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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"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
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
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'
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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 reduction strategies and disability
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
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
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
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
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
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.
MDGs and disability
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
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
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
"This paper sets out the context for addressing disability in the MDGs. It highlights the growing international momentum for including disability in development and makes recommendations on how donors, partner governments and civil society can include people with disabilities in the global drive to achieve the MDGs"
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
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
This draft paper explores the similarities between disability, poverty and gender. In it, Welch describes overlapping issues are described, setting the context for examining these issues using a single framework: the 'capabilities approach'
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
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
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
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.
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
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