A round logo of a virus

People with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

On top of the barriers they face every day, many people with disabilities experienced additional inequalities because of the pandemic.

We adapted the work of Inclusive Futures to reach 60,000 people with and without disabilities to provide immediate relief packages and longer-term support. We also reached 14 million people through the media with accessible information and to tackle stigma and discrimination.

Our evidence and learnings will be used to encourage and enable the development and humanitarian sectors to be more inclusive of people with disabilities in the future.

A woman shows a young girl how to wash her hands outside using a tap, in Kenya.

Learnings and research from our COVID-19 response

Delivering a response that is inclusive of people with disabilities

Our learnings confirm effective approaches to the participation of people with disabilities and their representative organisations. They show ways of partnering with organisations of people with disabilities for an informed response and outline ways to gather data. This demonstrates the importance of linking response strategies with longer-term recovery.
The learning report will be published in July 2021

COVID-19 and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities

Research led by the Disability Inclusion Helpdesk found that the pandemic had a profoundly negative impact on the organisations which represent people with disabilities (OPDs), when members needed them the most. The global evidence review and participatory research found that, in the first year of the pandemic, funding to OPDs dramatically reduced, movement restrictions severely impacted activities and access to decision makers was reduced. At the same time OPDs faced increased demand for support, including to meet people's basic needs and to provide accessible information to people with disabilities about the pandemic and its associated restrictions. to bridge the gap created by crisis responses which were not inclusive. The research also highlights some positive practices and new opportunities for OPDs.
The full research will be published in July 2021

How underrepresented people with disabilities were impacted by COVID-19

Inclusive Futures partner the Institute of Development Studies carried out two pieces of participatory research, one focused on the impact of COVID-19 on jobseekers with disabilities in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, the other focused on marginalised people with disabilities. This included women, people with deafblindness and people with intellectual disabilities, in Bangladesh and Nepal.
Read the experiences of people with disabilities

WATCH Bridging COVID-19 Response and Recovery

Watch the Inclusive Futures side event at COSP14, including expert representatives from OPDs, researchers and development professionals who shares learnings from Inclusive Futures' COVID-19 response programme, and how what we have learnt can support us all to ensure people with disabilities are intrinsically included in post-pandemic recovery.

How our work responded to COVID-19

Women working together on a piece of paper.


We supported the UK government with research through our Disability Inclusion Helpdesk and disability experts, advocating globally for a disability inclusive response and conducting research about what works in disability inclusive crisis responses.

Three people in Bangladesh use hand sanitiser.


We addressed the immediate and urgent needs of more than 3,000 households with people with disabilities and supported Organisations for People with Disabilities to advocate to government for disability-inclusive responses.

Two men wearing face masks have a discussion outside a shop.


We supported entrepreneurs with small grants to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on their income, and provided training on best practice and innovation to adapt their business to continue trading through the pandemic.

Three women sit talking in Nepal. They are wearing facemasks and one is holding a bottle of sanitiser and an information leaflet.


Our response to COVID-19 was wide-ranging, from providing subsistence allowances, food relief, nutrient packages, hygiene kits and sanitary products, to advocating for an inclusive response and post-crisis recovery.

An accessibility audit is carried out.


COVID-19 stigma and discrimination was tackled through the media reaching 14m people, and rapid audits of COVID-19 testing centres, isolation and treatment units made them accessible for people with disabilities.

A group of 12 people sit around two tables in a room in Tanzania, having a meeting. One man stands at the front with a flip chart.


A COVID-19 coordination group which brought together key representatives and coordinates a disability-inclusive response to the pandemic ensured that people with disabilities were not left behind.