Able Child Africa advocates for stronger disability-inclusive development to the International Development Committee (IDC) at a new inquiry into the government’s development strategy at the UK Parliament.
Director of Impact and Advocacy, Lauren Watters, presented evidence on Tuesday 17 October to a committee tasked with assessing the effectiveness of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) work on disability inclusion, in particular its Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy.
Lauren Watters stated to the Committee:
[Able Child Africa are] particularly pleased to see continued big commitments made to inclusive education and data collection in that area and, for the first time, a mention of inclusive safeguarding and a commitment to build up child protection systems.
However, Able Child Africa alongside sector colleagues from Sightsavers and CBM called for the UK government to financially commit to disability inclusion and fully fund the FCDO disability inclusion strategy. Lauren Watters drew particular attention to the damaging effects of ODA cuts to inclusive safeguarding and child protection systems in development projects:
The ways in which the cuts took place, and happened immediately, meant that many youths with disabilities in our projects were identified and exposed in communities, but then did not have the input and support that they were promised in the projects. In reality, this put those youth with disabilities at further risk.
While grateful for the opportunity to work closely with the IDC on furthering inclusive development, cross-sector collaboration and intersectionality, Able Child Africa want to see more funding made available for children and youth with disabilities:
[Able Child Africa] see a gap in the FCDO’s funding for and support of youth with disabilities. We talk about different intersectionality’s quite a lot in the strategy, but youth with disabilities gets left out. We would really like to see a clever and innovative way of building up and supporting a whole youth with disability network across the places where FCDO is working.
Able Child Africa are pleased to hear the Chair of the International Development Committee Sarah Champion MP commit to taking on greater access to disaggregated data as a ‘mission’ alongside a commitment to ‘champion change.’ Able Child Africa will keep advocating for change in UK development strategy to ensure that we #LeaveNoOneBehind.