Onderwerp scriptie

Breaking down barriers to exclusion

Problem statement According to estimates (WHO, 2011), 15% of world population has disability of which 3 percent severe. Disability is closely linked to poverty, inequality and exclusion (UNDP, 2008). Civil society can play a major role in promoting disability inclusive development. The latter implies a type of development in which all stages of development processes are inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities. The project Breaking down Barriers builds on the notion that civil society can make a more effective, effective and sustainable contribution to disability inclusive development by using scientific evidence as the basis of key strategic decisions.

Breaking down Barriers

In 2020 the Radboud University started the 'Breaking down Barriers' project together with Liliane Foundation (LF) to generate new knowledge on disability inclusive development. Besides generating academically relevant knowledge, the project aims to contribute to better policies and practices by generating academic evidence as the basis for improved decision-making by LF and its partners in the global South. The research conducted in this four-year research project is conducted in Zambia, Cameroon and Sierra Leone. Data-collection is done by MA-students from these countries, as well as students from Dutch universities. Local academics provide field support.

Research tracks

Disability-inclusive development means that all stages of development processes are inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities. It requires both knowledge on strategies, and what makes them effective, sustainable and efficient for different groups, and the institutional arrangements underpinning the implementation of these strategies. Therefore, to fit within scope of the project, research has to fit within one of the following themes:

  1. Strategies promoting disability inclusive development
  2. The role of CSOs and other agencies in promoting disability inclusive development

Track 1: Strategies
The overarching research question of this track is: For whom, how and in what circumstances do different strategies for disability inclusive development produce positive or negative outcomes? To be eligible, research in this track has to connect to at least one of the following policy priorities of Liliane Foundation: CBR, rehabilitation, inclusive education, youth led advocacy, SRHR and inclusive labor. Important topics include (but are not limited to):

  • effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability
  • upscaling potential
  • strategy features that help or hinder
  • service delivery vs advocacy
  • expected and unexpected outcomes
  • involvement of persons with disabilities
  • intersectionality and group diversity
  • the validity of programme assumptions

Track 2: role of CSO and other agencies
The overarching research question of this track is: How do CSOs and other agencies contribute to disability inclusive development and what enables them to do so? Important topics include (but are not limited to):

  • patterns of collaboration with local stakeholders
  • support of international donors or Northern CSOs
  • types and level of resources
  • different forms of legitimacy
  • level of embeddedness different
  • types of organizational capacities
  • organisational setup
  • intersectionality within organisations

What we are looking for

We are looking for talented ResMA and MA students who are interested in conducting innovative and policy relevant research in the field of disability inclusive development. Participation in this project (also) means a contributing to the strategic decision-making capacity of LF and its local civil society partners. Amongst other things, this means that students will:

  • Identify a research topic/question in cooperation with LF;
  • present their research proposal to LF;
  • present their (preliminary) findings at the end of their fieldwork period to LF and other stakeholders.

The corona-situation means that the opportunities to do fieldwork in Zambia, Cameroon or Sierra Leone will probably be limited. Nevertheless there are still ample possibilities to do interesting and relevant research from the Netherlands.

What we offer

Reasons to participate in this project include:

  • The opportunity to conduct research into a relevant topic that is at the center stage of contemporary (inclusive) development debates
  • Being part of a collaborative effort that seeks to produce real-world benefits to persons with disabilities;
  • The opportunity to write an academic article (if the quality of your thesis permits this)