Persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe works with UNESCO to protect rights of girls and women with disabilities

The Rapid Impact Assessment of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities conducted by UNESCO in Zimbabwe in February 2021 revealed the compounded difficulties of women and girls, increasingly at risk of gender-based violence and without access to services.

As many live hand-to-mouth, lockdown deprived them of subsistence means and left them even more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

In June 2021, Zimbabwe’s President launched a new and comprehensive National Disability Policy, which sets high standards for inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in all areas. UNESCO, which advocates for PWD rights in Zimbabwe within the European Union-funded Spotlight Initiative, helped formulate the new policy, mobilizing women and girls with disabilities to develop it, and supporting its implementation. UNESCO has also been supporting PWD organizations to conduct community dialogues and sensitization of community leaders. This has resulted in a documentary to inform policy-makers and key stakeholders. To ensure disability inclusion in service delivery, UNESCO supported the development of a guide on Mainstreaming Disability in the Prevention of and Response to Violence against Women with Disabilities in Zimbabwe. It has helped service providers and researchers to gain a better understanding of disability, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNESCO supports coalition building

between Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and the Women’s Movement in Zimbabwe

UNESCO launches survey

on the needs and capacities of OPDs and the Women’s Movement in Zimbabwe

UNESCO’s Regional Office for Southern Africa works closely with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the National Disability Board (NDB), responsible for promotion and protection of rights of Zimbabweans with disabilities. A major achievement was a costed Strategic Plan for 2020–2022 and a promotional video on the board’s mission and mandate.

In December 2021, a UNESCO workshop oriented NDB members on the new national policy. UNESCO is helping the board to create programmes on sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in Africa with legislation specific to PWD.


Mainstreaming disability in the prevention of and response to violence against women with disabilities in Zimbabwe: a simple guide for practioners
Deaf Women Included/UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa
Rapid impact assessment of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe
UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa