Poverty and disability fuel each other creating a cycle of inequality, isolation and exclusion that is often difficult to break. For people with disabilities, earning an income empowers an individual, it brings the respect of others including family and it enables other opportunities.

Role in Economic Development

Livelihood or ‘decent work’ as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is the right of every person. Decent work for a person with a disability puts more than money in their pocket. It places value on their humanity, generating self-respect and acceptance by others in their community.

At a broader level, a focus on livelihood contributes towards poverty alleviation and improvement in the economy and is a powerful strategy for inclusive development.


CBM aims to ensure people with disabilities have equal access to social and economic activities including work or sustained livelihood.

We partner with organisations across the globe with a similar mission, to reduce barriers to employment and promote participation in work for people with disabilities.

Our influence begins at a grassroots level and extends to advocating for policy changes at a government level.  Livelihood is commonly a key component of our inclusive community development work. Access to rehabilitation or devices is often a key enabler to participating in training or work or a livelihood.

We focus on

  • Including households with people with disabilities​
  • Improving production and business practices
  • Building community assets​
  • Encouraging women as well as men to be able to work​
  • Improving physical access and transportation networks​​
  • Advocating for better local regulations​
  • Development of laws and policy promoting assistance and social networks​
  • Enabling participation through access to rehabilitation and assistive devices​

In our experience, the most successful strategies include:

  • Changing attitudes and increasing confidence and motivation
  • Developing links with mainstream microfinance providers
  • Testing new approaches such as Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs)
  • Involving the whole family in supporting individual livelihood plans
  • Developing strong connections with rehabilitation services and the provision of assistive devices

Find out more in our Resources Section.

Our team would love to hear from you