Original Research

Stakeholder consultations on community-based rehabilitation guidelines in Ghana and Uganda

Mary Wickenden, Diane Mulligan, Gertrude O. Fefoame, Phoebe Katende
African Journal of Disability | Vol 1, No 1 | a1 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v1i1.1 | © 2012 Mary Wickenden, Diane Mulligan, Gertrude O. Fefoame, Phoebe Katende | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2011 | Published: 03 October 2012

About the author(s)

Mary Wickenden, Institute for Global Health, University College London, United Kingdom
Diane Mulligan, Sightsavers, United Kingdom
Gertrude O. Fefoame, Sightsavers, Accra Office, Ghana
Phoebe Katende, Africa Centre for Development Impact


Background: The focus of this paper is the new broadened conceptualisation of community-based rehabilitation (CBR), which promotes the empowerment and inclusion of people with disabilities (PWDs) in diverse ways within their communities. New guidelines for CBR were launched in October 2010 by WHO/ILO/UNESCO/IDDC, and this paper describes part of the process by which these were produced using participatory approaches involving International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs) and local partners. The paper reviews the evolution of CBR and describes how grassroots consultation by INGOs working with key stakeholders in the disability arena can influence policy on disability issues, and reciprocally how policy change can inform organisations’ practice and research activities. This ongoing bidirectional influence is illustrated with data from the participatory consultation process about the new CBR guidelines carried out by Sightsavers in Uganda and Ghana

Objectives: To consult with key stakeholders in the disability arena in Uganda and Ghana, in order to gain their opinions and suggestions for improvements to the then draft CBR guidelines, as part of a wider global participatory process of consultation on the document.

Methods: The INGO Sightsavers gathered qualitative data through focus group discussions and questionnaires in both countries.

Results: The participants’ critiques of the draft guidelines carried out in multiagency participatory processes were analysed thematically and fed back to the CBR guidelines editorial team.

Conclusion: The paper concludes that stakeholders in diverse communities can actively contribute to shaping policy and practice through participatory consultations. Local and national government and non-government organisations and other key informants can inform the development of national and international guidelines and policies. This participatory approach can be successfully facilitated by INGOs. In turn, these processes have prompted organisations to adapt their own policies and programmes in order to be more responsive to the local needs and concerns of PWDs.


community based rehabilitation; inclusive studies;conceptualisation of new guidelines


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