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Sightsavers and Irish Aid

This five-year partnership will enable us to change lives in four countries in West Africa.

A child lies on the operating table while an eye health worker checks.

In 2017, Sightsavers received a five-year development funding grant from Irish Aid to support our programmes in West Africa.

The grant supports work in four countries – Cameroon, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone – to enable us to save sight and change lives while delivering measurable results and accountability. The investment will help us:

  • improve eye healthcare in Sierra Leone, Senegal and Liberia
  • treat and prevent neglected tropical diseases such as river blindness
  • improve education opportunities for children with disabilities
  • ensure people with disabilities have a voice and play an active role in the political process
  • campaign for the rights of people with disabilities, and engage the Irish public to support our campaign work.

Our partnership with Irish Aid also enables Sightsavers Ireland to engage the Irish public through our nationwide schools engagement programme, teaching primary school students about the importance of sight and the daily challenge of living with disability. In this way, the schools programme raises awareness about the UN’s Global Goals (also known as the Sustainable Development Goals), which are crucial for the future of millions of people around the world.

Irish Aid Logo.

How Irish Aid is supporting our work

A young girl reading a school exercise book.

Promoting inclusive education

We believe all children should have the chance to go to school. In Senegal, we’re working with Irish Aid to ensure students with disabilities can learn alongside their classmates: we’re training teachers, providing resources and promoting inclusive education. Read Seynabou’s story

Nanny Powers holds her voting card.

Fighting for disability rights

In Cameroon, people with disabilities who want to vote in elections find they face many obstacles. Since 2011, with funding from Irish Aid, Sightsavers has been supporting people with disabilities to take part in the democratic process in Cameroon. Our political work in Cameroon

A girl in Kenya receives her medication to protect against river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

Protecting against disease

More than 6.9 million people in Sierra Leone are at risk of lymphatic filariasis, a debilitating disease that causes painful disfigurement. We’re working with Irish Aid to educate communities at risk, and are training local volunteers to give out vital medication. About lymphatic filariasis

A woman with a bandage over her eye smiles at the camera.

Providing essential eye care

It's thought that up to half the people in Liberia live in rural areas that lack basic eye health services. With the help of Irish Aid, we’re training staff, providing sight-saving operations and encouraging the government to strengthen its eye care policies. More from Liberia

With your help, we can change lives worldwide

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More from Sightsavers and Irish Aid

A woman in a pink headscarf smiling at the camera.
Sightsavers Reports

Khady’s story

“I met so many children with disabilities who were not going to school and there was no institution to welcome them. So I started fighting for that aim.”

A women is walking up to the entrance of a building. Men stand around outside.
Sightsavers from the field

Back from the brink: how Sierra Leone is recovering from Ebola

Sightsavers CEO Dr Caroline Harper visited Sierra Leone to see how health workers have coped since the Ebola virus. 

October 2016
Nanny Powers holds her voting card.
Sightsavers Reports

Nanny’s story

“I didn’t know that disabled people have the right to vote. I didn’t know if it was for a certain class and a certain age.”

Ndong Jean Faustin stands with crutches.
Sightsavers Reports

Mbalmayo Disability Group, Cameroon

In Cameroon there are laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities, including the right to vote. Yet many still struggle to access the ballot box.

Michel Fozeu sits at a table wearing headphones and speaking into a microphone.
Sightsavers Reports

Michel’s story

“The message we want to give through this radio show is that people with disabilities in Cameroon are able to take part in the electoral process.”

Two young girls sitting together and smiling.
Sightsavers Reports

Seynabou’s story

One day Seynabou heard a visiting teacher talk about an inclusive school for children with disabilities, and she jumped at the chance to go.