DWA Response to Accusations of Government Discrimination in 2018

The equality watchdog is examining claims that the government has discriminated against UK disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) by excluding them from the delivery of a new £29 million international development programme. Read the full story here. Below is DWA’s response.

A statement from Disability in Wales and Africa in response to the article – ‘Government discriminated against DPOs in awarding £29m development programme’ 

Disability in Wales and Africa (DWA) is an organisation which has developed from the Wales Africa initiative.  DWA wishes to encourage the greater inclusion of the UK Disability Movement, both as organisations and individuals, within the Disability and Development Sector.  To this end, it has worked with Disability Wales and Hub Cymru Africa to start a research programme to look at how and why disabled people are not more prominent within Wales Africa activities.      

DWA has a strap-line of ‘Disabled People’s Participation Should Be Expected, Not Just Accepted’. It is concerned and disappointed to read about the debate highlighted in John Pring’s Disability News Service feature ‘Government discriminated against DPOs in awarding £29m development programme’. The 6 year programme is from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) and its purpose is to support disabled people in some of the poorest countries of the world.  However, in not encouraging UK Disabled People Organisations (DPOs) to be part of the consortium DWA believes the UK Government and the Disability and Development Sector are missing out on the skills and experiences that UK disabled people can bring to the table.  For example DWA wishes promote and demonstrate the importance of global solidarity amongst disabled people.  Disabled people around the world have a common interest in monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

DWA wishes to promote a culture, specifically here within the Wales Africa sector, the global community, and the international development movement which does not stop at saying to disabled people “you are very welcome” if they turn up.  We want people to ask, when disabled people are not present, “where are they” and how can we increase their participation?       

Paul Lindoewood


Disability in Wales and Africa

Disabled People’s Participation Should Be Expected, Not Just Accepted – Campaign

The following organisations have accepted the invitation to join in us arguing that “Disabled People’s Participation Should Be Expected, Not Just Accepted”, and have become members of DWA.

These organisations agree with, and have supported the following statement:

“To promote the inclusion and global solidarity of disabled people, for public benefit, by (a) raising awareness through the active participation within society’s development and (b) enabling the exchange of ideas, information, experiences and expertise particularly, but not exclusively, within Wales and Africa.”

Why don’t you consider joining us too? Email: dwanetwork@gmail.com to add your organisation to the page. 

Our Supporters


Half Marathon in a Powered Wheelchair

Half Marathon - the home straight 2On Sunday October 2nd, after overcoming a variety of challenges, Paul Lindoewood completed the Cardiff Half Marathon course, using two powered wheelchairs, in 3 hours 36 minutes (and 1 second).  He had hoped, at best, to take 3 hours 45 minutes and expected it would be 4 hours.  The time included a ‘pit-stop’ for changing chairs.

The challenge was undertaken as an awareness-, and fund-, raiser for Disability in Wales and Africa (DWA).  The focus was on DWA’s initiative, ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’.  This aims to encourage Welsh development organisations working in Africa to engage with Disabled People’s Organisations.  As part of this process, DWA also wants to encourage the same Welsh organisations to involve disabled people in Wales in their work. Paul believes that, in both Wales and Africa, nothing substantial will change in the lives of disabled people, unless their Disability Movements become a driving force.

The first challenge Paul faced in entering the race was getting his potential registration accepted.  He says “a powered wheelchair user entering the Cardiff Half Marathon was, at best, unusual and I would like to thank the organisers for accepting my application, on this occasion, and providing advice and assistance”.

However, there were many other hurdles to be negotiated before getting to the start line.  These included the bearings failing on a front castor a week before the event  and fitting the boards on the wheelchairs displaying a revised slogan ‘Disabled People Say – “‘Nothing About Us Without Us”.  This was printed in 6 languages – English, Welsh, Swahili (East Africa), Bemba (Zambia), Shoma (Southern Africa) and Hausa (Nigeria and Western Africa).  Anther, longer standing challenge, was a faulty battery gauge, which reads zero long before the battery is dead.

Paul reflects “success in the race relied on reaching the Roath for my “pit stop” for the chair changeover.  All my calculations for the race plan were thrown out at the beginning of the race, as I had to weave my way though the very intense spectator crowd, for 20 minutes, to get  to my starting station and then spend another 15 minutes in an even more intense crowd of runners getting to the start line. The best way to drain the battery is to constantly start and stop the chair.   I had originally expected a far shorter run to the wheelchair starting point.” He knew he could get 8.4 miles from his first chair, around the hills of Llangynidr but he just had to hope that the flatter course in Cardiff would allow him to go further. He had to reach his second chair – it was not going to come to him.

Although his first chair was still going strong, Paul was relieved to see his second chair as he approached the Roath.  “This was when I started to believe everything was finally coming together” says Paul.  “The event was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The encouragement from the spectators and fellow participants was terrific.  I remember one participant spending two or three seconds working out how to give me a right hand high-five without my having to take my hand off the joystick (?).  Another time a young boy offered a high-five, so I offered my foot (!?!)”

Thanks to the generous donations from many supporters, the DWA Nothing About Us Without Us initiative is firmly established but you can still donate to the Crowd-funding page by going to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paul-lindoewood .

If you would like to know more about the work of Disability in Wales and Africa please contact drtc@phonecoop.coop or visit the website, www.dwanetwork.org  .






Nothing About Us Without Us – The Cardiff Half Marathon and a Powered Wheelchair

IMG_20160728_151240952On the 2nd October 2016 Paul Lindoewood, the Coordinator of Disability in Wales and Africa (DWA), is aiming to do the Cardiff Half Marathon.  He will be using 2 powered wheelchairs to complete the 13.1 mile course.

He is kick-starting a new fund aimed at supporting Disabled People’s Organisations in Africa, via Welsh partners.   Examples of Welsh partners are Newport-based ResponsABLE assistance and Brecon Molo, who both work in Kenya.  Further examples are Health Help International, also from Newport, who work in Zambia, and Machynlleth-based Hazina, who work in Tanzania.

Paul, who, in addition to being a full-time wheelchair user with limited dexterity and communication impairments, is married with a family and lives in Llangynidr, near Crickhowell.  Between 1996 and 2005 Paul worked in Kenya with the Methodist Church as a Disability Community Worker.   After returning to the UK, and then moving to Wales, Paul set up Disability in Wales and Africa in 2010.  This was with the aim of raising the profile of the needs of disabled people and their families within the Wales Africa Sector – a growing group of more than 140 Welsh organisations who have a focus on development and connections with African partners.

The work of Wales Africa has increasingly taken disability to its heart and many partners are looking for ways of moving this forward.  DWA believes that the next challenge is to encourage their development programmes to engage with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).  Paul says “the last 40 years have shown that, in both Wales and Africa, nothing substantial will change in the lives of disabled people, unless their Disability Movements are empowered to become a driving force.”

As a result of this, DWA wants to develop a fund, under the slogan ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, with the aim of encouraging Welsh development organisations to engage with African DPOs, identifying them as partners within the development process. “There is a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills within the disabled communities of both Wales and Africa” Paul says. “Very often we end up doing things ‘for’ rather than ‘with’ disabled people.  This is an issue in both Wales and Africa and one of the aspirations of DWA is global solidarity between disabled people”.

If you want to find out more about DWA please contact Paul Lindoewood on drtc@phonecoop.coop, or telephone 01874 730900, mobile 07983 593199.  Additionally if you would like to support this initiative please go to Paul’s Crowd Funding Page