Inclusive Development

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Portrait of a family of three
Credit: Ashique Rushdi, USAID/Bangladesh

Promotes the rights and inclusion of marginalized and under-represented populations and addresses the needs of children in adversity and youth.

Inclusive development is the concept that every person, regardless of their identity, is instrumental in transforming their societies. Development processes that are inclusive yield better outcomes for the communities that embark upon them. USAID promotes the rights and inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented populations in the development process, and leads the U.S. Government’s response to addressing the needs of children in adversity and youth.  USAID implements activities that combat stigma and discrimination, promote empowerment and inclusion of marginalized or underrepresented groups, and improve the lives of populations in high-risk situations.  Read USAID’s guidance on inclusive development and learn more about our different areas of work below. 

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Children in Adversity

USAID houses the U.S. Government Special Advisor on Children in Adversity and coordinates the U.S. Government’s response to the needs of the world’s most vulnerable children through the U.S. Government Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity Strategy. The Agency also manages the longstanding Displaced Children and Orphans Fund and implements programs that build strong beginnings for children, put family care first, and protect children from violence.

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Disability Rights, Physical Rehabilitation, and Assistive Health Technologies

There are an estimated one billion persons with disabilities globally—approximately 15 percent of the world’s population. USAID works to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities across all our work, and the Agency’s Disability Rights Coordinator leads these efforts. The Disability Program Fund catalyzes disability-inclusive programming worldwide. Through the longstanding Leahy War Victims Fund, we respond to the growing need for physical rehabilitation with activities that strengthen comprehensive, sustainable, quality physical rehabilitation services in conflict-affected countries. The Wheelchair Program and Low-Cost Eyeglass Pilot Program improve access to appropriate wheelchairs, prosthetics, and other assistive health technologies, including low-cost eyeglasses and services.

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Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples number over 370 million worldwide and inhabit approximately 20 percent of the world. Indigenous Peoples live in nearly every country in which USAID works. The Agency Senior Advisor for Indigenous Peoples’ Issues coordinates U.S. Government resources and programming to protect the rights and address the needs of Indigenous Peoples. USAID also leads the implementation of the Policy on Promoting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PRO-IP).

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) People

Globally, LGBTQI+ people represent an estimated 3 to 5 percent of the population, exist in every country, and are part of every religion, culture, and society. USAID helps address anti-LGBTQI+ violence, stigma, discrimination and criminalization; advances the human rights of LGBTQI+ people; and ensures LGBTQI+ people are meaningfully included in USAID’s broader development programming. The Agency’s LGBTQI+ Coordinator leads these efforts.

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Mental Health

More than one in four people will develop a mental health issue at some point in their lives, and the prevalence and impact of mental health conditions is more pronounced in conflict and fragile environments. The Agency’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Coordinator works to improve integration of MHPSS interventions into USAID programs and build the capacity of USAID staff to respond to MHPSS needs. USAID also manages the Victims of Torture Fund to support the treatment and healing of individuals, families, and communities who have experienced torture and trauma. Programs strengthen organizations that provide mental health services and fund research on effective and scalable interventions appropriate for low- and middle-income countries.

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The 1.8 billion young people in the world today represent the largest youth population in history. However, 90 percent of the world’s youth live in developing countries; 20 percent of whom do not have access to education, training, or employment. USAID’s Senior Advisor on Youth helps integrate youth engagement and youth development issues across the Agency. USAIDworks to strengthen youth programming, participation, and partnership in support of the Agency’s Youth Policy and development objectives. USAID youth programming advances a Positive Youth Development approach that allows young people to build healthy, productive, and peaceful communities.

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Last updated: September 22, 2022

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