International Disability Alliance: Supporting the Rights of People with Disabilities Worldwide

Persons with disabilities and their representative organizations have historically found themselves with limited access to both advanced educational opportunities* and the capacity-building resources they need to influence policies and legislation. The International Disability Alliance (IDA), an alliance of eight global and six regional organizations of persons with disabilities, is working to change this.

Advocacy and Support

IDA advocates at the UN for a more inclusive global environment for persons with disabilities and their organizations. Together with over 1,100 of its members, IDA promotes the rights of persons with disabilities in line with the UN's efforts to advance human rights and sustainable development.

IDA additionally supports organizations of peoples with disabilities in holding their governments accountable and advocating for social change on the local, national, and international levels. One way this is done is through an intensive training program aimed at developing the capacities of disability advocates from low- and middle-income countries. Upon completing training, advocates can identify different avenues to propose policy reforms that support social change for all human rights and for all persons with disabilities.  

A map of countries and regions that IDA members work in.

The Role of NGOsource

IDA completed the equivalency determination (ED) process with NGOsource in mid-2014 as part of a grant requirement of the Foundation to Promote an Open Society. Its ED has been renewed multiple times since then. The ED enabled IDA to secure funding from two of its biggest donors that amounted to 15 percent of its total budget. Nicolas Bach, IDA's operations and finance manager, notes that receiving the ED "had a huge impact" and that the support from these grantmakers is "so valuable" to IDA's operations. IDA's initial ED with NGOsource saved both their organization and their funders significant time and resources on subsequent EDs. Instead, they could spend their time focusing on their important work.

Upon receiving an ED and becoming a part of NGOsource's centralized ED repository, NGOs like IDA find themselves with more access to flexible funding from U.S. grantmakers. Member grantmakers can benefit by the due diligence done by others and request an ED for an NGO already in the repository. When doing so, grantmakers can receive ED certificates immediately for only $250.

Mark Mapemba of Inclusion International (a member of IDA) responds at the Commission for Social Development in February 2017.

Over the last five years, IDA has put its funding to good use in supporting the work of advocates and organizations from over 90 countries. As a result, IDA has seen a significant growth in recommendations from the UN on promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. Moving forward, it will continue to work to expand these rights.

Read more about NGOsource's equivalency determination process and its benefits for NGOs worldwide.

*UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities, accessed from

Top photo: Colin Allen (IDA Chair), Yetnebersh Nigussie (Light for the World), and Jose Viera (World Blind Union) at the High-Level Political Forum, 2017. Photo: International Disability Alliance.