Our work on stigma and discrimination

We’re tackling negative stereotypes around disability and promoting inclusion in communities.

Two men using a camera as a part of media training in Kenya.

People with disabilities often face enormous barriers when they try to get an education, earn a living or access healthcare because of the misconceptions people have about their needs and abilities.

Across almost all of our projects we work with communities to change negative attitudes and behaviours towards people with disabilities.

Some of our projects have a specific focus on using social behaviour change to counter disability stigma and discrimination within societies more broadly.

Watch: Hear about the stigma and discrimination people with disabilities face when looking for a job.

Our approach to tackling stigma and discrimination

We base our work on robust research

As part of our projects, we carry out detailed research to determine the causes of negative social behaviours around disability. We use the data we collect to develop social behaviour change campaigns, targeting specific audiences with activities, materials and messages to influence positive behaviour.

We amplify voices with lived experience

We work closely with people with disabilities and their representative groups, to provide opportunities and platforms where they can use their own voices to challenge misconceptions about disability in communities and wider society.

We provide support and training

People with disabilities often internalise the negative stereotypes they face in society. We provide support to people with disabilities to address self-stigma and encourage them to access inclusive education and health services, and employment opportunities. We also provide training for healthcare and education workers to improve how they interact with people with disabilities.

We partner to broaden our impact

We support journalists and media partners to develop content that is disability-positive. This includes radio programmes, written in collaboration with people with disabilities that challenge societal stigma and discrimination. We also work with journalists to challenge their own reporting standards and representation of people with disabilities in their daily work.

Our projects

A black man with crutches reads from a script and speaks into a microphone.

Radio drama to reduce stigma and discrimination in Nigeria

Country: Nigeria
Duration: November 2019 – September 2021
Donor: UK aid
Partners: BBC Media Action

In this project, BBC Media Action worked with people with disabilities to adapt the popular radio drama Story Story to address discrimination by including characters and storylines reflecting the lived experiences of people with disabilities. The drama reached 3.96 million people across six focal states in north-east Nigeria. Research showed that it had a positive impact on listeners’ behaviour, resulting in increased knowledge and higher levels of discussion about disability, and more positive perceptions towards people with disabilities.

Through the project BBC Media Action also produced training for local radio stations on how to produce disability-inclusive content. Project snapshot


Miriam and Malick, young journalists with disabilities who were employed by the Niambie radio show.

Addressing stereotyping and discrimination through the media in Tanzania

Country: Tanzania
Duration: April 2019 – August 2019
Donor: UK aid
Partners: BBC Media Action

In this project, BBC Media Action produced a series of radio and social media content under the Niambie (“Tell me” In Swahili) brand, to address negative stereotyping and discrimination against people with disabilities. The content featured the voices of women and girls with disabilities and others experiencing high levels of discrimination in Tanzania.

By broadcasting on national radio, the project helped bring disability into mainstream conversations and provided a platform for young people with disabilities. The project increased knowledge and confidence among audiences about the rights of people with disabilities and what they can do to promote inclusive communities and services. 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. As part of the project, we designed a social behaviour change toolkit to promote positive behaviours and challenge discrimination amongst employers, family members and community members, using targeted messages and activities. Project snapshot


An eye doctor is pointing to a list of letters as a man in a wheelchair reads them out as part of an eye test.
© Sightsavers

Improving access to eye care services for people with disabilities in Nigeria

Duration: December 2019 – September 2022
Donor: UK aid
Partners: Sightsavers

This project piloted an inclusive health approach that focused on improving the quality of and equity in access to eye care services for people with disabilities in Kogi state, Nigeria. To combat the low demand for inclusive eye care services, we designed a campaign to influence the behaviours of men and women with disabilities. By focusing on both barriers and enablers to access, the campaign improved the attendance of people with disabilities. Project snapshot


Julius and Najiba stand outside their home in Uganda with their two young children. Julius is holding a white cane.

Promoting access to inclusive family planning for people with disabilities in Nigeria

Duration: January 2022 – July 2024
Donor: UK aid
Partners: Sightsavers, BBC Media Action

Our project in northern Nigeria aims to improve access to and use of family planning services for women with disabilities through social behaviour change activities such as mass media broadcasts and working with health facilities and communities. Project snapshot

Research and resources

Learning brief: social behaviour change

What we’ve learned about using social behaviour change to promote disability inclusion in development programmes.

Evidence digest: LGBTIQ+ and disability inclusion

An evidence digest from the Disability Inclusion Helpdesk on LGBTIQ+ and disability inclusion.

Research briefing: Using radio drama to tackle disability discrimination in Nigeria

What Inclusive Futures learned from using radio drama to address disability-related stigma and discrimination.

Blog: Examining awareness of disability in Nigeria

What BBC Media Action learned from conducting research around disability in Nigeria.

Literature review: Disability-related stigma and discrimination

An overview of what is currently known about stigma-related interventions in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia and where the knowledge gaps are.

Research briefing: Disability stigma in Inclusive Futures programme countries

An overview of evidence of disability-related stigma and discrimination in the countries where we work.