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 

The Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP) is designed to ensure older people and people with disabilities are included during emergency responses, both accessing assistance and participating in the decision-making processes that affect them. 
We aim to improve humanitarian actors' understanding of the needs and capacities of older people and people with disabilities by developing resources, strengthening capacity and collecting evidence on organisational change towards more inclusive practices.

Why is ADCAP needed?

Humanitarian principles require that assistance and protection are provided based on need and without discrimination. No one should be excluded during an emergency response, either deliberately or inadvertently. Yet many humanitarian organisations do not fulfil this commitment. 
There may be many barriers to access and participation. Misconceptions of disability or older age can fuel negative attitudes and discrimination, which may encourage some to think that older people and people with disabilities are not a priority for help. Equally, over-protection may cause people to be kept at home for their safety or because their disability or age is considered to be a source of shame.  
Physical barriers, such as difficult terrain or lack of facilities for people with disabilities, prevent access to services, while information on humanitarian services is often only provided in one format or language. This can exclude many people. 
Even laws, policies and procedures can result in intended or unintended discrimination against certain groups, particularly if they lead to older people or people with disabilities being excluded from any areas of life, such as employment, political participation or social services.

How does ADCAP work?

At the heart of ADCAP is the Humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities. This document brings together nine key inclusion standards, from learning and resource management, to identification and resilience, alongside seven sector-specific standards, which include nutrition, shelter and education. Each standard comes with key actions, guidance, tools and resources, and case studies illustrating how older people and people with disabilities have been included in humanitarian responses.

Using these standards will help you to successfully identify and reach those most at risk during a humanitarian crisis.

We have also produced:

  • a series of interactive online courses for humanitarian staff, available on? in both English and Arabic
  • a two-day training package on ageing and disability inclusion in humanitarian crises with our partner RedR.

Links to these resources can be found on the right-hand side of this page.

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 ADCAP, are changing their organisation's policy and practice to apply a more inclusive approach to their work. 

We are also collecting evidence on the impact of ADCAP as the programme develops so we can share successes and challenges with other organisations and the wider sector. In 2018, we will be publishing a good practice guide to support organisations in embedding inclusion in their humanitarian policies and practices.

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


Who is involved?

ADCAP is 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
It 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 International in Pakistan; and Islamic Relief Worldwide and Christian Aid in the UK. 

Interested in learning more?

Contact the ADCAP team via

Post a comment | 7 comments

Comments submitted for this page

  • Mohammed Ali (28 February 2018)

    Thanks for facilitating this discussion on INCLUDING AGE AND DISABILITY IN HUMANITARIAN ACTION. I can say that there is good start in this regard as the global humanitarian community is giving attention on cross-cutting issues in general. However, I feel that a lot remain on this area, particularly inclusion of older people and/or people with disabilities. Therefore, focused capacity building focusing in this area is very important. I am very happy to work on this initiative i.e. integrating the standardized age and disability inclusion in humanitarian action training into the potential emergency nutrition response project we are developing for funding.

  • 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 .

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated before publication. Not all comments will be published

Translate this page

Age and disability inclusion e-learning courses

A series of interactive, online courses for humanitarian staff are 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 older people and their needs in a humanitarian context


Stay updated! Sign up below...

Privacy policy

Inclusion Charter

Read the HelpAge blog