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Mary Wickenden

Research Fellow

Dr Mary Wickenden is a disability researcher, with a particular interest in inclusive and participatory research and in hearing the voices of adults and children with disabilities and their families, especially those living in the global south or in disadvantaged contexts.

She initially trained as a speech/language therapist in the UK, working with families with children with severe disabilities. She subsequently trained in medical and social anthropology, her PhD focussing on identity and agency for teenagers with severe disabilities and little or no speech.

She has worked extensively on disability related research, intervention and training projects in South Asia, East and Southern Africa. She believes strongly in the importance of inclusive approaches to international development research and service provision and in the recognition of the equal rights of adults and children with disabilities globally. Recent projects have focussed on: disabled people’s experiences of gender based violence, disabled children’s evaluations of inclusive education, participatory impact evaluation of community based rehabilitation programmes and the lives of carers looking after disabled people.



Participatory Action Research with Disabled Adolescents in Nepal (PARDAN)

Intersecting vulnerabilities of disability, low socio-economic status, marginalisation and age indicate that children and young people with disabilities are likely to be uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yet, there has been limited research from low-and middle-income countries...


Inclusive Futures

Inclusive Futures is a Consortium programme of 16 global partners, led by Sightsavers, focussing on advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities. The project brings together a diverse range of NGOs and research centres with expertise in different areas. Together we're pooling our...



Covid-19 and people with disabilities in South Africa

The severity of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has starkly exposed the fragility of both national and global health, social and economic systems. Emerging evidence is showing that people with disabilities are being disproportionately affected, with it becoming clear that those who were...

11 December 2020


What does Covid-19 mean for people with disabilities?

The global Covid-19 pandemic has starkly exposed the fragility of our supposedly connected world. Everyone, including those who lead secure and comfortable lives, has been rapidly catapulted into health, social and economic challenges of exceptional scale and severity. However, what is clear...

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Mary Wickenden & 3 others

27 April 2020



Taking a Disability-Inclusive Approach to Pandemic Responses

IDS Policy Briefing 175

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected communities globally, yet the impact has not been equal. People with disabilities were already often living with severe disadvantage and marginalisation and, as predicted by many disability-focused agencies, Covid-19 has exacerbated these inequalities.

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Mary Wickenden & 3 others

25 March 2021

Mary Wickenden’s recent work


New project on Covid-19 and people with disabilities in South Africa

Covid-19 and the national response has resulted in significant hardship for people with disabilities in South Africa. To date, research focused on how people with disabilities have experienced this period have yet to be deeply investigated. To begin to address this evidence gap an exciting new...

10 December 2020