A lot happened in February even without the leap-year

February 2020

Hey everyone,

Thanks for all of you who've joined in on this monthly round-up of what's going on internationally in disability inclusion.

There's plenty to get into this month. Before then just to introduce myself for those who don't know me - I'm Peter, a consultant working independently on disability and this newsletter is a contribution to international exchange on disability.

If there's something I can put in the next edition find me on twitter @desibility.

To share this with friends, forward the email or send them the link https://disabilitydebrief.substack.com/

Recap of February

Highlight: Celebrating Disability

Catalina Devandas’ Tedx talk on Celebrating disability as part of human diversity is up. Catalina is the Special Rapporteur on Disability and this talk links her experience of disability with the global movement on disability rights. Disability can be beautiful and cool and enrich our lives.

See below for lives worth living and other reports from the Special Rapporteur.

Global Action on Disability (GLAD) meeting

The GLAD group of donors and organisations met in Washington DC at the beginning of the month in their fourth annual meeting. See more:

Some donors shared more about their work, including:

  • Introduction video to the Danish Disability Fund, supporting organisations of persons with disabilities in Denmark and their partners in the Global South.

Zero Project 2020

The Zero Project this year highlighted innovations on inclusive education and ICT. See the innovative practices and the innovative policies that won. The conference site has further material. There was plenty of discussion on twitter on #ZeroCon20.

Winners of the Her Abilities Prize talk with the BBC ahead of the event (audio, no transcript, sorry).

World Urban Forum

See the summary from IDA of participation in the World Urban Forum.

The World Blind Union has signed an MoU with UN Habitat to take forward work in mainstreaming disability within UN Habitat's work.

A range of Cities for All messages from delegates at the WUF are available on the World Enabled vimeo channel.

Other events

At the Commission for Social Development, a session discussed affordable housing and social protection systems for all persons with disabilities to address homelessness.

The Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships’ Week (HNPW) discussed disability in several sessions, including the Geneva Launch of the IASC Disability Guidelines. See also the guidelines themselves.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development featured disability in its governing council event. They shared a video from Senegal of a person with disability who repairs agricultural machinery. They also issued a funding opportunity for organisations (short deadline has now passed).

The Commonwealth Foundation brought together activists and legal experts from a range of countries to discuss disability rights.


Access to Information

Nabil Eid has released a free e-book on Accessible and Inclusive Libraries in the Smart City.


The World Bank, has issued a guidebook on Disability Measurement in Household Surveys, as part of the Living Standards Measurement Study.

Getting people with disabilities into work requires data, a blog from the Director General of the ILO.


A new community of practice has been launched, with support from the World Bank: the Inclusive Education Initiative. “An inclusive and collaborative network, focusing on the creation and dissemination of knowledge within the field of disability-inclusive education.”

Advocating on early childhood education, from Theirworld, based on work in Kenya and taking international perspective.

In Nepal and Uganda, a mapping of educational status of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth, performed by the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People's (IFHOH).

Egypt risks missing out on economic opportunities of inclusive education, overview article from a private sector perspective (with some quotes from yours truly).

In Rwanda, an article on a “path of hope” for students with disabilities in higher education.

In Ukraine, fellows from a US State Department course share their knowledge on making education inclusive for persons with disabilities.

In Uganda, a World Bank blog on making education inclusive.

Elections and Politics

In Tunisia, work on making the election-related words available in sign-language.

In the Ukraine IFES was discussing recommendations for the election code to ensure equal access to elections.

In the USA it's interesting to see the attention disability is getting in the upcoming elections.


In Morocco, trade unions are working on the rights at work for persons with disabilities, with support from Solidarity. News articles (in Arabic)

In Jordan, “Shaikha is a disabled but determined refugee from Syria who wakes up every morning eager to go to work.” Short video on twitter from ILO. Shout-out to ILO friends to change the wording next time.


Abortion and Disability: Towards an Intersectional Human Rights-Based Approach, a report from Women Enabled International.

Guidance on advancing disability inclusive policies and practices in health from Dan Mont.

From the UK, a personal essay on how hospital care fails disabled bodies.

In the USA, a personal essay on what going to the gynaecologist is like when you're disabled  (with an international perspective).

Challenges in the USA for women with disabilities to access sexual reproductive health and care.


A field handbook on Early Rehabilitation in Conflicts and Disasters from Humanity and Inclusion.

From Mozambique, Challenges and Recommendations on access to Humanitarian Aid for men and women, girls and boys with disabilities, by Light for the World.

From Tanzania, these Rights are Mine: disability rights among refugees and the host community. From the International Rescue Committee.

From Zimbabwe, a video on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Cyclone Idai Affected Areas by UNESCO.

Together with the IDDC, European Disability Forum met with the European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Action.

Inclusive Cities and Communities

Brief on Making cities and communities inclusive and sustainable for persons with disabilities from UNDESA.

How persons with disabilities are shaping urban design, a blog from the World Economic Forum

In India, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict), has signed an MoU with the National Institute of Urban Affairs.

From Mexico, an international call to showcase “new proposals and innovative solutions to guarantee basic rights and improve the quality of life of people with disabilities.”

In Sweden, a retrospective on 20 years on institutions being closed notes with regret new group homes being built.

International Cooperation

An easy to read version of the UN Disability and Development Report.

The report from the stakeholder group of persons with disabilities at the High Level Political Forum 2019 is out. The HLPF is the body reviewing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and this report summarises the disability content of the Forum as well as compiles references to disability in country reviews.

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) released a strategy for inclusion of persons with disabilities in development cooperation (in German).

A coalition of Norwegian organisations forms Together for Inclusion bringing disabled people's organizations together with NGOs in international cooperation.

A guidance note on the Role of European organisations of persons with disabilities in International Cooperation, last year from the European Disability Forum.

Sightsavers’ Equal World Campaign fighting for disability rights.

Report from IDA and IDDC on the Bridge Training on CRPD and SDGs.

Lives worth living (and other SR reports)

See the start of the newsletter for Catalina's Tedx talk.

A new report from the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Gets into deep topics in bioethics and disability, including euthanasia and abortion.

Based on a biased understanding of appearance, functioning and behaviour, many consider disability a misfortune that make life not worth living. To promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, we must dismantle social ableism and embrace disability as a positive aspect of the human experience.

The SR also shared some country visit reports:

Report on Canada. “Canada is a country of significant disparities in accessibility and access to education, health, justice, and social protection, depending on where in the country a person lives.”

Report on Kuwait. “The country still needs a specific national strategy on disability to ensure that barriers against participation are lifted, and that a human rights-based approach to disability is adopted in all public policies.”

Report on Norway. “In the areas of legal capacity, mental health and social care, Norway still needs to embrace the paradigm shift proposed by the CRPD.”

See also an interview on her visit to Spain (Spanish).

Mental Health

A topic guide for development professionals on Mental Health for Sustainable Development has been released by Knowledge For Development (K4D). Full guide.

Interview with Piers Gooding on mental health politics and disability law, from Traipsin’ Global on Wheels Podcast.

An article on scandal of treatment of people with mental health conditions in Ghana, the “shackled sick”, from the Guardian, with pictures. Human Rights Watch has a short video on the same issue.


Evidence and gap map of studies assessing the effectiveness of interventions for people with disabilities in low‐and middle‐income countries.

In India, discussion of government budget allocations for disability.

In Japan, statement from UN rapporteur on efforts to protect rights of persons affected by leprosy.

Representing Disability

You may have seen on social media the 9-year old Australian who was reacting to bullying, and the support he's received. Here's a balanced article (on CNN) on the social-media and disability related aspects of this.

If you write about disability, there are APA Style guidelines.

In Hollywood, there are small increases in the numbers of characters with disabilities being played by actors with disabilities, reports the New York Times.

“Pay closer attention [to disability] and you will see a treasure trove of wisdom, advice and experience for virtually every challenge you have.”  —  an interview with Al Etmanksi on the Human Potential Podcast.

Short video interview with Christian Tasso on representing disability in his photography series Fifteen Percent.

In Kerala, India, a wheelchair marathon.

From Paraguay, the story of the President of the National Association of Public Officials with Disabilities.

In Sudan, a “wall of inclusion” (video, no description, sorry).

Social Protection

In Brazil, a report on social protection and disability, from Development Pathways.

In Nigeria, a cash transfer programme supporting disability and women empowerment.

In the UK, three in ten of the 13 million people with disabilities in the UK live in poverty - a report on social security for persons with disabilities from Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


A thematic review of Disability, Mobility and Transport in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

In the European Union, a study on the protection of air passenger rights includes a section on persons with disabilities. European Disability Forum have an award for accessible airports, nominations open till 27th March.

Heathrow Airport, in the UK, has made appointments on a board that will make investments of £30 million for accessibility equipment and technology.


New books

An African Path to Disability Justice by Oche Onazi.

Judy Heumann is a hugely influential disability activist in the US, and she's just released her memoir. See an interview with her that introduces the book.

  • Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann and Kristen Joiner.

Other newsletters

(You read other newsletters?)

European Disability Forum shared Disability Voice which includes some Brexit and disability-related content, so there's the Brit in me happy.

The Disability Inclusion Helpdesk issued its February 2020 Quarterly Digest which summarises some key events and reports on disability in development from the past few months.

Going forward


2020 State of Digital Accessibility Survey, from Level Access, G3ICT and IAAP.

Survey on how the SDGs affect young people with disabilities, from the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities. Deadline 1st March. Other languages available.

Upcoming Events


LFTW are recruiting a Programme Coordinator for their South Sudan office, based in Vienna. Deadline 1st March.

European Disability Forum are recruiting a Communications and Logistics Officer for International Cooperation. Deadline 2nd March.

UNV looking for a consultant on the Final Evaluation Disability Inclusion Project. Deadline 3rd March.

Tender opportunity for Study on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Bridging the Gap II Project. Deadline 5th March.

Sightsavers are recruiting for a DFID Technical Advisor on Inclusive Humanitarian Action. Deadline 8th March.

Traineeships for EU citizens with disabilities at the Council of the European Union. Deadline 16th March.

IDA are recruiting an Executive and Personal Assistant. Deadline 31st March.

Candidates are being nominated to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Nominations by permanent missions by 10th April.

HelpAge International are looking to form a roster of short-term specialists in disability inclusion programming. Open deadline.

The Snowden Masters Scholarships offer grant and allowance support for a Masters degree in the UK. It's for people who've already been accepted in the course and have secured visas where needed. Deadline 5th April, for study starting this year.

Funding opportunities

USAID grant on Designing for Sustainable Physical Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Services in Health Systems. Deadline 13th March.

US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor funding opportunity on Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in South America and Panama. Deadline 17th April.


Thanks to everyone who had kind words about the first edition last month, and to the over one hundred of you who have shown the trust of signing-up for the journey. I appreciate people are sharing links with me and please carry on!

Until next time

Hope you have a great month in disability until then. Stay in touch.