Youth with disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya: documenting their experiences, aspirations and current involvement in their livelihoods and work

Main objectives

  • To understand the lived experiences and current engagements of young people with disabilities in relation to their work and livelihoods
  • To understand the aspirations of young people with disabilities in relation to their livelihoods, and identify barriers to realising those aspirations
  • To explore inclusive ways of sharing these lived experiences, aspirations and current engagements with local decision makers


This study will document the lived experiences of young people with disabilities around their livelihoods and work, in urban and rural settings of Bangladesh and Kenya. It will explore the lives that young people envision and aspire to, and the barriers they experience that they believe are likely to stop them realising their aspirations.

The study, funded as part of the British Academy’s Youth Futures programme, will employ a community-based participatory research approach where young people with disabilities themselves will act as co-researchers.

They will gather qualitative, narrative descriptions of other young people with disabilities’ lives, as well as using documentary photography and a participatory geographic mapping system to capture contextual and need-specific barriers and challenges.

This interdisciplinary study will use existing partnerships to promote the inclusion of young men and women with disabilities in local and national policy dialogues around the implementation of United Nations Strategic Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

During the study, the research team will engage with young people with disabilities throughout the research cycle including data collection, analysis and disseminating findings. These young people will then be supported to share the findings of the research with policymakers in both countries.

Policy and practice implementations

This study will involve young people with disabilities as equal partners in collective, reflective, and systematic inquiry to inform how policy and programmes can best meet their needs. This will not only bridge the evidence gap on the topic but will create enabling environment to advocate for change.

The combination of community-based participatory research, documentary photography and participatory GIS mapping provides young people with different types of disabilities with a variety of means to express their experiences. Taking part in research, and receiving training in advocacy, will also provide the co-researchers with the skills to identify barriers, and communicate them in a meaningful way to decision makers contributing to targeted policies and interventions.

The study findings will help Sightsavers in designing targeted, contextual, and effective interventions. It will also help the organisation to advocate for the inclusion of young people with disabilities in policies and the implementation of SDG 8.

Study details
Start date
July 2020
Finish date
January 2022
Main contact
Sapana Basnet (Principal Investigator)
Senior Research Associate
  • BRAC University, Bangladesh
  • Kenyatta University, Kenya