This is a project being funded by the Big Lottery Fund for a period of 2 years with a possible renewal of 3 years upon satisfactory in the first two years. ADD International is the lead partner in this coalition with Uganda National Action for Persons with Disabilities (UNAPD) for project activities in Kawempe Division of Kampala Capital City Authority and Nansana Municipality in Wakiso District, Gulu District Union of Persons with Disabilities for activities in Amuru district and Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism in Jinja

The project has two major outcomes in Uganda:

  1. 1000 households of PWDs in Uganda have sustainable livelihoods and experience greater inclusion in their communities. Given the average size of six children per woman in Uganda, each of the 1000 households with a person with a disability will have 5 family members for each disabled individual i.e. Resulting in a total of 6000 direct beneficiaries.

  2. At least 20 community based organizations/self-help groups/village savings and loans associations of people with disabilities (PWDs) will be strengthened and will work together to challenge negative social norms about disability and persons with disabilities.

Project interventions will contribute to broader strategic outcomes too e.g. reducing all forms of domestic violence against people with disabilities especially girls and women with disabilities as a result of their increased self-esteem and family understanding of disability.

The project activities are about:-

  • Increasing human capital, in particular by providing better access to skills, including an understanding of markets and value chains

  • Promoting financial literacy and access to financial services

  • Improving access to physical capital through the provision of grants and appropriate production technologies including assistive devices

  • Building social capital and reducing stigma through formal and informal networks, including with other less marginalised groups, to improve access to mainstream services and reduce negative social norms about disability

We are targeting households (as opposed to individuals with disabilities) for a variety of reasons

  • Our research shows that involving other household members is critical and that many other interventions will fail without this.

  • Some opportunities require a wide range of skills and tasks can be divided up to suit the interests, skills and capacities of different individuals in the household.

  • For a person with a severe disability, exploring options for other household members to play supportive roles may increase the range of livelihood options available.

  • The household is a major “production unit” and members should equitably and inclusively utilize household resources/assets to increase production.

However, we will take care to identify livelihood opportunities in which PWDs can take on the most meaningful roles and ensure they maintain significant control over decision-making and finances.

Inception meetings

We will start with a variety of inception meetings to ensure full involvement of relevant stakeholders.

  1. ADD will convene meetings with technical managers and Board members of partner DPOs.

  2. The staff of partner DPOs will convene meetings of leaders of community based organizations in the project area in Kawempe division and Moor District.

  3. ADD (in consultation with leaders of DPOs) will organise meetings with leaders of the respective local governments in Kawempe division, Nangana Municipality and Moor District.

These meetings will be conducted in the first three months of the project and will clarify the roles of ADD and partner DPOs and develop buy-in from community leaders and local government.

Livelihood mappings

Livelihood mapping involves the visual representation of assets in the form of a pentagon. This helps us look at the relative position of assets: human, natural, financial, social and physical capital and their significance in the way people develop their livelihoods strategies.

We will train 10 representatives of PWDs on the methodology of this work. The training will involve practical, hands-on training delivered through residential workshops, one for Kampala and Nansana. The key product of this activity is the baseline report showing the status of livelihoods of persons with disabilities and possible interventions.

Interventions to improve Livelihoods of persons with disabilities and their households

Each person with a disability, together with their household, will be supported to create a medium-to-long-term plan for engaging in a series of activities to improve their livelihoods. The plans will be developed through a series of conversations between a field worker (who will usually be a DPO member) and the target person with a disability (and members of their household). The process will help to forecast the amount of technical support the participant requires which then informs training and coaching needs and will also identify potential support within the household or community. Households will be grouped in clusters of 20 (total of 50 clusters) and each cluster will be attached to a field officer who will be the facilitator and mentor. A total of 1000 household plans will be developed.

  1. Increasing human capital

Our project will provide the technical skills required to manage a specific activity and to understand the basics of managing finances as well as “Soft” skills, such as self-esteem, confidence and motivation. Building both types of skills is important for marginalized people, particularly for those who face multiple forms of marginalization, as is often the case with people with disabilities.

Customized trainings will be delivered to persons with disabilities and members of their households (based on the livelihoods analysis) in order to improve their capability to tap into opportunities and reduce their vulnerability to risks and shocks in their contexts. These will inevitably vary between urban and rural settings. Training will be delivered in groups or on an individual basis and will include specialised training, coaching and learning visits by the Field Worker.

  1. Promoting financial literacy and access to financial services

Statistics are hard to come by but in 2006 it was estimated that less than 0.5% of people with disabilities were microfinance clients. We will provide training in:

  • Understanding the basic principles of profit and loss

  • The importance of saving and how to build savings discipline

  • How to safely keep savings outside of the home

  • How to cope with seasonal, health, and weather shocks without selling productive assets

  • Investing in and expanding profitable activities

  • Increasing their decision-making authority and becoming more independent

  • Increasing their financial education and literacy

Given the difficulties of securing formal bank loans, we shall encourage Informal strategies for financial inclusion such as self-managed savings groups (commonly known as village savings and loans associations in Uganda). A study by Maya Thomas found that “…the social status, self-esteem and acceptance of disabled people improved as a result of their membership in the groups, they participated more in community functions, and they gained the respect of their families and community. They also voted in elections, and some of them could become decision makers in the community.”1

The National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDIPU) has successfully mobilized thousands of VSLA groups among people with disabilities and their supporters in Eastern Uganda (not in the geographical area of the project). Groups are managed by members themselves, and adhere to the norms of the savings-and-credit methodology. The uniqueness of the VSLA model of NUDIPU is that groups must be led by people with disabilities and must maintain a certain percentage of members with disabilities. Family members and support people of members with disabilities are encouraged to join. We shall contract NUDIPU technical officers to train members of the clusters on the operations of VSLAs.

Improving access to physical capital through the provision of grants, appropriate production technologies including assistive devices

  • For the extreme poor, deciding to invest in new livelihood activities carries significant risks and few families can bear these risks by funding new activities on their own. ADD will provide some PWDs with conditional cash transfers or grants to help them launch livelihood activities without debt.

  • PWDs often require “supports” such as assistive devices to engage in livelihoods and often there are no government programmes to provide these. These will be provided on a case by case basis, following assessment and recommendation of DPOs.

  • ADD will use grants as part of a robust livelihood planning process that is carefully monitored and requires significant input from participants to minimize the risk that grants will be diverted for other purposes. Grants can have a significant, positive effect on a participant’s motivation in the programme functioning as an external, tangible affirmation of that individual’s potential.

Building social capital and reducing stigma through formal and informal networks to improve access to mainstream services and reduce negative social norms about disability

We will use a combination of strategies that enable persons with disabilities to build their self-confidence and challenge negative social norms/beliefs/perceptions about disability and persons with disability. We shall design a campaign strategy based on a good understanding of:

  • What are the local norms about roles, economic engagement and mobility?

  • Are there taboos against economic engagement by people with disabilities?

  • What are the attitudes toward disability in the community?

DPOs will design and implement customized person/household programmes to minimize negative attitudes towards disability and PWDs e.g. supporting PWDs to develop communication strategies, or to prove they can participate in household livelihood activities; or exposing family members with less “belief” in a PWD to other persons with disabilities who are active and positive.

We will also use a “niche” media communications strategy targeting certain audiences in the project area to design and deliver messages and engage with members of such communities on perceptions about attitudes, for example, getting a religious radio station to design an appropriate message for their congregation and following it up with open discussions through the structures of the respective religious groups. We will target four media houses – two for each project area.


We would also conduct a learning review looking at the effectiveness of interventions, quality of partnerships, involvement of stakeholders and others and also at the second livelihood maps to identify positive changes in the livelihood pentagons of persons with disabilities. A learning report will then document changes brought about by the project, the impact of intervening factors and lessons/recommendations for scaling up interventions.

We would look at the following questions:

  • The role of DPOs in supporting livelihood programmes and influencing key services

  • The relationship between increased livelihood opportunities, attitudes to PWDs, participation in decision making and access to services

  • How to avoid adding to marginalisation for certain groups/in certain circumstances?

  • The impact on household power relations

  • Role of state and social protections

ADD international will deliver the project with three partner organizations of persons with disabilities:

We shall encourage each organisation to involve community based DPOs. We expect each partner will identify and work with at least ten community based self-help/associations/groups of persons PWDs.