Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID)

Article submitted by CAN

Introducing CBR Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) is a strategy within general community development for the rehabilitation, equalization of opportunities, poverty reduction and social inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). As we have seen the evolution in the disability sector from a charity model to a rights based model, so too CBR has evolved from its early format as a medically based concept to the multi-disciplinary strategy it is today. Elements of The CBR Matrix Community Based Rehabilitation or Community Based Inclusive Development  (CBID), as it is increasingly known, is the main strategy used by an increasing number of countries (about 100 at the moment) to achieve the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) around the world. What is CAN? In 2001, CBR Africa Network (CAN) was established following a meeting of stakeholders at Uganda National Institute for Special Education (now part of Kyambogo University). From then on, Uganda has been the host of the CAN secretariat and its Board is made up of people from six African countries, elected at its 4 yearly conferences.  CAN currently has members in more than 30 countries of Africa and from all stakeholder groups. Further, the inception of CAN has given rise to other CBR networks in different parts of the world, such as Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region,  and subsequently this led to the development of the CBR Global Network (CGN) in 2012. What are the activities of CAN? CAN undertakes several activities, including the following:

  1. Knowledge and information sharing website – CAN has established a website ( that profiles CBR organisations in Africa. It provides links to a variety of international disability information resources and events as well as information on CAN news, activities, conferences and workshops. Through the survey and feedback forms available on the website, CAN is also able to collect and share information on CBR from different sources.
  2. Information sharing through Email to its members around Africa – CAN now has members in every African country. CAN has over 3,500 members from around the world with the number growing daily. Information on CBR/CBID is shared via email to these members                                                                                                                                                                                             
  3. Writing Skills Workshops – Having agreed that there was a very real need for increased documentation of practices by those involved in CBR, one of the initiatives undertaken by CAN is writing skills workshops in various countries of Africa. These workshops target practitioners with a lot of experience in CBR and facilitate taking of oral history from the community and other resource persons. Besides being able to document their own practices by the end of the training, some participants are also able to later train others in documenting CBR experiences in Africa.
  4. Conferences – To facilitate the development of strong local and international partnerships between and among stakeholders, CAN organises CBR conferences in Africa at an interval of 3 – 4 years. These conferences bring together people from various nations to share experiences and, in the process, create a basis for further talks, meetings and productive interactions for mutual benefit.
  5. Promotion and support of National CBR Associations and Networks – Formation of CBR associations was one of the initiatives identified during the first CBR Africa conference in Uganda in 2001 to further strengthen the sharing of experience among African countries. These associations form the backbone of the future linkages between all the CBR stakeholders across Africa and they provide forums for sharing information as well as supporting PWDs and their families.
  6. Supporting synchronization of CBR training – It was realised that in spite of the considerable amount of CBR training in many African countries, there was little synchronisation of these training programmes both among different countries and even within the same country. The content of training was seen to be diverse and generally unknown to others carrying out similar training programmes. There was therefore need to harmonise the CBR training curricular by sharing information through documentation of research and publication in working papers, reports, journals and newsletters. It is hoped that CBR training will also be included in other programmes such as social science, specialist rehabilitation, education and health and the curricula, and reading materials will be reviewed regularly.
  7. Surveys –To facilitate sharing of experience among practitioners it is important to collect information on different CBR initiatives in Africa. CAN carries out surveys whose results are published in a CBR directory that provides information on CBR Programmes in Africa.
  8. Social Media – Because electronic discussion groups facilitate sharing of experiences, information and related issues across a wide audience, CAN has launched and continues to moderate two electronic discussions groups on Facebook, Twitter. These groups help to stimulate and promote dialogue among CBR practitioners in Africa and the World.

What are the Benefits of being a member of CAN?

  • Accessing and sharing information on all topics relating to disability in Africa
  • Great publicity in the African region and beyond
  • Opportunity to connect with top development partners
  • Opportunity to show case your work through our website and social media platforms
  • Joining a big network in inclusive development agenda

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