Handicap International is an international, non-governmental organisation, mainly known for its fight against anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions and helping the victims of these unexploded devices. However, its mandate has been extended over the years and today includes providing assistance through work in various fields for people in developing countries with other kinds of disability.
Handicap International primarily focuses on the prevention of disabilities and providing support for people with disabilities by ensuring they can fully take part in social life. The organisation’s interventions are not restricted to long-term development activities. Handicap International also provides support in emergency situations, for instance, in the aftermath of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Its actions always focus on those suffering from disabilities.
The organisation works as far as possible with the human and material resources available in the country. Its projects are implemented in cooperation with local partners, the objective being to ensure their autonomy in the long-term. All of its actions concentrate on training, raising awareness and the involvement of local communities in its projects.
Handicap International has eight sections, including the Belgian section. The organisation has since launched development programmes in almost 60 countries. It has also intervened in numerous recovery operations in emergency situations. The Belgian section of Handicap International was founded in 1986, and today manages projects in 11 countries. In Belgium itself, Handicap International raises awareness among the public and the authorities about the issue of people with disabilities in developing countries, and also carries out a campaign against anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions.
As co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the organisation received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. This award was in recognition of its work on behalf of the victims of anti-personnel mines.
The 2011 Hilton Humanitarian Prize was awarded to Handicap International in recognition of almost 30 years of humanitarian action. The largest humanitarian award in the world at $1.5 million, the prize is presented annually by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to a humanitarian organisation doing extraordinary work to alleviate human suffering.
Handicap International was a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines which led to the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty.
Handicap International also received the 1996 Nansen Refugee Award for our work with refugees and victims of landmines. Instituted in 1954, the Nansen Refugee Award is given annually to an individual or an organization in recognition of extraordinary and dedicated service to refugees and is the most prestigious honour conferred by UNHCR.