The knowledge and experience AbleChildAfrica has gained over the last 30 years allows us to credibly advocate for changes in policy and legislation in order to improve the life chances of disabled children and their families in Africa.

With over 80% of disabled people living in developing countries, we know that disability must be a priority for international development and believe the voices of disabled children should be heard and listed to at the international and local level. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of international goals agreed in 2000 by all UN Member States, have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. However the MDGs, without acknowledging disability, actually served to increase disparities for disabled children, as newly designed policies and services target the majority and often failed to meet the specific needs of disabled children. For example, despite the 149 million children enrolled in school in sub-Saharan Africa since 1990, only 2% of disabled children are attending school in Africa today.

This year the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the MDGs, will be signed off at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. AbleChildAfrica has used its unique role as the leading UK NGO working with disabled children and young people in Africa to influence the outcome of these negotiations, advocating for disability to be mainstreamed across the framework to ensure no child is left behind.

Influencing the International Development Agenda

AbleChildAfrica uses the strong relationship we have with our partners and the expertise of our staff and trustees to influence policy change at a national and international level.

AbleChildAfrica joins with like-minded organisations and consortia to advance the rights of disabled children and it is essential that we do so; we are often the lone voice raising issues and considerations specific to disabled children and their families,
even in these forums. We ensure the voices of disabled children and young people are heard at all levels. In particular, we actively engage with BOND for International Development and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), Beyond 2015, UNICEF’s Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPCwD), the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) and the Keeping Children Safe Coalition.

AbleChildAfrica actively contributes towards the advancing of disability in the development agenda, by for example submitting evidence to the UK’s International Development Select Committee Inquiry on Disability in Development and taking part in the University of Sheffield ID100 Project.

Influencing at a Local Level 

AbleChildAfrica works with partners in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, countries whose governments have all signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Yet despite progressive legislation, evidence points to a significant “implementation gap”.

We work alongside our African partners to influence national or regional policy change, advocate for the issues that matter to them locally and support them to hold their governments to account for their international obligations.



For more information on this area of work please contact Jenny Bowie, Programmes & Advocacy Officer, on