Promoting improved access to health services for youth with disabilities

  • Amount funded: £30,000
  • Year: 2022
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Locations: Zambia
  • Grant stream: Annual Grants Call

In Zambia, the Persons with Disabilities Act 2012 cements the principles of the UNCRPD, however young people with disabilities often face barriers in exercising their health rights and accessing health services.

Project partners
Disability Rights Watch (DRW)
Youth Action for Disability Inclusion in Zambia (YADIZ)
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How we are helping

Improving access to sexual and reproductive health services for youth with disabilities by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to advocate for their rights, raising public awareness of challenges accessing health services and facilitating platforms for policy dialogue.

About the project

Young people with disabilities in Zambia face multiple barriers exercising their rights. Access to sexual reproductive health services (SRH) is particularly challenging, especially for girls, rendering them vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation. Zambia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010 and passed the Persons with Disabilities Act in 2012 which sets out a framework for inclusive public health programmes.

Few public health programmes have a focus on young people with disabilities and SRH information is not always available in accessible formats. Disability Rights Watch (DRW) held consultations with young people in three districts where concern was raised about: (i) the lack of opportunity to speak out on issues of access to quality health services, and (ii) stigma and discrimination by health service providers.

In this project, DRW will work with Youth Action for Disability Inclusion in Zambia (YADIZ) to identify the gaps in public health policy and improve access to SRH information and services for young people with disabilities in Lusaka, Southern and Eastern Provinces of Zambia. The project will complement government efforts and strengthen implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2012.

This will be achieved through:

  • Delivering a situation report on access to SRH services for youths with disabilities in Zambia and the extent to which SRH rights for persons with disabilities are recognised in Zambia’s policy and legal regime.
  • Training frontline health personnel in three provinces on disability inclusive SRH services with a focus on the rights of young people with disabilities.
  • Building the capacity of media in reporting on SRH rights in the context of disability inclusion and providing platforms for public education through sponsored programmes and articles.
  • Convening community-based meetings in the three districts to raise awareness among traditional, civic and other leaders on SRH rights for young people with disabilities. Dedicated sessions for young people with disabilities will also be held to improve awareness of their rights to health and build their capacity to advocate for the respect for their rights by duty bearers.
  • Advocacy training for youths with disabilities will be undertaken in the three provinces and advocacy plans developed for each province with key targets clearly identified.
  • Facilitating two annual symposiums for policy dialogue and advocacy among policy makers, health practitioners, leaders of organisations for persons with disabilities, researchers, academics and the media. Accessible information education communication materials will be produced.
  • Producing animated videos and HD graphic illustrations on sexual reproductive health rights for distribution on social media and as public service announcements.

Improved access to SRH services for youth with disabilities is expected as a result of this project, enabled by an enhanced understanding among frontline health workers, more supportive attitude within communities including media coverage and a more inclusive policy environment.

Project Partners
Disability Rights Watch (DRW)

Disability Rights Watch (DRW) is a leading human rights advocacy organisation for persons with disabilities and a coordination platform for best practices in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Zambia. DRW undertakes strategic litigation to address discrimination of persons with disabilities. DRW works with partners to support the implementation of community-based inclusive development programmes targeted at youths, women and girls with disabilities.

Youth Action for Disability Inclusion in Zambia (YADIZ)

YADIZ is a youth led and youth focused organisation that strives to attain equal participation for disabled youth in Zambia. It is currently collaborating with DRW in working with the government of Zambia to implement disability sensitive Covid-19 prevention measures and providing support to households of children and youth with disabilities in three districts, including emergency household grants.

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