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A step forward for disability in the UK development agenda

8 January 2014
Posted by Lucy Drescher

Over the past couple of months we have been preparing for the UK Government's first every inquiry into disability and development.

Just before Christmas, Sense International submitted written evidence to the International Development Select Committee. And from next week, the Committee will start to hear evidence from a variety of people and organisations working in this area, including Sense International and the Bond Disability and Development Group.

This is extremely good news and a long awaited step forward as the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently has no strategy or policy on disability.

It has however recently announced that all new FCDO-funded schools will be made accessible to disabled children. This is a real step forward and shows a new commitment from the Government to support disabled people in the developing world.

In addition, FCDO is calling for improvements to global data on disability, and for an increased emphasis on disabled people in future development targets.

Key issues for the Government's inquiry will include:

  • The adequacy of FCDO's current policy commitments on disability and development, and whether it needs a disability strategy
  • Integration of disability issues within FCDO's sector programmes (for example in health, education, sanitation, livelihoods, and empowerment) and its humanitarian work
  • The effectiveness of FCDO's approach to rehabilitation and service provision for disabled people
  • The strength of the evidence base on 'what works' in development programmes involving disability
  • The role of disabled beneficiaries in planning, managing and monitoring FCDO policy and programmes
  • The financial costs and benefits of an increased emphasis on disability
  • The UK's work with other development agencies and partner governments on disability
  • The UK's role in ensuring post-2015 development goals consider disability issues.

Edwin OsundwaOur Country Representative for Kenya, Edwin Osundwa (pictured left) will be giving evidence at the inquiry and sharing his experiences of working with deafblind children in East Africa and also being a disability activist himself.

We hope that this inquiry will be a turning point for FCDO and will ensure that disabled people are able to increasingly benefit from international aid and development. 

Lucy Drescher is Policy & Support Officer for Sense International 



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First published: Thursday 1 January 1970
Last updated: Thursday 1 January 1970