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.

A group of people smile as they sit round a table having a discussion and pointing to paperwork on the table.

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.


Policy briefs

Disability inclusion in the eye health sector: 2021 learning brief

This brief outlines disability inclusion in Pakistan’s eye health sector, including key initiatives, learnings and recommendations.

View Disability inclusion in the eye health sector: a case study from Pakistan [PDF]

Sustainable Development Goals implementation in Pakistan: 2021 learning brief

This brief outlines how Sightsavers is supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Pakistan, working with local and federal partners to ensure that people with disabilities are included in policy development and represented in data.

View Making Sustainable Development Goals implementation and monitoring disability inclusive: a case study from Pakistan [pdf]


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

A group of people with disabilities raise their hands.
Sightsavers blog

How inclusive voluntary national reviews can help us work towards the SDGs

Sightsavers' Aissata Ndiaye shares key highlights from a discussion at the UN High-Level Political Forum about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Aissata Ndiaye, July 2021
A person wearing a mask sits in a room between the silhouetted figures of two other people.
Sightsavers blog

Addressing the unequal pandemic

An international group of civil society organisations has examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who have been marginalised - the results have been published in a new report.

Sightsavers, July 2021
A girl and her mother sit on a bed, looking at each other and smiling.
Sightsavers blog

What is intersectionality, and why is it important to Sightsavers?

Elements such as race, disability, age and gender are a key influence on people's lives. But when these characteristics overlap, it can worsen the discrimination or exclusion that someone faces.

Emma Jolley, June 2021

Want to learn more about our work?

Sightsavers and disability rights