The intersection between disability and gender has led to increase in the vulnerability of women and girls with disabilities. According to international researches, the vulnerability of women with disabilities (WWDs) particularly in low and middle income countries (LMICs) is higher than in more developed climes.
This situation has been worsened by the crises created by the prevailing COVID-19 global pandemic. Women and girls with disabilities have been found to be increasingly vulnerable to poverty due to several forms of discrimination manifesting through culturally rooted male preferences and universal devaluation of disabilities.
In view of this, women with disabilities are more exposed to practices which qualify as torture or inhuman or degrading treatment; they are more susceptible to violence and abuse; thereby placing their lives at risk.
While there is limited data available on the impact of COVID-19 on women with disabilities, available global evidence show that Domestic and genderbased violence (GBV) mostly perpetrated against women (including WWDs) stands out as one of the major social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has mostly arisen out of psychosocial and economic frustrations imposed by rapidly shrinking household resources, prolonged overdependence, limited access to services and pre-covid-19 existing negative culture-based gender beliefs and practices.
Unfortunately, the paucity of credible evidence with regards to the GBV experiences of women and girls with disabilities especially in less developed countries like Nigeria, as well as the absence of other relevant data could be a great barrier to the effective inclusion of WWDs in major GBV interventions particularly in an emergency situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the UN and its Agencies (including UN Women), as well as other international disability organizations have issued Position Papers to provide some guidance to national and subnational governments, There has been very low capacity within national and subnational governments to adapt This documents to meet local contexts. This is also responsible for the absence of appropriate frameworks such as simple guidelines that could be used by all levels of government, civil society and disabled people’s organizations and other critical stakeholders to facilitate inclusion of WWDs in GBV interventions.
In view of the foregoing, FACICP Disability Plus, in collaboration with Mobility International USA (MIUSA) implemented a 6-month project on Mobilizing Leaders of Women with Disabilities (WWDs) for Inclusive Responses to Gender-Based Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic. As part of the project, FACICP organized a oneday Roundtable Discussion with stakeholders to develop Guidelines for Inclusion of WWDs in GBV Interventions in the COVID. Accordingly, the key outcome of the Roundtable Discussion is this guideline document which is designed to support key stakeholders in providing frameworks and procedures for the mainstreaming of WWDs in GBV and COVID responses.
The full guideline can be downloaded via – Multi Stakeholders Guidelines for Mainstreaming Women with Disabilities into GBV