Pamela Dianne White

Pamela Dianne White

Senior Manager
FCG International
Finland

More about me

Experienced Senior Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the international development industry, for a wide range of financiers (including FAO, IFAD, WB, EU, MFA Finland, Danida, etc.), NGOs and directly for governments. Skilled in International Project Management, Food Security, Sustainable Development, Capacity Development, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Natural Resources Management and Rural Development. Specific expertise in gender, human rights based approach and evaluations.
Strong consulting professional with a Doctorate Social Sciences - under work (focused on Development Studies) from University of Helsinki. Earlier degrees in Social Sciences (Masters) and Veterinary Science

    • Dear Eoghan and other members,

      I am trying to think about the disabilities question. My experience with this specifically is a bit more implementation linked than evaluation. In Nepal, I am working with a Finnish/EU funded water resources development project (RVWRMP), and we have been trying to work on issues related to disability, but it is tricky. Apart from anything else, in the remote mountains where we are working, there are surprisingly few PWD (much fewer than there ought to be really). I think that is a combination of reasons – possibly severely disabled babies are not cared for, or simply don’t get the necessary medical care to survive. Health care for everyone is a problem. Some kids are sent down to schools on the plains. There is a level of shame and not wanting to admit that there is a PWD in the family – as if it is severe, it might make things difficult for marrying off the siblings – so some may be kept hidden at home. But another issue is that many people don’t self identify as having a disability. I have sat in meetings trying to raise the issue, and there will be someone sitting in the group, missing a leg, but they won’t call themselves disabled! Even access to mass meetings and trainings can be problematic for people with limited mobility. In the mountains there is no way that anyone can use a wheelchair, so if they can’t walk or hop, it is difficult for an adult to attend a meeting far from their home.

      We consider disability within social inclusion (and rights). However, we also have the problem that we are disaggregating data already by sex, caste, ethnicity, location. If we have to start disaggregating everything by PWD we will have a mess! We do some targeted info gathering. For instance, when reporting hygiene activities during COVID, we counted work with PWD. And we are doing targeted household surveys to try to find out the functional disabilities and how they might be served by being involved in the project activities. But I don’t want to set targets as it is a bit artificial.

      The other issue is that every disability is different – you can’t just lump everyone under the same heading. People with eyesight problems may be offended if they are considered the same as people with disabilities. I have also heard (from a Finnish disability activist and researcher) that there can be sub-divisions for other reasons – for instance some Organisations of PWD in India divide themselves into sub-groups according to caste!! The Brahmins don’t want to mix with the Dalits!

      I have also met with organised groups of PWD in western Nepal – they have good ideas, however they tend to be more city based and not really active at all out in our project areas – I guess that is probably the case in many countries.

      It  has been easier for us to talk about disability with WASH – and I learned that when talking about toilet access, rather than talking only about PWD, I expand it to include frail elderly – that gets everyone’s attention as everyone has an elderly person at home, and we will all become old one day!! We haven’t done so much on disability within agriculture – but we do have PWD involved in the home garden groups.

      The Washington Group has done work on disability. I’m attaching their short list of questions – very much related to functional disability. http://www.washingtongroup-disability.com/

      Re evaluation – I suspect it is difficult unless you do things at a very local level. Mind you – the experience of COVID has moved us very quickly into using more online tools such as Zoom or Google, and it is amazing how well it works. So it might be feasible to do interviews with PWD in their own homes (depending on the disability). I would imagine the most useful technique would be some form of qualitative evaluation – most significant change, etc. – rather than trying for large scale quantitative evaluation (as you are unlikely to collect enough data for that).

      Anyway – good luck in collecting the info. I will watch with interest.

      Best wishes, Pamela