Innovative Policy 2019 on Independent Living and Political Participation

Co-creating New Regulations with Local Governments

Fundación Discapacidad y Desarrollo is a local non-profit organization in the Loja province of Ecuador that promotes the social inclusion of people with disabilities. The organization worked with local disabled people’s organizations and representatives of four municipalities to identify the needs of disabled people and to address these needs through changes in local regulations. For example, between 2015 and 2018, 1,250 people received discounts on their municipal taxes, and eight health centres were made accessible.

“Before the Minka project arrived, we lived with our eyes closed. The project helped us to open them and see the injustice in which our children with disabilities lived.”

About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:Local municipality laws in Ecuador
Responsible Body:The municipalities of Calvas, Espíndola, Gozanamá, and Sozoranga
of Implementation


  • Approximately 500 people with disabilities were involved in drafting the legislation across the four municipalities.
  • To date, 480 people with disabilities have been able to set up small businesses in the Loja province.


Although Ecuador has national laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities, these are often not implemented effectively at the local level, which leads to exclusion.


Young woman with intellectual disability speaks at meeting in Espíndola.

Fundación Discapacidad y Desarrollo engaged with local disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) across four municipalities in the Loja province, and initial meetings and surveys indicated a need for new local disability legislation. The DPOs particularly highlighted issues regarding accessible buildings and transport, inclusion in health care and education, support to set up small businesses, and discounts on taxes. Fundación Discapacidad y Desarrollo coordinated further meetings with these organizations and local councillors, analysed international and national disability laws, and drafted proposed legislation, which was ultimately approved.

The DPOs continue to disseminate information about the new legislation, monitor its implementation, and support people to access their rights. One result of the legislation is that 480 people with disabilities have now set up small businesses, such as raising pigs, making jams, and producing dairy products.


This project was part of the broader MINKA programme of the Fundación Discapacidad y Desarrollo, which promotes greater inclusion of persons with disabilities, with a particular focus on health and education services. Between 2016 and 2018 the project cost $235,000 – including salaries, training, and meeting costs. Of this, 54 per cent was covered by CBM International, a Christian development organization committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the world’s poorest communities; and the other 46 per cent was provided by three of the four municipalities involved. Once legislation is passed, the costs of implementation are covered by the municipalities.

There is significant potential to replicate the process in other areas in Ecuador, and in 2018 a similar process was initiated in two more municipalities, including one in a different province. Fundación Discapacidad y Desarrollo provides initial support, but a key part of the replication is that the DPOs from the four original municipalities are leading the expansion process.

Debate on the articles of the ordinance in the municipality of Espíndola.


Olmedo Zambrano


Download factsheet as accessible word