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KOICA demonstrates commitment to disability-inclusive development cooperation on Day of Persons with Disabilities.


It has been 35 years since Korea first established the 'Day of Persons with Disabilities' on April 20, 1981. Furthermore, in June 2013, the Korean National Assembly emphasized the importance of the realization of rights and the alleviation of poverty of persons with disabilities within the scope of Official Development Assistance (ODA) by adopting the amendment of the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation, which includes persons with disabilities as beneficiaries of ODA (in addition to women and children, per Article 3). The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon by all member states of the United Nations, were founded on the principle of "No one left Behind,' reinforce the values of universality and concern for the vulnerable. Korea was also chair at the 2015 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In keeping with these previous efforts, KOICA, a specialized government grand aid agency, will accelerate efforts to advance disability-inclusive development projects.

    It is essential to take a disability-inclusive approach to ODA, given that the population of persons with disabilities due to natural and man-made disasters caused by climate change, wars and displacement, and aging has increased, and that 80 percent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries. Moreover, problem-solving through implementation of disability-inclusive projects is a core principle of international development cooperation, as disability is both a cause and an effect of poverty.

Thus, KOICA is making efforts to reinforce the principle of ‘disability-inclusive development cooperation,’ which is the concept of respecting the rights and increasing the social accessibility of persons with disabilities, rather than confining disability assistance solely to projects targeting these individuals.

    Through partnership with domestic and foreign organizations for persons with disabilities, KOICA is establishing special needs education schools, as well as  treatment and rehabilitation centers, increasing capacity for job training, working on partnership projects with civil society, and supporting cultural and sports activities for those with developmental disabilities. World Friends Korea (WFK) volunteers in the fields of special needs education and social welfare are the at the front lines in KOICA's disability-inclusive development projects in our partner countries.

    KOICA is spearheading projects for the establishment or management of special needs education schools and rehabilitation centers in El Salvador, Columbia, Jordan and Bangladesh, and has dispatched 345 WFK volunteers specialized in social welfare and special needs education between 1991 and 2015. Futhermore, KOICA is implementing programs promoting day-to-day independence, as well as rehabilitation and mobility support centers (seven projects in five countries in 2015).

    By further strengthening partnerships with domestic and foreign organizations for persons with disabilities, KOICA will issue program guidelines for carrying out disability-inclusive development cooperation.

    It is our hope that this Day of Persons with Disabilities will serve as an opportunity for us all to learn of KOICA’s disability-inclusive development cooperation, and to give thought to improving human rights for persons with disabilities worldwide.