Each month CIP invites an expert to pose an important question dealing with some aspect of inclusive policies.

We then invite all of you to participate in an on-line written discussion. At the end of the month, our expert will summarize the main results of that discussion in a blog. If you would like to pose a “question of the month” please write to us on our contact page.


How can ODP’s and CSO work more efficiently with large development partners and financial institutions (i.e. the World Bank, the IDB, the Africa Development Bank and Asia Development bank) to ensure that disability inclusion is addressed and that persons with disabilities are engaged meaningfully in project design and implementation?


Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo


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    • #6639 Reply

      Increasing development partners and financial institutions are exploring more ways to be disability-inclusive in their work. They are developing policies and practices to guide them in being more inclusive. In some instances, the guidance and practice have resulted in more attention to stakeholder engagement which is considered a good practice and necessary for ensuring that the voice of the most excluded is heard.  For instance, at the World Bank, the Environmental and Social Framework provides safeguards to mitigate risk in Bank projects; and this includes embedding the principle of non-discrimination, which explicitly mentions disability. In addition, the policy requires project-level consultations to be inclusive of vulnerable and excluded groups, including persons with disabilities.  This month we explore how to make this best practice the norm in development and ensure that persons with disabilities are consistently consulted throughout the project cycle.

    • #6655 Reply
      Charlotte Vuyiswa McClain-Nhlapo

      Happy New Year to all! Thank you for inviting me to this forum. This is an important question. I want to offer a few insights to get the discussion going. In the development space, we increasingly see the importance of voice, accountability, and participation – particularly of excluded groups as markers of good program design and robust policy formulation.   The World Bank interacts with hundreds of Civil Society Organizations worldwide every day, engaging with them through information sharing, policy dialogue, strategy consultation, operational collaboration, and institutional partnerships. In addition, the Bank has instruments/tools it uses to facilitate these consultations and engagements- one such tool is the Stakeholder Engagement Plan.  This tool operationalizes the  Environmental and Social Framework, which guides the Banks projects and embeds a standard that requires stakeholder engagement and specifically takes account of the importance of ensuring that stakeholder consultations are accessible to persons with disabilities.

      Across the globe,  Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (ODPs) have advocated for and continue to lead the discourse on disability-inclusive development often framed by the contours of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With this expertise and the lived experience (nothing about us, without us), ODPs are well placed to engage in the design of projects and policy development robustly.  This is best done through engaging with the local Bank office and the government counterpart responsible for the project. This requires ODPs to be aware of forthcoming consultations in your particular country. Furthermore, ODP’s can also play a significant role in sharing knowledge that can contribute to policy design that addresses the key development challenges faced by persons with disabilities. A good way to do this is by exploring opportunities to consult on Bank-financed projects. Finally, forging partnerships with the Bank is a good way to stay engaged in a meaningful way. Here I recommend inviting Bank staff to learning events on various aspects of disability-inclusive development, actively participating in Bank events, and networking. A lot of this is already happening on the ground, so I look forward to hearing from you about your experiences of engaging with the Bank and other Multi Development Banks and how best we can strengthen this important relationship.

    • #6664 Reply
      eEsma Gumberidze
      • Participant

      We in Georgia put so much effort in insisting participation of persons with disabilities in state initiated decision-making that we usually overlook the importance of advocating for more participation  at a donor level. While involvement in donor’s priority determination might be even more effective. Donor institutions, such as the European Union, the UN, as well as the embassies of individual countries influence the government agenda a lot. Ensuring they are more sensitive to the rights of persons with disabilities might indirectly positively affect the state’s attitude as well. I think, approaching donor institutions individually and advocating for the creation of institutional (permanent/systemic) consultation mechanisms could be effective.

    • #6776 Reply

      Have any of the people reading this had positive or negative experiences trying to work with donors?  Can you describe those?

    • #6898 Reply
      Rachel Burton

      This is a great question, and I hope to see more CSO and OPD engagement in this thread because it is so important. This is especially timely with the upcoming Global Disability Summit where we hope to see ambitious commitments by Multilateral Development Banks on disability inclusion and meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities throughout the project lifecycle.

      The African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank are both in the midst of reviewing their safeguards, and it is imperative that persons with disabilities are specifically referenced in the revised safeguards, that persons with disabilities are meaningfully engaged during all stages of project design and implementation, and that projects address the specific and disaggregated impact on persons with disabilities to not only prevent harm but also to address barriers to project benefit. The first step to ensuring that disability inclusion is addressed and that persons with disabilities are engaged meaningfully in project design and implementation is to have specific reference to persons with disabilities and language around inclusion and accessibility in binding policy like the safeguards. We have seen significant change in the number of projects taking into consideration accessibility and inclusion for persons with disabilities in World Bank projects as a result of the Environmental and Social Framework referenced in the thread above.

    • #7046 Reply

      Our organization in the Philippines have been involved in some of this IFI-funded project including in the consultation activities towards development of new safeguard policies. This happened because Bank Information Center reached out to out network in the Philippines. What we have observed is the lack of knowledge amongst the members of the project team on how to ensure that the project is inclusive of persons with disabilities. Even with the existence of local laws and policies, for example accessibility law, it is not part of the design in the planning, and even if it is in the plan, it is not implemented.

      OPDs have competing priorities, oftentimes focused on local concerns. Though we have OPDs working at national level, there is little knowledge amongst OPDs about the role of IFIs in promoting disability-inclusive policies, programs and activities. For instance, if OPDs were part of the bank-financed social protection program like the conditional cash transfer program, the design of the program could have been more inclusive and could have addressed the issue on why so many children with disabilities who are beneficiaries of the program are not in school. On the resettlement project funded by IFIs, despite recognition of the accessibility law in the plan, visit on the project site reveals that none of the project sites implemented the accessibility law. In one project site, the feedback we received suggested that there were no persons with disabilities identified during the mapping of the population that will be affected by the resettlement. However, during the course of the implementation, one beneficiary acquired disability. If only all project adheres to universal design, such problem could be addressed.

      Based on my experience, it is important for an international organization such as Bank Information Center, the ADB forum, and hopefully the International Disability Alliance to continue their working as big player in engaging this IFIs. All this organization should build their network in every region and as well as in country level to facilitate linkage of this organizations to IFIs. To support OPDs in their participation. I believe, developing and supporting people with disabilities to work on this is crucial. Otherwise, involvement of OPDs in IFI-funded project will always compete with other priorities. We need to find champion amongst OPDs who could to the work. And to support them on this.

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