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Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion

Supporting inclusive and participatory health systems to meet the needs of those who are most marginalised

Gender equality, disability and social inclusion (GEDSI) are part of Options’ DNA. Together with our partners, we combat gender- and disability-based discrimination and harmful practices that stand in the way of improved health and well-being for women, girls, people with disabilities and marginalised groups.

How we’re driving gender, equality, disability and social inclusion

Inclusive quality health services

We support national and local governments to mainstream GEDSI across their systems. We provide targeted interventions that respond to specific challenges, such as violence against women and girls and access to mental health care. We support access to health facilities by working with partners to conduct accessibility audits and ensuring accessibility requirements are included in infrastructure planning and design.

Access to specialised disability and mental healthcare services

Together with our partners, we deliver tailored, specialised initiatives that respond to the complex and varied experiences of people with disabilities and mental health conditions in order to increase access to quality services. Initiatives include strengthening community-based care through self-help groups; addressing gaps in the supply of psychotropic medicines; and training nurses to improve detection and treatment of mental health conditions.

Participatory research and design

We use pioneering methods of participatory research and co-creation, and user-led approaches, to ensure that services are designed to reflect the priorities and meet the needs of the people who need and use them. These include our Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research (PEER) method and human-centred design (HCD) approaches. Across programme life cycles, we use political economy analysis (PEA) to examine how gender, age, disability and other social markers of difference result in experiences of inequality.

Tackling harmful social norms

From grassroots dialogue to global advocacy, we lead ground-breaking social and behaviour change communications initiatives that centre women and girls’ voices and perspectives on issues including female genital mutilation and cutting and safe abortion. We work to reduce stigma against people with disability including mental health conditions in partnership with local organisations, for example by developing positive disability language guides and training media houses on positive representation of people with disabilities.

Empowering organisations which represent the most marginalised

Women’s rights organisations, organisations of people with disabilities and other grassroots organisations are widely recognised as important change makers, yet they are under-resourced and often excluded from decision-making spaces. We provide tailored capacity strengthening and design and manage inclusive granting mechanisms that support those most affected by an issue, to act and lead on transformational change.

Our GESI self-reflection tool

We aim for all our programmes to consider the implications of GESI in each context, and ideally for each programme to achieve GESI as an outcome. Our GESI self-reflection tool is used to reflect on our projects through every stage to understand the extent to which our interventions challenge and tackle existing discriminatory social norms.