Livelihoods was defined by Robert Chambers and Gordon Conway in the early 1990’s, and further developed not least by DFID in the later 1990’s as “the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from shocks and stresses and maintain and enhance its capabilities and assets now and in the future, whilst not undermining the natural resource base.”  

This definition remains constant today, although has been complemented by later emerging approaches like Markets for Poor (M4P) which has a more systems focus (markets, value chains and power dynamics which exclude or significantly disadvantage communities of people, including persons with disabilities) as well as rights based approaches and gendered analyses which specifically address some of that exclusion and disadvantage.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 27, provides a framework for our work in articulating ”right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities”.

Key Data

Persons with Disabilities are:

  • Less than half as likely to be participating in labour markets compared to persons without disabilities
  • In developing countries, 80% to 90% of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed, especially women with disabilities (source: UN)
  • Even when participating are only just over half as likely to be employed.
  • Global economic loss related to the exclusion of persons with disabilities: at least up to 7% of GDP (source: ILO)


The Task Group is now forming, grounded in programming and knowledge exchange between organisations, particularly in-countries where members work. Priorities include:

  • Regular community of practice meetings, leveraging technology and including topics relevant to the community and led by it.
  • A repository of knowledge, where good practices and learning can be accessed.
  • Contribution, as appropriate, to IDDC meetings and publications as well as participating in other relevant platforms such as GLAD and COSP.