There are approximately one billion people with disabilities globally, equating to one in seven people worldwide. There is extensive evidence that people with disabilities are on average poorer, and face widespread stigma, discrimination, and social exclusion. They are also often disempowered, for instance, left out of making important decisions or having their voices heard, despite the call of the Disability movement of ‘Nothing about us, without us’.
Social inclusion and empowerment are central to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), as they are necessary for the achievement of all rights. Furthermore, social inclusion and empowerment are development issues, as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a call to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all. Barriers to social inclusion and empowerment for people with disabilities include system-level and institutional barriers (e.g. lack of inclusive policies and legislation), physical barriers (e.g. inaccessible transport and buildings), information barriers (e.g. lack of sign-language interpretation at meetings), and perhaps most importantly, barriers due to stigmatising attitudes and discriminatory behaviours and practices. Consequently, effective interventions should aim to overcome these barriers to achieve social inclusion and empowerment for people with disabilities.
The aim of the Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) is to provide an assessment of the effectiveness of interventions to improve social inclusion and empowerment for people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is also a summary report with accompanying ‘easy read’ version
A second REA has been undertaken to assess the effectiveness of interventions to improve educational outcomes for people with disabilities in LMICs. These 2 REAs were commissioned in advance of the Global Disability Summit in July 2018 and co-hosted by the UK Government, the Government of Kenya, and International Disability Alliance, and will be used to inform global action to implement the SDGs and the UNCRPD.