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Disability and Poverty: the need for a more nuanced understanding of implications for development policy and practice

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The international development community is beginning to recognise that people with disabilities constitute among the poorest and most vulnerable of all groups, and thus must be a core issue in development policies and programmes. Yet the relationship between disability and poverty remains ill-defined and under-researched, with few studies providing robust and verifiable data that examine the intricacies of this relationship. A second, linked issue is the need for—and current lack of—criteria to assess whether and how disability-specific and disability ‘mainstreamed’ or ‘inclusive’ programmes work in combating the exclusion, marginalisation and poverty of people with disabilities. This article reviews existing knowledge and theory regarding the disability–poverty nexus. Using both established theoretical constructs and field-based data, it attempts to identify what knowledge gaps exist and need to be addressed with future research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre, University College London, 1-19 Torrington PlaceLondonWC1E 6BT, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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