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Abilis Objectives

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has granted Abilis 12 million euros in the form of Programme support for the years 2022–2025. Our four-year Global Programme focuses on building the working capacities of persons with disabilities and their organisations in the Global South, raising awareness on rights of persons with disabilities and the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), improving the status and rights of women and girls with disabilities and supporting the employment and livelihood development of persons with disabilities in an environmentally sustainable and climate resilient way.

We monitor the achievement of these goals throughout the Programme period and report on the achieved results regularly. Information is collected by visiting all projects and interviewing project participants. We share information about our work through different social media platforms and produce an annual report. We actively participate in development policy discussions in Finland and advocate for rights of persons with disabilities in international forums.

Activities and Advocacy of Organisation of Persons with Disabilities


Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) need active members to secure their work. Through Abilis-funded projects, persons with disabilities get to participate in peer supported action and learn about their rights. Acting in unity increases the knowledge and skills of persons with disabilities and creates belief in one’s own abilities. At best, project participants become active members in their community, who can make decisions about their own life and participate in social action. The active participation of persons with disabilities in their communities positively affects the overall attitudes towards disability in society.


Abilis strengthens the capacities of organisations and small businesses run by persons with disabilities themselves in developing countries. We especially support projects that have been initiated, planned, and implemented by organisations of women with disabilities and/or groups working in remote areas. The projects are often born out of wishes to organise trainings related to organisational work and leadership, while strengthening the members’ trust in their own abilities. In addition, we support the establishment and registration of new organisations of persons with disabilities.

A man is showing his thumb to the camera and smiling.
A group of albino kids are smiling and showing thumbs up to the camera.

Human Rights


Persons with disabilities are discriminated against in different parts of the world. They especially face discrimination in contexts in which the causes of disability and different types of disability are not well-known due to lack of access to information. What makes these situations even more challenging is that persons with disabilities themselves might not be aware of their own rights and thus cannot defend them.


Respecting and advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities is central to Abilis work. We increase human rights awareness of persons with disabilities through educational work, trainings, and information campaigns. We support the ratification, implementation, and translation of the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) into local languages and training related to rights of persons with disabilities in our Programme Countries. In addition, we support the fulfilment of rights related to sexual and reproductive health (SHRH) of women and girls with disabilities by funding projects in which women and girls with disabilities learn about their rights and their access to health services is improved.

Women and Girls


The situation of women and girls with disabilities in developing countries is particularly vulnerable because they are discriminated against because of their gender and their disability. Dominant beliefs might insist that women and girls with disabilities are unable to contribute to daily tasks and taking care of the family. They rarely have opportunities to go to school to learn to read and write, to gain employment or make decisions concerning their own bodies. Girls and women with disabilities who are in subordinate situations, often face violence, and emotional and sexual abuse.


Abilis grants funding to projects that improve the status of women and girls with disabilities, including their human rights, living conditions and independent living. We make sure that at least half of all our project participants are women with disabilities, and that funded projects improve equal participation opportunities for women with disabilities in society.

Two young women with crutches are looking at the camera and smiling.
A woman and a girl are making a carpet.

Livelihoods and Environment


The majority of persons with disabilities in developing countries live in poverty without professional education or livelihoods. They are often economically dependent on their families because social security, pension, or other relevant services are rarely available from the government or society in general. Discriminatory attitudes towards persons with disabilities and inaccessible work environments further limit their opportunities for income generation.


Abilis supports professional training and small businesses of persons with disabilities in developing countries. Many persons with disabilities get their livelihoods from agriculture, animal husbandry, and crops that are vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, such as frequent droughts and extreme flooding events. Other common livelihoods are woodwork and handicrafts, ICT (information and communication technologies) and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) services. Sustainable use of natural resources and caring for the environment are considered in all funded projects and training on these themes is provided in our Programme Countries.

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