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The UK needs a systematic approach to disability and development

30 July 2014
Posted by Lucy Drescher

Lucy Drescher

It has been a busy time for those of us working on raising the issue of the disabled peoples' needs being included in development work.

Sense International UK has been part of the Policy Group for GCE UK (the Global Campaign for Education) and recently we launched a report looking at UK aid to education for disabled children, entitled Send ALL My Friends to School.

The report, which is definitely worth a read, found that DFID (the UK Department for International Development) has increased its focus on education with disabled children recently, particularly following the interest of Lynne Featherstone MP, the Minister with responsibility for disability in development. However, it also found a need for great prioritisation of this issue within DFID and the need for a systematic approach to the issue across DFID.

We have sent the report to Ministers, MPs and DFID staff and are hoping to meet them to discuss the recommendations.

At the same time, the post-2015 framework discussions on what will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have continued and the Open Working Group (which has been meeting regularly since late 2013), has come up with their outcome document.

At the moment there are 17 goals included, which will clearly not be able to continue as I have read different opinions suggesting that 5 – 10 are the maximum needed to be effective and memorable. Goal 4 is about education and talks about 'inclusive and equitable quality education' which is good news.

There are two mentions of disability in the preamble and mentions in five of the goals. This is good, but we will have to continue campaigning to ensure that these mentions are not lost in the negotiations which are sure to be fierce!

The Government has now responded to the International Development Committee's report on their inquiry into disability and development. Last week, I attended a meeting with Lynne Featherstone MP, along with a number of representatives of other disability organisations and there are plans to consult disabled people and organisations on the development of a framework. So, we will watch this space...

Lucy Drescher is Policy & Support Officer for Sense International 

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First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Thursday 18 September 2014