Hear my voice: a community-based participatory study gathering the lived experiences of people with disabilities and older people in Tanzania


  • Margo Greenwood
  • Bakar Fakih
  • Marion Steff
  • Stevens Bechange
  • Mrisho Mwifadhi


disability, older people, community-based participatory research, Tanzania, policy


This study provides evidence on the specific nature and experiences of people with disabilities and older people from their own perspectives in rural and urban settings in Tanzania. Its aim was to strengthen efforts to provide services for and improve the lives of people living in those regions. A community-based participatory approach was used involving respectful collaboration with the community. Peer researchers and research partners collected and analysed interviews with people with disabilities and older people, leading to policy and advocacy recommendations and plans. Findings were framed in terms of experiences of participation and inclusion as impacted by physical, social and attitudinal factors. They demonstrate how lack of access to healthcare and education, social limitations and powerful community attitudes were interwoven and exacerbated poverty in these contexts. Relationships towards traditional methods and capacity for empowerment were often unspoken or unrecognised as key influences. Policy recommendations cover issues such as persecution and killings of people with albinism, support and guidance for families of children with disabilities, national policy on ageing legislation, and implementing and monitoring the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.