Cover Collecting Disability Disaggregated Data in Disaster Risk Reduction - Findings and Lessons Learned




Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) with members Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland e.V. (ASB), Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), Christoffel-Blindenmision/Christian Blind Mission e.V. (CBM), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), and Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V. - Malteser International Europe (MI)

Output Type

Findings and Lessons Learned

Area of Work

Inclusive DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction)


Not Specified


Annika Fuchs, Oliver Wiegers, Laura Masuch

Collecting Disability Disaggregated Data in Disaster Risk Reduction: Findings and Lessons Learned

Our in-depth analysis explores the challenges as well as opportunities that arise when collecting disability disaggregated data in disasters-prone contexts and how such data can be used to improve Disaster Risk Reduction programming.

The recent years show a global effort to better integrate disability inclusion into government strategies, disaster risk reduction (DRR) plans, and humanitarian response initiatives. However, a significant challenge persists due to the absence of disaggregated data, impeding a comprehensive understanding of disability prevalence before, during and after crises. Efforts to address this challenge include a focus on improving tools, with the Washington Group Short Set of Questions (WG-SS) emerging as a reliable approach for identifying individuals with disabilities.

To help closing the gap on the correct use and application of the WG-SS, especially in disaster-prone contexts, our report syntheses findings from the collection and analysis of disability disaggregated collected through the WG-SS in seven different countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Colombia, Myanmar, Niger, Uganda, and Nicaragua). 

The analysis shows significant variations in the prevalence of persons with disabilities with the lowest prevalence of 4.2% in Niger, and the highest, a notable 29%, in Myanmar. These discrepancies underscore the need for nuanced, context-specific approaches to Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) initiatives. Preselection processes in Uganda, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Indonesia generate exceptionally high prevalence rates for these contexts and impede to compare this data with the prevalences from the other countries. 

Beyond the differences in prevalence rates the synthesis revealed the following key findings:

  • Diversity in Types of Impairment: All types of impairments were found across the seven countries, but physical and visual impairments emerge as the most prevalent groups. This insight highlights the importance of context-specific analysis and interventions.
  • Intersectionality of Impairments: The data from the different countries show a common occurrence of intersecting disabilities, such as the coexistence of visual and hearing impairments. 
  • Gender and Age Dynamics: Disparities in the gender and age distribution of persons with disabilities add another layer of complexity. Most countries exhibit a higher proportion of women among people with disabilities. Moreover, the age group of 60 and above consistently represents the largest demographic group with impairments, highlighting the need for age-sensitive approaches.
  • Challenges in DRM Planning and Participation: Where covered as part of a deeper analysis, the insufficient inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster risk reduction was a glaring issue. 
  • Barriers and Enablers: Environmental barriers emerge as a prevalent obstacle to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in DRR initiatives across most countries, underscoring the urgent need for infrastructural adjustments. Attitudinal barriers also pose challenges, emphasizing the importance of fostering inclusive mindsets within communities. On a positive note, the distribution of assistive devices and accessible information emerges as a pivotal enabler for the participation of persons with disabilities in humanitarian preparedness and response.

While it was the aim of our report to comprehensively synthesize the data collected from the seven countries, this aim was partially impeded through the improper administration of the WG-SS in some countries making it obvious that the effective use of these questions relies on intensive pre- and post-training of enumerators. E.g., the correct use and understanding of the Child Functionality Module (CFM) are crucial for valid data on children with disabilities which cannot be generated from the WG-SS. It is also important to avoid any form of pre-selection in survey samples to prevent biased data and reinforce stereotypes.

Our report is a collective outcome of the project “Putting Persons with Disabilities at the Centre of Humanitarian Preparedness and Response.” The project is implemented across eight countries in Asia, Africa, and Central & South America through Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland e.V. (ASB), Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), Christoffel-Blindenmision – Christian Blind Mission e.V. (CBM), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V. – Malteser International Europe (MI), and various local partners. The project is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO).

Collecting Disability Disaggregated Data in Disaster Risk Reduction: Findings and Lessons Learned
click here to download – 6.33 MB (48 downloads)

Other Resources