Original Research

Enhancing public sectors’ capacity for inclusive economic participation of disabled youth in rural communities

Lieketseng Ned, Theresa Lorenzo
African Journal of Disability | Vol 5, No 1 | a189 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v5i1.189 | © 2016 Lieketseng Ned, Theresa Lorenzo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 April 2015 | Published: 22 July 2016

About the author(s)

Lieketseng Ned, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Theresa Lorenzo, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Background: The capacity of service providers in the public sector to deliver inclusive services is essential to implement strategies that will allow the full participation of disabled youth in development opportunities in the rural context.

Objective: The article sets to describe the capacity of service providers in facilitating participation of disabled youth in economic development opportunities.

Method: An instrumental, embedded single case study informed the research design. The sample consisted of five disabled youth, four family members as well as six service providers. Data was gathered through in-depth individual interviews and focus group discussions. Data analysis was done inductively and thematically. In the discussion, the interpretation used organisational capacity elements as a framework.

Findings: The theme on service providers indicates their understanding of disability as still a multifaceted and a challenging issue with different orientations to service delivery based on understanding of impairment and disability. There is a dominant focus on impairment and negative attitudes.

Discussion: An asset building approach could facilitate awareness of capacities of disabled youth and thus shift negative attitudes to an enabling attitude. The vague strategies for youth and women that are described as inclusive are a misrepresentation of the reality of experiences of disabled youth.

Conclusion: An appreciative process of facilitating a holistic understanding of the needs of disabled people is needed to assist service providers to reconceptualise disability within an expansive framework.


Disabled youth, economic opportunities, inclusive development, rural, South Africa, organisational capacity, community development


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