List of commonly used terms and definitions in the Requests for Proposals for the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF).

Advocacy: Advocacy is any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others.  It includes public education, regulatory work, litigation, and work before administrative bodies, lobbying, voter registration, voter education, and more.[1]

Beneficiary: Refers to the persons and the communities that will benefit, directly or indirectly, from a project. Direct beneficiaries are individuals or communities who experience benefits which can be directly attributed to the project. Indirect beneficiaries are individuals whose benefits can be attributed to a direct beneficiary. For example, if a project aimed to increase persons with disabilities’ knowledge of the CRPD and the SDGs through targeted training, then the direct beneficiaries would be the persons with disabilities trained and the indirect beneficiaries would be policymakers that the trained persons with disabilities target through their advocacy efforts.

Budgetary Advocacy: Advocacy from civil society to government during the process government undertakes to build budgets, intended to make the government more accountable to the people and promote transparency. Budgetary advocacy enables citizens and social action groups to compel the government to adjust the budget according to the needs and aspirations of people in general and in particular, marginalized people.

Climate Change: Climate change is a long-term change in the earth’s weather, patterns over extended period of time, including severe weather patterns, rising temperatures, drought and natural disasters, that is affecting people and the environment. Climate change projects could include: a DPO led coalition working with government to ensure environmental sustainability policies include persons with disabilities; a local DPO working with village disaster risk management officials to ensure practices and policies are inclusive of persons with disabilities; an OPD addressing land rights issues among persons with disabilities arising from climate change; etcetera.

Coalition: In DRF terms, a Coalition is a formal partnership between three or more organizations to collaboratively carry out a national- or mid-level project. The Coalition must be led by an Organization of Persons with Disabilities and each member of the Coalition should have a clear role in project implementation, defined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Emergent: An organization that is younger than two years old (from date of legal incorporation) and which brings the voice of a new population of persons with disabilities into the public realm.

Fiscal Sponsor: A formal arrangement – made via a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – in which a legally registered non-profit organization sponsors an organization that may lack legal registration status or is in the early stages of development.

Grantee Survey: This is an annual survey sent to grantees by DRF to measure grantees’ capacity to advocate on the rights of persons with disabilities, including their ability to plan, implement, and evaluate advocacy activities, as well as their growing knowledge of the rights of persons with disabilities as outlined in the CRPD,

Grassroots: Refers to organizations or project activities that are based in rural areas.

Human Rights: Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.[2]

Legal Advocacy: Activities that are aimed at influencing change within legislation or legal practice. Legal advocacy activities can include litigation, advocacy for law change, judicial training, and more.

Legal Harmonization: The process by which all relevant laws in a country are reformed in line with a guiding human rights framework such as a treaty that the country has ratified. For DRF, legal harmonization refers to amending domestic legislation in line with the CRPD.

Letter of Interest: A Letter of Interest (LoI) is used by DRF in countries where we receive an exceptionally large number of applications. The Letter of Interest (LoI) is used to assess potentially eligible organizations and projects prior to requesting completion of a full application, via the Request for Proposals process. In countries where DRF uses an LoI process, only successful LoI, applicants are invited to submit a full proposal.

Lobbying: According to the U.S. definition, lobbying is the practice of trying to persuade legislators to propose, pass, or defeat legislation (including treaty ratification) or to change existing laws.[3]

Marginalized: This denotes organizations representing marginalized groups of persons with disabilities including: little people, persons with albinism, women with disabilities, youth with disabilities, persons with psychosocial disabilities, persons with intellectual disabilities, persons with deafblindness, Indigenous people with disabilities, and in some cases, rural Deaf people. Other groups may be marginalized in particular country circumstances.

Monitoring: Process of systematic data collection against defined indicators to assess the progress of a program.

Movement Building: Efforts that promote the strengthening of a social movement (such as the disability movement), including efforts to collaborate across disability organizations, promoting diversity so that all persons with disabilities are represented, leadership building to ensure new leaders are supported, and working collaboratively to achieve common goals.

Organization of Persons with Disabilities (OPD): Represents organizations or groups of persons with disabilities, where persons with disabilities constitute a majority of the overall staff, board and volunteers, and are well-represented in all levels of the organization. It includes organizations of relatives of persons with disabilities (only those representing children with disabilities, persons with intellectual disabilities, or persons with deafblindness) where a primary aim of these organizations is empowerment and the growth of self-advocacy of persons with disabilities. In addition, OPDs have an understanding of disability in accordance with the social model.

Partnership: A significant relationship with another stakeholder to achieve project goals. Examples of partnerships may include relationships with another OPD, human rights organizations or other civil society organizations, a government entity (such as a ministry or a local government agency), the judiciary, or the media. A fiscal sponsor is considered a partner when the sponsor is also providing technical assistance and other support.

Policy: A policy is a governmental document that defines a course of action concerning a given topic such as accessibility. A policy may establish measures that a government needs to put in place, including regulatory measures, laws and funding as well as assign responsibilities to government entities and institutions. A policy is not legally-binding.

Project Aim (or Goal): The overall aim or goal of a project. The project aim should define what it is that you would like your project to achieve in the long-term.

Project Objectives: Objectives describe the intended short-term and medium-term effects of a project. Project objectives must be achievable within the timeline of the project, and one must be able to directly attribute achievement of them to the project activities.[4]

Project Outcome: The intended or achieved short-term and medium-term effects of project’s outputs. This may also include changes in attitudes or behaviors. For a list of examples of typical advocacy outcomes, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the DRF website (

Project Outputs: The products, such a draft policy, alternative report, or number of people trained, which immediately resulted from a projects contribution.

Project Results: The longer-term changes (intended or unintended, positive and/or negative) of a project. This could include greater access to justice, higher number of children with disabilities access to education, or higher budget allocations to disaster response efforts for persons with disabilities.

Proselytize: For our purposes, the term “proselytize” means to convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another or to persuade them to become religious.

Request for Proposals (RFP): An RFP is a call for applications for funding. An RFP usually defines funding parameters and priorities and provides an application template.

Rights Advocacy: Advocacy that is centered on rights for an individual or for a group of people such as the rights of persons with disabilities. It can refer to advocacy on specific rights issues, such as the right to access education or the right to employment (Articles 24 and 27 of the CRPD).

Sub-regional: Denotes a geographic region of a country where a project intends to be implemented. Depending on how a country is administratively divided, it could be a district, province or region of a country as opposed to a national level focus.

Umbrella Federations: An established organization with smaller offices (sometimes defined by geographical locations) under it, which operate under one constitution or are OPD members. Umbrella organizations usually, but not always, operate at the national level. A local organization may be a part of a national umbrella, but it could also be an umbrella organization itself if it has OPD members.

[1] Bolder Advocacy, An initiative of Alliance for Justice, Website accessed 3/22/16

[2] UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Website accessed 3/22/16

[3] United States Senate:

[4] Defined at: