International Development charity, Bath-based Send a Cow, is launching a new pilot project supporting disabled people in Northern Uganda thanks to National Lottery funding.
The charity has been awarded £498,000 to launch the Send a Cow Disability Mainstreaming Project: a three year project that will directly benefit 4500 vulnerable and disabled people living in the Amuru district of Northern Uganda.
The project is due to start in January 2018 and will involve Send a Cow working in partnership with the National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU).
As well as helping farming families to achieve greater food security and improved livelihoods, the project will have a special focus on how the charity can develop its approach to ensure greater inclusivity across its projects, and actively engage those with disabilities in adapting its approach to meet their needs.
Unlike Send a Cow’s current disability focused project in Uganda, which works exclusively with disabled women, this pilot scheme will involve setting up mixed self-help groups with both disabled and non-disabled people.
In doing so, Send a Cow aims to reduce stigma around disability and encourage learning and shared understanding between disabled and non-disabled people in the community.
Paul Stuart, Chief Executive of Send a Cow said: ‘‘In the past, we have found it difficult to recruit disabled ‘peer farmers’ who are responsible for training and supporting families in the local area.
“Many disabled people in Uganda are ostracized by the community and lack the confidence to put themselves forward for a leadership role. That’s why we’re trying a different approach with this project.
“We’ll be training up twice the number of peer farmers and pairing up non-disabled farmers with disabled ones so that they can learn from each other, act as role models and encourage more disabled people to get involved.’’
Northern Uganda was selected because it has an unusually high proportion of disabled people as a result of the war with the Lord’s Resistance Army. The Ugandan Bureau of Statistics Census 2014 found 12.5% of the Ugandan population have some form of disability.
In Pabbo sub county, the district where Send a Cow will be working, statistics show that 7,000 (16%) have hearing difficulties, with many more people having other physical or mental impairments.
Paul Stuart added: ‘‘This is a really important step forward for Send a Cow and a critical pilot scheme which we hope to learn a lot from. Through this new project, we want to find out how we can adapt our approach and techniques so that everyone, no matter what their disability, can participate and benefit.
“This project is instrumental in helping us to become a fully inclusive organisation, both in terms of our staff and our farmers and we’re really grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for making it possible.’’
Send a Cow plans to share lessons learned from the project with all of its African country programmes, upskilling staff across the organisation and raising awareness of the barriers and additional difficulties faced by people living with a disability.
A detailed report exploring the findings of the project will also be circulated to external organisations and networks, including other charities and NGOs working with disabled and vulnerable people.