability data can shape the design choices of policies and programs, and determine who benefits.
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
The 2020 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) showed efforts to integrate disability inclusion. However, a lack of data on persons with disabilities, their needs, and the barriers they face impacts the ability of humanitarian responders to plan, deliver and evaluate inclusive activities. In 2020, data collected by Humanity & Inclusion showed that 87% of persons with disabilities reported difficulties accessing NFI distributions, food, and cash.
The December 2020 Enquête Nationale sur l’agriculture at la Sécurité Alimentaire (ENSA) was disaggregated by disability, to improve WFP’s understanding of food security needs for this group. Data were collected through integration of the Washington Group Short Set of Questions (WGQ-SS)1 . The WGQ-SS were asked directly to the respondent and recorded a maximum of one other, positively identified household member.
Of 6,410 households surveyed, 10.1% of households reported at least one member with a disability
Humanitarian actors recognize the lack of standard practice on the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities in humanitarian response as a current and critical gap in the sector. In recent years, the humanitarian sector has begun to more intentionally address these challenges. In response, the IRC has developed this Inclusive Client Responsiveness Guidance, which aims to address gaps in the IRC’s Client Responsive Programming specifically to strengthen inclusion of people with disabilities and older people. The Guidance consists of three sections to support staff in strengthening inclusion of people with disabilities and older people using the IRC’s Client Responsiveness approach:
Key concepts for designing inclusive feedback mechanisms such as accessibility and reasonable accommodation, to ensure that barriers are addressed, and feedback mechanisms are designed to be accessible to all.
Selection and design of inclusive feedback mechanisms that foster diversity and inclusion.
Monitoring access to feedback mechanisms of people with disabilities and older people through appropriate data collection and analysis.
The guidance also includes a set of resources for practical implementation, which are referenced throughout the document
This advocacy brief from the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and Leonard Cheshire draws attention to the main barriers to education for girls with disabilities, in the context of major opportunities for advocacy and tangible change in 2021. The recommendations outlined are targeted at world leaders, governments, ministries, UN agencies and NGOs. They offer a framework for rights-based action and principles towards gender-responsive and inclusive education, to ensure that no girls with disabilities are left behind.
Action by humanitarian partners to strengthen inclusion of persons with disabilities in the humanitarian response in an evidencebased manner remains highly needed – this note aims to support that effort by providing background and explanation on the definition of disability as well as on how to interpret and use data related to disability.
The note also provides elaboration on the Syria Protection Cluster (Turkey) recommended disability-related data collection methodology for humanitarian organizations and entities in northwest Syria. Thereby the note aims to stimulate and assist the broader humanitarian community in northwest Syria in adopting the Washington Group Short Set of Questions on Functioning, especially in relation to disability focused data collection and in understanding and utilizing assessment findings, specifically prevalence-rates of disability in northwest Syria.
For more elaborated description of the situation of persons with disability in northwest Syria and practical suggestions for humanitarians on enhancing inclusion of persons with disabilities in programming, this note is to be read in conjunction with the ITWG “Self-reported barriers to activities of daily living of persons with disabilities living in IDP sites in northwest Syria” brief report and recommendations.
This report presents findings from telephone interviews with 87 members from Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) partners and 10 DPO/Self-Help Group (SHG) leaders from organisations with 1,998 members in 10 districts across 7 provinces of Cambodia, to ask about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on persons with disabilities.
Three patterns emerge from these interviews: there is a pattern of compounding vulnerability to violence; a pattern of significant livelihood loss that is felt differently by disability type and gender; and a link between livelihood loss and pronounced increase in economic and psychological violence against women and girls with disabilities.
Evidence from these interviews suggests that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some women with disabilities are at increased risk of violence and suffering a dramatic loss in household earnings. Reported violence risk increase is mostly psychological and economic, higher among older respondents and most pronounced among those who already experienced medium to high risk of violence before COVID-19.
This toolkit was created in response to increasing interest and requests from persons with disabilities and their representative organizations from all over the world. The aim of this toolkit is to contribute to the growing global dialogue on the importance of data on persons with disabilities, specifically to provide some basic knowledge on data collection, analysis, and use of data for evidenced based advocacy to influence policy and decision makers. The toolkit discusses the use of the WG questions as best practices to be employed in data collections and disaggregating data by disability.
This Humanitarian Practice Network Paper (Number 83) explores the challenge of improving the collection, analysis and use of disability data to support more inclusive, impartial and accountable humanitarian action. It considers both the obstacles in this area and the potential opportunities for improving practice going forward. The paper draws directly on the experience and outcomes of a recent UK Aid-funded multi-partner action research project led by Humanity & Inclusion which explored how the use of the internationally validated Washington Group Questions on Disability can support the collection of more reliable and comparable quantitative data on persons with disabilities in humanitarian settings.
Based on a broader desk review of practice-based reports and case studies, this paper also draws on a further range of methods and approaches that have been taken to collect, analyse and use data and information to support inclusion of people with disabilities across different stages of the humanitarian programming cycle, focusing particularly on instances where qualitative information is used in combination with quantitative data. The paper looks at the collection and use of data on the accessibility and inclusiveness of humanitarian programmes, as well as data on the number, needs and capacities of persons with disabilities
Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and disability are major global health issues. Although they can cause and influence each other, data on their co-existence are sparse. This study aims to describe the prevalence and patterns of disability among a cohort of children with SAM.
A longitudinal cohort study in Malawi followed SAM survivors up to 7 years postdischarge. Clinical and anthropometric profiles were compared with sibling and community controls. Disability at original admission was identified clinically; at 7-year follow-up a standardised screening tool called ‘the Washington Group Questionnaire’ was used.
BMJ Global Health 2020;5:e002613
Issues are discussed about adding to the Washington Group questions to collect information on the age of disability onset. Issues include:
- People may not remember the exact age
- The exact age may be difficult to determine
- People may have onsets of difficulties in different domains at different times
These recommendations provide guidance on how to ensure more inclusive and effective implementation of Citizen Generated Data (CGD) initiatives and partnerships that engage communities effectively, and especially young people, persons with disabilities and civil rights defenders.
The recommendations focus on:
Inclusive Partnerships and Effective Collaboration including a "Spotlight from Uganda: Using WG questions in the national census"
Data Access and Disaggregation including a "Spotlight from Madagascar: Youth generated data and accountability"
Resourcing and Funding including a "Spotlight from International Non Government Organisations: Using Washington Group Questions (WGQ) in humanitarian and development settings"
Improvements made to inclusivity of disability research in Nigeria following participation in Inclusive Futures and training in the use of the Washington Group Short Questions are described. Applications of these lessons to recent research on COVID-19 in Nigeria is reported.
This paper provides an overview of progress towards the creation of accurate and comparable disability statistics, the critical issues that impact on the measurement of disability, and discusses one of the most prominent international efforts to improve data on disabilities – the Washington Group on Disability Statistics.
There is growing evidence that COVID-19 is disproportionally impacting the lives of people with disabilities. This includes evidence of the increased risk of severe outcomes of contracting COVID-19 amongst people with existing health conditions, including many people with disabilities. It also includes a wide range of other potential impacts such as: reductions or disruptions in non-COVID-19 health or rehabilitation services, the effects of shielding on isolation and mental health, the implications of social distancing on people who require carer support, and the impact on poverty, participation and wellbeing due to disrupted disability-inclusive development programmes.
Measurement of disability in research has historically been contested and a number of different tools exist. Clear guidance is needed on how to determine which tool to use to understand the situation of people with disabilities in different settings, and plan responsive and inclusive COVID-19 programmes and policies to support their needs. Good quality, comparable data on disability is essential for tracking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as prevention and mitigation interventions, amongst people with disabilities. Such evidence is also imperative for tracking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and UNCRPD compliance.
This evidence brief synthesises findings from a scoping review of ICF-compatible tools to measure disability in population-based surveys with a focus on LMICs (2018), protocols and research outputs from seven population-based surveys of disability across Asia, Africa and the Pacific, secondary analyses of the South African Census, US National Health Interview Survey and three Demographic and Health Surveys, reflections from global stakeholders in disability measurement (including the UN Flagship Report on Disability), and evidence compiled for the upcoming Global Disability Research Massive Open Online Course at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Using the Washington Group (WG) tools to assess the impact of COVID-19 on persons with disability is described.
Guidance for the use of the WG question sets in telephone or web data collections is provided. Consideration is given to several possible issues when implementing these methods including: sample bias; telephone interviewing persons with hearing and communication difficulties; internet administration for persons with vision, cognition or other difficulties; and translation of survey questions for administration during the COVID-19 pandemic
The aim of this study was to assess the association between anxiety and depression with physical and sensory functional difficulties, among adults living in five low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
A secondary data analysis was undertaken using population-based disability survey data from five LMICs, including two national surveys (Guatemala, Maldives) and 3 regional/district surveys (Nepal, India, Cameroon). 19,337 participants were sampled in total (range 1,617–7,604 in individual studies). Anxiety, depression, and physical and sensory functional difficulties were assessed using the Washington Group Extended Question Set on Functioning. Age-sex adjusted logistic regression analyses were undertaken to assess the association of anxiety and depression with hearing, visual or mobility functional difficulties.
The findings demonstrated an increased adjusted odds of severe depression and severe anxiety among adults with mobility, hearing and visual functional difficulties in all settings (with ORs ranging from 2.0 to 14.2) except for in relation to hearing loss in India, the Maldives and Cameroon, where no clear association was found. For all settings and types of functional difficulties, there was a stronger association with severe anxiety and depression than with moderate. Both India and Cameroon had higher reported prevalences of physical and sensory functional difficulties compared with Nepal and Guatemala, and weaker associations with anxiety and depression
Invisibility of children with disabilities in data on educational access and learning is a key policy challenge for tracking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. In this article, we report findings from a household survey undertaken in rural Punjab, Pakistan. These data enable us to identify the extent to which children with disabilities are in school and learning the basics in literacy and numeracy. We find that, perhaps contrary to expectations, many of these children in this context are in mainstream (government and private) schools, although their chances of being in school are lower than their peers. We further find that overall levels of literacy and numeracy are low, even more so for children with disabilities. Our findings corroborate recent research from other countries. The paper highlights important lessons for the policy which are of relevance to other low-income contexts.
On April 22nd 2020, the European Disability Forum organised the fourth of a series of webinars about the Innovation to Inclusion project (also called i2i programme).
Four speakers were invited to talk about Labour Market Data for persons with disabilities. After their presentation, there was some time for questions and answers.
- Mark Carew (Leonard Cheshire) spoke briefly about i2i’s approach to disability data and how i2i supports a good quality collection of disability data.
- Valentina Stoevska (Department of Statistics, International Labour Organisation) explained the objectives of the statistical data on the labour market characteristics of persons with disabilities. She talked about the use of Washington Group questions on the disability Labour Force Surveys. To conclude her presentation, Ms Stoevska briefly illustrated with some statistics the employment characteristics of persons with disabilities.
- Robert Buluma (Governance, Peace and Security statistics of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics) briefly provided some information on the development of a disability monograph.
- Anderson Gitonga (United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK)) spoke about the importance of the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in data gathering and touched upon the technical working group that has been formed in Kenya.
This study measured and compared the prevalence of disability and developmental delay among children attending preschool centres in rural Malawi. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 48 preschool centres in Thyolodistrict, Malawi. Data were collected from parents or guardians of 20 children per centre. Disability was ascertained using the Washington Group/UNICEF Child Functioning Module. Child development was measured using the language and social domains of the Malawi Development Assessment Tool. A total of 960 children were enrolled; 935 (97.4%) children were assessed for disability and 933 (97.2%) for developmental delay; 100 (10.7%) children were identified as having a disability
Child Care Health Dev. 2020;46:187–194.
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