IDD Launch New Module on Disability

Until recently, disability studies and international development have been viewed as separate fields. This is ironic, given that disabled people form the world’s largest minority group and are widely believed to be disproportionately represented among the poor. The two fields are now coming together, however, as disability issues gain increasing recognition on the international stage. A recent UN draft resolution calling for a disability-inclusive post-2015 development agenda provides further evidence of the increasing importance attached to disability at the highest levels.

The new module on 'Disability and Development' reflects the rising profile of disability as an important topic within the field of international development studies. The module looks at how perceptions of disability have shifted from traditional understandings, in which disability exists within individual bodies, to more contemporary models that take account of the disabling impact of society. While acknowledging that these relatively recent ideological trends are increasingly reinforced by legal frameworks, at both national and international level, the module also examines their relevance and applicability to the daily lives of disabled people themselves, particularly those living in conditions of extreme poverty in the global South.

The module places a strong emphasis on development practice. We examine current approaches to supporting and empowering disabled people in areas such as health, education and livelihoods. There is also a session that focuses on the situation of disabled people in the aftermath of conflicts and natural disasters, and considers how disabled people themselves can play a significant role in the planning and execution of humanitarian responses.

A distance learning version of the module will be running in June and July 2014.