Despite a strong global and national legal framework to protect their rights on paper, girls with disabilities in Sierra Leone face social exclusion, limited educational and economic opportunities and extreme levels of discrimination in all realms of public life, including within their own families and communities. This study analyses a case study of disability mainstreaming in the advocacy activities of a grassroots NGO, One Family People, as part of the international Girl Power Programme, paying particular attention to the role of framing and the voice of girls with disabilities on the project’s outcomes in relation to disability. Despite the obstacles, this organisation included girls with disabilities throughout the programme, bringing many tangible intended and unintended improvements to the lives of these girls, including reduced risk of sexual violence, improved social relationships, heightened self-esteem and better educational opportunities. As a strategy to advance disability rights in Sierra Leone, however, the project was less successful, as it did not explicitly challenge the cultural beliefs or address the systemic structures that sustain the marginalisation of girls with disabilities in society. The paper calls for a continuation of disability mainstreaming in ways that celebrate the diversity of those taking part and foregrounds their voices with the intention to achieve more transformative outcomes for the rights and wellbeing of girls with disabilities in the future.

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Okwany, Auma
Social Policy for Development (SPD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Frobisher, Emma. (2016, December 16). Disability Mainstreaming or Away-streaming? The Case of One Family People and the Girl Power Programme in Sierra Leone. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from