Capacity Building.

Growing a movement.

  • Project: Building the capacity of disability activists groups (also known as disabled people's organisations or DPOs).
  • Status: Ongoing.
  • Location: Global.
  • Beneficiaries:  Disabled people living in poverty in Africa and Asia.

What are we doing?

We support disability activists’ organisations with tools, skills and resources that can enable them to become functioning organisations and powerful movements for change. This is our Capacity Building work - it is tailored support which enables social change.

In this sense, ADD International is more of an ally to the global disability movement, rather than a provider.

Learn more about how we work in partnership

How do we work?

Disability activists are ordinary people working together to create positive and lasting change for disabled people in their area. Often disabled themselves, they have the passion, vision and courage to fight for change. It’s their lives, and their communities, at stake.

They organise safe spaces to meet, offer shelter to those in danger, protest sexual violence, create jobs, challeng attitudes in the community, campaign for equality, lobby authorities for accessible services, and much more.

What they often need are the practical skills and resources required to run an organisation and to build lasting movements.

This is where ADD International steps in. We take the passion and vision of disability activists and give them the practical tools to turn that fuel into tangible results. We help them progress their agenda and build sustainable organisations that can scale up and have ever increasing impact.

How we support disability activists?


It begins as a conversation between ADD International staff and the most impactful disability activists working in areas of extreme poverty. They tell us the change they want to make and what they need to make it.


Together, we develop tailored capacity building support, designed specifically around the activists and their situation. Activists in Tanzania wanting to lobby the government to get more disabled children into school will need different capacity building support than a group of female disabled activists in Cambodia who are forming to protect their rights.


We're in it for the long haul. Effective and sustainable capacity building is dynamic, complex and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately it works. That's why we are in it for the long haul.


Our capacity building work is ultimately driven by the aim of stepping back, leaving behind disability activists leading a functioning and sustainable disability rights organisations, and connected to the wider disability movement. 

Our capacity building support is tailored.

Each package of capacity building support is tailored for each disabled people's organisation. Examples:


They tell us the change they want to make and what they need to make it. We help them to think strategically about priorities and needs.


To develop skills in organisation and financial management, communications and fundraising, advocacy, effective monitoring and evaluating for projects and so on.


Together, we develop strategic plans and deliver thematic projects on the ground, we connect them with decision makers and we grow together with them as partners for equality.

Local disability activists in Africa and Asia are working to ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. You can help them to reach more people and become more effective in bringing social change. 

Donate today

What are the results?

Supporting disability activists enables disabled people's organisations to become functioning organisations and powerful movements for change.

With this type of capacity building support, these organisations and movements are: 

  • Able to self-organise and expand their agenda.
  • More effective in supporting disabled people to access opportunities.
  • Skilled in campaigning for changes in attitudes, policies, practice.
  • Able to connect with other groups and activists to work together for a common cause.
  • Inclusive.
  • Sustainable.

Our theory of change works.

Stronger disabled people's organisations mean a stronger disability movement. The further the movement reaches out, the more disabled people are empowered. The more disabled people are empowered, the more they engage with their community, civil society, service providers and power holders. In this way, understanding of disability shifts and attitudes towards disabled people change.

Read about our Theory of Change

Supporting activists to challenge and change people's ideas and beliefs is a broad and gradual process, and by no means easy. Effective and sustainable capacity building is dynamic, complex and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately it works. When attitudes and behaviours towards disability change, disabled people experience greater equality and greater inclusion in all areas of life.

That's why we are in it for the long haul. 

"We have the spirit. We have the will. We have the desire. We need the resources."

Alan, disability activist:

Zambia, self help group meeting under a mango tree

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A wheelchair user leads an advocacy workshop in Bangladesh

Bangladesh homepage

A team of disability activists stand together in a group, smiling and talking.

Cambodia homepage

Small boat crossing the Nile.

Sudan homepage

A class of school children raise their hands to answer the teacher's question. One child turns to look in to the camera.

Tanzania homepage

A crowd on a busy pathway leading to the market in rural Uganda.

Uganda homepage