All Under One Roof
2.0 Mainstreaming disability inclusion in the shelter and settlements programme cycle
Mainstreaming disability can be achieved without significant increases in costs. By mainstreaming as early as possible in a crisis (and where possible in preparedness) access to adequate support is guaranteed, avoiding costly modifications later, and rendering the response more efficient and effective.
Building awareness and understanding is a crucial first step in improving the inclusiveness of shelter and settlements programming. Practitioners must be able to think beyond physical barriers to other types of barriers (communication, attitudinal) which prevent all persons from accessing services and support options. Not all disabilities are visible, so there is a need to consider persons with sensory, intellectual and psychosocial impairments. This requires a shift to a rights-based approach to programming, that recognises that all members of the community have the capacity to be part of the response and have the same rights to protection and assistance.
Although it is an ongoing process for many agencies, it is important to build this internal awareness and capacity around mainstreaming disability inclusion at every stage of the programme cycle and also at every level of the organisation. The recommendations in this chapter aim to inform, strengthen and accelerate that effort and are achievable for shelter and settlement agencies.
Some of the greatest gains around disability mainstreaming can be made in preparedness. At a country level for example, establishing strong relationships with local OPDs and other relevant stakeholders, understanding and developing plans to address existing barriers, allowing for meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in this planning and improving understanding of and access to data before an emergency occurs are all ways to ensure contingency plans are inclusive. Even when country or community level preparedness actions have not taken place, organisational preparedness, which may include adapting policies and procedures to be more inclusive, strengthening staff awareness and capacity, and establishing more inclusive budgeting procedures will improve the equity and quality of the response.
|Examples of potential shelter and settlements related barriers and ways to address:|
|Example of barriers||Potential enabler/ mitigating action|
|Belief that all persons with disabilities are vulnerable.||Do not view persons with disabilities as inherently vulnerable. Persons with disabilities require assistance like any other group in the affected population and as such they have capacities, resources and a voice that can contribute to humanitarian action and their own recovery and should be acknowledged as such.
Training of all humanitarian responders in disability inclusion and understanding different disabilities, including psychosocial (important for accessing shelter, information, and participation in cash for work and other activities).
|Belief that persons with disabilities require assistance which is specialised and needs to be left to specialised agencies (e.g., that special settlements need to be created for persons with disabilities).|
|Belief that providing reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities is too hard and expensive, plus it is not the responsibility of shelter practitioners.||Consult with persons with disabilities on these issues. Accommodating the requirements of persons with disabilities can be simple if you know what is needed. All humanitarian actors have a responsibility to ensure their programmes are accessible and to provide accommodations where necessary.|
|Distribution points are not accessible (are across difficult terrain, have no transport options).||Place distribution points where all people can access them. Where this is difficult provide additional support such as delivery services or specialised transport to the location.|
|Settlement or shelter location is on inaccessible terrain.||Ensure there is consultation and coordinated planning on where shelters and settlements are located, including in relation to other humanitarian services.|
|Shelter information is only shared in one medium of communication.||Ensure that any shelter related information is provided in multiple accessible formats (oral, print, sign language).|
|Shelter relief programmes do not consider the needs of persons with disabilities (e.g., There are no internal policies, strategies, or SOPs on disability inclusion).||Ensure that persons with disabilities can participate in all humanitarian activities, from the start. Ensure that all consultations are accessible and allow for people to express their preferences, needs and capacities.|
|Shelter activities (such as cash for work programmes) do not consider persons with disabilities.||Any activities should consider the abilities of persons with disabilities and respect their ability to be part of their own recovery processes Persons with disabilities should be offered equal opportunities as other members of the community to participate in or benefit from cash for work programmes.|