Over the past two years an increasing amount of my work has included disability. Until relatively recently disability as an area of work or a rights-based issue has been almost invisible in international development. The convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) has changed that. A rights-based approach to disability in international development is a issue whose time has come. In the past few years we have seen a significant scaling up of disability-related activity at both a global (UN system) level and at an organisational level.
I have been lucky enough to work with Leonard Cheshire Disability on two of their international development programmes and, most recently, undertake value for money case studies for the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on two of their disability partnerships with UN agencies.
Although it is an obvious thing for disability focused agencies like Leonard Cheshire, linking disability to human rights through instruments like the CRPD has helped unlock a significant amount of support and funding for disability-related issues. The skilling up and tooling up of agencies and governments has seen an explosion in disability programming around the world and it is a remarkable testament to the development sector to see how quickly agencies have adopted disability as a core objective when other causes such as climate change and Ebola have been grabbing the headlines this year.
In international development people with disabilities have been the poor relations for too long. Its great to see things finally changing for the better!