Exploring donor support on educational advocacy for persons with disabilities in Zambia: a case of Zambia federation of disability organisations (Zafod)

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Mandumbwa, Mandumbwa
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The University of Zambia
Among many, the barriers of access to education have produced adverse effects and have impacted on the economic well-being of persons with disabilities. This resulted into many persons with disabilities having no means to sustain their lives. It seems that the government hardly puts into practice what is stipulated in most policies concerning persons with disabilities. There is a gap between Rhetoric and practice. For this reason, the involvement of civil society organization in advocating for the education of individuals with disabilities is important. The purpose of the study; explore the consequences of donor support on educational advocacy for PWD, focusing on ZAFOD and DPOs. The objectives were to; explore how donor support has enabled ZAFOD advocate; to assess the extent to which donor support improves educational access for PWD; to examine the achievements made by ZAFOD, in educational advocacy as a result of donor support; and to establish the constraints of donor support on the operations of ZAFOD towards educational advocacy. The population consisted of ZAFOD and DPO personnel, Donor agencies and persons with disabilities, 50 participants. The study was a descriptive design, analyzed through qualitative methods, using thematic analysis. The study was conducted in Lusaka and Mongu District of Zambia. The sample consisted of 14 respondents. The sample size comprised of four from ZAFOD, three from DPOs, and six PWD, one from donor organizations. The study employed purposive sampling. Primary data collection was through Interview Guides and Focused Group Discussions. The study revealed that Donor support has enabled ZAFOD and DPOs to bring out their mandate to persons with disabilities. ZAFOD entirely depends on donor support for all its activities; hence donor support enables it to fulfil its advocacy agenda. The study also found that the increased advocacy due to donor support has brought about increased access to education for PWD. In relation to objective three the study found that ZAFOD has made notable achievements after establishing Zambia Inclusive Education Project (ZIEP) through donor support. The study further found that donor support has its own constraints for example; advocacy priority are set by donors, cooperating partners not willing to fund core costs, luck of continuity of support (one off funding). Certain donor fund comes with conditions that will make an organization have no room for any initiative. Some cooperating partners demand too much than what can be delivered within its support. The Researcher recommended that, the works of ZAFOD and DPOs should not be left to donor support alone, the government and the local community to supplement.