Covid-19 and women and girls with disabilities in India: meeting challenges and building capacities

  • Amount funded: £29,900
  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Locations: India
  • Grant stream: Annual Grants Call

The Government of India's disability guidelines recommended taking 'special care' for the protection of women and children with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic because they are more likely to lose livelihoods or access to benefits, become homeless, or suffer abuse.

Project partners
Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre
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How we are helping

The project will work with women and girls with disabilities, disabled people's organisations and their networks, activists, state disability commissioners and disaster management officials for a stronger inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in Covid-19 responses.

About the project

The Government of India responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with a series of measures including a national lockdown and increased testing capacity. Citizens were supported through various initiatives including an economic package of INR 21 trillion in May 2020, cash transfers for women and elderly, food distribution for the poor, free travel schemes, and interest-free loans for state governments.

The protection and safety of persons with disabilities during the pandemic are acknowledged by government in Comprehensive Disability Inclusive Guidelines, with specific recognition of women and girls with disabilities. However, in order to be effective, the guidance requires more specific instruction on implementation.

This project aims to improve understanding of the issues faced by women and girls with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic and enhance the capacity of disability stakeholders to advocate for effective inclusion in the government’s response to the pandemic.

This will be achieved by: 

  • developing National Gendered Guidelines on Disability-Inclusive Pandemic Risk Reduction. The Gendered Guidelines will identify issues affecting women and girls with disabilities in the pandemic, document their concerns, and propose ways to reduce risks of the pandemic and similar events in future
  • developing a policy brief for advocacy engagement with government officials
  • engaging in advocacy with Disability Commissioners and Disaster Management Officials to ensure inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in Covid-19 responses
  • training 600 frontline workers on addressing the needs of persons with disabilities during pandemics and other emergencies
Project Partners
Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre

Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre (SMRC) was founded in 1985 with the mission to create an environment where persons with disability can enjoy equal rights. SMRC works at the national and international level on the rights of persons with disabilities across four thematic areas: spinal cord injury, disaster risk reduction and climate change, women with disabilities, and community- based rehabilitation. Their gender work includes capacity building for women with disabilities and Disabled People’s Organisations, supporting the livelihoods of women with disabilities, running a mobile app on the rights of women with disabilities and victims of domestic violence, and building networks of women with disabilities.

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Governance Areas
Social inclusion