Sightsavers and partners have launched an innovative programme to address the barriers that prevent millions of people with disabilities from finding mainstream jobs.
The Inclusion Works programme, funded by UK aid and led by Sightsavers, will pilot new ways to create job opportunities for more than 2,000 people with disabilities in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Bangladesh over the next three years.
It aims to make practical changes to the way companies train and hire people with disabilities, such as offering training initiatives and internships. It will work with more than 100 private and public employers to test new approaches that follow the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Inclusion Works will also generate evidence about how people with disabilities can be supported to find inclusive employment. It will help disability organisations in each country to develop their own knowledge and resources, so they can continue the work once the programme ends.
The programme brings together 10 partners alongside Sightsavers, including ADD International, BBC Media Action, Benetech, Development Initiatives, Humanity and Inclusion UK, Inclusion International, the International Disability Alliance, the Institute of Development Studies, Standard Chartered and the Youth Career Initiative.
UK aid announced its funding for the programme last year as it co-hosted the first Global Disability Summit in London.
Sightsavers’ Simon Brown, who has been developing the programme, said: “Young people with disabilities living in these countries play an integral role in helping us define what success looks like in this programme and helping us shape its objectives.
“We have also been talking to major companies who clearly want to tap into this talent pool, but need to overcome certain barriers themselves.”
Vladimir Cuk from the International Disability Alliance said: “Reliable data about people with disabilities is often scarce. While we know employment rates are really low, most programmes tackling this have been on such a small scale that it hasn’t been possible to make a real dent on the wider system.
“Inclusion Works is aiming to make a significant contribution towards greater compliance of the formal employment sector with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, changing the whole culture around recruiting and retaining people with disabilities.”
The programme will include people of a wide range of disabilities. It is part of the Inclusive Futures initiative, a wider drive funded by UK aid to create an equal world for people with disabilities in low and middle income countries.
The programme is a part of the Inclusive Futures initiative, ensuring people with disabilities are able to represent themselves and make their own decisions. The brand covers the Inclusion Works and Disability Inclusive Development programmes, both of which are led by Sightsavers and funded by UK aid.