AbleChildAfrica and Uganda Society for Disabled Children – Our Approach and Partnership

AbleChildAfrica is the leading UK charity working with and alongside locally registered partner organisations in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya to achieve equal rights for children with disabilities and their families, and to facilitate their meaningful inclusion in all aspects of life. Through our partnership approach, we ensure local ownership, African led solutions to local challenges, cost effectiveness and the greatest potential for long-term sustainability and impact.

Uganda Society for Disabled Children (USDC) was founded in 1984 and is a long-term partner of AbleChildAfrica. Together, we have increased children with disabilities’ access to and quality of medical and educational services by working closely with schools and families, facilitating  child-led activities to support all children to understand, discuss and take action on issues that impact them, and lobbying to governing bodies.

Uganda – Project Need

According to a 2006 survey, 7.2% of the Ugandan population are living with a disability; 30% are children. In Northern Uganda, over 72% of people with disabilities live in chronic poverty and up to 98% of children with disabilities are out of school as a result of ingrained stigma, negative attitudes and a lack of specialist support. Children with disabilities in this region are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the world.

USDC have identified that children with disabilities in remote communities are not receiving any medical assessments and therefore not accessing crucial medical rehabilitation services. With no formal screening process in schools, teachers have little understanding of disability to identify issues, and many parents are unable to afford to provide for their child’s health needs. As a result, many children with disabilities are left unidentified and untreated, preventing many from being able to attend school at all.

How Can the Ineke Feitz Foundation Help? – Project Summary

USDC will address this need by developing a low-cost disability screening tool and teacher’s user guide to identify children who require professional medical assessments, which will take place at school, and assistive devices to  ensure children with disabilities’ effective inclusion in schools. The project will facilitate   sustainable   access   to   healthcare   services   and

equipment by including local and District-level Parent Support Group (PSG) representatives in the project’s teacher training. This will allow for roll-down training to promote usage of the tool more widely and encourage financial stability through Parent Support Groups’ existing Income Generating Activities. Following an initial review of the screening tool and teacher’s user guide using feedback from teachers and parents in Year 1 of the project, a final Impact Report will be produced to advocate for the government to adopt and disseminate the tool across schools in other districts. The screening tool and guide will also be used to support and strengthen AbleChildAfrica’s ongoing 5-year USDC inclusive education project in Nebbi, Adujmani and Lira Districts of Uganda supported by Comic Relief, which uses a child-led approach to identify, enrol and educate children with disabilities in primary schools.

Project Objectives and Results

  1. Develop a disability screening tool for teachers and advocate for government adoption
  2. Facilitate medical assessments at 1 primary school and provide 60 children with individual support and/or assistive devices
  3. Encourage parents to financially support their children’s medical needs through Income Generation Activities and Parent Support Groups