No One Left Behind: an Emancipatory Research for young people with disabilities in Tanzania

Title No One Left Behind: rights and accessibility to school and rehabilitation services for minors with disabilities in Iringa District, Tanzania

Location Iringa, Tanzania

Duration 2019 – 2021

Project Leader IBO Italia

Local partners Nyumba A.L.I. e District of Iringa

Partner Centro di Ateneo per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo Internazionale dell’Università di Ferrara, Comune di Ferrara – Servizio Integrazione Disabili e Stranieri, Helpicare by Didacare, ISAAC Italy, La Città Verde, Istituto Leonarda Vaccari

Ente finanziatore Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo



The project “No One Left Behind: rights and accessibility to school and rehabilitation services for children with disabilities” aims to intervene on the structural, educational and cultural causes of exclusion and to strengthen basic services for young people with disabilities in the District of Iringa, in Tanzania.

The life of children with disabilities and their families is complicated: the former have a high school dropout rate due to both social stigma and difficulties in accessing schools, families instead, often finding themselves in conditions of great poverty and deprivation difficulty accessing or reaching the facilities with care, rehabilitation or education services.

The project, by adopting a participatory approach that involves all the actors of the educational community (school, day centres and families), aims to contribute to strengthening and improving the structures, and their physical access, for people with disabilities and to improve the process of social inclusion of minors.

Among the multiple activities that the project aims to carry out, all target groups, such as the community, associations of people with disabilities and local institutions, will be involved in an Emancipatory Research and in the implementation of an awareness-raising campaign to promote an inclusive culture capable of breaking down cultural barriers.


General Objective

Emancipatory Research focused on the analysis of the structural, cultural and social dynamics that limit the active participation of people with disabilities and in particular the access to school for young people with disabilities. Emancipatory Research involves local facilitators, who will have the task of conducting interviews and focus groups with caregivers of people with disabilities and young people with disabilities.

The awareness campaign on disability planned for the second and third year of the project aims to highlight the everyday difficulties of people with disabilities, in particular the daily obstacles children with disabilities face in their access to school and health facilties, and to highlight the need for disability prevention. The awareness-raising campaign also aims at promoting a positive perception of disability, with the long-term goal of fostering inclusion.

Our contribution

For the project “No One Left Behind”, ARCO was involved on two fronts: with the Inclusive Development Unit to carry out the Emancipatory Research to promote access to school for children with disabilities, and with the Communication Unit to plan and provide technical support to IBO Tanzania for the implementation of the awareness campaign on disability.

Researchers from the Inclusive Development Unit went on a field mission to train 4 local facilitators on Emancipatory Research as an action-research methodology and,on the other hand, on disability in its different biological, psychological and social dimensions. During the first days of training, Researchers deepened the theoretical and practical aspects of Emancipatory Research, in particular research tools, methodology, data collection and analysis methods.

Researchers and local facilitators also went to the villages of Kipera, Kibaoni and Isimani to interview local authorities, school headmasters, teachers, the village chief and religious leaders. In asecond phase, Researchers organized focus groups with both caregivers of children with disabilities and young people with disabilities. This phase involved approximately 132 people, including 24 key informants (teachers, village chiefs, religious leaders, etc.), 67 parents of children with disabilities, and 41 persons with disabilities. The local facilitators continued the Emancipatory Research with the identified participants and beneficiaries, while ARCO Researchers met them on a second mission  for the restitution and validation of the research results and the elaboration of an awareness-raising campaign.

In parallel, the Inclusive Development and Communication Units developed the contents and tools for the awareness campaign on disability implemented in the Iringa District. The campaign focused on 3 main themes: disability and access to prevention facilities, disability and access to school and disability and inclusion.

In order to focus people’s attention on the everyday problems of people with disabilities, 3 main channels were chosen:

  • the distribution to representatives of local institutions and people identified by the project of a leaflet focusing on the results of the Emancipatory Research
  • awareness-raising via radio through short recorded spots and two longer interviews with project participants
  • awareness-raising by images through the creation of posters focusing on the difficulties of access to school for children with disabilities.


More material produced for the awareness-raising campaign can be found on the IBO Italy website.

To know more on Emancipatory Research, read ARCO’s work with young people with disabilities in Mozambique and women with disabilities in Palestine.

Read more on our Inclusive Development Unit