Disability-inclusive development

Disability-inclusive development is the practice of including a disability dimension in all international development programs and policies.

Disability-inclusive development

Disability-inclusive development, or DID, is the practice of including a disability dimension in all stages of aid delivered through international development; from policy through to programming. It is founded on the central tenant of the global disability movement, ‘Nothing about us without us’, ensuring people with disabilities are meaningful participants of all development programs and policies. Core principles of DID include awareness, participation, non-discrimination, accessibility and universal design, gender equity and the twin track approach.

People with disabilities have equal rights to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the society they live in while feeling a part of it. In practice DID works to ensure persons with disabilities are recognized as rights-holding, equal members of society who must be actively engaged in the development process irrespective of their impairment, or other factors such as race, age, ethnicity or gender. DID promotes equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities in every aspect of life. This includes in educational and employment opportunities, political participation and physical accessibility, for example.

Twin Track Approach

DID advocates for a twin track approach to international development programming. It recognises the dual importance and interconnection of two types of programming: specific and mainstreaming.

Specific, or targeted programming as it is often referred, includes supporting and empowering people with disabilities, their families and representing organisations through increasing their access to support services, health care, education, livelihood and social and political activities. This can include the provision of assistive devices, access to communication tools such as brail or sign language, or rights awareness. Motivation Australia works in Samoa to support the provision of wheelchairs across the country, enabling the service to provide the assistive device to those who need one.

Mainstream programming is working to identify and overcome barriers people with disability face within programs that have a broader focus than disability. This includes ensuring all programs and their benefits are accessible for people with disabilities at all stages, from planning through implementation to monitoring and evaluation. Examples of such programs include disaster risk reduction strategies, water and sanitation programs, or climate change adaptation.

Quincy from Cameroon is deaf and uses sign language. Through a Community Base Rehabilitation program supported by CBM Australia, Quincy’s family and community members participated in weekly sign language classes and can now communicate with Quincy and other children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Quincy can fully participate in her classroom thanks to sign language training for her teachers. See more of Quincy’s story.