Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia (DRIC)

Project summary


The World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank’s World Report on Disability (2011) estimates that 15 percent of the world’s population have a disability, of whom 2.2 percent have very significant difficulties functioning. As a post-conflict country, Cambodia is subject to a number of risk factors which can lead to a high prevalence of disability. People with disability face many barriers including physical, social, economic and attitudinal.  They lack access to appropriate, quality and affordable healthcare, rehabilitation, education and disability services. These prevent them from full and effective participation in their society. 

The Royal Government of Cambodia’s (RGC) commitment to improving the lives of people with disability through recognition of their rights was demonstrated through ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2012.  The RGC have also enacted a number of disability laws and strategic plans in recent years.

To ensure the persons with disabilities in Cambodia have improved their quality of life, the Australian Government proposed to develop a joint disability programme with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) named “Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia” (DRIC). It is a 5-year program (2014-2018) funded by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australian government with a projected budget of AUD$13.1 million.

Purpose of the programme


The long term goal of the Disability Rights Initiative-Cambodia (DRIC) Programme is the “improved quality of life for persons with disabilities” in Cambodia.

Achievement of the end-of-programme outcome, “persons with disabilities have increased opportunities for participation in social, economic, cultural and political life through effective implementation of the National Disability Strategic Plan (NDSP)”, will contribute to improve quality of life for persons with disabilities.

Key expected results

  • Ministry of Social Affairs Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY)/Disability Action Council (DAC) effectively coordinates implementation of the National Disability Strategic Plan, aligned to the CRPD.
  • Disabled People’s Organisations effectively represent the needs and priorities and advocate for the rights of persons with disability.
  • Improved rehabilitation services for persons with disability.
  • Increased capacity of and collaboration between subnational decision makers, civil society and communities to achieve the rights of persons with disability.

Contributing donors

Contributing donors
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australian Government (DFAT) AUD$13.1 million

Key components

The DRIC is a broad initiative aiming to significantly enhance an enabling environment for persons with disabilities in Cambodia. The programme consists of the following four components:

Component 1 - Supporting Government implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

UNDP will support the Disability Action Council (DAC) to effectively coordinate implementation of the National Disability Strategic Plan (NDSP), conduct functional analysis and capacity assessments of DAC and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) for on-going assistance and capacity building, support the review of the legal framework to be compatible with the CRPD, organise an Annual Policy Dialogue on Disability between key stakeholders, and undertake a meta-analysis of available Cambodian disability data

Component 2 - Supporting Disabled People’s Organisations to raise the voice and protect the rights of people with disability:

UNDP will support and strengthen the capacity of the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation (CDPO) to:

  1. undertake policy research and advocacy;
  2. act as a channel for policy dialogue between civil society and the government;
  3. strengthen the capacity of Disabled People’s Organisations and act as an effective coordinator of civil society in the disability sector; and
  4. ensure the representation of diverse groups of persons with disability.  

Component 3 - Supporting rehabilitation systems strengthening:

WHO will focus on:

building the capacity of key rehabilitation sector stakeholders, in particular MoSVY and Persons with Disabilities Foundation;

  1. establishing a rehabilitation sector leadership and coordination mechanism;
  2. increasing the involvement of the Ministry of Health in rehabilitation;
  3. establishing a provincial rehabilitation demonstration project to trial a coordinated and streamlined approach to rehabilitation service provision; and
  4. supporting the development of a national rehabilitation strategic plan. 

WHO will also work with the government to strengthen their capacity to manage physical rehabilitation centres efficiently and support the transition of management from NGOs. WHO will administer a grants scheme to directly support priority rehabilitation services.

Component 4 - Inclusive governance and inclusive community development:

UNICEF will focus on:

  1. capacity development for subnational government including Provincial Governors, provincial, district and commune decision-makers to implement disability inclusive development;
  2. explore the options for a commune level disability focal point and to provide outreach support to persons with disabilities; and
  3. administration of a small grants scheme  to support civil society organisations to provide disability services for persons with disabilities in specific target areas.

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