Publication Date



Through its standards and advocacy work, the International Labour Organization

(ILO) has long advocated equality of opportunity and treatment for

persons with disabilities and their inclusion in programmes and services

open to the general population, in particular through the ILO Convention

concerning the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled

Persons, 1983 (No. 159). This ILO mandate has been given renewed impetus

following the entry into force of the United Nations (UN) Convention on

the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in May 2008. Effective and

meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream activities is

now increasingly an expectation of national policies, programmes, services

and activities targeting the general population, as well as in UN agency

programmes and technical assistance projects.

Until now, most programmes and projects have worked with people with

disabilities in isolation, separately from the main thrust of activity. At the

same time most mainstream initiatives have not considered the inclusion of

people with disabilities in any meaningful way. With the greater emphasis

now on including disabled people in general programmes and projects,

managers, staff and partners of the ILO and other UN agencies are likely to

need more information on how to mainstream effectively. The Count Us In!

guidelines aim to meet that need. They are designed, in the first instance, for

enterprise development specialists, as well as those involved in management

and planning in this field, to enable them to include persons with

disabilities in general entrepreneurship training and services on an equal

basis with others. They also contain practical advice for disability specialists

in their activities to promote entrepreneurship and improve livelihood.

These guidelines, developed during a project funded by Irish Aid, are the first

in a series of practical advice to be made available to ILO Employment

Sector specialists and more broadly, with a view to making it possible for

them to meet the goals of equal opportunity and treatment of disabled

persons, to advance the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and to contribute to the

achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Acknowledgements are

due to Maureen Gilbert who prepared the guidelines in consultation with

Barbara Murray, Senior Disability Specialist, ILO Geneva and Grania Mackie,

Regional Technical Advisor, Women’s Entrepreneurship and Gender Equality

(WEDGE) project, ILO Addis Ababa, with valuable comments by Debra Perry

while she was Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist in ILO Bangkok.

The contribution of Claire-Pascale Gentizon in preparing the manuscript is

also acknowledged.