Disability and Sustainable Livelihoods: Towards Inclusive Community-Based Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There is a now a substantial body of evidence to suggest that there is a close association between disability and poverty, with the gap between disabled people and the general population tending to widen as countries move out of poverty. Livelihoods development can play a vital role in lifting people out of poverty, so if the Sustainable Development Agenda’s promise to ‘leave no-one behind’ is to be fulfilled then the question of how best to support disabled people to develop their livelihoods is one that cannot be ignored. This chapter draws on evidence from a multi-country survey of livelihood project coordinators, as well as field research visits to Kenya, India and Sierra Leone, to explore disability-inclusive approaches to community development. It focuses particularly on the instrumental role of families, disabled people’s organisations and other community stakeholders in supporting disabled people to achieve their livelihood aspirations. In line with the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) and the community-based rehabilitation (CBR) model, the chapter argues that empowering, holistic and sustainable approaches are needed to ensure that disabled people are able to take control of their own lives and supported to overcome the disabling barriers that often limit their participation in society. This can best be achieved through adopting a twin-track approach, which involves empowering disabled people and building the capacity of their representative organisations, while simultaneously engaging in broader community initiatives aimed at raising disability awareness and promoting inclusivity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Livelihoods in the Global South
EditorsFiona Nunan, Claire Barnes, Sukanya Krishnamurthy
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781003014041
ISBN (Print)9780367856359
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks


  • Disability
  • Livelihoods
  • Global South


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