In the Iringa District, conditions of children with disabilities and their families are very harsh. Despite some improvements in policies and regulations, the situation for education access is still critical. In fact, children with disabilities are often abandoned to themselves, hidden at home, and deprived of the opportunity to go to school. In order to foster their inclusion in the community, IBO Italia – that is implementing in Iringa the project “No One Left Behind” funded bu the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) – involved ARCO to carry out an Emancipatory Research. This peculiar social research method allows to create knowledge about the situation of children with disabilities living in the District and uses research’s results for advocacy and dissemination in order to improve the living conditions of children with disabilities.
The Emancipatory Approach Methodology allows participants gain the ownership of the whole research process. Through the acquisition of skills and expertise in conducting the study, research subjects lead all or some of the research activities (from the decision of the research strategy to the dissemination of results) and professional researchers become only a scientific support\facilitator.
This ER has been structured and implemented through the collaboration between expert researchers and a group of local people that was composed by four local researchers without disabilities and six persons with disabilities. The research was articulated around several steps: training, piloting, identification of co-researchers, elaboration of research protocol, tools and sample size, data collection (both quantitative and qualitative), data analysis and reporting.
Co-designed quantitative research tools included: questionnaire for village assessment – for the 3 villages identified by the project: Kibaoni, Isimani and Kipera – questionnaire for primary school assessment – for each primary school in the three villages – questionnaire for household assessment – for 169 households, roughly half of which had a child with disability.
Interviews to key informants, focus groups and life course interviews were selected as qualitative research tools.
Following an eco-systemic approach to child well-being, results are described for each level: community, school, and household. To have a more complete picture of the ER results, read the Executive summary here: