Executive Summary

This regional Guidebook explores the different approaches in design, implementation and analysis of disability data collection in the Arab countries, in view of improving the standardization and implementation of the Washington Group Short Set of questions and related indicators used to capture data on the majority of people with disabilities. 

The Guidebook considers the role of disability statistics in policy analysis, including how information on disability can assist in the design of inclusive policies, and in monitoring and evaluating their impact. In doing so, it presents the Washington data-collection tools, examines the implementation of Washing Group questions and the best practices for data collection, and discusses measuring prevalence and analysing data on disabilities before presenting the recommendations to improve data collection methodologies that could lead to capturing data on the majority of people with disabilities.

Chapter I reviews the lack of reliable data and comparable statistics needed to mainstream disability-inclusive development programmes through evidence-based policymaking and programming decisions, and effective monitoring processes. It highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the scope of disability within a country and on how disability is distributed throughout the population in order to calculate the differences in the rates of disability, demographically or by other characteristics.  

Subsequent chapters explore the concept of disability and the importance of having a clear definition for data collection purposes, provide a historical overview of the Washington Group and the various Short Set of Questions, establish the best practices in data collection in order that the Washington Short Set of Questions tool is effective when used across different Arab countries, and identifies that because persons with disabilities are a diverse group, it is important to compare outcomes for people with and without disabilities disaggregated by characteristics such as sex, age, geographic location, and marital status, among others, and in development fields.

In conclusion, chapter VI highlights the weaknesses and strengths of data collection and analysis in the region, and recognizes its experience in implementing the key principles, concepts and implementation of the Washing Group Short Set approach in a variety of survey types.  However, the report suggests improvements are needed in terms of moving forward and in the implementation of the questions sets. Therefore, it puts forward two sets of recommendations to further produce and disseminate the harmonization and comparability of disability data on a number of levels region wide.