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Toward the Full Inclusion of People with Disabilities: Examining the Accessibility of Overseas Facilities and Programs Funded by the United States

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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This report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge, attitudes, and practices toward people with disabilities in U.S.-funded overseas facilities, programs, and employment opportunities. The study was designed to elicit information from a range of stakeholders working in the field of international development. The research methodology for this report included key informant interviews, focus groups, in-country assessments, and extensive desk-based document review. The research also included a legal analysis of the extraterritorial application of U.S. federal disability laws and the implications of the CRPD for U.S. foreign assistance programs. The three primary U.S. Government agencies that were reviewed for this report were USAID, DOS, and DOD.

In the early stages of research, 20 countries were selected for in-country assessments of U.S. Government-funded facilities, programs, and employment practices. Local advocates of disability rights visited U.S. embassies and USAID missions in 14 of the 20 countries, where they conducted interviews and accessibility assessments. Accessibility assessments covered, among other things, the accessibility of entrances, hallways, and bathrooms; the availability of sign language interpreters; and whether information and materials were provided or available in accessible formats. While a limited number of countries were selected for the in-country reviews, the more general, sector-specific analyses included desk-based document review of many additional countries. The research was conducted with the intention of generating as broad an overview of current policy and practice as possible.

The study examined four major sectors of international development funded by the U.S. Government: (1) humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; (2) democracy and governance; (3) economic growth; and (4) cultural exchange programs. In-country interviews of USAID personnel were specifically geared toward democracy and governance programming. The other sectors were reviewed through extensive desk-based research, as well as interviews with federal employees and government contractors with headquarters in Washington, DC. Additionally, a roundtable event for key stakeholders who work in the field of disability rights and international development enabled participants to share their opinions on inclusive development.

An official website of the National Council on Disability