Original Research

Activity and participation experiences of people with disabilities in Ethiopia

Terry Krupa, Rosemary Lysagh, Yetnayet S. Yehuala, Heather M. Aldersey, Molalign B. Adugna, Dorothy Kessler, Beata Batorowicz, Jasmine Montagnese, Klodiana Kolomitro
African Journal of Disability | Vol 11 | a1002 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v11i0.1002 | © 2022 Terry Krupa, Rosemary Lysaght, Yetnayet S. Yehuala, Heather M. Aldersey, Molalign B. Adugna, Dorothy Kessler, Beata Batorowicz, Jasmine Montagnese, Klodiana Kolomitro | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 December 2021 | Published: 16 September 2022

About the author(s)

Terry Krupa, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Rosemary Lysagh, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Yetnayet S. Yehuala, Institute of Public Health, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia; and School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Heather M. Aldersey, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; and International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Molalign B. Adugna, Department of Sociology, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
Dorothy Kessler, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Beata Batorowicz, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Jasmine Montagnese, International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada
Klodiana Kolomitro, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada


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Abstract

Background: Ethiopia, as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), has committed to upholding the rights of people with disabilities in Ethiopia. There is little evidence, however, reflecting the impact of this commitment on the lived experiences of people with disabilities in Ethiopia.

Objectives: This study sought to uncover how the experiences of participation and activity shape the enactment of rights for Ethiopians with disabilities as enshrined in the UNCRPD.

Method: Analysis of 25 qualitative interviews with people with disabilities and family members living in Ethiopia used a reflexive thematic analysis approach to arrive at central themes.

Results: People with disabilities in Ethiopia experience marginalisation, distress and practical challenges in both routine daily activities and participation in broader social roles and opportunities. These experiences affect their ability to claim many of the rights afforded by the UNCRPD.

Conclusion: Despite legislative efforts to bring about change in Ethiopia, people with disabilities continue to live on the social margins. A meaningful change will require substantial allocation of needed resources by the Ethiopian government to support national-level programmes and policy change. It is critical that people with disabilities and their families are engaged in receiving relevant support, and serve as change leaders.

Contribution: This study illustrates how marginalisation, distress and practical challenges in daily activities and social participation arise and are sustained for people with disabilities in Ethiopia. The findings can help to inform the country’s efforts to enact the rights of Ethiopians with disabilities as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Keywords

Ethiopia; UNCRPD; ICF; capabilities approach; disability; inclusion; lived experience; qualitative research.

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