DHAT Zambia


The Disability, HIV, and AIDS Trust (DHAT) is a non-governmental organization promoting disability, HIV and AIDS responses that address the needs and empowerment of disabled people, through building and strengthening the capacity of Disabled People’s Organisation (DPOs) in Zambia. The DHAT offices are at ZNAD House, Chinika Industrial Area, in Lusaka, Zambia. 

People with disabilities face a number of obstacles to their full and meaningful integration into and contribution to society. In addition to these obstacles comes the burden of facing stigma, discrimination and responding to HIV & AIDS and inclusion. On top of difficulties already faced, disabled people and their families face new sets of challenges that include access to HIV & AIDS related interventions and services deliveries, increased health vulnerabilities and information which is insensitive/ not accessible to their needs.

About 15% of the Zambian population constitutes PWDs. The participation of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in a number of issues that affect human lives is important in order to influence participation and self-representation in pursuit of issues that affect them.

The participation of PWDs is impeded and shrouded in a number of misconceptions that technically exclude them from participation and involvement in socio-economic activities. PWDs are among the poorest and least educated in the world [1]. It is acknowledged that PWDs are not included in many HIV and AIDS interventions because of stigma and discrimination based on stereotypes that they are asexual.

The significance of health and inclusive education is well understood and articulated by many education and HIV/AIDS service providers. Among all marginalized groups PWDs receive the least in education. Despite the formulation of health strategies, international conventions and policies and enactment of legislation to support inclusive education and response to emerging health issues e.g. HIV/AIDS, nothing significant has been put into practice.

Disability organizations are among the least resourced and grossly not trusted with financial resources. Funders and service providers stereotype PWDs based on the charity model that DPOs have no transparency and accountability in the management of resources that they receive.  On the other hand, DPOs do not have proper organizational systems and policies.

PWDs have remained on the periphery of economic empowerment and access to health service delivery; marginalized to the basic forms of livelihoods and health information that they can only survive on. However examples abound of how PWDs have demonstrated their prowess in ensuring success in education and empowerment when given adequate opportunities. Certain economic activities are pitifully assigned to PWDs

PWDs experience stigma from birth and are more prone to exclusion, concealment, abandonment, institutionalization and abuse. In health and education PWDs are ostracized. They do not enjoy health and education services at the same level with their non-disabled peers.

While efforts are being targeted at providing Universal Primary Education (UPE) and health care under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)’ theme “Education for All by 2015”, about there is still a significant number of children with disabilities out of school and not accessing  health facilities.  Africa has an appalling less 2% of Children with Disabilities in school. It is also apparent that PWDs are invisible in grassroots sports. A lot has to be done to get PWDs involved.

Rationale for study

In order to direct concerted attention to participation, representation and empowerment of disabled persons in Zambia, the types and patterns of exclusion and discrimination need to be adequately catalogued and understood. This is important for the disability movements, government and Non-Governmental organizations to devise, fund, implement and supervise human rights based programmes to alleviate the disadvantages faced by PWDs.

The study will focus on the demographic involvement of men and women or boys and girls in thematic areas such as policy design, HIV/AIDS programmes, education and entrepreneurship determining persons with disabilities’ (PWDs) level of participation, representation and empowerment of in Zambia. Women and men have comparatively varying degrees in the levels of participation and empowerment in all spheres of human persuasion.  The areas of focus are economic empowerment, inclusion in education

 Goal of the survey:

To assess the social, cultural, economic and political participation, representation and empowerment of Persons With Disabilities in Zambian Communities in six provinces


  • To determine the level of participation of men and women with disabilities (MWDs) in social, health and economic development activities
  • To  catalogue areas of abuse and discrimination of PWDs in various areas
  • To  determine levels of inclusion of  PWDs in education and other social services
  • To determine  the availability of HIV and AIDS policies in DPOs


  • Comprehensive report on the analysis of the level of inclusion of persons with disabilities in  social, cultural, political,  economic and health programmes
  • A catalogue of  levels of abuse and discrimination experiences of PWDs
  • A report on the levels of inclusion of children with disabilities in education, health  and other social services
  • A report on the availability and levels of organisational systems and policies development e.g. financial, HIV and AIDS in DPOs.

Expected use of information

  • The information will be used  as an awareness raising and advocacy too
    for inclusion of PWDs in country strategies and programmes at village, district, provincial and national levels,
  • To be used by DPOs, DHAT, Civil Society, Donors, Government and other stakeholders  in the development of right based strategies and programmes for PWDs. and
  • The information will be used as a measurement tool in achieving the MDGs on health and education for PWDs.
  • The recommendations will build stronger links between PWDs and the policy and legislation makers and health care, education and economic empowerment programs providers.

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