DFID’s approach to disability in development

Around one in six people in developing countries live with a disability. As a group, they tend to be poorer, and suffer more discrimination, exclusion and violence than the rest of the population.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 16 May 2018
  3. Type: Rapid review
  4. Subject: Global health, Livelihoods and social protection
  5. Assessment: Unrated
  6. Lead commissioner: Alison Evans
  7. SDGs covered:No poverty, Reduced inequalities, Sustainable cities and communities, Partnerships for the goals, Quality education, Decent work and economic growth


ICAI published this rapid review on DFID’s approach to disability in development in May 2018. As a rapid review, it was not scored, but six recommendations were made. Follow-up on this review was published in July 2019, and you can find out more on the ‘Further scrutiny’ tab.

The UK government played a significant role in getting disability included as a central concern of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, but since then has been slower in systematically including the concerns and challenges facing people living with disability in its own programming.

DFID created a disability framework in 2014, and renewed it in 2015, but a major emphasis on disability did not come until late 2016 when the then Secretary of State announced an aim to establish DFID as “the global leader in this neglected and under prioritised area.” Since then, DFID has made more efforts to mainstream disability inclusion across the department.

This review looks at DFID’s approach to mainstreaming disability across the department as a whole, designing programmes that address barriers to disability inclusion, and building international coalitions.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this review are:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 1: No poverty
  • Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
  • Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality education
  • Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth


Our approach

Published 9 February 2018

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 16 May 2018

Government response

Published 27 June 2018

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 5 September 2018

ICAI follow-up

Published 18 July 2019