UK activities

An overview of Handicap International UK's activities.


UK Emergency Team in Gaza carrying out home visits with local Handicap International staff.
UK Emergency Team in Gaza carrying out home visits with local Handicap International staff.
UK Emergency Team in Gaza carrying out home visits with local Handicap International staff.

Handicap International UK raises funds and supports programmes across the world. An overview of our activities is below, including some of our achievements in 2016:

Raising funds for Handicap International’s activities

Handicap International UK raises money from the general public, schools, groups, corporates, trusts and institutional funders to support Handicap International’s work worldwide.

In 2016 we secured our first UK Aid Match appeal; an opportunity for our individual donors to have their donations doubled by the UK government during a 3 month period from April-July. The amazing generosity of existing and new supporters, along with a series of fantastic media
partnerships, and our first-ever gala dinner for major givers (individuals, companies and trusts) helped us to raise money for countries where we implement rehabilitation work.

Handicap International UK is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and aims to adhere to best practice in fundraising and contribute to the general development of the third sector. We are also a member of the Remember a Charity consortium which aims to increase the awareness and uptake of giving through legacies.

Supporting field programmes

In 2016, with the generous support of the UK public and institutional donors, Handicap International UK supported 22 countries, one regional programme, and six global programmes: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Niger, North Korea, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, and Syria, as well as our West Africa regional programme.

The projects supported cover a wide range of Handicap International’s work, including emergency relief, demining, rehabilitation and inclusive education.

The UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT)

The UKEMT includes a register of UK-based medical and health professionals who are trained to deploy, when requested, to sudden-onset disasters such as earthquakes. The register is maintained by the organisation UK-Med, and the team has a field hospital ready for rapid deployment, operated with the support of the UK Fire and Rescue Service.

Thanks to Handicap International UK, rehabilitation has for the first time been fully integrated into the emergency medical team, meaning that, as well as surgery, patient care now includes rehabilitation, including the provision of essential equipment such as wheelchairs and orthotics, psychosocial support, and onward referral.

In 2016, the UKEMT underwent verification with WHO, and we are now amongst the first round of teams to have been officially classified as having Surgical Field Hospital Capability. The Rehabilitation Specialised Cell was also the first specialised cell to be officially verified by WHO. This, and the overall integration of rehabilitation into the main hospital were graded as excellent by WHO, who stated that the rehabilitation capacity of the UKEMT sets the global standard for others to follow.

Inclusive Education

Handicap International’s inclusive education projects around the world are supported by two Technical Advisors, with the principal advisor based in the UK. In 2016, Handicap International supported 41 inclusive education projects in 30 countries.

In the Inclusive Education field we always work on three levels: direct support to children and families, service level support (mainly to schools), and national level advocacy. In 2016, we worked on changing policies at national level in countries, and also on an international level.

We were involved in lobbying for the inclusion of children with disabilities in a number of high profile platforms, such as the inclusion of girls with disabilities in DFID’s new Girls Education Forum, the inclusion of children with disabilities in the Education Cannot Wait funding platform,
launched at the World Humanitarian Summit, and a focus on children with disabilities in the Education Commission report, launched at the United National General Assembly in New York.

Humanitarian Research

In July 2016, Handicap International launched an exciting three-year project to improve the collection and use of data on disability in humanitarian response contexts, using the Washington Group Short Set of questions. The Washington Group questions on disability are endorsed by a number of United Nations entities, leading experts and civil society as an appropriate methodology for disability data collection and analysis. Our project sets out to test the use of these questions in humanitarian contexts, with the aim of improving understanding of the needs of people with
disabilities to ultimately improve service delivery. The learning gathered will then be used to develop guidance on the use of these questions specifically for humanitarian actors.

The first phase of the project will include action research with field testing in Jordan, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The second phase of the project will include the development of learning materials aimed at humanitarian actors, using the results and data gathered. The final phase of the project will focus on dissemination and advocacy to ensure the uptake of the learning materials and the use of the Washington Group questions by humanitarian actors.

A steering group involving senior headquarters representation from key international humanitarian organisations, United Nations agencies, global humanitarian networks, international Disabled People’s Organizations, International NGOs and the UK Department of International Development, will guide, support and promote the project throughout all of the phases.

Knowledge Management

Handicap International’s Knowledge Management Unit continues to develop organisational learning as well as spread good practice and innovation. Jointly with our colleagues in France, we manage Source, an international online resource centre on disability and inclusion issues, which provides free access to key resources, tools, manuals and policy papers across development and humanitarian contexts.

Disability policy work

Since the launch of DFID’s Disability Framework in December 2014, Handicap International has been able to take advantage of a favourable UK political environment that has seen the inclusion of disabled and vulnerable people in both development and humanitarian contexts increase considerably. As part of an ongoing programme of work to monitor the impact of the Disability Framework at country level, we have seen a greater desire to prioritise disability in programming within DFID country offices.

Much of our policy and advocacy work during 2016 centred around the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). We worked closely with the UK government, both prior to the Summit, enabling them to endorse the Charter on Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, and
afterwards, as they considered the WHS outcomes such as DFID’s commitments on supporting data disaggregation and becoming world leaders on disability inclusion.

In the run up to the WHS we participated in the review of DFID’s Humanitarian Policy consultations and we are hopeful that this, along with evidence contributions to International Development Committee Public Inquiries in 2016 on humanitarian systems and education, will have the desired impact of embedding inclusion into DFID policy and practice.


Handicap International UK works with local clubs, community groups, schools, and individuals across the UK to raise awareness about the devastating effects of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive weapons on civilians.

In addition, we continue to build support for our Stop Bombing Civilians petition, calling on the UK and all states to commit to ending the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. To date, just over 120,000 UK residents have signed the petition.