Disability inclusive employment in urban Malawi : a multi‐perspective interview study

Remnant, Jennifer and Wånggren, Lena and Huque, Sarah and Sang, Katherine and Kachali, Limbani and Richards, James (2022) Disability inclusive employment in urban Malawi : a multi‐perspective interview study. Journal of International Development, 34 (5). pp. 1002-1017. ISSN 0954-1748 (https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3678)

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Abstract: The paper presents interview data from Malawian government representatives, trade unionists, employers and people with disabilities from the country's largest cities Lilongwe and Blantyre. Findings relate to the gap between the discourse of employers and government officials and that of workers with disabilities. Firstly, we find a policy‐based assumption of a formalised workforce that is not representative of the predominantly informal disabled workforce. Secondly, the disruptive, intermittent and often reactive nature of non‐governmental organisation (NGO) interventions can limit long‐term inclusivity agendas and undermine the work of disabled activists in Malawi. Lastly, we present findings on the stigmatised nature of disability in these urban centres. We find that stigma is economic: Urban workers with disabilities are discriminated against locally by employers, landlords and banks on assumptions they will not produce or earn enough to meet productivity demands, rent or repayment costs.