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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.

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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.

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)
2019 Conference
PENDA 2019 conference 2 columns
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We invite you to join the 3rd International Conference on Disability and Development.

The conference will take place at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK and will be co-hosted by ICED and Sightsavers, in partnership with CBM, ADD International and Help Age International, supported by DFID.

Date: November 5-6, 2019
Venue: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

The conference seeks to bring together people with an interest in research and evidence from around the world to discuss and debate Evidence in Disability Inclusive Development.

The focus will be on new research findings, methodologies and tools and the implications of evidence for policy and practice. All those with a strong interest in better collection of disability data and use of evidence in decision-making are very welcome to attend.

This event is particularly relevant for researchers and policymakers. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to participate.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend keynote addresses from international experts, and contribute to panel discussions, training workshops and oral and poster presentations. Keynote speakers to be announced!

Topics for the conference will include:

What evidence exists on “What Works” (and what does not) in disability-inclusive development?
Evidence from impact evaluations and trials
Evidence from systematic reviews

Assessing needs and unmet needs for disability inclusive development
Assessing need and unmet need in health (including mental health), education, livelihood, attitudes, social protection and assistive technology
Understanding the relationship between disability-related exclusion and other (individual or contextual) factors

Methodological approaches and issues in collecting data to inform disability-inclusive development
Tools to measure inclusion and participation
Participatory methods
Process and impact evaluations, and randomised controlled trials
Disaggregating collected data by disability
Complex methodological issues (e.g. ethics, inter-sectionality)

How do we use evidence in order to inform disability inclusive development?
Role of research in supporting (and challenging!) activism, practice and policy
Case studies of efforts to use research findings to influence policies and practice
Opportunities and challenges of using research evidence to influence policies and practice

Active engagement of persons with disabilities
Engagement in research conduct, analysis and interpretation
Relationship of research organisations with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs)
Using testimony to change attitudes to disability

Registration is now open.
Register Here!!!
Abstract submission for oral/poster presentation is now open. 
Submit Abstract Here!!!

Abstracts up to 250 words can be submitted. We will accept abstracts focusing on empirical data from primary research and secondary data analyses, or abstracts that drive theory. We particularly welcome abstracts focusing on the topics outlined above.

Restricted to one first author abstract per participant

Deadline for abstract submission June 30, 2019. 

If submitting registration only, please leave the abstract form blank.

£50 – applicants from low and middle income settings, or UK research students
£100 – applicants from high income settings

For further information please contact us at: 

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.


PENDA Grants 2 Columns

PENDA will be launching an open call for applications to deliver impact evaluations that generate evidence of what works in Disability Inclusive Development. The specific evaluations will focus on the PENDA programme themes of Education, Health, Livelihoods and Social Protection.

It is anticipated that the initial call for applications will open in late 2019 or early 2020. To be kept up to date with the latest news and information, please review our recent updates and subscribe to our mailing list by emailing


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

Resources 2 columns
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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
PENDA's website launch

Welcome to our new website.