Inclusive Education Initiative Newsletter #10


This image shows the Inclusive Education Initiative Logo
Transforming Education for Children with Disabilities
March  2021 | Issue #10
Dear Members,

We hope you are all doing well! It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic which necessitated that we all began shifting the ways we worked, schooled, and conducted our lives. While it has been a very tough year in so many regards, we have no doubt learned a lot along the way. We are so glad that you are a part of our community of practice and that we continue to learn from each other through shared experiences across the globe.
The IEI is celebrating its 2nd anniversary in April. To kick off our third year of continued learning and knowledge-sharing activities on disability-inclusive education, we are planning an exciting event.  On April 6 and 7, we will be hosting a workshop series focusing on lessons learned from the activities and the research conducted under the IEI.  These include sessions on the preliminary findings from the survey on learners with disabilities and COVID-19 school closures, disseminated last year at the onset of the pandemic; inclusive teaching, community-driven disability-inclusive education, and inclusive financing. Please see the detailed announcement below.

We also want to invite you to stop by our new website. In continuing to make this your go-to website on various aspects of disability-inclusive education, we welcome your feedback. As we work to increase the amount of content on our repository, we kindly ask that you continue sending us documents so that others can learn from your work. Please reach out to us if you have a blog post, or anything else you would like featured on the website—we are happy to feature your work on disability-inclusive education.  You can email us at or join our LinkedIn Group and post questions directly there.
Again, thank you for being with us as we learned together during a difficult year. We promise to continue building this community of practice and knowledge hub and look forward to our continued collaboration in achieving the goal of ensuring all children have access to quality inclusive education.

With best wishes,
The Inclusive Education Initiative Team
Graphic banner with the title of the event: Share 'n' Learn
April 6th and 7th, 2021
8:00 a.m. to 9:30 am (ET)

IEI's Community of Practice (CoP) invites you to
the second anniversary celebration of the Inclusive Education Initiative (IEI)
Please join us for the Share’n’Learn Session Series—a knowledge exchange forum that will explore ideas, share experiences, and discuss challenges of ensuring educational access, participation and achievement for children with disabilities. We have 4 exciting thematic sessions planned over two days: Learners with Disabilities and COVID-19; Inclusive Teachers; Families and Community; and Inclusive Education Financing.

Day 1 | Session 1
Tuesday, April 6th at 8:00 am- 8:45 am (ET)
Fireside Chat: Preparing Inclusive Teachers: A conversation about World Banks’s Inclusive Teach Tool 

This session will discuss the evidence and importance of understanding inclusive teaching practices at classroom level and using the classroom observation tool Inclusive Teach, to gather data to inform systems, teacher training, and professional development.

Day 1 | Session 2
Tuesday, April 6th at 8:45 am- 9:30 am (ET)
Presentation: Findings from IEI Learners with Disabilities and COVID-19 School Closure Survey

In this session we will share preliminary findings from the IEI’s “Learners with Disabilities and COVID-19 School Closures Survey” which presents data and reflections from parents/caregivers of children with disabilities, teachers for learners with disabilities, and persons with disabilities.

Day 2 | Session 1
Wednesday, April 7th at 8:00 am- 8:45 am (ET)
Fireside Chat: Applying a social inclusion lens to disability-inclusive education

In this session, we will explore the relevance of applying the social inclusion lens to disability-inclusive education as it focuses on the importance of family, community, and the entire social and education eco-system.

Day 2 | Session 2
Wednesday, April 7th at 8:45 am- 9:30 am (ET)
Presentation: Trends on disability-inclusive  education financing 

In this final session, we will have a discussion on the patterns of financing for inclusive education before and during the pandemic, and what this means moving forward.
The World Bank and the Inclusive Education Initiative strive to host inclusive and accessible events that enable all participants to engage fully—including individuals with disabilities. Sign language and captioning will be provided. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact
Global Disability Summit Secretariat
“Global Disability Summit + 2 years: Progress on Implementation of Commitments”

March 25, 2021 9:00 am-10:00 am EDTRegister Here

The launch of this report will give attendees a snapshot of the progress in commitments since the Global Disability Summit 2018 and will serve as a planning platform for the next one by identifying areas of potential focus.

"One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe"
Monday, March 29, 2021 9:00 am-11:00 am EDT | More Information

As the world enters a second year living with the COVID19 pandemic, two-thirds of the global student population is still affected by full or partial school closures. From the outset of the crisis, the risk of inequalities rising was the top concern, leading UNESCO to establish the Global Education Coalition that one year later, counts 160 members mobilized to support learning continuity.

In line with its mission to facilitate policy dialogue and knowledge sharing, UNESCO will convene a high-level ministerial event to take stock of lessons learnt, the greatest risks facing education today and strategies to leave no learner behind. It will provide a space for policy dialogue to examine the most pressing current challenges, informed by the presentation of some key data sets. It will show how the Global Education Coalition has mobilized partners to support learners, teachers and policymakers with new tools and knowledge.

Education Equity Research Initiative
“One Year of Education in the Pandemic: COVID-19 and Education Equity”

March 31, 2021 8:30 am- 10:00 am EDTRegister Here

This discussion will focus on the inequities deepened by COVID-19, the trajectories of learning loss during the pandemic, and the policy and resource implications for strengthening equity as schools begin to reopen. Presenters will come from the Center for Global Development, FHI 360, RTI International, and the ASER Center.
Maria Omare, founder and executive director of The Action Foundation in Kenya, has announced new episodes of their Somesha Stories, accessible & child friendly educational resources available on Facebook and YouTube.
Gwendolyn Burchell with United Aid for Azerbaijan, has written a white paper, Strengthening Inclusion Strategies for Children with Disabilities within the Context of Care Reform, which analyzes successful practices used throughout the world in order to make detailed recommendations that challenge past and current approaches to inclusive planning and programming. 
The World Health Organization has created Assistive Products Specifications, a guidebook with specs for different assistive products that describe the minimum quality requirements for manufacturing. The main aim of this guidebook is to ensure countries get the supply of good quality and affordable assistive products for all who need them. Appropriate assistive technology can increase the opportunities for education of children with disabilities and increase their chances of completing their schooling.

Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert Advice (SPACE) has published “How Targeting Mechanisms Can Identify People with Disabilities for Inclusion in Social Protection Programmes”, which draws on experience from a range of countries that have disability identification mechanisms and registries in place that have allowed for faster relief and support for persons with disabilities and their families, including children with disabilities.
Disabled Children’s Partnership and Pears Foundation has released “The Longest Lockdown: The experiences of disabled children and their families during lockdown 3” which looks at the findings from a survey that gathered responses from 635 families across England on the experiences of children with disabilities and their families during the pandemic.
Cover of the report
UK civil society coalition “Send My Friend to School” recently published “Turning the Tide on the Global Education Emergency” looks at the global education financing architecture as well as the principles of education financing and development and provides recommendations to turn the tide on the global education emergency.
The Open Society Foundations’ Early Childhood Program has published, “From Special School to Resource Centre: Supporting Vulnerable Young Children in Central and Eastern Europe: A Guide for Positive Change” that provides support to a wide range of stakeholders to manage and implement the ongoing transitions that affect how special and mainstream institutions provide services and coordinate action. It introduces the principles of inclusion along with ideas and strategies that can be used to manage change.

UNGEI and ECW have released “EiE-GenKit: A core resource package on gender in education in emergencies” and also touches on the intersection of disability among other factors.
As part of a USAID-funded inclusive education project, Mali's local language, Bambara (also referred to as Bamanankan), has been translated into braille for primary school children with visual impairments. As a result, the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) was adapted to be used with braille for the first time. Children with visual impairments, who were previously excluded, will now be able to participate in this educational milestone! This work was led by Sightsavers and adapting the braille was a joint initiative involving the Université des Lettres et des Sciences in Bamako, the University of Birmingham in the UK, the Malian Union of the Blind, and Mali’s Ministry of Education. Sightsavers- How we were the first to adapt braille into Mali's local language
children in a classroom
Children at a school in Haiti before COVID-19. / Rochambeau Lainy, GIECLAT
Sign of Success
February 8, 2021
Teachers are stepping up to improve the English literacy of deaf and hard of hearing students in Jamaica thanks to USAID training sessions with the Jamaica Association for the Deaf. These training sessions taught teachers that the best way to ensure their students were understanding the curriculum was to explain concepts using their natural sign language.
An Important Step for Blind People Malian Linguists Translate Bambara into Braille
February 23, 2021
Linguists and Braille experts in Mali have translated the country’s most widely spoken African language, Bambara, into Braille. Before now, students learned Braille in Mali's colonial language, French. With access to braille resources in Bambara, blind students will now have more access to education.
Transforming Education in Sierra Leone Continues with Geospatial Data
March 4, 2021
Read how the government of Sierra Leone uses innovative approaches to collect, analyze and use geospatial data that can lead to the improvement of education outcomes for all students, in particular girls, students with disabilities and children living in remote areas.
Paving the Way for More Inclusive Education in Haiti
March 11, 2021
USAID supports researchers who are working to ensure that children with disabilities have access to education in Southern Haiti, areas severely affected by Hurricane Matthew.
Sign language in education is oft forgotten
March 11, 2021
About 34 million children worldwide have disabling hearing loss. Nearly 95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, for whom sign language knowledge is crucial. Sign language introduces deaf children to basic expression and communication skills. Since most deaf children in low-resource settings start primary school with little or no language, the role of sign languages is essential for opening the pathway for progression in formal education, as it fosters access to the curriculum.
Christophe: A COVID-19 learning hero for blind learners in Burkina Faso
March 12, 2021
Christophe Oulé became blind when he was 43. He went on to not only became a trainer teaching pupils, students, and workers in assistive technology, he also became a strong advocate for inclusive education.
Sightsavers Advocates for Inclusive Education Amid COVID-19
March 14, 2021
In Sierra Leone, Sightsavers has not wavered in its efforts to continue helping children with disabilities access education during COVID-19. This article discusses the organization’s inclusive education projects and how it’s further supporting students with disabilities during the pandemic.
We want to hear from you!

Please share your disability-inclusive in education activities, success stories, upcoming events, and any other exciting resources. Please connect to our website: or send to 

New to IEI? Read our past newsletters and subscribe.


Back to Top

Stay updated with the latest information

Sign-up for our newsletter and get updates sent directly to your inbox.