Our work on inclusive employment

We’re helping to make practical changes to the way companies train and hire people with disabilities.

Staff members in an office in Lagos, Nigeria. They're wearing telephone headsets. One man is wearing dark glasses.

Employment opportunities for people with disabilities are limited by stigma, discrimination and physical barriers.

While most of the 1.3 billion people with disabilities around the world are of working age, only about a third are in employment.

Inclusive Futures has generated solid evidence that labour markets can adapt to provide business opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as formal and informal  employment.

We’re scaling up this work to create more employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and driving commitments from business leaders, governments and donors to make this happen.

Watch the video: Learn about our work on disability inclusive employment in partnership with United Disabled Persons of Kenya.

Our approach to inclusive employment

We help jobseekers improve their skills

Jobseekers with disabilities often have the right skills, but lack workplace experience, confidence and encouragement. We’re working with jobseekers to build their confidence and skills, enabling them to compete in the employment market and fulfil their career aspirations.

We boost employers’ knowledge

Employers want to be more inclusive, but don’t always have the knowledge, policies or infrastructure to attract, hire and retain people with disabilities. We work with employers and national business and disability networks to increase their confidence so they can influence others.

We address a lack of structural support

Emerging markets in the countries where we work often lack corporate, governmental and other forms of structural support, which are needed to address barriers facing jobseekers and employers. We help to create or develop the supporting networks needed to address this.

We produce research and evidence

We are generating a base of research and evidence of what works to include people with disabilities in employment and that can be replicated and scaled. We publish our research, evidence and resources, so they can be used by businesses, donors and governments to increase action and investment.

Our employment projects

A group of people around a table at a workshop meeting.

Inclusion Works

Country: Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda
Duration: 2019 – 2022
Donor: UK aid
Partners: ADD International, BBC Media Action, Benetech, Development Initiatives, IDA, IDS, Inclusion International, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, Sightsavers

This pilot tested innovative ways to create job opportunities for people with disabilities. From 2018 to 2022, we worked with more than 500 businesses, training over 3,700 employees to build their disability confidence, and supported more than 2,300 jobseekers with employment skills training. What we learned

Jane is sitting outside of her home and sorting seeds from a pot.
© Sightsavers/Ninth Wonder Productions

Global Labor Program – Inclusive Futures

Country: Kenya
Duration: October 2021 – October 2026
Donor: USAID
Partners: BBC Media Action, COTU-K, Equal Rights Trust, Innovations for Poverty Action, KEFEADO, LINC, Sightsavers, UDPK, Ulula

This programme aims to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities, particularly women, and improve labour rights in the supply chains at Kenya Breweries Limited and Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. About the programme

A man and woman talk inside a shop.

Inclusive livelihoods

Country: Kenya
Duration: July 2019 – July 2024
Donor: UK aid
Partners: Humanity & Inclusion, Light for the World, Sense International

This project will help more than 3,000 micro-entrepreneurs with disabilities to grow, develop or sustain their businesses. It is helping to strengthen the overall system by influencing government policy towards a more inclusive business environment and linking entrepreneurs to market and procurement opportunities in the public and private sector, with a particular focus on microentrepreneurs in a refugee context and people who are deafblind. Project snapshot.

A woman stands outside in front of a large crate of coffee beans.
© Cordaid Asia

Inclusive coffee value chains

Country: Nepal
Duration: December 2019 – March 2023
Donor: UK aid
Partner: Light for the World

We worked with Hamro Coffee to improve opportunities for small-scale coffee farmers with disabilities to supply to local or global markets, ranging from local street markets to formal global value chains. We helped organisations of people with disabilities and coffee value chains to test innovative ways of improving the inclusion of people with disabilities in the country’s coffee sector. Project snapshot

A man shows a young person how to solder some electrical equipment.
© Ayesha Islam/BRAC

Skills training for young people with disabilities

Country: Bangladesh
Duration: November 2019 – March 2023
Donor: UK aid
Partners: BRAC, ADD International, Light for the World, Sense International

We adapted BRAC’s successful Skills Training for Advancing Resources (STAR) programme, which provides skills training and job placements, to support young people with disabilities and people who are deafblind. We worked in partnership with marginalised populations and linked up with organisations of people with disabilities to broaden the project’s reach. Project snapshot

Project resources:

Two women sitting together and sharing each other’s company.
© Sightsavers/ Martin Kharumwa

Inclusive poverty graduation

Country: Uganda
Duration: June 2019 – March 2022
Donor: UK aid
Partners: BRAC, Humanity & Inclusion

We provided support for BRAC’s Disability Inclusive Graduation programme in northern Uganda, which targeted 2,700 households living in extreme poverty. The programme provided training on enterprise management, financial literacy, and inclusion in village savings and loans associations and social solidarity groups. Working with organisations of people with the disabilities, the programme reached more than 500 people with disabilities who received assistive and prosthetic devices, community advocacy, legal consultation, coaching and mentorship. Project snapshot

Research and resources

Employer toolkit

Practical guidance to make it easier for leaders, HR executives and property managers to foster inclusive workspaces.

Labour market assessments

Evidence to encourage innovation, learning and offer new approaches to inclusive development policy and practices.

Trade and disability inclusion briefing notes

Providing guidance on how to achieve greater disability inclusion within trade and development policy and programming.

Addressing barriers to employment for people with disabilities

Findings from evaluations, research and case studies on programmes that seek to address employment barriers.

Impact of training programmes for people with disabilities

Report examining the impact of training programmes on inclusive employment in low and middle income countries.