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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. Right from the start of my career I have been enthusiastic about facilitation and inclusion. Whatever position I had, I always ended up organising workshops, facilitating sessions and developing trainings.

In March 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 my consultancy service: Into Inclusion.

This first year was a bit different than anticipated due to COVID 19 measures, but I was able to make a shift from face-to-face training and advice towards online training sessions. Under the Tab recent work you will find more details about the assignments I have been involved as consultant so far. I’m ready to support your organisation as well! Please contact me for more information.

I started my career within International Development 20 years ago as junior at ZOA, focussing on inclusion of refugees and Internally Displaced People. After that I made the step to Light for the World, an international organisation that promotes equal rights for people with disabilities. The last 10 years I have been working as Disability Inclusive Development Advisor/Specialist at this organisation. In that position 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 have been involved in dozens of assignments on the following topics:

  • Disability Inclusive Development and Organizational Change
  • Inclusive Livelihood/ Economic Empowerment
  • Inclusive Health/Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights
  • Inclusive Humanitarian Action
  • Training of Trainers and Self Advocates
  • Inclusive and accessible communication

Apart from designing and implementing training courses on inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream development, I also set up and coordinated different learning platforms. One example is the Thematic Learning Programme that brought together 30 organisations in Europe, Ethiopia & India for joint learning on inclusion of people with disabilities. The outcomes were documented in the learning guide Count me in.


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.


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

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 care or humanitarian action.
  • Training and advice on inclusion at organisational level, e.g. assessment, designing a change process
  • Training design and curriculum development for your inclusive programmes
  • 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
  • Documentation of lessons learned
  • Evaluation of inclusive programmes

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

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.