In a country where violence has been ongoing since 1991, persons with disabilities face extreme hurdles in being recognised, accessing resources and feeling valued in their community. This is
particularly true for children and women with disabilities. Persons with disabilities in Somalia are side-lined in every aspect of humanitarian responses and are being denied their economic, social
and cultural rights. Reports show that persons with disabilities in Somalia are often denied access to water, food, sanitation and accommodation through lack of explicit inclusion.
The purpose of this report is to identify how persons with disabilities can be included in humanitarian and development programmes in Somalia. There is little data on persons with disabilities in Somalia, therefore this report gains insights from organisations that are actively working in Somalia supporting persons with disabilities. Many organisations in Somalia do not have data or information available on persons with disabilities. This report details the recommendations of organisations that have data and information readily available.
A list of organisations identified as working on disability issues in Somalia and Somaliland is provided below. The report provides an overview of these active organisations to illustrate their
activities and reports recommendations they have made on how donor operations can explicitly include persons with disabilities.
The main recommendations on how to include persons with disabilities in humanitarian and development programmes in Somalia are given below. These recommendations should be applied across various sectors, including but not limited to: water, sanitation and hygiene; food security and livelihoods; shelter and settlements; health care; education; security; and emergency responses.
- Collect data: Include data collection on persons with disabilities in all projects, covering prevalence and type of disability.
- Recognise the diversity of disability: Recognise the diversity of disability and provide resources which include and meet the needs of people with different physical, mental, intellectual or sensory disabilities, as well as those with multiple disabilities.
- Have disability indicators: Ensure measures used in indicating success can identify improvements for persons with disabilities.
- Encourage ratification: Support the government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Target the barriers faced by people with disabilities: Consider and take measures to remove the attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers that persons with disabilities in Somalia face when planning and delivering programmes.
- Geographically tailor programmes: Consider the variation in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours within Somaliland.
- Tackle stigma and discrimination in the community: Programmes in the community are needed to address discrimination and protect persons with disabilities. This should include training for traditional elders and cover sexual and gender-based violence.
- Raise disability awareness in the community: Support campaigns that increase awareness of, and support the rights of persons with disabilities, and are culturally appropriate.
- Train staff: Provide training to staff in understanding the stigma and discrimination faced by persons with disabilities, and how to demonstrate a positive attitude towards persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities could be consulted in this training.
- Work with DPOs: Collaborate with local DPOs and specialist NGOs to build capacity through training, knowledge and shared resources. Develop formal partnerships with key disability organisations and maintain an ongoing relationship throughout the programme.
- Within Somalia and Somaliland, Handicap International, Disability Action Network, Somaliland National Disability Forum, Disability Protection Association, Africa Education Trust and GRT are useful points of contact.
- Employ persons with disabilities: Employ qualified persons with disabilities in humanitarian positions.
- Use a twin-track approach: Target the delivery of services to persons with disabilities through the specific allocation of resources, whilst also mainstreaming disability inclusion.
- Make infrastructure accessible: Design buildings and infrastructure to be accessible, such as using ramps, having wide corridors, providing adapted toilets.
- Make communication accessible: Provide disability-friendly resources, for example using braille and assistive technology where appropriate.
- Reach out to persons with disabilities: Have a community outreach component to access persons with disabilities.
- Consider the families of persons with disabilities: Support and include the families of persons with disabilities in training and socio-economic development.
- Consider those who may be more at risk: Focus on the hardest to reach, including children and women with sensory and intellectual impairments. Extra support needs to be given to children, women and the elderly with disabilities. Extra support is also needed in internally displaced person camps, particularly those outside Mogadishu.
- Consult with specialists: Specialists such as Speech and Language therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, and Orthotists should be consulted in inclusive health care and rehabilitation.