One billion persons or 15 percent of the world population experience some form of disability, according to the World Report on Disability, a joint World Health Organization and World Bank publication. One-fifth of the estimated global prevalence, or between 110 and 190 million persons, encounter significant disabilities.
A growing body of empirical evidence from across the world indicates that persons with disabilities and their families are more likely to experience economic and social disadvantage than those without disability. Particularly in developing countries, persons with disabilities may experience comparatively lower educational attainment, lower employment and higher unemployment rates, worse living conditions, and higher poverty rates. Hence, disability issues pertain to core development efforts aiming at poverty reduction and well-being promotion.
Forging cross-sector linkages and including disability into knowledge and operational work is a key World Bank strategy to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to mainstream services on equal bases as everyone else. As a result, a number of Bank projects include disability-related activities. Moreover, there is an increasing demand for the World Bank to assist clients in ensuring that development policies and projects adequately address the needs of and are inclusive of persons with disabilities.
This course was designed to meet the technical needs of the Bank staff, government counterparts in the client countries, and other stakeholders in this field.
The World Bank’s Disability and Development Core Course provided participants with an in-depth understanding of the conceptual and practical issues involved in the implementation of inclusive economic and social policies that are relevant for persons with disabilities in developing countries. The course objectives were to:
Increase knowledge on disability, its social and economic relevance and development policies and programs responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities; and
Increase understanding of the main issues involved in the process of including disability into development: overall and at the level of sectoral policies and programs.
The core course was a five-day in-person class at the World Bank offices in Washington, D.C. The program combined in-depth analysis of disability issues with country case studies and country reform exercises. Participants in this course learnt about various sectors and policies and their implementation which greatly impact the participation by and opportunities for persons with disabilities. The most up-to-date information was presented by experts within the disability and development fields, with ample opportunity for questions and answers. Opportunities to speak with World Bank senior staff were offered. A workshop for participants to address specific development project creation or implementation was also available.
The course covered six interrelated and complementary themes:
Disability: Concept, Evolution, Definitions, and Measurement;
Social and Economic Status of Persons with Disabilities;
Investment in Human Capital: Education and Health and Rehabilitation;
Labor Market Participation of Persons with Disabilities;
Social Protection: Social Safety Nets and Social Insurance;
Enabling Environment: Universal Accessibility, Attitudes, Legislative and Institutional Environment, Physical Infrastructure, Transport, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The course was delivered in English.
The principal audience for this course was technical staff from the World Bank and government counterparts in the Bank client countries.
Course requirements and etiquette
The multi-facetted nature of disability requires that policymakers understand the interconnections and implications of intervention on the overall disability policy.
Course participation was required in all exercises, sessions, and group activities. Prior knowledge of disability issues and policy was not necessary for participation. Priority of participant selection was based, in part, on the possibility to apply knowledge and contacts from the course into country operations and policy, with preference given to government staff in low and middle income countries, their counterparts in international development agencies and World Bank donor countries, and World Bank staff.
A certificate of completion was presented to participants who attended every session and contributed to exercises.
Course materials included The World Report on Disability (WHO/World Bank, 2011), Social Protection technical and policy notes, and PowerPoint presentations. Materials for each module were handed out at the beginning of each session.
Disability accommodations should be requested upon confirmation of enrollment into the core course. For inquiries, please contact Dung Tran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The one-week course was offered at the subsidized rate of US$1,500 per participant from government counterparts in the World Bank client countries. For participants from international organizations, donor agencies, and others, the fee was US$1,900. The fee included tuition, training materials, medical insurance, and other conference costs. Participants were responsible for their own transportation to and from Washington, D.C., as well as their hotel and subsistence costs.