Case for Data Collection & Measurement: Employment for People With Disabilities (PWD)

unmeshshethArticles, Disability

Nearly 70 million people with disabilities (PWDs) live in India, and yet only about 3,000 PWDs enter the workforce annually. Several organizations exist to promote a more inclusive society by providing skills training, job placements, and company sensitization workshops so more PWDs are able to find meaningful employment opportunities. However, these disability NGOs struggle to track their true impact. Little is known about where the nation stands in terms of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). A project has been undertaken to achieve a more progressive approach to accomplishing the ideals set forth by the CRPD. The SoPact Project, spearheaded by EnAble India and Ektta, is ongoing.
Proper data can help NGOs and the government identify which areas should be invested in the mostV. S. Basavaraju, Executive Director, Association for People with Disabilities
The way disability NGOs define and share their progress toward PWD inclusion has to change. The fact that NGOs are having a positive impact in a diversity of PWD employment domains, from gender equality to rural revitalization, in India is indisputable. In fact, the World Health Organization contends that disability NGOS are having a more profound and positive impact on PWD empowerment than either governmental or private organizations (World Bank). Unfortunately, the positive progressions being made are not being effectively tracked or shared. Long-term goals for advancement in the areas where PWD empowerment is most lacking are not currently set by most organizations. Without collecting data related to these long-term goals, PWDs which need NGO services the most may continue to be excluded.
Out of the need to better understand their impact, EnAble India partnered with Ektta in July 2013. As a result of their partnership, the comprehensive social impact measurement platform SoPact is being launched at EnAble India.
What is the SoPact project objective? To empower and employ more PWDs, with all types of impairments, and define the impact of EnAble India’s programs through data. SoPact makes internal decision-making more efficient and tracks which of the NGO’s long-term goals are being achieved.

There are a number of ongoing initiatives, old and new, being undertaken by EnAble India. SoPact’s platform is helping the NGO visualize their successes and shortcomings in a way which has never before been achieved in the sector of PWD training and employment

Our Core Learning


“Equality does not just mean earning an equal salary,” says Anuradha Patil, Program Manager at the Cheshire Livelihood Center in Bangalore. Patil is right. Achieving equality means being innovative and generating the right workplace solutions so that the jobs available to PWDs are ones which allow them to lead their lives with dignity and respect. Constant innovation is necessary because the needs of PWD are constantly changing. EnAble India recognizes this, which is why they empower PWD employment by being an innovator in the field. Unlike other organizations whose training programs have not changed for 20 years, EnAble India has identified over 300 job roles in 30 sectors according to their 2014 Annual Report. EnAble India is using the SoPact platform to track these job roles and see where innovation is most needed.


Disability employment is a diverse issue and NGOs have a limitation in that they are not reaching all people with disability. As a result, there is a lot of concern as to whether disability NGOs’ efforts are inclusive. Are men and women getting equal benefits from PWD services? How many candidates from are being employed in rural versus urban areas? Some critical goals in the field include making sure that training and employment opportunities are available for people with all types of impairments, from any background, and for both women and men. With the help of SoPact’s real-time reporting, EnAble India is able to toward their goal of PWD inclusivity more effectively.

Innovation is key to helping people with disabilities lead an independent life.Deepa Narasimhan, EnAble India alumna & EMC Program Manager


PWDs comprise the world’s largest minority group and a cohesive approach is needed to ensure that NGO programs are not marginalizing some PWDs even further. EnAble India is taking action toward understanding the long-term impacts of their work by collecting data beyond the number of PWDs enrolled in their programs. After partnering with SoPact, the organization is began tracking more socioeconomic effects of PWD training and employment over time. For instance, the percent change in overall family income after PWD employment is being evaluated. From this work, EnAble India has discovered that 38% of PWDs become the highest income earners in their family after placement (EnAble India). Now, that’s real impact.


By collecting using the SoPact platform, EnAble India serves as an inspiration in a field where useful data about the status of PWD employment is scarce and seldom shared. Technology has traditionally been underutilized by Disability NGOs as well but EnAble India is working to provide information to NGOs via the newly founded Disabilities NGO Alliance, give guidance to government and policy makers, and engage employers on topics of PWD employment. EnAble India, in partnership with Ektta and SoPact, is becoming and inspiration for how disability NGOs can us data to achieve their goals.

“As an organization, it is important to be able to continuously improve and know what the relevant levers of improvement are”Vikram Rai, Co-Founder & Director, Sattva Consulting


The SoPact Project is ongoing but the initial actions, as detailed above, are beginning to yield positive results. EnAble India’s capacity as an organization is improving. Their ability to scale PWD training and employment operations is strengthened through the SoPact platform, which allows the impact of their programs to be better demonstrated to funders, understood by internal decision makers, and shared with external stakeholders.

Next Steps

EnAble India has established a number of working alliances with the government, companies and the Disability NGO alliance. The data they gather from SoPact will be used to inform these various initiatives. EnAble India will regularly measure the progress of their PWD programs against the overall objective to employ PWDs with dignity and respect. To have a long lasting, sustainable, and scalable impact, NGOs in the field need to collect data tracking progress toward their long-term goals.