Inclusion counts – the economic case for leaving no-one behind

Posted on: Monday, 16th January, 2017
22-year-old Amjad Hossain lost both his lower legs when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was forced to stop working as a mechanic but is now doing an apprenticeship as an electronic technician thanks to CBM partner Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed.

A recent publication by CBM, launched at the European Parliament, sets out the economic case for disability-inclusion. “Inclusion Counts: The Economic Case for Disability-Inclusive Development” shows that where people with disabilities are excluded from opportunities such as health, education or work, this leads to economic costs not only for individuals and families, but for society overall.

“Men, women and children living with disabilities in low-income countries are among the poorest people in the world, and yet development programmes often exclude them because the perception is that it’s just too difficult, or too expensive to include them”, explains CBM UK Chief Executive Kirsty Smith. “This publication is a vital tool in showing that including people with disabilities isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes economic sense as well”.

“Inclusion Counts” centres on a comprehensive review commissioned by CBM and conducted by the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The report explores how barriers to inclusion in key areas of life, such as health, education, and work and livelihood can result in economic costs not only for persons with disabilities and their families, but also society overall. For example, a study in Bangladesh found that approximately USD$ 891 million was lost in one year from the country’s GDP due to the exclusion of people with disabilities. It looks at how inclusion can in turn reverse these costs and even bring about economic gains. The publication is the second in CBM’s series on Disability-Inclusive Development.

CBM UK has also recently co-authored a paper which argues that excluding people with disabilities from international development activities represents poor value for money. “Leaving no one behind: The value for money of disability-inclusive development”, was published in December by NGO network Bond and provides practical guidance on how to assess the value for money of programmes in an inclusive way.

Download the full report: “Inclusion Counts: The Economic Case for Disability-Inclusive Development”.

Image: 22-year-old Amjad Hossain lost both his lower legs when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was forced to stop working as a mechanic but is now doing an apprenticeship as an electronic technician thanks to CBM partner Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed.

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