Original Research

Disabled people’s organisations and the disability movement: Perspectives from Burkina Faso

Lara Bezzina
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a500 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.500 | © 2019 Lara Bezzina | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 February 2018 | Published: 29 April 2019

About the author(s)

Lara Bezzina, Private, Mosta, Malta


Background: In Burkina Faso, the disability movement is rather weak, both in terms of funding and staffing – its range does not extend far outside the capital city and is largely dependent on international non-governmental organisations (INGOs). Despite the huge number of grassroots disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), many of these organisations do not function beyond the occasional meeting and celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The reasons for this are various, including dependency on external funding (such as from international organisations), lack of access to resources, being dependent on voluntary members, and lack of organisation.

Objectives: This article looks at the functioning of – and politics governing – DPOs in Burkina Faso, their significance in the lives of people with disabilities and the challenges they encounter.

Method: This article is based on research findings obtained through interviews conducted with people with disabilities, as well as INGOs working with people with disabilities and state authorities in Burkina Faso.

Results: Evidence suggests that the farther people with disabilities are from the capital, the lesser are their chances of being heard and of being involved in decision-making. However, DPOs offer a haven for many, offering people with disabilities solace in meeting other members and finding a sense of belonging in these associations. Others give importance to the role of DPOs in raising awareness and human rights advocacy.

Conclusion: Finally, the article raises the question as to what the future of DPOs in Burkina Faso might entail.


Burkina Faso; disability identity; disability movement; disabled people’s organisations; income-generating activities; international non-governmental organisations; socialisation; vie associative; voluntary organisations; urban–rural divide


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