Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP)

Daw Hnin Shwe lost her hearing and eyesight a few years ago (c) U Myo Thame/HelpAge International

(c) U Myo Thame/HelpAge International

Daw in Myanmar is unable to see or hear 

Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP) is a three-year programme aiming to ensure that older people and those with disabilities can access emergency support in times of disaster through supporting relief organisations to better respond to their needs.

Why is this programme needed?

Globally, one in eight people are over the age of 60, and 15% are living with some kind of disability. By 2050, the number of older people is expected to increase to two billion, or more than one-fifth of the global population. 
In conflicts and natural disasters, people are at risk of injuries that can cause disabilities, while poor healthcare can make managing non-communicable diseases difficult, exacerbating pre-existing conditions. Older people and people with disabilities, therefore, make up a significant and growing proportion of disaster-affected populations. 
Yet older people and people with disabilities face significant barriers in accessing humanitarian assistance and protection. They may be less mobile and unable to access services. They may not be directly targeted by humanitarian actors – perhaps because of misconceptions about how difficult it is to include these groups. Or they may be inadvertently excluded because they remain invisible to humanitarian organisations.  

What are we doing?

We aim to improve humanitarian actors' understanding of the needs and capacities of older people and people with disabilities. We are taking three approaches to reach this aim: 
  • Developing resources
  • Strengthening capacity
  • Collecting evidence 
Our resources include a pilot set of standards called the Minimum standards for age and disability inclusion in humanitarian action. These contain a set of key inclusion criteria based on the Core Humanitarian Standards, as well as guidance for particular sectors, such as health, protection and shelter.
We have produced a series of interactive, online courses for humanitarian staff, available on in both English and Arabic:
  • Basic principles of disability inclusion in humanitarian response
  • Comprehensive accessible humanitarian assistance for older people and people with disabilities
  • Understanding plder people and their needs in a humanitarian context
RedR has produced a two-day training package on ageing and disability in humanitarian crisis:
To strengthen individual and organisational capacity, we are working with organisations in Kenya, Pakistan and the UK to better integrate ageing and disability into their humanitarian programmes. Eight dedicated Age and Disability Inclusion Advisors, trained and supported by the ADCAP programme, work to change their organisation's policy and practice to apply a more inclusive approach. 
We are also collecting evidence as the programme develops, so that we can share successful approaches with other organisations and the wider sector.  
This 60-year-old woman from Lebanon was left unable to walk when a bomb injured her leg (c) Claire Catherinet/HelpAge International

(c) Claire Catherinet/HelpAge International

This 60-year-old woman from Lebanon was left unable to walk when a bomb injured her leg

Revising the Minimum standards

The Minimum standards for age and disability inclusion in humanitarian action was published in pilot form in English in 2015, and has since been translated into French and Arabic. We are now holding a series of consultations in seven locations and through an online survey to gather feedback from a range of experts and humanitarian practitioners. This will be assessing the usability, relevance, achievability, applicability and impact of the pilot version of the standards.

Together with evidence gathered on the use of the Minimum standards by the eight organisations supported through the ADCAP programme, we will produce a final version by September 2017 based on this feedback.

Who is involved?

ADCAP is a three-year programme led by HelpAge International and part of an innovative portfolio of projects under the Start Network, supported by DFID's Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme. It also receives separate funding from the Office for US Foreign Disaster Assistance
ADCAP is an initiative of the Age and Disability Consortium, a group of seven agencies working to promote age and disability inclusive humanitarian assistance: CBM,, Handicap International, HelpAge International, IFRC, Oxford Brookes University and RedR UK. The consortium brings together leading agencies on ageing, disability and training, combining their experience and expertise to implement this programme.  
The ADCAP Inclusion Advisors are based in the Kenya Red Cross Society, CBM and Christian Aid in Kenya; Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief and HelpAge in Pakistan; and Islamic Relief Worldwide and Christian Aid in the UK. 

Interested in learning more?

Contact the ADCAP programme team by sending an email to

Post a comment | 6 comments

Comments submitted for this page

  • Imran Inam (18 January 2017)

    ADCAP training is good initiative. Though we did not received training yet but as disaster practitioner we know that older age people living as internally displaced people or refugees are in serious problems due to not accessible humanitarian assistance hubs. ADCAP efforts will ensure that each humanitarian agency mainstream ageing in their future relief/ rehab programs. There is strong need of monitoring of aid agencies for ensuring that ageing is mainstreamed by relief providing agencies

  • Jacob Sebit Atawo (06 January 2017)

    It was a brilliant idea to recognized the plight of the older and disable people.My appreciation goes to all agencies in the consortium and those who contributed human and financial resources and those individuals how offered their time and energy to make this struggle possible and workable to serve humanity in a greater context.I hope public institutions will support the agencies to discover those in remote places where accessibility is a barrier. God bless you.

  • Wubbe (08 November 2016)

    Age and Disability inclusion is the key issue to most humanitarian assistance. some times some program said inclusion but practically not as required. so inclusion Audit is required to see each organization status of inclusion as a result to revise their strategy according to the context and the nature of the project.

  • silongi (07 November 2016)

    the ADCAP,s training on minimum standards is very key in the inclusion of persons with disabilities and the older persons within the humanitarian set up.

  • vitalis kosskei (10 October 2016)

    The document(Minimum standards) came at the right time where we need to include older persons and pwds in our programming, a very useful tool to us as Lutheran world federation-dadaab as we deal directly with the older persons and Pwds

  • africa zanella (29 August 2015)

    i would like to commend this initiative . I do believe that age is not just a matter of numbers though but of health and alos cultural norms . Any programme looking at age and disability must address the cultural perception of the people that it is addressing via the training programme .

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