Interdisciplinary Conference on Disability and Community-Based Rehabilitation

About the Conference

The University of Gondar (Ethiopia) and Queen’s University (Canada), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, have developed a 10-year collaboration to advance inclusive higher education for young people with disabilities, create a new occupational therapy program, and advance research for inclusive education and community-based rehabilitation in Africa (website: The project has successfully completed its first five years and has begun to generate and share evidence to support inclusion of people with disabilities in Ethiopia. To nurture our learning and create a bridge between researchers, practitioners, community developers, university administrators, policymakers, and persons with disabilities, the project is delighted to host an international conference on disability and inclusion on October 25-26, 2023 in Gondar, Ethiopia.

It is estimated that 15% of the world’s population have some form of disability and the number is expected to rise with the growing aging population and greater prevalence of non-communicable diseases, particularly in the African continent. A great deal of evidence has confirmed that people with disabilities experience high degree of poverty and greater level of exclusion due to a number of factors that interplay, such as stigma, inaccessible built environment and lack of support. There is no doubt that research is important to enhance our knowledge and understanding, but without its implementation into policy, programs and practice, the situation of persons with disabilities will remain unchanged. If that is the case, it will be impossible to achieve global sustainable development goals.

We acknowledge that knowledge cannot translate to action on its own. A collaborative effort among different players (e.g., funders, researchers, practitioners and end users) is needed. Therefore, the time has come to take intentional measures and build radical collaboration across different sectors to include persons with disabilities in development efforts. Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID)/Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) are strategies that emphasize disability voice and choice in programming and services. They also facilitate multi-sectoral collaboration, interdisciplinary supports to people with disabilities and translation of knowledge into action. This two-day conference wants to explore these and any other ways to move from research to action related to disability and inclusive development.

The conference is unique in that it does not only bring together researchers but also encourages people with disabilities and their allies to participate and share their innovative approaches to move research findings into policy, programs and practice to build a more inclusive world.

To maximize participation from different parts of the world, the conference will showcase research and evidence in the form of hybrid oral and poster presentations, plenary talks by international experts, and workshops. The conference organizing committee invites participants to submit their abstracts for oral and poster presentations. Submissions may address any topic related to disability and CBR/CBID (e.g., education, health, livelihoods, social, empowerment) but must be related to the conference theme and objectives to be accepted. We look forward to hearing and learning from you.