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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...



Our work on disability inclusion

We want a more equitable and sustainable world, where people with disabilities everywhere can live their lives free from poverty and injustice. This can only be achieved if the inequalities and inequities that harm people in rich and poor countries alike are tackled.   Two types of research...

14 June 2021


Journal Article

Mainstreaming Disability Inclusive Employment in International Development

Journal of International Development 34.5

People with disabilities are under-represented in the global workforce, and this problem is often particularly acute in the ‘global south’. This special issue seeks to provide new perspectives on why this is the case and comprises seven papers focused on disability inclusive employment. We...

Mary Wickenden
Mary Wickenden & 3 others

5 July 2022

Journal Article

Lives Turned Upside Down in COVID-19 Times: Exploring Disabled People’s Experiences in 5 Low-and-middle Income Countries Using Narrative Interviews

This article explores COVID-19 related experiences of disabled people in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Nepal and Uganda. Narrative interviews generated storied responses, focussing on respondents' priorities, which enabled us to hear what was most significant for them and their families. 143...

Mary Wickenden
Mary Wickenden & 3 others

30 September 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