Sightsavers presents evidence at UK aid inquiry

October 2023

Sightsavers has taken part in an inquiry into the UK government’s development strategy and how inclusive it is of people with disabilities.

Sightsavers’ country director for Nigeria, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, gave evidence to a committee held by the International Development Committee (IDC) on 17 October. The committee was investigating the adequacy and effectiveness of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) work on disability inclusion, in particular its Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy.

Dr Isiyaku shared his personal experience of working on UK-aid funded programmes and answered questions about the consequences of the recent UK aid cuts for disability-inclusive programmes.

Dr Isiyaku said: “We must ensure that inclusion is not just in one space but it’s in every space, that it is in everything that we are doing. From the moment projects are started they need to be inclusive. For example, Sightsavers runs an inclusive education programme in a small area of Nigeria. It’s successful because people with disabilities were at the forefront of the plans to make sure children can attend mainstream schools. This is good for teachers, the community and parents, as they can see that their child has the opportunity to go to school.”

Sightsavers commends the FCDO’s progress on disability inclusion since the first IDC inquiry nearly 10 years ago. The UK has played an instrumental role in influencing others to do more on disability inclusion, including hosting the first Global Disability Summit in 2018. It is critical that this leadership is built upon and concrete steps are taken to implement the commitments set out in the FCDO’s Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy.

Sightsavers supports the committee’s call for the UK government to return to spending 0.7% of gross national income on official development assistance as soon as possible. We must ensure the most marginalised do not fall further behind.

You can watch a full video of the inquiry via the UK Parliament website.

Enoch, who uses a wheelchair, smiles and waves at the camera.

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