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  • Report
  • 30 September 2020

Uganda's disability data landscape and the economic inclusion of persons with disabilities: Executive summary

Executive summary

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We published an updated version of this report on Source in November 2021.

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For persons with disabilities to benefit from and contribute to society and the economy there needs to be effective policies, programmes and services that support their inclusion, particularly in employment. Reliable information and data on persons with disabilities, known as ‘disability data’, is essential to planning and for decision-making. When it is of high quality, accessible and used effectively, disability data can help organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs), civil society, government and businesses better understand and prioritise interventions that are vital for supporting persons with disabilities and ensuring their inclusion.

OPDs, civil society and the government have an important role to play in strengthening the landscape of disability data. Developed as part of Development Initiatives’ work on data to support disability inclusion, in consultation with Uganda’s disability rights movement, this report presents an analysis of Uganda’s landscape of disability data. It highlights important data sources, challenges and recommendations, providing a valuable evidence base to inform efforts aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for disability inclusion.

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Key findings

Governance of disability inclusion and data in Uganda

There is a complex arrangement of instruments and institutions that governs disability inclusion and the production of disability data in Uganda. There are important gaps in legislation and implementation as well as leadership and scope that constrain the enabling environment for inclusive employment and inclusive data.

Sources of disability data in Uganda

There is limited data in Uganda on disability, but it does exist. The available data is dispersed across multiple sources. This includes sixteen government surveys and censuses, five government administrative systems and several non-government sources.

The use of disability data in Uganda

A culture of regular data use is not commonplace in Uganda. There has been a limited demand for data in general and a relatively short history of data use. This has been exacerbated by limited capacities to use data and challenges with the available data.

Challenges in Uganda’s disability data landscape

There are a range of challenges constraining the disability data landscape in Uganda.

Challenges for government data

  • Limited resources and capacities hinder data capture by ministries, departments and agencies.
  • Data from surveys and censuses is not disaggregated (broken down into categories) to a useful level for the various groups working on disability inclusion.
  • The disability data produced by surveys and censuses lacks timeliness.
  • Different models of categorising disability in surveys and censuses have led to inconsistencies in the data.
  • Stakeholders have reservations about the use of Washington Group Questions.
  • Concerns about the reliability of disability data from surveys and censuses reduces trust in the data.
  • Perceived difficulties in accessibility of disability data from surveys and censuses have limited the use of disability data.
  • The disability data captured by government administrative data systems is very limited in scope, quality, and volume.
  • Administrative data systems are not extensively deployed, and persons with disabilities are disproportionately omitted from being counted by them.
  • There are problems with collection and storage of information in administrative systems.
  • Data from administrative systems is not accessible to most potential users.

Challenges for non-government data

  • Resource and capacity constraints hinder the ability of many OPDs to collect disability data.
  • Non-government disability data often has limited re-use value as it is project focused.
  • The quality of non-government disability data is not trusted by users.
  • Limited sharing of disability data ensures lower use.
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Recommendations to strengthen the disability data landscape in Uganda

The recommendations formulated by the study were developed collaboratively with OPDs and leading disability data experts in Uganda, following a review of the evidence generated.

  • To drive improvements in disability data, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and OPDs should collaboratively institute and implement a formal cross-government and civil society working group.
  • A formal, timebound, realistic and resourced Strategy for the Development of Disability Data should be developed, endorsed and implemented. Areas of priority the strategy should look to address are:
    • The creation of a publication schedule of UBOS disability data that meets the data needs of members of the disability movement
    • The improved levels of disaggregation in survey and census data, with focus on providing data by sub-region, category and severity of disability
    • The standardisation of disability questions used in UBOS sources
    • The increased sharing and wider accessibility of disability data for both online and offline users
    • An electronic database of disability data set up in the Ministry of Gender Labour & Social Development or UBOS
    • Strengthening the capacities of local and small OPDs to support their collection of disability data
    • Strengthening the capacities of members of the disability rights movement to support their use of disability data.

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