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

  • Marianne Griffiths
  • Hasheem Mannan
  • Malcolm MacLachlan


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.


Disable People Inclusive Education Civil Society Group Advocacy Action Legal Empowerment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are very grateful to the staff from International Services (Ireland) and other local, national, international and governmental organisations who kindly facilitated the research described in this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianne Griffiths
    • 1
  • Hasheem Mannan
    • 1
  • Malcolm MacLachlan
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Global HealthTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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