Dominic Haslam, Director of Policy and Strategic Programme Support at NGO Sighstavers spoke today on the publication of the UK Government’s Disability Framework. Here is his statement:

“Today’s publication of the Government’s Disability Framework reflects its ambitious vision to deliver disability-inclusive development. We believe the practical steps the Government has outlined will provide a real boost to its commitment to make its programmes systematically inclusive of and accessible to people with disabilities.

We also believe it will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of millions of people with disabilities who currently live in poverty.

DFID have rightly acknowledged that achieving their ambition will be a learning process. By committing to an annual revision of the Framework and monitoring programmes reporting on disability, DFID have outlined a clear process by which they will strengthen their approach and deliver accessible programmes. The Framework also sets out the UK’s commitment to promoting the rights of people with disabilities across the world by meeting its obligations to the UNCRPD.

We believe there are some critical steps DFID must take over the next 12 months. DFID must set out an organisational definition of disability-inclusive development, signposting what successful inclusion would look like; identify how they can increase the participation and engagement of people with disabilities in development programmes and staff training, recognising that people with disabilities themselves have the best knowledge and understanding of what is needed to be included; produce technical guidance for their staff, building on the evidence and learning available on what works; and identify indicators and align organisational targets to reflect disability-inclusion, to ensure that progress can be measured and to contribute to that growing evidence base. These steps will position DFID as an authority on disability-inclusive development at a global level. It will allow them to influence their multilateral, bilateral and NGO partners and thereby positively impact more widely on the lives of the 800 million people with disabilities living in developing countries.

Today sees the policy change that the Sightsavers’ Put us in the Picture campaign has been calling for. We believe the Framework is an essential part of the broader process needed to transform the lives of people with disabilities across the world by addressing stigma and discrimination; ensuring children with disabilities access a quality education; empowering adults to gain employment; and delivering health services that are accessible to all.

At Sightsavers, we believe these are achievable globally. This Framework puts the UK Government at the heart of that picture.”

Sightsavers works with partners in the developing world to combat avoidable blindness.

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