Everybody Counts

Globally, there’s a lack of accurate data on disability. We aim to change this by looking at new ways to collect data about the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Children waving.

Many governments and policymakers don’t know how many people in their countries have disabilities.

This means they also don’t know how to make sure people with disabilities are included in the life of their communities, and can access services.

To find out what works (and what doesn’t), we’re gathering data in some of our programmes using the Washington Group Short Set of questions. Rather than asking people if they have a disability, these questions ask whether people have difficulty performing everyday tasks such as walking, seeing, hearing, communicating or getting dressed. This can help to identify people with disabilities even though they may not classify themselves as ‘disabled’.

The evidence and learning we gain will not only help us to evaluate and improve the accessibility of our own programmes, but also help us contribute to the debate on how best to collect data that will lead to the increased inclusion of people with disabilities in global development.

Councillor William Mwambu from Masindi District in Uganda explains how a lack of accurate data on disability affects the way decision-makers plan, budget, allocate resources and influence policies.

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Policy briefs

Everybody Counts: 2019 policy brief

This briefing outlines Sightsavers’ experience of collecting and disaggregating data on disability in different contexts. We use the data to help build our evidence base, identify how to better collect and integrate disability data into our work, and improve the inclusiveness of our programmes.

View 2019 Everybody Counts policy brief [pdf] [Easy Read version]


Everybody Counts: 2017 policy brief

Greater collaboration between governments, multilateral and donor agencies, and civil society is needed to promote, collect, analyse and report better data on disability.

View 2017 Everybody Counts policy brief [pdf]


Everybody Counts: 2016 policy brief

In order to realise the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ‘leave no one behind’ more data on current and future access by people with disabilities is required.

View 2016 Everybody Counts policy brief [pdf]



Research reports

Ghana disability data disaggregation pilot project

Since 2014, Sightsavers has conducted a number of pilot studies to understand how the Washington Group Short Set of Questions (WGSS) may be used in different settings to measure disability inclusion. This report describes a pilot undertaken in partnership within a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) programme conducted in partnership with the Ghana National Health Service.

View project page: Ghana disability data disaggregation pilot 


Inclusive eye health in Bhopal: Assessing characteristics of patients and measuring equity of access to eye health services

It aims to increase the access of disadvantaged populations – slum dwellers in particular – to eye care services through the establishment/development of vision centres located within slum communities and targeted outreach camps to identify and treat or refer patients for eye health problems.

View project page: Inclusive eye health in Bhopal


Equity assessment of an eye health programme in rural Malawi

The purpose of this research was to test various tools and assess the disability status and the relative and absolute wealth of programme participants presenting in trachoma/CATCH camps in Kasungu district, Central Malawi.

View project page: Equity assessment of eye health programme in rural Malawi


Eye health in the Indian Sunderbans

Two surveys, one conducted and baseline and one at endline, were undertaken to measure the eye health status of people living in the Sunderbans region and understand their health seeking behaviour. Results were compared to understand what changes had occurred over the course of the project.

View project page: Eye health in the Indian Sunderbans


Political participation in West Africa: The effective participation of men and women with disabilities in political life

This baseline study, a population-based cross-sectional survey, examined the differences between people with and without disabilities relating to their political participation in Cameroon and Senegal. It generated evidence to inform Sightsavers’ programmes and extended partners; including but not limited to governments and others working in the area of disability.

View project page: Political participation in West Africa


Rapid assessments of avoidable blindness in various countries

Compared to large scale epidemiological surveys, RAABs are a relatively quick and resource-light tool to help programme managers understand the scale and type of visual impairment affecting the population they are responsible for. Once armed with this information, they can plan services in a way that best meets the need of the population.

View project page: Rapid assessments of avoidable blindness


Everybody Counts: learnings from data disaggregated by disabilities (DDD) pilot project

This SlideShare of the pilot project in Bhopal, including methodology, results and useful lessons in the SDG context, won first prize in its category when it was presented by Archana Bhambal (Area Director of Sightsavers India) at the Vision 2020 12th Annual Conference in Pune, India, 4-5 June 2016.

View the presentation [Slideshare]


Disaggregating routine monitoring data by disability – an example from eye health

This presentation, given by Emma Jolley at the international symposium ‘Disability in the SDGs: Forming Alliances and Building Evidence for the 2030 Agenda’ in London, UK, 18-19 February 2016, includes highlights of our project in Bhopal.

View the presentation [Slideshare]


Collecting and using age and disability disaggregated data in humanitarian settings

This one-hour webinar (hosted 26 January 2016) focuses on the use of six census questions on disability endorsed by the Washington Group. Mitch Loeb reflects on his work in humanitarian settings. Pauline Thivillier discusses the experience of Sightsavers in using the Washington Group Short Set of questions on disability in a pilot project in India and Tanzania. Presentations are followed by questions and discussion.

View the webinar [Youtube]


Piloting disability disaggregation in routine data collection

This presentation was given at the Washington Group Annual Meeting in October 2015, as part of the session on outcome indicators to monitor the UNCRPD and attainment of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation highlights the initial data and lesson learnt/challenges from our pilot as well as next steps.

View the presentation [Slideshare]


Piloting disability disaggregation in routine data collection

This presentation from October 2014 highlights Sightsavers’ learnings from our disability data disaggregation pilot project.

View the presentation [Slideshare]

External links

Washington Group on disability statistics


World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning


More about data disaggregation

An elderly woman and a younger woman sit next to a man who holds a clipboard, in a hospital waiting area.
Sightsavers blog

Celebrating the Inclusive Data Charter’s second birthday

Linsey Winter shares how the Inclusive Data Charter is helping to accelerate action on collecting and using data that includes everyone.

Linsey Winter, July 2020
Shamima communicates with her sister. Her sister uses hand movements to get her point across. Both women are sitting down outside and wear bold, pink clothing.

Sightsavers research highlights inequalities behind access to eye care

Governments and healthcare organisations must look at income and gender as well as disability if they are to effectively support people with visual impairments.

June 2020
Penny Mordaunt gives a sign language speech onstage as a roomful of people look on.

Sightsavers welcomes disability summit commitments

At the summit, there were more than 300 signatories to the UK government's Charter for Change, and more than 170 other specific commitments made.

July 2018

Want to learn more about our work?

Sightsavers and disability rights