Seeds being checked before distribution - disability-inclusive response to 2016 Ethiopia food crisis

Humanitarian Action

The barriers people with disabilities face are greatly amplified during conflict, emergency and disaster. CBM works with partners to implement disability inclusive humanitarian responses, and to positively influence the work of the wider humanitarian community.

CBM humanitarian activities aim to equally reach and actively involve persons with disabilities, addressing specific needs while promoting and facilitating full inclusion in mainstream services. We work – together with partners – on projects that are context-specific, from preparedness to immediate life-saving needs such as food, shelter and medical work, and longer-term rehabilitation interventions in fields such as education, sanitation, healthcare, livelihood and reconstruction.

Disability and humanitarian situations

Compared to the general population, persons with disabilities are much more likely to lose their lives in any type of emergency. Persons with visual, hearing, physical or intellectual impairments may be less able to escape from hazards and may have greater difficulty accessing humanitarian assistance.

At least 15% of any disaster-affected population will be persons living with disabilities1. The barriers they face are greatly amplified, when society breaks down as a result of conflict, emergency and disaster.

MORE AT-RISK - Due to various barriers, persons with disability are among the most at-risk in their communities, being disproportionately affected by disaster and experiencing extra challenges in accessing relief and recovery services.

ESSENTIAL RESOURCE - Persons with disability and other marginalised groups have unique knowledge and experience that is not only essential to their own survival, but to the resilience of their communities as a whole.

INCREASED NUMBER - Emergency situations can increase the number of persons who experience disability, both short and long-term, due to injuries sustained and lack of effective and accessible medical and rehabilitation services.

How CBM operates in humanitarian situations

CBM humanitarian activities are collaboratively-run, involving the Federation’s Emergency Response Unit (ERU), Member Associations, Regional/Country Offices and its partner organisations.

The ‘twin-track’ approach

  1. Strengthen participation of persons with disabilities - Through the delivery of disability-specific services, capacity development and advocacy, we work to ensure that persons with disabilities and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) can equally access and contribute to humanitarian action
  2. Enable communities and humanitarian stakeholders to become inclusive -  Through advocacy, provision of technical expertise, training and funding, we work to ensure that all levels of humanitarian action are accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities.

Working with partners

CBM humanitarian programmes are run in co-operation with partner organisations. These may be our ongoing development partners but, depending on context, we may form new relationships. Our partners include specialists in providing healthcare, rehabilitation or education services, mainstream humanitarian actors, other disability organisations and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).

Guiding principles

CBM humanitarian work is strictly guided by the following conventions, standards and policies.

  1. UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  2. SPHERE standards, Humanitarian Charter and Code of Conduct
  3. CBM Safeguarding Policy
  4. CBM Global Programme Strategy
  5. Humanitarian Inclusion Standards (HIS)

Inclusive humanitarian action as part of inclusive development

CBM aims to ensure that all planning for and response to emergency situations is inclusive of, but not restricted to, persons with disabilities, other more at-risk members of society, and their families. We do this by working with partners of all types, meaning that local, specific knowledge is harnessed and large-scale ‘mainstream’ interventions are inclusive. This strategic approach ensures no-one is left behind, while synergy with CBM development and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) work completes the process, ultimately fostering more inclusive and resilient communities.

View from above. Damages to southwest of country in Chardonnières

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR)

Only by working with persons with disabilities, communities can identify what is needed to increase resilience and reduce the risks in any particular context. Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction is needed to ensure that the Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) approach contributes to sustainable, inclusive and resilient communities that can withstand disasters.

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1 World Report on Disability 2011