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New set of standards to support age and disability inclusive humanitarian response

Emergency Inclusion

Around the world, about 1 in 8 people are over the age of 60, and 15% of the world population is living with some kind of disability. In emergencies, older people and people with disabilities thus make up a significant part of the affected population. Moreover, the risk of disability often increases as a result of conflict or natural disaster, due to injuries and poor health care. For example, a survey by HelpAge and Handicap International found that 22% of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon had an impairment.

After 8 months living in Zaatari refugee camp Ebtesam fractured her hip. Ebtesam had several rehabilitation sessions with a Handicap International physiotherapist and was given a walking frame and stick. Jordan

After 8 months living in Zaatari refugee camp Ebtesam fractured her hip. Ebtesam had several rehabilitation sessions with a Handicap International physiotherapist and was given a walking frame and stick. Jordan

The Minimum Standards for Age and Disability Inclusion in Humanitarian Action provide guidance for humanitarian actors at all levels and in all contexts, to make their programmes more inclusive of older people and people with disabilities.

The Standards build on a wide range of existing guidance and standards, including those with a specific focus on older age or disability, and key documents such as the Sphere Handbook and the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS).

Adapting humanitarian programmes to meet the needs of older people and people with disabilities

Despite an increasing focus on protection, and ‘vulnerable’ groups, a systematic approach to ensure the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities is still needed. Christine Knudsen, Director of The Sphere Project, said: ‘With the publication of these Minimum Standards for Age and Disability, practitioners and organizations have even stronger support and clear illustrations of what this means in practice and what actions can be taken.’

Older people and people with disabilities are affected by many of the same or similar barriers to access and participation. The Minimum Standards establish benchmarks to guide good practice and suggest measures that humanitarian organisations can take to adapt existing programmes.

The ADCAP programme

The Minimum Standards have been developed as part of the ADCAP (Age and Disability Capacity) programme, as part of a portfolio of capacity strengthening projects under the Start Network. ADCAP is an initiative of the Age and Disability Consortium, a group of seven agencies working to promote age and disability inclusive humanitarian assistance, led by HelpAge International and including CBM, DisasterReady.org, Handicap International, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Oxford Brookes University and RedR UK. The programme is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

For more factsheets and other Handicap International publications, please visit our Reports section.

Date published: 19/08/15

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