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PENDA (Programme for Evidence to Inform Disability Action) is a consortium led by the International Centre for Evidence in Disability.

It creates evidence to achieve long-term improved wellbeing and inclusion of people with disabilities in low and middle income countries, by developing knowledge, people and tools.

PENDA 3 columns
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Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), PENDA complements their inclusion strategy to address fundamental gaps in the inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream development. PENDA is working with the DFID funded Disability Inclusive Development programme, led by Sightsavers, to evaluate which of their inclusion interventions have the greatest impact on the lives of people with disabilities.


The programme is generating knowledge on what works in Disability Inclusive Development (DID) explicitly in relation to education, health, livelihoods and reduced stigma. This includes conducting Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) or impact evaluations in LMICs. The progamme is also focused on engaging new and existing researchers in the field, by commissioning out a further series of impact evaluations on the subject.


The programme is working on improved research capacity on DID through 1) Collaboration and support with Southern academic partners, 2) Training Southern Academics through a PhD scheme, in particular researchers with disabilities, 3) Training people with disabilities to be participants in data collection and analysis, 4) Building the reputation of Southern partners in DID research.


The programme is developing and validating tools to help assess what does and doesn't work in DID. This includes quantitative indicators and qualitative approaches, which are being included in trials for testing.

Consortium members









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About PENDA 2 columns
About penda

PENDA is a consortium led by the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED), based at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), in partnership with CBM, ADD international, and Help Age International.

The programme will primarily evaluate the question: What Works in Disability Inclusive Development? This will be the primary focus of the ICED team, with support in country from Disabled Persons Organisations. To help encourage new evidence and ways of thinking about DID, a component of the programme hopes to engage new and existing researchers in the field, commissioning out further studies throughout the life of the programme. This will be a competitive call for applications, which will be assessed independently by an Evaluation Advisory Group.

The programme will also help to build capacity in disability research in LMICs, by collaborating with local academic institutions and supporting individual PhD students in these settings.

PENDA Programme Location
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LSHTM led Evaluations

1. Malawi & India DeWorm3

2. Bangladesh Livelihoods 

3. Uganda Poverty Graduation 

Commissioned Evaluations

1. Bangladesh Education (DID)

Programme team

Hannah Kuper
Director of ICED & Professor of Epidemiology, Co-Programme Lead

Tom Shakespeare
Professor of Disability, Co-Programme Lead

Calum Davey
Deputy Director of the Centre for Evaluation & Assistant Professor, Evaluation Lead

Morgon Banks
Research Fellow ICED

Georgie Gaskell
PENDA Programme  Manager

AJ Climpson-Stewart
ICED Project Coordinator

Programme management and governance

In addition to the programme team, PENDA receives technical advice and direction from groups and committee's to ensure we deliver the best possible evidence, with input from voices in the field.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee members are representatives from DFID, ADD International, Sightsavers, CBM and Help Age International, their primary role is to ensure the PENDA research is focused on where it is needed, to deliver high quality results for the sector.

Evaluation Advisory  Group

PENDA has established an Evaluation Advisory Group which is made up of five senior researchers at LSHTM:

  • Professor Allen Foster – DID expert
  • Dr Giulia Greco – Health Economist
  • Professor James Hargreaves – Evaluation Scientist
  • Professor Janet Seeley – Qualitative Researcher
  • Professor Helen Weiss – Statistician

The aim of the group is to provide an independent review of all proposed research by PENDA, and oversee the grant commissioning component of the programme.

International Disabled People Advisory Committee

PENDA has also engaged an advisory committee primarily, but not exclusively of persons with disabilities from the global south. The members will meet virtually twice a year to discuss the research and focus of  the programme, advising the PENDA team and helping ensure the research is meeting it's objectives.

The committee is made up of:

  • Ola Abu Alghaib (Wheelchair user, NGO leader, UK but originally Palestinian Territory)
  • Catalina Devandas (Wheelchair user, Lawyer, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, Costa Rica)
  • Mosharraf Hussein (Wheelchair user, NGO leader, UK but originally  Bangladesh)
  • Diane Kingston (Disability policy expert, lived experience of mental and physical impairments, UK)
  • Yetnebersh Ngussie (Blind inclusion advocate, Ethiopia)
  • Liz Sayce (Mental health advocate, NGO leader, UK)
  • Faustina Urassa (Wheelchair user, Community activist, Tanzania)
  • Joana Passos (Mother of a disabled child, Community activist, Brazil)
PENDA 2019 conference 2 columns
PENDA 2019 conference 2 columns left

Third International Conference on Disability and Development, November 2019

Delegates in the auditorium during a Q&A during the plenary session
Delegates in the auditorium during a Q&A during the plenary session

The Third International Conference on Disability and Development was held at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in November 2019. It was co-hosted by the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED) and Sightsavers, in partnership with CBM, ADD International and Help Age International, supported by DFID.

Over 180 people joined us to discuss the Evidence in Disability Inclusive Development and where research can focus in future.

Recordings of the plenary sessions can be found below:

Plenary 1: Research Challengers

Plenary 2: Progress with Data

Plenary 3: Ways Forward

Plenary 4: Wrap up and Call to Action

For further information and to find out about future conferences please sign up to our newsletter or contact us at

Many of our speakers and presenters have kindly shared their presentations with us, please feel free to down load a copy.

Abstract Book

Plennary Sessions

Plennary 1

Hannah Kuper, Where are we now?​ Evidence and Gap Map:​ Effectiveness of interventions for people with disabilities in LMICs

Plennary 2

Dan Mont, Administrative data for Inclusion: the example of education management information systems 

Kristin Dunkle, Emerging evidence from the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Global Programme 

Lorraine Wapling, Bringing data to life: the impact of disaggregated data on programme decision-making 

Workshop 1

Access to Health

Sarah Polack, Feasibility and acceptability of an intervention to improve uptake of ear and hearing services for children in Malawi

Kirsty Smith, Perceptions of persons with disabilities in Nigeria towards healthcare

Participatory Methods

Jackie Shaw, Inclusion works! Disability inclusive participatory action learning groups: building better solutions and change practices

Veronika Reichenberger, Participatory Video for Monitoring and Evaluation -A case study

Margo Greenwood, Disability-focused community-based participatory research (CBPR): how is methodological learning shaping design and approach? 


Ruth Sanders, Using the Washington Group Short Set for monitoring access to eye care services by people with disabilities. 

Donna Koolmes, Developing a Needs Assessment Tool for Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID): Assessing and monitoring needs for case management.  

Kate Miller, Count Me In, an mHealth app, promotes nutrition and safe feeding for children with disabilities 


Emma Jolley, A mixed-methods study investigating child development outcomes in community-based early childhood settings  

Elena Schmidt, Costing inclusive education of children with disabilities: analysis of expenditures of an inclusive education pilot in Senegal 

Workshop 2


Klaus Minihuber, Inclusive Humanitarian Aid for Girls, Boys, Women and Men with Disabilities in Response to Cyclone Idai 

Daniel Mont, The Long Lasting Effects of War on Disability


Stevens Bechange, Evaluation of a model for the economic empowerment of youth with disabilities in rural Uganda 

Mary Wickenden, Promoting disability inclusive formal sector employment: preliminary explorations in preparation for an intervention in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda 

Politics and Empowerment

Bhavisha Virendrakumar, Disability inclusive elections in Africa: A systematic review 

Vladimir Pente, Political participation and disability in Cameroon and Senegal: a cross sectional population based survey 

Parent Support

Angelique Kester, Grassroots, family-based services for children with neurological disorders and their families at home in Uganda: an intervention study. 

Heather Michelle Aldersey, Assessing Priority Support Needs of Families of Children with Disabilities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Karen Bunning, Empowering self-help groups for caregivers of children with disabilities in Kilifi, Kenya: Impacts and their underlying mechanisms 

Workshop 3 

Poverty and Voice

Morgon Banks/Shaffa Hameed, Impact of the Disability Allowance in the Maldives  

 Mohammad Rashidul Islam, Poverty Graduation Model targeting persons with disabilities from extreme poor families: RCT baseline findings from Bangladesh 

Sekandi Deus, Disability and Development: The Ugandan (DPO) perspective 

Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology

Sureshkumar Kamalakannan,  Non- Inclusive Health system for Disability Inclusive Development: Lessons from India 

Tess Bright, Assessing need for ear and hearing services in Malawi using the rapid assessment of hearing loss survey protocol 

Dorothy Boggs, Estimating functional impairments and assistive technology need through population-based surveys: an analysis of data from Cameroon & India and overview of proposed tool


Chandalin Vongvilay, Prevalence and attitudes towards disability in Laos: Informing World Education Laos’ CBID approach through findings from a household survey 

Maria Zuurmond, Exploring stigma and discrimination related to cerebral palsy in Burkina Faso 

Ruth Nalugya,  Developing a multi-level intervention targeting disability stigma with children with cerebral palsy and their families in Uganda     

Wash and Girls

Islay Mactaggart, Water, Women and Disability in Vanuatu: Results from a mixed methods study 

Jane Wilbur, Feasibility study of a menstrual hygiene management intervention for people with intellectual impairments and their carers in Nepal 

Mbuso Jama, Using disability data to adapt education programs in marginalised contexts - A Case Study from the Girls Education Challenge (GEC) Project in Zimbabwe’  


Research Two Column
PENDA Research

We are engaging in multiple studies across the programme, stay up to date on what we are doing below.

Access of children with disabilities to school-based interventions: an RCT in Malawi and India

Rationale for the intervention

There are approximately 150 million children globally with disabilities. [1] Comparable data are lacking, but it is clear that people with disabilities are consistently falling behind in educational inclusion compared to their peers without disabilities. [2] A study using data from Plan showed that across 30 countries, children with disabilities were 5-10 times less likely to be enrolled in school than their peers without disabilities. [3]

Exclusion of children with disabilities from education is important as:

  • It is in violation of their rights (e.g. under UN conventions of the rights of the child and the rights of persons with disabilities).
  • It will make it more difficult for SDGs to be realised (e.g. SDG on education specifically refers to children with disabilities)
  • It will perpetuate the social exclusion and poverty of children with disabilities and their families.

However, there is a lack of understanding of the predictors of educational inclusion among children with disabilities in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Another important concern is that many child health programmes are now administered through schools (e.g. vision/hearing testing, mass drug administration, health education), and will therefore disproportionately exclude children with disabilities.

Research question:

  • Do school-based health interventions exclude children with disabilities in Malawi and India? If so, is it more cost-effective to reach children with disabilities who are not attending school through school dissemination with community “mop-up” or through community dissemination?
  • Sub-question: what are the predictors of enrolment in school among children with disabilities in Malawi and India?

Hypotheses being tested:

School-based health interventions will exclude children with disabilities. Certain groups of children with disabilities are more vulnerable to exclusion from school: children with intellectual impairments, girls, and children who are poor.


Brief description of study:

These questions will be addressed within the Gates-funded DeWorm 3 trial conducted in Malawi and India. Communities are randomised so that children receive deworming at school or in the community. The disability status of all children is assessed through a community census. Coverage of deworming for children with and without disabilities will be compared between the school and community trial arms to assess whether school based dissemination excludes children with disabilities.

In-depth qualitative interviews with parents and children in each arm of the study will explore factors associated with no or low attendance at school.  Follow up interviews with teachers and access audits at selected schools will identify whether barriers to attendance are operating.


1.            UNICEF. State of the World's Children 2013. New York: UNICEF, 2013.

2.            UNESCO. Education and Disability: Analysis of Data from 49 Countries 2018. Available from:

3.            Kuper H, Monteath-van Dok A, Wing K, Danquah L, Evans J, Zuurmond M, et al. The impact of disability on the lives of children; cross-sectional data including 8,900 children with disabilities and 898,834 children without disabilities across 30 countries. PLoS One. 2014;9(9):e107300. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107300. PubMed PMID: 25202999; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4159292.


PhD Studentship available in Uganda

****Kenya PhD Applications have been extended****

PENDA is pleased to launch it's final PhD studentship for researchers with disabilities in Kenya focusing on researching the impact of Covid on people with disabilities.

PhD Studentships in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia

The PENDA Consortium is pleased to support full-time studentships for researchers with disabilities to conduct research to improve the evidence surrounding Disability Inclusive Development. The Consortium is committed to building the capacity of researchers with disabilities from LMICs, and so is funding exciting new studentships in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.

The studentships are a partnership between LSHTM and University of NairobiMakerere University and Zambart in collaboration with the University of Zambia. One PhD will be based at each University with additional support and supervision from the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The PENDA studentship will provide the opportunity for researchers to build their knowledge and experience in disability inclusive research over the course of three years and work to the completion of a PhD. The studentship will provide funds for the successful researcher to study at one of these universities with additional supervision provided by LSHTM in London. The studentship will include a stipend to enable the candidate to study full time for three years, provide some research field work costs, provide for reasonable adjustments and spend up to three months of the PhD in London, based at LSHTM.  

Kenya PhD studentship

Application details, eligibility criteria and further guidelines can be found here:

Guidance Document

Application Form

The deadline for applications for the PhD studentship is: 23.59 GMT 21 June 2020.

Uganda PhD studentship

Applications for the Uganda studentship are now closed. Successful applicants will be notified shortly.

Zambia PhD studentship 

Applications for the Zambian studentship are now closed. Successful applicants will be notified shortly.

For more information please email: 


PENDA Grants 2 Columns

Evaluation of an Inclusive Education project in Bangladesh

In January 2020 we launched the first of four calls for applications to deliver an impact evaluation on a disability inclusive development programme. The first programme to be evaluated is an Inclusive Education Programme in Bangladesh. The Expressions of Interest stage has now closed and second stage applicants have now been notified. 

Please check back for the next opportunity later this year. 

Information Webinars

Information webinars on the first call for applications can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can individual applicants apply?

Due to the scale and nature of the research and grant preference will given to applications from organisations and skilled teams of researchers that demonstrate the breadth of experience and capacity to operate within the research location with various stakeholders.

2. Is there a limit to number of team members?

No, assessment will be based on the composition of team experience rather than numbers. Justification of team structure will be crucial in this assessment. 

3. Can applicants propose new collaborations or should existing relationships be used? 

Yes new collaborations will be welcomed. It is up to the applicants to decide on the relevant team and collaboration structure and to justify it accordingly. PENDA is supportive of greater collaboration and interaction between researchers from across the globe to increase expertise in disability inclusive research, for example Global South- Global South researchers as well as Global South - Global North researchers. For this call the ability to deliver research within Bangladesh is key but applications led by research organisations based across the Global South will also be welcomed. Justification of team structure and experience is essential

4. How will 'Operational Partnerships' be measured?

We will be looking for a combination of experience of delivering similar research alongside strong research delivery mechanisms in Bangladesh. Ideally this experience would be in schools and in inclusive education. Particular attention will be paid to the team structure, capacity to deliver in Bangladesh and the participation and interaction of people with disabilities in the research. 

5. How long has the intervention been running?

This is a new intervention that will begin implementing in December 2020-January 2021. This is a new programme so there is no data available.

6. Are there specific tools you would anticipate researchers should use?

We are not prescriptive in defining the tools to be used for the evaluation. We do anticipate the use of some standard tools across all our programmes in areas such as the identification children with disabilities, for example the Washington Group Questions. We are also interested in research that looks at current tools and where they work or not and the discussion of new tools or innovations if relevant. 



All of PENDA's papers, publications, and tools will be shared on this page.

Resources 2 columns
Working Paper Left Column
PENDA COVID-19 Disability Inclusion Webinar - Behaviour Change


Disability in Low and Middle Income Countries: Background Thinking

PENDA have put together a summary of our thinking about Disability in Low and Middle Income Countries and how to evaluate the delivery of disability development programmes. The paper outlines what the programme understands disability to be, how it interacts with other factors and how PENDA hopes to learn more about improving inclusion and participation for people with disabilities in low and middle income countries.

Disability in Low and Middle Income Countries: Background Thinking

Take a read and let us know your thoughts at 


Updates List Block
Watch our COVID-19 disability inclusion webinar

Our latest webinar discussing disability inclusion during COVID-19 and behaviour change is now available here.

Grant Information Webinars now available

Find out more about our grant opportunity, listen back to our recent webinars and questions that applicants asked.  

Call for applications launched!

Find out more about the first PENDA call for applications for an impact evaluation in Bangladesh

PENDA PhD opportunity in Uganda

Find out more about the PhD studentship in Uganda. Application deadline is 8 December 2019

2019 Conference on Disability Inclusive Development

Find out more about the Third International Conference on Disability and Development and watch the plenary sessions

PENDA's website launch

Welcome to our new website.