New alliance in Bangladesh promotes disability-inclusive development

November 2017
The leaders of disability self-help groups in Bangladesh pose for a photo.
The leaders of disability self-help groups in Bangladesh.
© Tommy Trenchard/Sightsavers

A new disability alliance has been inaugurated in Bangladesh to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities as part of the country’s implementation of the UN’s Global Goals.

Sightsavers Country Director for Bangladesh Khandoker Ariful Islam is the convenor of the new alliance.

The inauguration took place at a seminar held in Dhaka, attended by politicians and representatives of non-governmental organisations, including disabled people’s groups, as well as donor organisations such as USAID.

The seminar discussed a voluntary national review on the implementation of the Global Goals, or ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs), focusing on the situation facing people with disabilities. The 109 participants also heard about initiatives being taken by the government to ensure people with disabilities are included in the country’s development.

Senior politician Abdul Matin Khasru MP, from the governing Awami League, told the seminar the government is keen to implement the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and said it wanted to work with NGOs to make this happen. He added that people with disabilities should be involved in making decisions and implementing the steps taken to ensure their rights.

Sightsavers’ Khandoker Ariful Islam welcomed the commitment, saying: “Leaving no one behind is central to implementing the SDGs, and to achieve this we need to tackle the barriers preventing people with disabilities from participating equitably in society and the economy. We are keen to work with the government to ensure we can make rapid progress in this.”

The seminar highlighted a number of immediate priorities, including accurately identifying the number of people with disabilities in Bangladesh and the numbers living below the poverty line; finding out to what extent people with disabilities access basic services, such as education, employment and housing; and making sure police stations and the justice system are inclusive of people with disabilities.

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