To mark the 2022 Global Disability Summit today, we are making five commitments to people with disabilities. These commitments are our way of embodying our firm belief that more needs to be done to provide social protection to the more than one billion people globally who have disabilities.
People with disabilities – and their households – are more likely to live in poverty and have lower standards of living than people without disabilities. But access to social protection can play a key role in enhancing the wellbeing of people with disabilities. It can offer them a minimum income, as well as financial support to address the additional costs they face, which can be substantial.
To build societies without leaving people behind, it is imperative that a much greater focus is placed on building disability-inclusive social protection systems and schemes.
Our commitments cover both initiatives we are running independently as well as our enhanced inclusive approaches to research and analysis for our clients.
1. We commit to funding a student with disabilities to complete a master’s degree in Kenya in 2022.
In our work, we recognise the barriers that persons with disabilities face in accessing opportunities in academia and employment. To honour the life of our late colleague who was passionate about promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, we have awarded the Krystle Kabare scholarship to prospective Master’s degree students studying social or economic policy and we commit to additional funding for a future scholarship.
2. We commit to gathering and sharing updated data in our Disability Benefits Database by 2023 to advocate for improved social protection coverage for people with disabilities in low- and middle- income countries.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – now ratified by 181 countries around the world – recognises the ‘right to social protection’ and that governments should provide assistance to meet disability-related expenses. Yet, in reality, it is estimated that only 34 per cent of people with disabilities access a disability benefit. Through our Disability Benefits Database – an inventory of tax-financed disability benefits in low- and middle-income countries around the world – we provide an information tool to raise attention to policy makers, development partners and donors, that this critical gap in coverage needs to be addressed. We will work to bring the data in this much-needed tool up-to-date in the next year.
3. We commit to promoting disability inclusion as one of our core learning objectives in our 2022 and 2023 inclusive social protection training courses.
In our course on inclusive social protection, disability inclusion is a core focus across our modules and we offer a session on disability sensitive social protection. We provide our participants with evidence-based approaches to designing rights-based disability-inclusive systems that minimise barriers for persons with disabilities to access income support, so that they can make the case for inclusive social protection. We will continue to enhance our offering for the next two cohorts.
4. We commit to advocating for benefits for people with disabilities in our recommendations to promote shock-responsive social protection systems.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting socio-economic crisis have severely enhanced the vulnerabilities of persons with disabilities, due to losses in incomes, and barriers in accessing essential health and care support.In supporting policymakers and development partners in designing shock-responsive social protection systems, disability benefits are a core component of our recommendations to implement inclusive lifecycle systems that promote economic recovery.
5. We commit to disaggregating data by disability, gender and age and to developing methods for analysis that ensure that people with disabilities are adequately represented in our research.
We are committed to harness evidence-based knowledge on disability both in our work on disability-related projects as well as our mainstream research. Where possible, we disaggregate poverty and welfare metrics by gender, age and disability, by leveraging tools such as the Washington Group Questions on Functioning.