Age and Disability Capacity Building Programme (ADCAP)

ADCAP is a three-year programme to strengthen the capacity of humanitarian agencies to deliver age and disability inclusive emergency response.

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, the risk of being affected by disability increases due to injuries, poor health care and failure to manage non-communicable diseases. Older people and people with disabilities, therefore, make up a significant and growing proportion of disaster-affected populations.

Aysha is a 93-year old refugee from Syria, living alone in a tent in Zaatari camp in Jordan for more than a year

(c) Sarah Pierre/Handicap International

Aysha is a 93-year old refugee from Syria, living alone in a tent in Zaatari camp in Jordan for more than a year

Despite an increasing focus on protection and the needs of ‘vulnerable' groups, older people and people with disabilities continue to face substantial barriers in accessing humanitarian assistance and protection.

They may be less mobile and unable to get to distribution sites or access other services. Humanitarian actors may not target them for nutrition or livelihoods programmes or other forms of assistance, or they may think it is not possible to address their 'specific needs' when time and resources are limited.

Sometimes people are excluded inadvertently because they remain invisible to humanitarian organisations. As a result, their needs remain unaddressed and their capacities unused.

What will we do?

To help address this problem, the ADCAP programme is developing resources, and strengthening individual and organisational capacity to provide age and disability inclusive humanitarian response through the following activities:

  • Setting standards: the Minimum standards for age and disability inclusion in humanitarian action consist of eight core standards and sector-specific standards (for example, relating to health, protection and shelter), accompanied by suggested actions that humanitarian actors can take to make their programmes more inclusive of older people and people with disabilities. The standards have been published in pilot form and will be reviewed on the basis of on-going consultation and field testing.
  • E-learning modules: a series of interactive, open source e-learning for humanitarian workers, available on The first two introductory modules on ageing and disability in humanitarian settings are now online. 
  • Training materials: a package to provide a two-day, face to face, introductory training course on ageing and disability in humanitarian crisis will be made available in October 2015.
  • Supporting humanitarian organisations: we are working with organisations in Kenya, Pakistan and the UK to better integrate ageing and disability into their humanitarian programme. Eight dedicated Age and Disability Inclusion Advisors, who are trained and supported by the ADCAP programme, will work to change their organisation's policy and practice on the ground and apply a more inclusive approach.

What is ADCAP trying to achieve?

Internally displaced people waiting for a food distribution after typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

(c) Luis Liwanag/HelpAge International

Internally displaced people waiting for a food distribution after typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

By developing resources and providing training and support, we aim to increase humanitarian actors' understanding of the needs and capacities of older people and people with disabilities and the risks they face, while looking at how to identify and address these.

This will equip them to design and deliver inclusive responses by adapting existing programmes and setting up targeted activities where needed.

As a result, older people and people with disabilities will receive humanitarian assistance that is accessible and appropriate, and that meets their needs.

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.

The programme is building on the experiences of the HOPE (Helping Older People in Emergencies) training initiative, launched by HelpAge in 2012, which built awareness of ageing issues in humanitarian settings at global and field level.

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.

Interested in learning more?

Contact the ADCAP programme team by sending an email to

Post a comment | 5 comments

Comments submitted for this page

  • 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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