Disability and rehabilitation

Community-based rehabilitation (CBR): what WHO is doing


A 2004 joint ILO, UNESCO and WHO paper repositioned CBR as a strategy for rehabilitation, equalization of opportunity, poverty reduction and social inclusion of people with disabilities. The goals of CBR are to ensure the benefits of the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities reach the majority by:

  • supporting people with disabilities to maximize their physical and mental abilities, to access regular services and opportunities, and to become active contributors to the community and society at large;
  • activating communities to promote and protect the human rights of people with disabilities for example by removing barriers to participation;
  • facilitating capacity building, empowerment and community mobilization of people with disabilities and their families.

CBR is implemented in more than 90 countries through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families, communities, and relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations working in disability and development. Involvement and participation of people with disabilities and their families is at the heart of CBR.

WHO, in partnership with other UN agencies, collaborating centres and nongovernmental organizations is assisting these efforts by:

  • developing guidelines for CBR in partnership with other UN Agencies, nongovernmental organizations including Disabled People's Organizations;
  • conducting regional and country workshops to promote CBR and to develop national or regional CBR strategies;
  • supporting Member States to initiate or strengthen existing CBR programs;
  • developing a CBR Global database and network.