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How our innovations are improving the lives of people with disabilities through Inclusive Futures

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How our innovations are improving the lives of people with disabilities through Inclusive Futures

It is essential that we test new and innovative ways to reach people with disabilities in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

On World Creativity and Innovation Day today (21 April) we are highlighting how Inclusive Futures is trialing new approaches to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

With funding from UK aid, the 16 Inclusive Futures partners are working to include people with disabilities in health, work, education, and tackle stigma and discrimination.

Together we are using a range of innovations – from embedding inclusion in successful mainstream programmes including a youth training programme in Bangladesh, to testing inclusive approaches in new sectors or countries such as inclusive eye health in Nigeria, as well as trying new ideas and partnerships including building an app designed for people with intellectual disabilities to hold governments to account.

The evidence we generate about how to include people with disabilities in development will be used to encourage and enable organisations to embed disability inclusion in their own work.

At Social Development Direct we run the Disability Inclusion Helpdesk as part of Inclusive Futures. We provide bespoke research and technical to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) staff on disability inclusion in policy and programming.

Disability inclusion has been under-researched and neglected in implementation in the international development sector. By condensing the evidence that exists and that is currently emerging in the Inclusive Futures programme, identifying where there are still gaps, and channelling this evidence directly to FCDO and HMG development practitioners and decision-makers, we are supporting the development of more disability-inclusive programmes, policies and practices now and in the future.

This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we have been providing rapid evidence and technical assistance to a range of FCDO sections and programmes.

Johannes Trimmel, a programme director for Inclusive Futures, said: “We – the global development community – have made a commitment to help everybody.

“We cannot keep this promise for some people and not others, which is why we must include people with disabilities in all of our development and humanitarian work.

“It’s important to innovate, not just to create the sexy new thing, but also to adapt our established processes and challenge our attitudes so that people with disabilities are included.

“Our work as part of Inclusive Futures is about changing systems so that every person with a disability can be included in education, work and healthcare and not be subjected to stigma and discrimination.”

To find out more visit www.inclusivefutures.org/innovation and follow #InclusiveFutures on Twitter and LinkedIn.