by Sherin Alsheikh Ahmed
In crisis settings persons with disabilities are more likely to lose their lives and livelihoods than people without disabilities. This is due, in part, to the policies and practices of humanitarian actors, where a focus on a blanket approach can exclude persons with disabilities from assistance and protection.
No longer seen as the domain of specialist agencies, a wide variety of development and humanitarian agencies have committed to improving disability inclusion. At the 2018 Global Disability Summit (GDS), Islamic Relief Worldwide, along with dozens of other state and non-state actors, made a series of commitments to tackle critical issues such as exclusion from education, livelihoods, stigma and discrimination and engaging with organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs)
In 2020, Islamic Relief carried out an internal review to assess progress towards these commitments and document positive and challenging practices on disability-inclusive programming to identify opportunities for learning. Conducted with limited resources and based mostly on secondary data, project documentation and key informant interviews with representatives from across the IR Family, this was not a rigorous assessment of Islamic Relief’s capacity and performance in relation to disability inclusion. Rather, the review represents a light-touch stocktake, focusing on eight areas with the most practical implications for IR programming. (The review did not cover other organisational functions, such as human resources or governance, which have a strong impact on inclusive programming.)