Disabled beggars in Addis Ababa: Current situation and prospects for change

This Summary Paper presents key findings from the study entitled “Disabled Beggars in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia”, Employment Working Paper No. 141, ILO Geneva, 2013.

Worldwide, persons with disabilities who beg for part or all of their living are one of the most visible and least understood groups within the global disabled population. This exploratory study is intended to better understand what life is like for these individuals. It is a mixed methods study with an in-depth literature search followed by the presentation of data from a field study which collected and analyzed qualitative and quantitative data to provide an initial understanding of disabled beggars in one specific community – urban Addis Ababa. Persons with disabilities were asked how they came to beg, what their lives are on a daily basis and what they would like their futures to be.

Particular attention was paid to identifying points where interventions to break the cycle of living with a disability and begging might be implemented, and to develop and validate a survey tool and appropriate set of open-ended qualitative questions that could be used for a larger, multi-country comparative study of disabled street beggars in the future.