Disability & development.

No one left behind.

Disabled people living in poverty – some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world – are often the last to benefit from the very programmes designed to reduce poverty.

Unfortunately, too many existing aid programs meant to eliminate poverty do not take into account the unique dangers and challenges faced by disabled people. Without specific attention, and stripped of agency, disabled people have been left behind by mainstream development programmes and remain disproportionately at risk to the life-limiting consequences of chronic poverty. 

Of the 1 billion disabled people world, 80% live in the developing world where only 3-4% of disabled people are benefiting from development work.

Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals didn't mention disability so many aid projects failed to consider the needs of disabled people.

Increasing inequality

Excluding disabled people from development, means that a huge chunk of the global population is being left behind.

Mainstreaming disability

We lobby for the needs of disabled people to be included in the design of development programmes.

Why aid agencies must include disabled people in their work.

How to mainstream disability into development work.

Disability is present in all communities; it cuts across all economic classes, affects people of all ages and gender, and with a steadily increasing proportion of older people and those with long-term health conditions living in developing countries the impact of disability on development is likely to become more significant.

The importance of disability inclusive development is growing. Development organisations therefore need to be planning how they will ensure their programmes are increasingly inclusive of disabled people. Read our report into how you can mainstream disability into your development work. 

See our Guidelines on mainstreaming disability

"Globally, the last 10 years have seen a lot of positive change and I think the next 10 years will see even greater and faster change."

Our Policy team:

Disability not inability

The slogan 'Disability is not inability' is becoming increasingly visible as disabled people raise awareness of their rights and struggle. People with all kind of impairments are calling for their skills, ambitions and talents to be recognised and for their views and needs to be properly represented.

Disabled people have a right to participate in, and benefit from, development and their inclusion will help reduce the inequalities that are slowing down progress on the elimination of extreme poverty.

How we support the disability movement.


Making protecting disabled women a priority. 

Around one in five women worldwide has a disability. For disabled women, gender-based violence and disability discrimination intersect to create brutal barriers to wellbeing.

Many programmes designed to prevent gender-based violence do not consider the challenges faced by disabled women. Without explicit attention and solutions, these women have been left behind and at risk. Sign our petition calling on all aid agencies to make protecting disabled women a global priority.

Sign our petition to protect disabled women. 

Discover more

The global disability crisis

Child sitting in front of his hut in Tanzania

The cycle of Poverty & Disability

Our approachHow we support disability activists

Working locally. Changing lives globally. Read more.

UK Parliament at sunset

Campaigning for equality

Happy girl with glasses

Our projects

Our innovative approach and projects are changing the lives of disabled people around the world. 

Little kid holding a mirror

Our stories

See ADD's stories of change.