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Politics

The right of people with disabilities to take part in decision-making at all levels, including in the electoral process, is critical if they are to influence policies that affect their lives.

A woman placing a slip in a ballot box.

In many countries, electoral systems aren’t inclusive, meaning people with disabilities are often excluded from participating on an equal basis. In many cases, they’re even denied the right to vote.

Sightsavers researches the impact of exclusion and inclusion in elections and works in partnership with disabled people’s organisations in developing countries to address policy implementation, access, and stigma and discrimination.

We are also designing political participation projects in Senegal and Cameroon, both of which promote inclusive elections. This means people can enter polling booths and cast their votes independently (whether electronic or paper-based); where political parties equitably represent disability issues and people with disabilities can participate as candidates; and where all voters have accessible legal documentation and information, such as party manifestos, so they can vote.

A man smiles at the camera. He's sitting in a chair and holding a white crutch.

Our campaign

The Equal World campaign fights for the rights of people with disabilities living in developing countries.

About Equal World
I didn’t know disabled people have the right to vote. The first time I tried, the voting box was too high to reach.
Nanny, disability activist, Cameroon
Nanny Powers holds her voting card.

Resources

Reports and reviews

Disability-inclusive elections in Africa: a qualitative systematic review

A systematic review aiming to identify, appraise and combine available evidence to understand what practices have already taken place in African countries to support the political participation of people with disabilities, and what effect they have had at local and national levels.

View the review [pdf]

 

Empowerment and inclusion strategic framework (2015)

This framework explains our rights-based approach of mainstreaming disability throughout our programming and operations, and complements our other global strategies on eye health, education and research.

View the strategic framework [pdf]

We campaign for equality for people with disabilities

Learn more