Disability and extreme poverty in Uganda


Poverty and disability often go hand in hand. In Uganda, people living with disabilities represent 17% of the population. 80% of them live below the poverty line. BRAC is addressing the intersection of disability and poverty in the country in partnership with Humanity & Inclusion and the National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda with the express purpose of making disability an integral part of its globally-recognized ultra-poor graduation programme. The current pilot programme aims to support 2,700 people and their families – including people living with disabilities – to move from extreme poverty into sustainable livelihoods.

Focus area
Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems


Poverty and disability are both a cause and consequence of one another. The two-way link between them creates a vicious circle. Poverty can lead to disability through malnourishment, poor access to health services, poor sanitation and unsafe living and working conditions. Conversely, having a disability can entrap a person in poverty by limiting their access to education, employment, public services and even marriage. Moreover, the impact of disability goes beyond the people with disabilities themselves to also include their family members. 

Data is increasingly showing that people with disabilities in low-income countries are overrepresented among the poor.


BRAC’s globally-recognized ultra-poor graduation programme provides the poorest members of a village – who normally face a multitude of interconnected, cyclical problems – with productive assets, a temporary stipend to support daily consumption, enterprise development, saving plans and life skills coaching, together with essential healthcare services and education.

This combination of supports, knowledge and skills, delivered over 24-months, helps individuals and households move from extreme poverty to a more sustainable and stable trajectory.

BRAC is working with Humanity & Inclusion and the National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda in the Kyryandongo, Gulu, Nwoya and Oyam districts of north-eastern Uganda to adapt its traditional graduation programme so that it also supports ultra-poor people living with disabilities, enhancing their social-economic empowerment and resilience.

“Any attempt to end ultra-poverty must tackle disability. Of the one billion people living with disabilities globally, 426 million in developing countries live below the poverty line. People living with disabilities are poorer and suffer more discrimination, exclusion and violence than the general population.”


Expected results

2,700 ultra-poor individuals (15% living with disabilities and 70% women) “graduate” out of extreme poverty, moving to a more sustainable and stable trajectory. Improvements result in verifiable increases in income and consumption, assets, food security and health for themselves and their families (an estimated 13,500 people).

Long-term strategy

This innovative disability-inclusive graduation model is part of a wider global partnership between BRAC and HI to test, replicate, adapt and scale contextually-appropriate models for disability-inclusive graduation and development. BRAC is conducting participatory design and planning to prepare the ground for large-scale implementation in Tanzania.