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Development Account Projects

Building capacity of governments and NGOs to promote implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) was adopted by Member States on 13 December 2006 and, entered into force on 3 May 2008. The Convention represents a major step forward in intergovernmental instruments, because it contains both developmental and human rights considerations, adopting a cross-sectoral approach that is legally binding for countries that ratify it. With regard to its developmental aspects, the Convention emphasizes the importance of international cooperation and mainstreaming disability issues into existing developmental processes and programmes.

Adopting this approach, the project will fully integrate the contributions of the UN system with those of civil society. It will promote and further strengthen the skills, experience and capacities of international organizations of persons with disabilities that are already engaged in teaching/training and awareness raising on the Convention, combining them with the existing knowledge and capacities of UNDESA/DSPD and UNHCHR core staff, with a focus on mainstreaming in the development agenda (DESA) and promoting and protecting human rights and legal protection (UNHCHR). The objective is to support national governments in reviewing their obligations, with the aim of formulating comprehensive and coherent policies and action plans on the Convention. Because the Convention covers all aspects of disability, most of the funds, programmes and agencies of the UN system will support and contribute to its implementation. Some have very specific mandates (ILO, UNESCO, WHO, DPKO Mine Action Service). They will be brought in, as appropriate, to contribute specific expertise to developing training materials. Besides, DESA works closely with two groups of governmental disability focal points in Africa. In this way, the project will expect to utilize and build upon existing resources to strengthen capacities of both governments and the NGO community.

The project will draw upon and support the work already initiated in the NGO community.

Disabled Persons International has produced a Convention Ratification Toolkit for civil society organizations.

GPDD- Global Partnerships for Disability and Development has developed an extensive network of governments, DPOs, civil society, and academic institutions worldwide. A number of reference tools for awareness raising and training on the disability rights and development have been produced by their member organizations.

Handicap International (HI) has developed CD-ROMs of resources for use in training sessions to introduce the Convention, explain its underlying concepts, and promote its implementation. HI is also involved with the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) whose members promote inclusive development, which includes disability, but also age, state of health, ethnic origin and other aspects. Handicap International also supports the Making It Work initiative, another multi-stakeholder initiative designed to promote implementation of the Convention through the exchange of examples of good practice in projects that have achieved real impact on the ground. Civil society organizations can then utilize this experience to promote inclusive development strategies.

These resources provide a valuable contribution to promote the implementation of the Convention and represent useful tools on which to build upon.


To increase the capacity of Member States (six countries in sub-Saharan Africa) represented by relevant ministries, agencies and non-governmental organizations that have signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to implement its articles, to review their legislation, policies and programmes, to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities and to fulfill their obligations.

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Governments and national organizations of persons with disabilities provided with an effective training tool that incorporates best practices worldwide
  • Increased understanding by Member States of their obligations under the Convention
  • Increased capacity of governments to work in partnership with organizations of persons with disabilities to draft and implement programmes and plans of action in support of persons with disabilities
  • Increased capacity of the governments to review and adjust national legislations and policies in line with the Convention

Implementation Status:

The project is in early stages of implementation which included two fact-finding missions to Ethiopia and Kenya. Findings of the missions provided inputs to the table of content for the Toolkit on Disability. The Toolkit is one of the main outputs of the project

The table of content of the Toolkit will be further developed by an international consultant whose main task will be to prepare the Toolkit. The international consultant has been identified and her recruitment initiated. 

The Division’s staff responsible for the project implementation is following up with the governments of South Africa and Zambia on fielding the remaining fact-finding missions and preparation of the validation workshop.