Over £2 million awarded to empower disabled people in Tanzania and Uganda

Big Lottery Fund’s new international programme - the East Africa Disability Fund - awards £2.1 million of funding to six organisations in its first phase.

The funding to UK-based voluntary sector organisations, ADD International, CBM, Light for the World, Motivation, Sense International and Sightsavers, will help support disabled people in Tanzania and Uganda to develop skills and access resources.  The disability inclusion specialists will focus on enabling people to improve their livelihoods – and develop the strengths of individuals they work with to help them design and deliver a positive change for themselves and their community. 

Big Lottery Fund, which distributes this funding from the National Lottery, has worked with experts and other funders such as the Department for International Development (DFID), BOND and Comic Relief to develop its new international funding approach.

To maximise the impact of National Lottery funding and build upon its learning, this year, Big Lottery Fund’s international funding will concentrate on supporting disabled people in a small number of countries. It anticipates allocating around £4 million of funding for 2018/19 and its core focus will be on empowering people to shape solutions on issues which are important to them.

Through this programme, the Fund aims to inspire UK civil society with ideas from communities around the world and the lessons they have learned.  

Asayya Imaya, Head of International Funding at Big Lottery Fund, said: “We’re excited our new international programme will focus on supporting disabled people in Tanzania and Uganda - putting people in control so they can tackle the issues that are important to them. Based on previous feedback, we believe this targeted approach will allow us to maximise the impact of National Lottery funding and help to ensure that local communities are fully equipped to deliver a real and lasting change.”

Light for the World will create opportunities for young people with disabilities to improve their livelihoods. Working with a host of NGOs, social enterprises and companies that are already on the ground in Uganda and Tanzania they will make sure that young people with disabilities can fulfil their potential.

Robert Ssewagude, a beneficiary of Light for the World’s Livelihoods Improvement Challenge project, said: “If young people with disabilities get the right connections, skills as well as access to resources and services, they can change their lives for the better. Young people with disabilities need to believe in their abilities and realise that they are in a great position to gain more skills as they strive to uplift their status.” 

Underlining the common commitment of all the voluntary sector organisations involved, Tom Shakespeare, UK Chairman of Light for the World, said:“ We believe in partnerships and joining forces to achieve the same goal: leaving no one behind.  Together with Big Lottery Fund and the other international and local partners involved, we look forward to working alongside people with disabilities in Uganda and Tanzania so they can lead more independent and fulfilling lives.”

Big Lottery Fund is now looking to work with more UK-based voluntary sector organisations who work in Tanzania and Uganda. For more information on how to apply go to Big Lottery Fund’s website

Other projects involved, 

ADD International’s programme in Uganda and Tanzania supports people with disabilities and their households to secure sustainable livelihoods by increasing their access to social, human, physical, financial and natural assets in their communities. 

CBM will train people with disabilities in Uganda and Tanzania to speak up for the rights and strengthen Disabled People’s Organisations so they function as a strong voice.

Motivation will be partnering with local organisations to increase economic empowerment and secure livelihoods for people with spinal cord injuries in the Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions of Tanzania.

Sense International’s project Improving Livelihoods for People with Deafblindness supports deafblind people and their families in Uganda to communicate, speak out for change and to increase income through work. 

Sightsavers’ Ugandan programme Connecting the Dots focuses on continuing youth people with disabilities to gain access to training and internships.

Jane Turner, Institutional Funding Manager said, “The grant from Big Lottery Fund will allow our existing project to reach 90 more young people with disabilities, including youths who are deafblind or who have learning and intellectual disabilities. Students will also be offered more opportunities as part of their course, which will be broadened to include soft skills and business skills. We are so thrilled to have this opportunity.”

About Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, its funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people. 

International programmes have been part of Big Lottery Fund’s overall funding stream since 2006. 


About ADD International

ADD International is a disability rights organisation. We fight for independence, equality and opportunity for disabled people living in poverty in Africa and Asia, by supporting disability activists to bring social change. Working as an ally of the global disability movement, we tackle discrimination to ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. More information about ADD International is available at www.addinternational.org.

About CBM

CBM is an international Christian organisation working to transform the lives of people with disabilities and communities at risk in the worlds’ poorest places.  CBM works in nearly 60 countries to prevent blindness and help people with disabilities go to school, earn a living, access health care and rehabilitation, and be respected in their communities. CBM UK UK registered charity 1058162/ SC041101. www.cbmuk.org.uk  

About Light for the World


Light for the World leaves no one behind. Our goal is an inclusive society. As an international disability and development organisation we strive for full participation of people with disabilities in society. That is why we remain steadfast in our vision: Education for all, health for all, rehabilitation for all, empowerment for all – simply inclusion.

About Motivation


Motivation is a UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of disabled people living in some of the world’s poorest countries. Our vision is of a world in which disabled people are included and can fully participate in all aspects of life.

As well as designing and manufacturing our own special range of wheelchairs, Motivation provides training and practical support to ensure that the individual’s that we work with develop the confidence, self-esteem and skills to use their wheelchair as well as gain the knowledge to stay healthy and understand their rights.

At the same time Motivation helps break down the barriers facing disabled people and their families, by working with their wider community to tackle stigma and promote inclusion. In this way Motivation is helping children go to school and adults enter the workforce, empowering disabled people to fulfil their potential.

About Sense International

Sense International is a global charity supporting people with deafblindness in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania, Peru, Romania and Uganda. We are one of the world’s leading international organisations working for people with deafblindness and their families. Further information can be found on www.senseinternational.org.uk  

About Sightsavers

Sightsavers is a registered UK charity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people with disabilities.  www.sightsavers.org
There are 36 million blind people in the world; 75% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.
In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:

  • Supported over 873 million treatments for neglected tropical diseases (of which 480,239,508 are for the potentially blinding diseases trachoma and river blindness)
  • Carried out over 9.39 million operations to restore sight
  • Trained more than 522,000 primary eye care workers 
  • Carried out rehabilitation training for 210,889 blind or low vision beneficiaries 
  • Supported 46,573 blind or low vision children to gain a school education