Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)

The Organisational Development in Southern Africa Project

Organisational Development Project

Project duration (total months):

48 Months (4 Years)


Southern Africa


FunksjonshemmedesFellesorganisasjon (FFO) / Atlas Alliance


  1. Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)
  2. SAFOD national Affiliates


The Organisational Development Project is part of the FFO’s Theory of Change, to contribute to organisation development and Human Rights training that empowers its partner organizations. FFO’s partner organizations, such as SAFOD, contribute to change in attitude towards persons with disabilities in society in general, in governments and other spheres.

On the other hand, this project is also a component of one of the SAFOD’s eight core programmes dubbed “Southern Africa Capacity and Institutional Building Strategy (SA-CIBIS)” as reflected in its fiver-year Strategic Plan document (2016-2020). Under this program, SAFOD seeks to build the institutional operational capacities of its national affiliates in all the ten countries where it operates to ensure effective and sustainable national federations of DPOs. These DPOs should be able to significantly and sustainably promote and secure implementation of policies and legislation that promote human rights for persons with disabilities.

The vision of the Organisational Development Project is that persons with disabilities can enjoy their human rights and participate fully in society. The initiative aims at contributing to SAFOD being a visible and credible regional federation of national affiliates in 10 member countries in Southern Africa.

Credibility is gained by trust of affiliates; that SAFOD rules by good governance and advocates on issues that affiliates find important, that planning and implementation of advocacy is done together. Visibility shows in participation in regional fora where disability issues and inclusion are discussed, and also by SAFOD being able to set the agenda where disability issues are not a topic.

SAFOD will through this initiative bring affiliates together, train them on leadership and human rights advocacy and have CRPD expertise by human rights legal desk. Also, SAFOD will advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities at SADC level, coordinated with affiliates advocating on national levels.

SAFOPD will also engage other key regional and continental bodies such as the African Development Bank the African Union and others.

Summary Description

Strategic Goal:

The project will strengthen SAFOD as a regional disability federation to contribute towards making its affiliates stronger and the civil society independentin the Southern Africa region.

Strategic Objectives:

  1. The project has prioritized the following key strategies for the period 2016-2019 to work for inclusion of persons with disabilities in Southern Africa:
  2. To strengthen SAFOD affiliates’ good governance capacity to promote the rights of persons with disabilities on national level.
  3. To strengthen SAFOD’s advocacy towards SADC and the African Development Bank to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities on regional level.
  4. To develop a UNCRPD monitoring and shadow report program for SAFOD affiliates.
  5. To revive the Youth Wing of SAFOD.


The prominence of the SA-CIBIS program, under which the Organisational Development Project is being implemented, is premised on the fact that over the years we have witnessed a trend of deteriorating capacities of NGOs and other non-profit organizations in the region and all over the world due mainly to the dwindling donor cash-flows affected by the general economic down-turn in the West. The trend has not spared DPOs or the disability sector. This has resulted in a number of our national affiliates of DPOs facing challenges in terms of leadership, governance and diminished general institutional capacity to manage various disability programs. In fact, not many national affiliates are actually implementing as many activities as compared to what the situation was just a decade ago.

Living Conditions Studies in Southern Africa have showed that persons with disabilities have poorer living conditions than the non-disabled population on a wide range of indicators – e.g. education, health, access to work and participation in society. We also know that they are among the most marginalized and poor in these countries. All countries in The Southern African Development Community (SADC) (except Botswana) have ratified the UNCRPD, but implementing disability friendly policies is lacking. On SADC level, disability is not part of the human rights discussions. The African Development Bank also aims to be inclusive, but does not include disability clearly in programs.

FFO’s Theory of Change implies that FFO contributes to organisation development and Human Rights training that empowers its partner organisations like SAFOD. Our partner organisations contribute to change in attitude towards persons with disabilities in society in general, in governments etc. This leads to improved rights and living conditions for persons with disabilities. A dynamic disability movement, with democratic, inclusive and sustainable disability federations that effectively promote disability rights also empower persons with disabilities to know their rights. FFO has the capacity and experience to build strategic partnerships with partners.

FFO and SAFOD believes that improvements in living conditions of women and men with disabilities can happen if they become aware of their human rights and develop a vision for change, are empowered to organize, mobilize and take collective action for change at local, national, regional and international level. A solid knowledge of their legal rights, evidence of the facts of the present situation and effective methods to communicate and advocate their case is needed to use these tools to engage with and put pressure on decision makers and other important stakeholders to make policies and practices disability inclusive and take deliberate targeted action to mitigate discrimination and exclusion.