DISABILITY SIGNIFICANCE TO THE VAF
Reliable data on persons with disabilities (PwD) in Jordan is limited but critical to ensuring the provision of specialized care to a group of people with special needs. According to a Government of Jordan census from 2004, 1.23 percent of the population in Jordan has a disability, while the Higher Council of Affairs of Persons with Disabilities’ estimate is 13 percent (not including refugees). The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the average worldwide prevalence of disabilities at 15%. As of 13 October, 2016, UNHCR has recorded 2.36 percent of refugees registered in Jordan with a disability. In the context of Jordan, where hundreds of thousands of civil war refugees reside, the number with disabilities is expected to be significantly higher.
Reasons for limited data on persons with disabilities can be attributed to a number of factors. First is the use of outdated tools for collecting data on persons with disabilities, and a lack of consolidation of data between national actors. Notably tools that define disability as a health issue ignore other aspects of disability, and do not allow for accurate identification of persons with disabilities.
With a view to addressing this gap, this paper advocates for humanitarian agencies providing direct services to refugees in Jordan to: 1) Use the Short Set of Questions developed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics as a tool for screening and flagging disabilities, 2) Partner with UNHCR in becoming users of the (a.) Vulnerability Assessment Framework (VAF) and (b.) Refugee Assistance Information System (RAIS).