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Research on disability in Uganda underway

17/10/2019

Last month, Development Pathways undertook qualitative life history-based fieldwork in six districts in Uganda as part of their wider situational analysis of persons with disabilities in the country. The situational analysis is being undertaken for, and with the support of, the Department of Disability and Elderly Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD). The findings will help inform the Ministry’s commitment to building an inclusive social protection system under its Expanding Social Protection (ESP) programme.

The aim of the situational analysis is to: consolidate the existing evidence base on disability in Uganda; help identify and fill critical knowledge gaps; and, provide the basis for the design of a new programme to strengthen social protection schemes with the aim of empowering persons with disabilities and enhancing their inclusion and wellbeing. A particular emphasis is being placed on understanding the additional costs faced by persons with disabilities and their caregivers.

The situational analysis comprises four interlinked components:

  • Review of the ‘disability architecture’ which examines the structures and support currently available for persons with disabilities in Uganda, including policy, legislation, actors and roles and responsibilities;
  • ‘Diagnostics’ of existing social protection programmes;
  • A nationally representative household survey;
  • Qualitative fieldwork.

Fieldwork for the qualitative component took place in six districts across Uganda: Amudat, Manafwa, Kampala, Kiruhura, Kyankwanzi and Lamwo. Researchers interviewed persons with disabilities or their caregivers about their life stories in their homes.

The interviews focused on documenting coping mechanisms and stories of resilience from persons with disabilities, as well as capturing how these strategies and choices may differ over time and between individuals living in different circumstances.

Our qualitative research team was headed by Team Leader and disability expert Dr Maria Kett and also comprised other international and national researchers. The researchers were accompanied by representatives from the Department of Elderly and Disability Affairs in the MGLSD.

One of twelve quantitative research teams undertaking the household survey

The research team worked closely with local councils representing Persons with Disabilities and Community Development Officers (CDOs) in the sub-counties they visited (see picture).

The teams completed successful missions with the support of local government stakeholders and heard a diverse collection of stories of persons with disabilities across regions in Uganda. The teams reconvened in Kampala to discuss the findings, drawing out the themes that emerged.

The quantitative component is currently underway with the household survey team, supported by the Policy Analysis and Development Research Institute (PADRI), having covered ground in 19 out of a scheduled 87 districts so far (see picture). This section is due to finish around 10thNovember.

Findings from all four components of the study will feed into the final Situational Analysis report to be submitted to the MGLSD in December, which Dr Maria Kett is leading on.

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