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Leaving no one behind

Islamic Relief is committed to ensuring that our humanitarian and development actions are accessible to people living with disabilities and we ensure people with disabilities have a say in our programmes and policies.

Despite representing at least 15 percent of the world’s population, people with disabilities in humanitarian contexts are rarely recognised in needs assessments, or consulted about their needs.

This means that despite the fact they are often in greater need of humanitarian assistance, they are less likely to receive it. 

As well as facing barriers preventing their full participation in their communities, they may be unable to access humanitarian assistance on an equal basis. Factors preventing their access include stigma and discrimination, negative attitudes and behaviours, and a one-size fits all approach to assistance.

Putting disability inclusion at the heart of our programmes 

At the 2018 Global Disability Summit, we committed to tackle people with disabilities’ exclusion from education and livelihoods, to contribute to anti-stigma and discrimination efforts, and to engage with organisations of persons with disabilities. As a leading humanitarian actor, Islamic Relief has pledged to guarantee meaningful participation and equal and just access to humanitarian assistance. 

Two years later, our programming in Bangladesh, Chechnya and Gaza in particular benefitted from collaboration with organisations of persons with disabilities, and we have improved feedback mechanisms in Afghanistan and Indonesia.

More recently, we introduced new project planning and monitoring, as well as evaluation and accountability processes to improve consistency and guidance. 

In addition, we have backed the World Humanitarian Summit commitments to ‘leave no one behind’ and the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which led to the IASC guidelines on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action which we translated into Arabic in order to broaden their impact.

Our protection and inclusion framework 

Islamic Relief adopts an intersectional lens that shapes our protection and inclusion framework. To make sure people with disabilities are not left behind, the framework addresses six intersectional areas that exacerbate access to humanitarian assistance, known as the 6 A’s:


Does the proposal contain an adequate age, gender and diversity analysis, and has sex, age and disability-disaggregated data been collected throughout the project lifecycle?

Adapted assistance

Is the assistance adapted to the specific needs and capacities of different gender, age, disability and ethnic groups?

Attention to negative effects

Does the action prevent or mitigate potential negative effects on different groups in the community?

Adequate participation

Does the project adopt a participatory approach by ensuring men, women, girls and boys of all ages and abilities enjoy adequate and equal participation?


Does the programme consider safe and accessible complaints mechanisms, accessible information, and systems to consider the differentiated needs of women, men, girls and boys of all ages, abilities and diversities? Does the organisation reflect on its own practices, policies, and code of conduct to ensure enhanced accountability?

Adequate capacity

Does the organisation have staff trained on inclusive, protective and accountable approaches to programming?

Islamic Relief understands that disability inclusion is the business of all humanitarian organisations – and that sustainable change needs a holistic approach led by the affected population and their representatives. This approach should highlight the capabilities of people with disabilities to lead the positive change that is so desperately needed. 

Examples of our disability inclusion work 

Last year, we analysed the needs of refugees with disabilities living in camps in Sudan for those fleeing the conflict in Tigray. Working with the International Disability Alliance, two researchers with disabilities interviewed affected people and compiled a report that revealed the persistent exclusion of people with disabilities across all sectors. The report provided practical recommendations to ensure protection for the rights of people with disabilities during times of armed conflict.

 In addition, we worked with organisations representing people with disabilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to make our complaints and feedback mechanism more inclusive and effective.

Read more 

We have undertaken extensive research into how we can ensure disability inclusion in our programmes across the world. Read our ‘Leave no one behind’ policy. 

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