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Paulien Bruijn


this is Paulien Bruijn with green trees in the background. Paulien has a light skin,blue/grey eyes, blond half long hair with a hint of grey. She is wearing a colourful dress with pink and yellow flowers.

My name is Paulien Bruijn- Rietveld. I am a senior Disability, Inclusion and Development Advisor with 20 years’ experience in training and advising NGO’s, policy makers and Organizations of Persons with Disabilities on inclusion of persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups in mainstream development, humanitarian action and at organizational level. I am an ally in the fight for disability rights.

In January 2020, I started working as freelance disability inclusion consultant. I wanted to share my experience with a wider audience: not only within the development sector, but also in the Netherlands. That’s why I set up the consultancy service: Into Inclusion.

I have wide experience in the following areas:

  • Development and facilitation of (online) trainings and workshops on Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action, Disability Inclusive Livelihood, Disability Inclusive Health/SRHR, Disability Inclusive Communication and Disability Inclusion at organizational level.
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training & Organizational Assessment
  • Development of tools/guidelines/learning guides on disability inclusion.
  • Training of Trainers
  • Training of Self Advocates (in the Netherlands and in Africa & Asia)

Under the Tab recent work you will find more details about the assignments I have been involved in as consultant so far. I’m ready to support your organisation as well! Please contact me for more information.

About my career

After my master in Cultural Anthropology (1994-2000) I have done an advanced master in International Development (2001). This was also the start of my work career within International Development. I started as junior at ZOA (2001-2003), focussing on inclusion of refugees and Internally Displaced People. After that I made the step to  Light for the World Netherlands (nowadays called SeeYou Foundation), an international organisation that promotes equal rights for people with disabilities (2003-2020). In my position as Disability Inclusive Development Advisor/Specialist at this organisation, I got the chance to train and advice development organisations, humanitarian actors, disabled people’s organisations, self-advocates and government staff all over the world. I also developed several practical learning guides and tools on inclusion. I also set-up and managed several communities of practice on inclusion.

The last years I have further enhanced my skills and experience on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within organisations and I have deepened my knowledge on the topic of Intersectionality: eg. on the intersections between gender, LGBTQI+ & disability.


Paulien Bruijn presenting in front of Flipchart with post-its.

I am available to support your journey into inclusion with the following services:

  • Training and advice on inclusion of people with disabilities in projects: such as inclusion in livelihood, vocational training, health/SRHR or humanitarian action.
  • Training design and curriculum development for your inclusive programmes
  • Development of tools/ guidelines/ learning guides on (disability) inclusion
  • Evaluation of disability inclusive programmes
  • Training and advice on disability inclusion at organisational level, e.g. assessment, designing a change process
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training & Organizational Assessment
  • Training of trainers: e.g. training of self-advocates, disability inclusion advisors or facilitators
  • Training on inclusive communication/ facilitation
  • Organising & facilitating (online) trainings, learning workshops or learning programmes

Please get in touch for more information about my services. It does not matter whether you are looking for a short workshop or would like to start a longer term organisational change process. Or maybe you are not yet clear about what your organisation needs? We can always plan an online meeting to discuss and find out what kind of role I can play in this. Where needed I can also refer to other organisations/consultants.

For more information about my services in the Netherlands, please check the Dutch part of my website.

Paulien Bruijn sitting behind two computer screens while facilitating an online training from her living room

The training provided was excellent, full of practical suggestions, drawing on a wide range of people with disabilities to give their valued input on how they actually experience the world around them.


In my work as a consultant and trainer I use the following principles:

  • Rightsbased: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the fundament. I don’t have a disability myself (yet), but I use my privilege to support the fight for equal rights. I want to live up to the “Nothing about us without us” principle. In my training and advisory work I will always promote that people with disabilities speak for themselves.
  • Participatory: I’m not coming in with all the answers, but I support people to discover the solutions themselves. In my trainings I use a range of participatory methods that will help to put theory into practice. And most important of all: what we learn with pleasure, we never forget!
  • Inclusive: In my trainings I take the responsibility to create an inclusive atmosphere, so everyone feels safe to express what they need to be included. I aim to set a good example and encourage others to do the same.
  • Appreciative: Often people are scared to make mistakes, or they don’t know where to start. I appreciate what is already going well and I support organisations to build on these strengths.
  • Practical: With my step-by-step approach, I’m making the inclusion process practical and manageable for organisations. I support organisations to start their own journey towards inclusion.
  • Climate friendly: I compensate CO2 emissions of my flights. Within Europe I prefer to take train, bus or boat. Within the Netherlands I’ll take public transport and for short distances I love to go by bike (as long as it’s not raining).

The workshop was a great mix of theory and lots of practice. It was really customised to our needs and very hands on.

This is Paulien Bruijn with a big smile on her face, she lifts up her hands in the air to give an applause in sign language.