Gendered vulnerabilities for people with disabilities in Kachin state in Myanmar

This project researched the impact of conflict on gender and masculinities expectations on people with disabilities in Kachin state in Myanmar.

Conflict-related violence, whether through landmines or armed violence, and the related lack of access to medical services, increases the numbers of people living with disabilities. Yet they tend to be missing from the voices consulted by policy- and decision-makers.

While the majority of combatants are male, so are high numbers of conflict casualties and victims. Yet the impacts of conflict on men’s experiences and vulnerabilities are little understood.

Our research sought to address this gap by assessing the conflict impacts on gendered expectations on people with disabilities, with a particular focus on masculinities.

This is important because gender-blind approaches to providing services to people with disabilities may miss important dynamics, and because the voices of people with disabilities have been missing from discussions around peace and conflict.

We found that current services at the most basic level are not informed by either a gender nor a disabilities perspective. Such an approach is urgently needed, requiring capacity-building of service providers and displaced person camp volunteers, but also of the people with disabilities themselves.

The research was based on interviews and focus group discussions with men and women with disabilities, as well as others, carried out in both government- and Kachin Independence Organisation-controlled areas, including internally displaced persons camps.

Our report was published in English, Kachin and the Myanmar language, to maximise access to the findings.

This project ran from August 2018 to January 2019.