Guinea Bissau is a country which has been affected by intense political upheaval, where the health services are insufficient, and access to education is far from satisfactory. HI implements projects to ensure that children with disabilities can attend school and supports Disabled Peoples Organisations to campaign for recognition of rights and access to services.
Group of children in Guinea-Bissau | © C. Acworth / HI
Actions in process
HI is currently working on two education projects. The aim is to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the school system and to allow them to benefit from teaching adapted to their needs. The organisation therefore works to raise the education authorities' awareness of the importance of including these children in schools.
HI also works to ensure children with disabilities enjoy the same rights as all other children. The organisation therefore provides training for teachers and directors at 12 partner schools, as well as school inspectors working in the four sectors of the Oio region. HI makes adaptations to school buildings (accessible toilet facilities and drinking water), encourages families to officially register their children, and raises the population's awareness of the importance of preventing violence against children.
In 2017, HI began activities to address the issue of HIV and disability. The organisation raises awareness of the disproportionate impact that the HIV epidemic has on people with disabilities; collects data to improve understanding of the crisis; and supports civil society organisations to better include people with disabilities in the fight against HIV.
HI has been working in Guinea-Bissau since 2000. The first projects were in the fields of functional rehabilitation, the economic inclusion of people with disabilities and the campaign against landmines and explosive remnants of war. HI suspended its operations in the country from 2008 - 2014, due to the political unrest and security risks. Activities relaunched in 2015.
Situation of the country
Guinea Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world. Affected by chronic instability, the country has undergone a series of coup d'états over the last twenty years.
The government formed after the 2014 presidential elections has launched a range of reforms. However, the country faces many challenges: Guinea-Bissau has a high rate of diseases related to malnutrition, in particular in pregnant women, which leads to high levels of mother and child mortality.
The health services are understaffed and staff are under-qualified. The education sector also struggles - just 64% of children reached the end of their primary education in 2010. Life expectancy at birth is 57 years and the annual income per inhabitant is just over 1000 dollars.