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Disability Inclusion
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Trickle Up Wins 2014 Disability Inclusion Award
Discapacidad, Pobreza y Medios de Vida
Disability, Poverty & Livelihoods
Trickle Up Mali: Disability Inclusion Day
From Exclusion to Inclusion

Lila Carmela Lem Lem

Trickle Up is proud of its commitment to include people with disabilities in our work. In 2013, 13% of Trickle Up's participants were people affected by disabilities—including people with disabilities themselves, who pursue livelihood activities with Trickle Up support, and women who support family members with a disability.

While people with disabilities account for 10% to 15% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization they account for 20% of the population who are living in ultra-poverty. A very poor family including a member with a disability faces enormous economic challenges as access to services, support and education can be beyond reach. Often, looking after that family member can require the time and support of someone who would otherwise be earning. Furthermore, people with disabilities are often socially isolated and face stigma within their communities, thus compounding the challenges of poverty. Providing people with disabilities with opportunities to build sustainable livelihoods thus supports highly vulnerable households while helping to break down prejudices and build social connections.

Miriam, a Trickle Up participant from Guatemala at her workstation creating handicrafts. ADISA, a Trickle Up partner organization helps people with disabilities secure jobs like this making handicrafts, which double as physical therapy for improving their motor skills.

In Guatemala, we started a project in 2010 to enable 320 people with disabilities to develop livelihood activities, learn how to best manage those activities, and begin saving regularly. Supported by USAID, the Microenterprise Opportunities for People with Disabilities project provides an opportunity for Trickle Up to develop tools and strategies to support our partners in their work with people with disabilities. We’re partnering with a disabled people’s organization that is learning how to implement a livelihood program and with four community development partners learning to be inclusive of people with disabilities. This project will help inform our work with people with disabilities in all our field sites. For more information visit our Guatemala page.

This savings group in Mali is one of several that registered for legal status.In 2009, we launched Stronger Voices, Sustainable Livelihoods, a USAID-funded project to strengthen the autonomy of Trickle Up-supported savings groups formed by people with disabilities in Mali. The project enabled 800 Malian people with disabilities to have a more active voice and role in their communities. Trickle Up helped them establish 32 savings groups, worked to gain legal status for the groups as People with Disability Associations, and train them on planning for advocacy efforts. Having a legal status within Mali enables the members to increase their visibility through advocacy work.

In 2009, Trickle Up received the first-ever Disability Inclusion Award from InterAction, a network of US-based poverty organizations. The award acknowledges Trickle Up’s strong commitment to greater inclusion in programs and management.


Trickle Up's disability programs are funded by USAID, from the American people.

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