Inclusive Futures

Our formal employment programme, part of the Inclusive Futures initiative, works to improve economic empowerment and inclusion for people with disabilities, enabling them to find employment and earn a living.

A women with visual impairment working in a library in Kenya.

In 2019 we launched employment projects in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda to promote job opportunities and generate evidence about how we can make it easier for people with disabilities to find formal employment.

By working closely with people with disabilities, their representative organisations, employers and national governments in each country, the programme ensures that people with disabilities are not left out.

There are a billion people with disabilities worldwide, 800 million of whom live in low and middle income countries, yet they are under-represented in the workforce. Sightsavers, with 10 of our 16 Inclusive Futures partners, is challenging this by working with private-sector employers to change attitudes and standards around disability inclusion.

When people with disabilities have access to skills training and paid work, and are economically empowered, it not only benefits them, but also their families and wider society, both economically and culturally.

Inclusive Futures logo.

The employment programme is a part of the Inclusive Futures disability-inclusive initiative which is working to create a world where everyone has the same opportunities to go to school, access quality healthcare, and claim their rights to work through formal and informal employment.

It brings together the expertise of 16 global development partners, people with disabilities, and the public and private sectors to deliver long-term improvements.

How does the programme work?

A women with crutches sits next to computers in an office smiling.

A people-first approach

The formal employment programme follows the values of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ensuring people with disabilities are at the centre of planning and their voices are heard.

Four people with disabilities, including a man with albinism, sit together around a table working.

Working in partnership

The programme works directly with disabled people’s organisations, non-government organisations, research institutes and employers to show how people with disabilities can be included in the workplace on an equal basis.

A man in a wheelchair works in a workshop in Dhaka.

Practical, efficient training

We're helping to make practical changes to the way companies train and hire people with disabilities and develop innovative ways to help people find a job. All our work is underpinned by high-quality research.

The programme aims:

  • To generate robust evidence of what works to enable people with disabilities to find inclusive employment
  • To develop partnerships between private, public and civil society to influence the inclusion of people with disabilities in formal employment
  • To work with 180 employers to test new UNCRPD-compliant practices
  • To offer training initiatives and internships to improve the skills of up to 2,000 people with disabilities, emphasising skills relevant to formal employment
  • To help disability movements in each country to develop their own knowledge and resources, so they can continue the work once the programme ends
  • To ensure evidence we produce to be scaled up to workplaces and countries worldwide
  • To increase international action and investment in disability inclusion.


UK Aid logo.The Inclusive Futures formal employment programme is funded through UK Aid Connect, a DFID funding initiative that awards grants to groups who create innovative solutions to complex development challenges to make real change. It demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to global leadership on inclusive development by ensuring people with disabilities are central to international development policymaking and programmes.

Our partners

  • International Disability Alliance
  • The Institute of Development Studies
  • ADD International
  • BBC Media Action
  • Benetech
  • Development Initiatives
  • Humanity & Inclusion
  • Standard Chartered
  • Inclusion International
  • Youth Career Initiative
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