Disability & International Development

pp 105-117


Empowerment, Advocacy and National Development Policy: A Case Study of Disabled Peoples’ Organizations in Bolivia

  • Marianne GriffithsAffiliated withCentre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin Email author 
  • , Hasheem MannanAffiliated withCentre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin
  • , Malcolm MacLachlanAffiliated withCentre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin

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This chapter describes the concepts of empowerment and advocacy and considers their relevance to promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities (PWD) in development policy. We begin by considering the “big picture” of development policy instruments, focusing on Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) as an ultimate target for the inclusion of disability on the development agenda. We then consider some pertinent theory concerning empowerment and advocacy. Next we look at what actually happens, on the ground, by presenting a case study of disability advocacy and empowerment activity by disabled peoples’ organizations (DPOs) in La Paz, Bolivia. There are considerable challenges in moving from valuable but often opportunistic and unstructured local advocacy and empowerment initiatives to less immediately rewarding inclusion in national development policy instruments. In considering what policy rhetoric says, what theory suggests and what happens in practice, our fundamental concern is with how to link daily localized advocacy activities of DPOs to longer-term strategic interests of inclusive national development.