Final Documentation

Economic Empowerment of Disabled People, APT, Uganda 2005

    The National Union of Disabled People of Uganda (NUDIPU) and APT Enterprise Development conducted a project to help people with disabilities to enter mainstream employment or to start and grow their own small businesses. The project operated in northern Uganda, a desolate region where a brutal insurgency has further stifled an already weak economy. The project linked people with disabilities to training services from local trainers on a fee basis in such subsectors as electronics assembly and repair, bakery, tailoring, and carpentry. The main roles of the project were the following:
    - Mobilizing demand for training among people with disabilities, primarily through public meetings and radio programs. A critical element of mobilizing demand for fee-based training was convincing both district NUDIPU leaders and individuals with disabilities to see enterprise-based training as a personal investment in the future and to understand that the project was not going to directly subsidize training.
    - Stimulating supply of enterprise-based training through personal meetings with suitable businesses. An important element was convincing training providers to consider individuals with disabilities as capable of learning skills and making a valuable contribution to their businesses during the training process.
    - Linking people with disabilities to training providers. This frequently involved helping negotiate the payment terms.
    - Assisting graduates to find work.
    - Persuading microfinance providers to offer credit to people with disabilities. This component was less successful than the others.

    Summary of results
    Program results: 231 people sought training; 103 training placements were established; 60 trainees completed their training, 22 of which had found employment and 16 of which had started their own businesses by the end of the project. The modest numbers do not fully express the achievement of reaching these impoverished and often socially isolated people on a commercial basis, as well as the individual success stories of destitute people with disabilities joining and benefiting from the mainstream economy. APT enterprises has outlined a number of lessons learned from the program that could enhance outreach and replicability.