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close this bookSustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAbout the author
View the documentForeword
View the documentForeword
View the documentAbbreviations
View the documentSources and acknowledgements
close this folderSection I: Understanding and perception
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderChapter 1: Introduction
View the documentObjectives of this guide
View the documentWho may use the guide
View the documentLanguage and liberation
View the documentDebate and discussion must continue
View the documentChapter 2: An integrated approach to sustainable development for persons with disability
close this folderChapter 3: The enabling environment: SAPs, development and disability
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAction guidelines
View the documentAppendix 1: Structural adjustment programme (SAP) - The experience of Zambia
close this folderChapter 4: Community-based rehabilitation
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View the documentPractices in relation to the PWDs
View the documentWhat is CBR?
View the documentCase studies
View the documentA general assessment of CBR: Possibilities and limitations
View the documentAction guidelines
close this folderSection II: Building economic self-reliance
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderChapter 5: Building economic self-reliance
View the documentThe importance of self-reliance
View the documentEmployment options for PWDs
View the documentGroup versus individually designed and managed IGPs
View the documentIGPs at the crossroads of gender and class
View the documentAction guidelines
close this folderChapter 6: Income generating project planning
View the documentThe importance of planning
View the documentThe experience of a clothing manufacturing project run by a PWD organisation
View the documentOther lessons to learn from other experiences
View the documentRecommendations of the entebbe workshop
View the documentWhat is involved in successful planning
View the documentWhat kind of information is needed for planning?
View the documentWhat do we do with all this information?
View the documentAction guidelines
close this folderChapter 7: Implementation and resource mobilisation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSustainability
View the documentResource mobilisation
View the documentRunning an enterprise
View the documentSome case studies of projects run by PWDs
View the documentAction guidelines
View the documentAppendix 1: Revolving loan scheme (RLS)
View the documentAppendix 2: The Entebbe workshop resolution con RLS
close this folderChapter 8: Monitoring and evaluation: Measuring the success of IGPs
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMonitoring
View the documentEvaluation
View the documentMethodology of monitoring and evaluation
View the documentAction guidelines
close this folderChapter 9: Capacity building: Skills training and institution building
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEmpowerment
View the documentThe pedagogy of disability training
View the documentWomen with disabilities and capacity building for IGPs
View the documentAction guidelines
close this folderSection III: Lobbying, networking and building alliances
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderChapter 10: Strategies for lobbying, networking and building alliances
View the documentPWDs are their own principal change agents
View the documentLobbying, advocacy and networking
View the documentBroad alliances
View the documentAction guidelines
close this folderNotes and references
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentADF board of directors

Group versus individually designed and managed IGPs

Disabled people sometimes feel that they are discriminated against by the donor community. A participant at the Entebbe Workshop asked this question:

Why is it always emphasised that the development of PWDs should be undertaken in groups, yet the able-bodied develop as individuals?

Implied here is indeed a subtle form of discrimination against the disabled. They are assumed not to be capable of handling matters "on their own." They must either have somebody to hold their hands (the charity model), or they must hold each others' hands (the group model). Of course, there is nothing wrong in working in groups. On the contrary, group work has certain definite advantages. The workshop itself identified some of these:

· Groups are important particularly for certain kinds of projects which would otherwise be difficult to be undertaken by individuals, such as fence-making.

· Furthermore, group projects enable people with different disabilities to complement one another's strong points and to compensate for their drawbacks.

· Group work promotes social integration and recognition in the community. Thus, they are most suitable for CBR projects.

· Team work allows for the emergence of new ideas.

· It enables people to acquire leadership qualities, people who need to be constantly accountable to their peer group.

· Group efforts are generally more sustainable, and, if well run, have a higher level of continuity and possibilities of expansion.

· Finally, but not least, group work embodies the spirit of solidarity. A united force can lobby better for changes in the policies and practices of the government, the community, the NGOs, and other stakeholders.

All these advantages of group work are well known and appreciated. What the Entebbe participants were op posed to was the idea that PWDs can only work in groups. They were challenging the general tendency on the part of donors to insist on PWDs to form themselves into groups before they could be supported. One of the donor representatives at the workshop explained it thus:

Donors generally prefer to fund groups because limited resources would this way benefit more people. Furthermore, group projects cater a wider community, and a wide range of skills and abilities are tapped and utilised. Issues like equity, capacity building and management are taken care of In funding an individual, there is no assurance that capacity building would be achieved. There are, of course, some advantages of individual projects, such as, quick decision making and individual recognition. But the disadvantages are that these individual projects tend to have limited life span, and could be exploitative of the workers.

The workshop participants themselves identified the following as specific advantages of individual projects:

The Advantages of Individual Projects

· They are directly related to the needs of the individual.
· They are less risky.
· There is high level of commitment and motivation in individual projects.
· There are less legal implications and difficulties.

And they relayed the following negative experiences many of them had in working through group projects:

Disadvantages of Group Projects

· Divergent needs by different members; some needs are left out when people have to work in groups.

· More risks due to divergence among members.

· Some members lack commitment. Selfishness of some members who want to get more from the project compared to what they put in it. Group projects are burdened by more "observers" and fewer participators. This can result in meagre output because actual contribution is only from a few people.

· Lack of legal contract among group members can create problems.

· Newly formed groups do not understand what it means to work as a group and to take collective decisions.

· Some groups start projects which are not related to their physical and mental abilities. As a result, they are frustrated during implementation and finally the project is abandoned.

· Financial mismanagement and accountability is a constant headache.

· Lack of unity among participants.

· Poor division of labour whereby some leaders tend to personalize projects.


Of course, the debate is inconclusive. This is one of those issues where it is unwise to be rigid. Much depends on the concrete circumstances of each situation. Remember our analogy of the street map - only the inhabitants know the terrain, the byways and highways. From the outside we need to keep an open mind about various possibilities.

The workshop itself recommended that individual as well as group projects should both be promoted. The donor representative who earlier gave the reasons why her organization generally favoured the group approach went on to add, however, that in recent times it was now moving in the direction of supporting qualified individual micro-projects, not directly, but through intermediary (NGOs) The ILO representative at the workshop added that recently there has been a tendency in his organization also to advocate funding individuals rather than groups because of the problems experienced in group funding.

There we are. It is an open field. For certain purposes and in certain situations, there is no question that the group approach is ideal. But there is no reason why highly motivated individuals should not be encouraged to plough their own furrows. The objectives of the next four chapters is to look at general issues that concern both groups and individuals when they get into income generating projects.

However, before we end this chapter, there is an important issue that must be addressed. This is the question of gender and class in relation to strategies aimed at enabling the PWDs to be self-reliant.