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Our new focus area on Disability and Older Age Inclusion, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), will explore the barriers to and support opportunities for the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities in humanitarian response.

This Challenge is focused on understanding the barriers faced by older people and people with disabilities when it comes to accessing and meaningfully participating in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) humanitarian programming.

The Problem

During conflict, natural disasters and displacement, the risk of experiencing violence, exploitation and sexual abuse is heightened. People with disabilities and older people can be more exposed to GBV due to a lack of protection by legal and social means.

A Rapid Review of disability and older age inclusion in GBV, commissioned by us, found that this risk is exacerbated by barriers to inclusion in humanitarian GBV programming; including barriers to accessing services and to meaningfully participating in assessments, programme design, implementation and evaluation.

Photo from Motivation's project 'Increasing awareness for emergency wheelchairs solutions'.

While research and guidance concerning the inclusion of older people in GBV programming are scarce, there is some research on disability and GBV which identifies barriers to accessing GBV programming, recommendations and tools for engagement (see Challenge Handbook for examples).

However, the extent to which existing tools and recommendations are used in practice, and how older people and people with disabilities experience the resulting GBV programmes is less understood.

Photo from Help Age International's project 'RAM-OP (rapid assessment method for older people)'.

The Challenge

We’re looking to understand the barriers to inclusion faced by people with disabilities and older people in GBV humanitarian programming: including needs assessments, programme design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

Projects will be at the Problem Recognition stage of the innovation process and will aim to provide a comprehensive and developed understanding of the barriers to inclusion faced by older people and people with disabilities in a specific humanitarian context.

Get the full details in the Challenge Handbook

For further information about the Challenge, criteria for solutions, expected deliverables and application timelines, as well as a glossary of key terms, please read the Challenge Handbook.

Read now


How do I apply?

To apply for the Challenge, fill out the Expression of Interest (EOI) via our Common Grants Application platform.

Already have an account? Login to start an application.

Don’t have an account? Sign up to open an account and start an application.

Why focus on older people and people with disabilities?

Humanitarian principles require that humanitarian assistance and protection are provided on the basis of need, without discrimination. However, older people and people with disabilities can face discrimination and multiple barriers to accessing humanitarian assistance; including cultural, physical and legal/policy barriers. Simultaneously, the capacities and rights of people with disabilities and older people are often overlooked.

Older people and people with disabilities are diverse and have diverse lived experiences. However, older age and disability intersect with each other; and we believe that this intersection and potential commonalities in barriers faced warrant further exploration and presents significant potential to improve inclusion outcomes for a diverse range of people.

Whilst disability and older age is the predominant focus of this work, we recognise that disability and older age also intersect with other identity characteristics, such as gender, race, colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, religion, health status, political or other opinion, national or social origin. This intersection can lead to compounding and distinct forms of discrimination that must be recognised in order to fully understand and address barriers to inclusion. For example, in particular, for the area of gender-based violence in emergencies, women and girls are especially at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation (UNFPA, 2015).

Please see further background and information on this focus area within the Challenge Handbook.

What is the total funding for the Challenge?

We have a total budget of £100,000 available for this Challenge. From this, we envisage funding a selection of projects with varying budgets; ideally in the range of £30,000 to £70,000 per project. The projects will run for between 12 and 18 months and the total duration should cover both implementation and dissemination.

The proposed budgets and timelines should align with the level of ambition of each individual project within the Challenge parameters. Each solution will be assessed on its own merit and potential for impact: this means that both smaller and larger projects will be on equal footing when being evaluated.

Please note that the grant amount requested at EOI stage can be indicative. Detailed budget plans will be requested at the full proposal stage.

What are the timelines?

The Challenge launches on 23 May 2019. The deadline for expressions of interest (EOIs) is 23 June 2019 (23:59 BST). Apply via the Common Grants Application platform.

For further information about the application process and timelines, see Challenge Handbook.

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from any legally registered entity (eg, INGO, NGO, UN, academic, private company). Successful applicants must work in partnership with a humanitarian actor. Wherever it is possible, applicants should develop meaningful partnerships with local organisations to support implementation; in particular, with local humanitarian actors and civil society groups (organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) and older people’s associations (OPAs) ). Any partnerships can be indicative at the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage but must be formalised when your full application is submitted if your proposal is shortlisted.

For further information about requirements and success criteria, see Challenge Handbook.

Are you able to facilitate collaborations?

Where possible, we will support applicants search for partners, but we are not able to commit to securing partners for applicants. If you have a particular type of partner in mind, get in touch with us and we will see how we can help.

Still have questions?

We’re here to help. For any questions that are not covered by the Challenge Handbook or FAQ section, please email us at, referencing ‘DOAI GBV Challenge’ in the subject line.

Helpful Tools & Research

Report Gender-based Violence, Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Older People

Rapid review of disability and older age inclusion in GBV

Tool Innovation Management

Humanitarian Innovation Guide

Report Gender-based Violence

Gender-Based Violence Interventions: Opportunities for Innovation

Related projects we fund

Discover more funding

Take a look at our other Disability & Older Age Inclusion Innovation Challenge: Understanding the barriers to inclusion faced by people with disabilities and older people in WASH humanitarian programming.

Read more

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