Unless the inclusion of people with disabilities is specifically outlined in funding solicitations from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), this key population is largely left out when projects are implemented.
That’s what Perkins School for the Blind, as co-chair of the InterAction Disability Working Group, found when it examined 85 proposed projects over a six-month period from 2012 to 2013.
It then reviewed reports from the awarded programs this year, and found that the presence and placement of language about people with disabilities in solicitations has a profound impact on whether or not those people benefit from resulting USAID-funded programs.
With an annual budget of approximately 11 billion dollars a year, USAID is the main US government agency responsible for supporting humanitarian assistance and international development programs. To maximize the effectiveness of the programs and projects USAID supports, the study concludes, all individuals in a country or community need to be engaged and included. USAID must make stronger efforts in order to fully realize its commitment to including people with disabilities into all program sectors.