A handicapped man uses a makeshift wheelchair to get around in Vietnam. Donors should include specific targets in their programming to address the daily struggles of people living with disability, says UNICEF's Rosangela Berman-Bieler. Photo by: William Cho / CC BY-SA

People living with disabilities have largely been sidelined by the global development agenda in recent years, despite efforts to include in the post-2015 goals.

So how can the aid community start helping 650 million disabled persons worldwide, many of them living in dire conditions in the world’s poorest countries?

For Rosangela Berman-Bieler, senior adviser on children with disabilities at UNICEF, the answer is simple.

As cash-strapped donors want greater results for lesser money, they should include in their programming specific targets to address the daily struggles of people living with disability, Berman-Bieler told Devex.

“This is a natural way of making inclusiveness a goal in the same way the gender was mainstreamed in the past,” she added. “So if donors include an indicator for inclusiveness and accessibility in the report of the project or in the proposals, then you start mainstreaming it.”

But the biggest push lies in the post-2015 agenda, said Berman-Bieler.

“It’s [about] influencing the development agenda to make sure that accessibility and inclusiveness are included,” she explained. “You have to create a strong framework combined with implementation of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of Person with Disability. We can probably focus on this population that was actually not included in the last MDGs.”

Berman-Bieler suggested the goals for including people with disability in the post-2015 development framework should address health, education and employment: “We will not be able to have one indicator. We need a set of indicators that depend on the goals.”

With disability-inclusive indicators, donors and countries would have to align their programs to meet those targets after the MDGs expire.

“If countries have to report on indicators, they will have to deliver services so they can report on them and to deliver services, they will have funding,” said Berman-Bieler. “This generates the whole chain of proposal funding, monitoring and evaluation and reporting.”

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About the author

  • John Alliage Morales

    As a former Devex staff writer, John Alliage Morales covered the Americas, focusing on the world's top donor hub, Washington, and its aid community. Prior to joining Devex, John worked for a variety of news outlets including GMA, the Philippine TV network, where he conducted interviews, analyzed data, and produced in-depth stories on development and other topics.