The starting point for inclusion of people with a disability and elderly should be equal opportunities, but it is recognized that there still may be a need for special services in order to achieve inclusion1. In terms of agricultural water management, this could mean that people with a disability are engaged in mainstream farming, but have access to special tools or appliances as well as arrangements that help in carrying out the work (also see the adaptation and tools page).
When it comes to mainstreaming disability with a strong focus on enabling environments, there are three important strategies: (1) engagement in productive agriculture, (2) privileged access to land and water and (3) membership in farming organisations.
Engagement in productive agriculture
There are several forms of productive agriculture that offer potential for people with a disability and the elderly to be engaged in. Following the starting point, equal opportunities should be ensured within these forms of mainstream farming:
Privileged access to land and water
In order to ensure inclusion of people with a disability and elderly in agricultural water management, there can be made use of the strategy of granting the vulnerable groups priviliged access to land and water. For instance by declaring special land titles and conferring well ownership (for veterans for example).
Membership in farmer organisations
Another opportunity for ensuring privileged access for people with disabilities and elderly is to ensure their full membership in local farmer or water management organisations. This way they will become part of the decision-making that is at the heart of agricultural water management.
Also see The Way Forward for more cases and videos on this topic.
1: Yeo, R. and Moore, K. (2003). Including disabled people in poverty reduction work: "Nothing about us, without us". World Development. 31 (3), 571, 590
2: Davis, S., H. and De Riso, M., S. (1992). Horticulture Hiring People with Disabilities Hort Technology 2 (2), 183-187
This film is a part of an FAO rural development program to sensitize decision makers, governments and donor agencies and all other interested stakeholders to the importance of rural entrepreneurial capacity-building among small farmers with disabilities as an effective tool to combat widespread rural hunger and poverty in the region.
It is said that disability is not inability, and many people living with disabilities have ventured in different trades to make ends meet. In Embu County, a group of people living with disabilities has decided farming is the way to go.
Sabir and Noor Mohammed are childhood friends who lost their sight at an early age but still manage to earn their living as farmers in Khanpur. Farming, Irrigation, feeding farm animals... you name it, they can take care of it!
Timothy tells his story of how an accident led to seizures and disability. He describes his experiences of exclusion and depression that brought him to attempt suicide. Thankfully, he survived and received the support he needed to overcome his mental ill-health and start his own business rearing animals. Timothy is now also the organiser of a mental health support group in northern Ghana.