Policy and Influencing.

Advocating for change.

  • Full title: Connecting the disability movement with the political world of decision-makers.
  • Status: Ongoing.
  • Location: Global.
  • Beneficiaries:  Disabled people living in poverty in Africa and Asia.

What are we doing?

ADD International works in two ways. Firstly, we directly support local groups of disability activists in countries across Africa and Asia (see our Capacity Building work). 

Another important part of our work is making the voice of the disability movement heard by global leaders and people with the power to make real change. This is where our Policy and Influencing work comes in.

Our Policy and Influencing work aims to strengthen the voice of disabled people to enable them to campaign for their rights.

goal is to connect the disability movement with the political world of decision-makers, so that the human rights of disabled people can be recognised and included in development programmes on a local, national and international level.

How do we work?

Our Policy and Influencing work is closely connected to our individual projects and we use many different tactics to get disability activist's voices heard. Some of those tactics include:

Research and lobbying

We collect evidence on policies and issues that we think are important and target it towards important decision makers who we invite to meet with us and to view our project work. We sometimes do this on our own or we form alliances with other organisations but we are always guided by consultation with the disability movement.

Accompanying activists to campaign

Financing, training and providing political support to organisations of disability activists when they first take on an ‘influencing activity’. We act as an ally, helping organisations maximise their impact so that their voices are recognised and sought-after by decision-makers.

Documenting and communicating

We document areas of our work which can answer questions that decision-makers have about disability and development. We can also run communications campaigns with the goal of raising awareness, altering behaviour and of course, influencing decisions. 

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What have we achieved so far?

Two key achievements of our influencing work, which have been recognised by external partners and become part of ‘ADD International legend’ include our roles in:

  • Securing and influencing a UK Parliamentary inquiry on disability.
  • Influencing The Department for International Development (DFID) to develop and publish a detailed statement on its commitment to disability inclusion, called ‘Disability Framework: Leaving No One Behind’ in response to the recommendations set out by the parliamentary enquiry.

ADD International has also played a key part in local achievements. There are many examples – some of them include:


  •  In 2012 there was a change in the law which previously excluded disabled people from civil service jobs.
  • 2013; a new Disability Rights Protection Act was passed.
  • We worked with the private sector, creating jobs for disabled women in the garments industries.


  • Increased funding for rehabilitation and vocational centres for disabled people from the Directorate for Industrial Training.
  • Successfully challenged a policy change at the Immigration Ministry which would have excluded disabled people. 


  • Secured employment for a visually-impaired lawyer at the Ministry of Justice, after he was discriminated against, despite having passed the qualification exams. 

What next?

In 2015 the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Disability was not included in the old goals, but thanks to the influencing of organisations such as ADD International and the wider disability movement, disability is now explicitly included in 7 of the targets for the goals.

See all 17 goals, designed to transform our world.

Our aim for the next 5 years and beyond is to ensure the disability-focused targets of the SDGs are met, so that disabled people can live empowered and dignified lives, in accordance with the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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