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Sightsavers and International Disability Alliance (IDA) join a million dollar partnership

Speakers at the Global Disability Summit (GDS) 2018 – ©Sightsavers

“There is no doubt that for us at IDA, this partnership with Sightsavers is a landmark partnership. In these trying times, partnerships like ours provide hope and vision for the rights of people with disabilities,” said Yannis Vardakastanis, President of IDA.

Sightsavers has worked in a strategic and effective partnership with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) since 2013 – sharing its expertise and resources to advance the rights of persons with disabilities and the inclusion agenda. The two organizations have worked together to host two Global Disability Summits, supported the development and growth of the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) network, and jointly led important consortium initiatives to advance disability inclusion.

The grant will enable the Global Disability Coordinating Network to increase its advocacy work, provide technical assistance and build capacity for the world’s 1.2 billion people with disabilities and their representative organizations (DPOs). Funding is unlimited, meaning it can be spent where needed, rather than being tied to a particular area of ​​work.

This is the largest unrestricted grant Sightsavers has awarded in its 70 years of partner support, taking the partnership with IDA to a new level. Behind this partnership is a shared principle that people with disabilities are best placed to decide how and where resources should be deployed to realize their rights.

Yannis Vardakastanis, President of IDA declared on this occasion: “I would also like to thank you wholeheartedly for the financial support given to IDA. There is no doubt that for us at IDA, this partnership with Sightsavers is a landmark partnership. In the trying times we live in, partnerships like ours provide hope and vision for the rights of people with disabilities. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the years to come.

Sir Clive Jones, Chairman of Sightsavers, said: “We simply couldn’t do what we do without the partnership between Sightsavers and IDA. We make this unprecedented show of solidarity with the firm belief that people with disabilities and their representative organizations are best placed to make and influence the decisions that affect their lives. This represents a commitment to the meaningful, independent and fully funded engagement of DPOs in the development process.

This grant allows IDA to focus more on the fact that inclusion cannot happen if people with disabilities and their organizations are not empowered to participate. The only effective way to ensure that people with disabilities and their representative organizations are recognized as agents of change is to include their voices on all topics and aspects of life.

*About the International Disability Alliance (IDA)*

IDA, established in 1999, is a network of eight global organizations and six regional organizations of disabled people (DPOs). IDA members, and their members, represent more than 1,100 DPOs from 182 countries and approximately one billion people with disabilities worldwide. The 14 members of IDA are: the African Disability Forum (ADF); the ASEAN Disabled Persons Forum (ASDF); the Arab Organization of Disabled People (AOPD); Down Syndrome International (DSI); the European Disability Forum (EDF); Inclusion International (II); the International Federation of the Hard of Hearing (IFHOH); the International Federation of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IFSBH); the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS); the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF); the World Blind Union (WBU); the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD); the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB); and the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP). For more information, please visit

*About Sightsavers*

Sightsavers is an international organization that works in more than 30 low- and middle-income countries to end preventable blindness, treat and eliminate neglected tropical diseases, and promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities. Sightsavers’ vision is of a world where no one is blind from preventable causes and where people with disabilities can participate equally in society. It is a registered charity in the UK (registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110).

Worldwide, 2.2 billion people are visually impaired and of these, at least 1 billion people have visual impairment or blindness that could have been prevented or has not yet been treated. This burden falls most heavily on poorer countries and marginalized communities. And projections show that the global demand for eye care is set to increase in the coming years.

In the seven decades since its founding, Sightsavers has:

  • More than 1.2 BILLION treatments supported for neglected tropical diseases
  • Performed over 7.7 million cataract operations to restore sight
  • Performed over 196 million eye exams
  • Distributed over 4.6 million glasses

Sightsavers holds Independent Research Organization (IRO) status, making it one of the only international non-governmental organizations to hold this status in the UK. Sightsavers conducts high-quality research to fill global knowledge gaps and translate research findings into practice by feeding them back into program design.

For more information, please visit

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