Disability Under Siege is a co-created programme bringing together a community of researchers, educational practitioners, advocacy organisations and disability led groups in the UK and Middle East. It will contribute to research efforts by providing intellectual and logistical resources that local practitioners need to transform education provision for children with disabilities in conflict-affected countries.
There is an established link between conflict, and poor development outcomes. For many Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) the presence, and legacy, of violence within their own borders or in neighbouring states hinders existing efforts to enhance development, while also placing additional burdens upon the state.
The consequences of conflict and crisis echo throughout society, but the challenge it poses for education provision for those with disabilities is particularly acute. Instability erodes existing capacity, whilst simultaneously increasing demand, as the proportion of the population with a disability, either as a result of physical or psychological trauma, rises. Research commissioned by UNICEF indicates that over 85% of children with disabilities have never attended school, yet despite this, the link between conflict, disability and access to education is under-examined.
While the activities of the Network Plus project will initially be focused on the Middle East, the intended outcomes will be scalable to other comparable contexts across the works and with the ultimate aim of contributing to the UN Sustainable goals (UN SDGs) 4, 10 and 17.
The Disability Under Siege Network Plus has the overarching objective of providing the intellectual, financial and logistical resources required by local practitioners to deliver a transformational step change in education provision for children with disabilities in conflict-affected states.
Strengthening the Knowledge Economy
The Disability Under Siege project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of Global Challenges Research Council (GCRF) Network Plus. The Collective Programme aims to build equitable partnerships between the Global South and the Global North, and encourage collaborations between universities, NGOs, educators, artists and grassroots activists, in particular people with disabilities.
Disability Under Siege research partners include Birzeit University (Palestine), Birmingham City University (UK), Islamic University of Gaza (Palestine), and the Centre for Lebanese Studies (Lebanon), which bring complementary expertise in the fields of education under occupation, inclusion, public health and social action, visual culture and participative arts, disability and social justice.