Q&A: Judy Heumann on how donors can drive disability-inclusive development

Judy Heumann, global ambassador for Leonard Cheshire Disability.

LONDON — The needs and challenges around making development programs work for people with disabilities has gained prominence over the last 10 years, most recently after it was taken up by United Kingdom aid boss Penny Mordaunt as one of her core focus areas.

Approximately 15 percent of the world’s population has some kind of disability. But despite increased focus on disability rights, as shown by their explicit inclusion in the Sustainable Development Agenda, experts say that many people with disabilities, especially women, remain locked out of services, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and vulnerability. This is especially true for those living in developing countries.

The British government has recently funded research into how countries can translate their disability inclusion commitments into practice, led by U.K. NGO Leonard Cheshire Disability.  The findings are due to be discussed by advocates, experts, and politicians at a two-day summit in London next week.

Ahead of the event, Devex spoke to renowned disability rights campaigner Judy Heumann, who helped set up the independent living movement in the U.S. and abroad and is now global ambassador at Leonard Cheshire Disability.

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About the author

  • Edwards sopie

    Sophie Edwards

    Sophie Edwards is a reporter for Devex based in London covering global development news including global education, water and sanitation, innovative financing, the environment along with other topics. She has previously worked for NGOs, the World Bank and spent a number of years as a journalist for a regional newspaper in the U.K. She has an MA from the Institute of Development Studies and a BA from Cambridge University.