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As USAID’s coordinator for disability and inclusive development, Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo leads and coordinates work on incorporating the issue of disability throughout the Agency to reposition it as a leader in disability inclusive development.
McClain-Nhlapo is a world-renowned human rights lawyer in the area of disability and child rights. She has actively supported the development of disability inclusive policies at the national and international levels. During the negotiations of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, she played an important role as adviser to the South African delegation and later as the global representative of the National Human Rights Institutions.
Formerly, McClain-Nhlapo was a senior operations specialist at the World Bank. She worked in the Africa and East Asia and the Pacific regions and in the Human Development Network’s Social Protection Unit. Her work at the Bank included advising staff on how to include disability in projects, building evidence-based work on disability inclusive development, and working with client countries to incorporate disability issues into the mainstream. She also served as a member of the Bank’s Diversity and Inclusion Group.
Before joining the Bank, McClain-Nhlapo was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to the South African Human Rights Commission. Her focus on the Commission was social and economic rights, disability rights and child rights. During that time, she also served on the South African Law Commission, where she convened a national task team to establish a register of sexual offenders against children. Drawing on her expertise in this area, she was invited by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to serve on the editorial board for the U.N. study on violence against children.
From 1996 to 1998, McClain-Nhlapo served as a project officer on child protection for UNICEF. In 1996, she worked in the South African Presidency as legal adviser and as principal author of the Integrated National Disability Strategy. She has served as an expert on a number of U.N. committees in the areas of child rights, the right to food, and the rights of persons with disabilities. She has engaged in and facilitated a number of high-level policy dialogues, which included drafting an article on children for the South African Constitution.
From 2000 to 2004, McClain-Nhlapo served as deputy chairperson of the Council of the University of South Africa, the largest university in Africa. In 2008, she received the inaugural Sir Harry Fang Empowerment Award from Rehabilitation International.
McClain-Nhlapo has written widely on disability inclusive development and human rights issues. She holds a Master’s Degree in international law and administration from the University of Warsaw, Poland, and an LLM from Cornell Law School.
Last updated: November 07, 2013