Disabled, Poor–and Ignored: Results of Research in Zimbabwe and South Africa

Posted on 6 August 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, Inclusion, Poverty, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Research conducted in Zimbabwe and South Africa has confirmed what grassroots advocates have known all along: people with disabilities aren’t just at higher risk of poverty. People with disabilities are also more likely to be ignored by many donors who support programs to end poverty.

The 77-page study is entitled, “Are Disabled Peoples’ Voices from both South and North Being heard in the Development process? A Comparative analysis between the situation in South Africa, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom and Northern Europe.” Conducted in 2005, this research explores the extent to which Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs) in Zimbabwe and South Africa have access to funding, and the extent to which DPOs were able to explain to donors what kind of funding would help them best.

People with disabilities who were interviewed for this study said they wanted to be involved with disability programs, from the planning stage through implementation. However, they felt they were often excluded, both by the government and also by DPOs themselves. The study concludes that many DPOs lack the capacity to reach large numbers of people with disabilities at the grassroots level. As a result, many people with disabilities in South Africa and Zimbabwe are not part of any network. They also usually lacked awareness of policies and programs that were meant to benefit them, such as the African Decade on Persons with Disabilities or the Millennium Development Goals.

DPOs, too, said they lacked opportunity to contribute to dialogue about what kinds of projects would be most beneficial for them. DPOs in South Africa and Zimbabwe said that donors from developed countries often impose their own tailor-made programs on them without asking for their input. They wanted to be more involved with designing the programs that they implement. DPOs usually were more aware than grassroots individuals of programs such as the African Decade or the Millennium Development Goals, but even some DPOs were not aware of them.

Even in the UK and Northern Europe, DPOs felt that they were struggling for donations. DPOs also complained that non-disability oriented international non-governmental organizations used information about people with disabilities to obtain donations for themselves instead of for DPOs.

The study makes recommendations based on its findings, including the need for more capacity building for DPOs in developing countries; stronger partnerships among DPOs in developing and developed countries and donors; and closer involvement of people with disabilities and DPOs in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs.

Learn more about the study; download the 6-page executive summary (Word format); or the full 770-page report (Word format) at:


We Can Do found this study on the DisabilityKar.net site after exploring links from the Heathlink Worldwide site.

Subscribe to We Can Do
Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

Other Resources at We Can Do
Catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

We Can Do Copyright
This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and RatifyNow.org. Other sites may be plagiarizing this post without permission.

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

4 Responses to “Disabled, Poor–and Ignored: Results of Research in Zimbabwe and South Africa”

RSS Feed for We Can Do Comments RSS Feed

God has gifted dissability in some people to overcome their sins in this life. But people who are normal felt proud to themselves which should not be.

We should not feel proud of ourselves or tease them. Dissability is the gift of God to some people but normal people should cooperate them.




Thank you, Rose. As a person with disabilities myself it is, of course, my hope that people avoid bullying or other forms of oppression toward us. However, it is just as important that people also avoid pity and charity, which are also forms of oppression–they just happen to be forms of oppression that are easier to dismiss because the perpetrator supposedly “means them in kindness.”

What we need most, no matter what country we are in, is simply opportunity and a fair chance.

Human societies must immediately address the issue of negative language if real attitude changes towards the disabled are to be obtained. Language is full of negative references surrounding dissability resulting in usage that reflects derogation and insults, e.g. “Are you blind!?” (cant you see that obvious thing?), “You’re crazy!”, “Thats really dumb!” (stupid), “You deaf mute!” (stubborn person)”Their plan was crippled by the downpour” and many many more. Where do we start? Language. School curricula. Training parents on correct usage of language. Impossible? I dont think so.

Billet Magara
Harare Zimbabwe
PS: I am starting a magazine in Braille. Any donors interested? Individuals? Organizations?

Where's The Comment Form?


    Ending poverty among and oppression toward disabled people in developing countries.


    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET News.com
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS


  • The Mwanza Computer Literacy Project

    The Mwanza Computer Literacy Project

    The Tusaidiane Disabilities Resources and Charity Organization of Tanzania (TDRCT) would like to improve computer literacy and self-employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Mwanza, Tanzania, and promote their empowerment.

    This organization is run by people who themselves have disabilities. I have known the man who founded this organization for some years. If his organization can quickly raise $5000 from 40 donors within a few days, then GlobalGiving will feature their organization on its website. This will enable them to attract more prospective funders. I have made a donation to them, I hope others will consider doing the same.
    Give Now

    Site Meter

  • Help the U.S. Ratify the Disability Treaty!

    Image of an hour glass overlaid on image of the Capitol building in DC. Text says, "Time is running out! Now is the time for the Senate to Act! Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities! www.disabilitytreaty.org #CRPD

    Learn why the CRPD matters and how to take action at www.disabilitytreaty.org!

  • Subscribe!

  • Bookmark and Share
  • Translate!

  • Connect to Andrea Shettle via Linked In

  • Archives

  • Topic Categories

  • Make WeCanDo Your “Favorite”

  • Stumble Upon It!

    Stumble It! Share this blog with other readers via "Stumble Upon"!
  • Follow We Can Do in Facebook!

  • We Can Do is in the GDRL!

  • Blog Stats

    • 740,001 hits
  • Map of Visitors

  • Meta

  • Facebook Networked Blogs

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: