The livelihoods sector encompasses a number of areas including work and employment, social protection, vocational training and access to credit, all of which are relevant for persons with disabilities to create a sustainable life for themselves and their families. However persons with disabilities find themselves discriminated against when seeking employment, may have had limited access to formal and informal training activities for employment, and often are not considered trustworthy by credit providers. They also may have difficulty accessing information about their rights to welfare or financial support, or the processes needed to apply for these.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) Article 28 (Adequate standard of living and social protection) provides that persons with disabilities have the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.

Similarly, UNCRPD Article 27 (Work and employment) states that persons with disabilities should have the right to participate in the labour market, make choices about types of work, and work in environments that are open, inclusive and accessible.

Development actors must understand the linkages between education, training, employment, financial inclusion and social protection measures, and tailor appropriate responses across these sectors.

See also: Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Bruijn, P. (2013) Inclusion Works! Lessons learned on the inclusion of people with disabilities in a food security project for ultra poor women in Bangladesh

This resource details the success of the ICCO Gaibandha Food Security Project in Bangladesh, as one of the first programs that has mainstreamed disability on a large scale. This resource and its study findings represent the lessons learned and recommendations for mainstreaming disability in a food security and livelihoods program.

Pacific Community (2019) Pacific handbook for gender equity and social inclusion in coastal fisheries and aquaculture

This handbook is designed to give practical guidance on improving gender and social inclusion in coastal fisheries and aquaculture for staff working in fisheries agencies in Pacific Island countries and territories. It focuses on the responsibilities of Pacific Island governments to help promote sustainable development outcomes for all people relying on coastal fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. The modules are structured around the tasks involved in government work on coastal fisheries and aquaculture, that is, the planning and implementation of projects and programmes, including social analysis, monitoring and evaluation, policy development, community engagement, fisheries management, and livelihood projects.

World Health Organization and World Bank (2011) World report on disability

Chapter 8 of this report offers analysis of the factors which facilitate and prevent participation of persons with disabilities in work and employment in the formal and informal economies, and describes strategies for overcoming barriers, including social protection, technical and vocational education and training, legislation, microfinance and self-employment.

World Health Organization (2010) Community based rehabilitation: CBR Guidelines: Livelihood Component

The Livelihood component of the CBR guidelines provides practical illustrative strategies for disability inclusion within livelihood programs. It includes strategies for skill development, self-employment, wage employment, financial services and social protection. It also includes case studies.

There are no case studies available

There are no video link available

Picture of a man in India walking along a path with two goats who are on rope leads.

Photo: Keith McAllister, 2008

Aarush* is a 24 year old man from a farming community in India who is deafblind. He was provided with mobility training by a CBR project. He then undertook vocational training in making paper and envelopes from which he earns a small amount of money to contribute to his family’s welfare. He also helps tend the goats, staying close within his family’s small compound. (*Pseudonym used). Copyright: CBM