Rwanda Pioneers First Registry for Persons with Disabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa
Excluding persons with disabilities from active social participation in their communities makes them stigmatised and invisible. Leave no one behind.
CBM Christian Blind Mission has partnered with government institutions, organisations of persons with disabilities and other international organisations to introduce an innovative digital tool to identify and register all persons with disabilities in Rwanda. The Disability Management Information System (DMIS) is the first comprehensive data system to provide disaggregated data on persons with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Partners in this transformative and significant innovation include Rwanda's National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), UNICEF and other national and international organisations.
Support for the development of this tool is part of CBM's fulfilment of commitments made at the Global Disability Summit 2022. Among the 33 commitments we made, CBM pledged to expand and strengthen the use of disaggregated data in our programmatic work and across our organisation, using globally recognised standards.
The aim is to improve understanding of disability inclusion and ensure evidence-based approaches and practices for disability-inclusive development, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action in low- and middle-income countries.
"We need quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data on disability to measure progress in disability inclusion in Rwanda," says Eugenie Mukantagwera, CBM Country Director for Rwanda.
The need for DMIS
Although Rwanda ratified the UNCRPD in 2008, persons with disabilities still face major inequalities. Children with disabilities under the age of five are not included in data collection. There is an apparent lack of linkages between identification and social support for those most in need.
The lack of validated data collection tools such as the Washington Group of Questions is another significant setback in efforts to collect data on persons with disabilities.
"The lack of disability disaggregated data makes it difficult to effectively advocate for inclusion, actively target persons with disabilities and potentially measure change. Excluding persons with disabilities from active social participation in their communities makes them stigmatised and invisible," says Mukantagwera.
The new digital solution
With this well-functioning DMIS online register, the Rwandan NCPD and its partners will capture the diversity of needs, challenges, barriers, and priorities in the lives of persons with disabilities.
Disability disaggregated data will then be used to develop evidence-based inclusive policies and programmes and advocate for greater accountability. In the long term, Rwanda will see improved service delivery for persons with disabilities and better coordination, which will improve their lives.
The tool is accessible to all key stakeholders. Benefits include needs-based identification and registration, real-time dashboards and maps on indicators, case management support for those most in need, and mapping of members of local OPDs.