Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) in Uganda

A role for social work?

Authored by: Charlotte Persson

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472468512
eBook ISBN: 9781315557359
Adobe ISBN: 9781317029380


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It is estimated that 19% of Uganda’s population of 41 million has some form of disability, and 45% of the disability population is under 30 years of age, a large percentage of whom are children (Daumerie & Madsen, 2010; Lang & Murangira, 2009; Uganda Bureau of Statistics and ICF International, 2012). Uganda has a strong record of advocating for the rights of people with disabilities (Katsui & Kumpuvuori, 2008; Lang & Murangira, 2009) and policies promoting their interests, including its 1995 Constitution and the 2006 National Policy on Disability. It is also a signatory to the 2008 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and 1983 International Labour Organisation Convention on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons (International Labour Organization (ILO), 2004; Lang & Murangira 2009). Its commitment to disability is also evidenced by its introduction of programs targeted at improving the socioeconomic opportunities of vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities: The special disability grant and the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) are pilot cash transfer schemes within the Expanding Social Protection Program (ESPP) (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), 2012). ESPP aims to improve access to healthcare, education, and other welfare services for chronically poor people; significantly, 33% of eligible households have a chronically ill or disabled member (Oxford Policy Management, Economic Policy Research Centre & Neema, 2013). Social work has a significant role to play in disability issues. This chapter begins with a brief overview of the development of social work and the evolution of disability services in Uganda before examining a particular initiative for people with disabilities. A case study is presented of a pilot of this initiative in one district in the Western Region of Uganda.

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