Policy and advocacy

Sightsavers influences the development and implementation of health, education and inclusion policies at local, national and global levels.

Lucy Molombii, chair of the Kakamega County Disability Caucus in rural Kenya, at the Sightsavers stand during the Women Deliver 2023 conference.

At Sightsavers, policy change is a global priority delivered by our country offices, the policy and advocacy team and technical teams.

While more than 1.3 billion people worldwide have a disability, people with disabilities are often denied their basic rights and excluded from decision-making. Our policy work aims to improve outcomes in eye health, education, social inclusion, economic empowerment and neglected tropical diseases for everyone, particularly people with disabilities.

We promote international frameworks and treaties such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We also provide technical support to governments, enabling them to adopt laws and policies in line with international disability frameworks that help them to fulfil their commitments and ensure no one is left behind. Partnerships with other organisations help us promote and advance inclusive policies at a global level.

Policy and advocacy are also key to Sightsavers’ mission to deliver sustainable programmes that ensure people with and without disabilities can continue to fully enjoy their rights beyond our work.

View our latest advocacy data

Our advocacy outcomes dashboard showcases the latest information on advocacy and policy from our country offices in Africa and Asia.

View the dashboard

How we advocate for disability inclusion


We campaign for disability rights to be upheld to help create a more equal world. We do this by engaging at national, regional and global levels to call for change.
Join our Equal World campaign

Technical support

We help governments ensure their policies are inclusive, and we help strengthen organisations of people with disabilities so they can hold their governments to account.
Our citizenship work

Inclusive data

We promote inclusive data so governments collect and use accurate information about people with disabilities, which can help inform policy and decision-making.
About inclusive data

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Our work on inclusive education policy

Influencing policy

We influence global and national debates, policies and practice to ensure decisions on education are inclusive for all students, particularly those with disabilities.
About inclusive education

Policy reviews

We advise governments on inclusive education policies and advocate for education systems that include students with disabilities in mainstream learning.
Our education work in Malawi

Promoting inclusion

We work with organisations to promote inclusive education and call for action at a global level by influencing processes such as the Transforming Education Summit.
What we called for at TES 2022

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How we’re making health care more inclusive

Influencing policy

We advocate for stronger commitments, call for action to address health inequities and demand accessible and inclusive services for people with disabilities.
About inclusive health

Engaging with WHO

We participate in the World Health Assembly and its regional committees, and provide expert input into World Health Organization (WHO) guidance.
How we’re shaping eye care

Working in partnership

We work with partners through the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and support the work of the UN’s Friends of Vision.
About UN Friends of Vision

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We fight for equality for people with disabilities

Join our Equal World campaign

Our key policy and advocacy achievements

  • Disability is now included within mandatory processes and major funding streams at the World Bank.
  • The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution “Vision for Everyone”, which placed eye health as key to achieving the SDGs for the first time.
  • Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone became champions of the Inclusive Data Charter.
  • Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe acceded to the Marrakesh Treaty.
  • Uganda developed and implemented the National Disability Inclusive Planning Guidelines.
  • Kenya, Pakistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe integrated the Washington Group questions into their censuses.
  • The electoral code in Senegal was revised to ensure people with disabilities can access polling stations.
  • Sierra Leone and Liberia launched new national eye health policies.
  • Pakistan introduced 67 disability-focused indicators into the national SDG reporting system.

View our disability and gender markers data

Our dashboard provides a data visualisation on the disability and gender markers used by members of the OECD Development and Assistance Committee.

Visit the dashboard

Learn more about our key achievements

Read our annual summaries

Latest from policy and advocacy

A mother and her young daughter hug and smile.
Sightsavers blog

Going beyond health: the role eye care plays in the SDGs

Eye health has an impact on numerous Sustainable Development Goals, and has a ripple effect that improves gender equity, education, economic and health outcomes.

Fiona Lawless, December 2023
In a village in Mozambique, two people in blue polo shirts hold clipboards and talk to members of the local community.
Sightsavers blog

Lifting the rock on inclusive data: Sightsavers and the Inclusive Data Charter

We spoke to Dominic Haslam, Sightsavers’ director of policy and programme strategy, about the launch of our second Inclusive Data Charter Action Plan and how it reaffirms our commitment to inclusive data. 

Sightsavers, November 2023
Mariana Rudge.
Sightsavers blog

How inclusive education can create a more equal and sustainable future

As learners with disabilities are disproportionately affected by global crises such as climate change, we're urging governments to build more resilient education systems for everyone.

Mariana Rudge, September 2023
Hannah Dawson.
Sightsavers blog

A leap in the right direction: takeaways from the Women Deliver conference

The event served as a platform for myself and other Sightsavers colleagues to engage in discussions about how to dismantle barriers and tackle the obstacles impeding progress around women’s rights.

Hannah Dawson, September 2023
Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame.
Sightsavers blog

First anger, then action: why you should sign the Feminist Accessibility Protocol

In my years as a disability advocate, I’ve learned that getting angry needs to be accompanied by getting active. We wanted to advise organisations on how to do better to include women and girls with disabilities.

Ujala Sarfaraz and Saleck Dah.
Sightsavers blog

Why disability rights are integral to the Sustainable Development Goals

Sightsavers’ Saleck Ould Dah and Ujala Sarfaraz highlight two key issues around disability inclusion that are hampering efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sightsavers, June 2023