A non-governmental organisation, Project Enable Africa, which is at the forefront of disability inclusion has instituted the Disability Inclusion and Leadership Awards (DIAL), according to the Executive Director, Olusola Owonikoko, will serve as a platform “to appreciate, acknowledge and reward PLWDs and others who might be without disabilities but are championing disability inclusion.”
Keynote speaker at the DIAL event held in Lagos, yesterday, and CEO, Background Check International (BCI), Kola Olugbodi, urged the society to include PLWDs in all activities and ensure their talents are harnessed for the betterment of the community and state.
“The disability community is like a closed community that many people don’t know what’s happening there. And many don’t even give them the opportunity of even being showcased, or to see what we are doing, because I also belong to that community.
So, this is just to make the world know that PLWDs are doing great things as entrepreneurs too and they need to be celebrated.
“We want the world to know that we are not all beggars. Of the over 200 million population of the country, we have large numbers of us doing great things and whose voices must be heard.
“Part of our inclusive drive is to ensure that we are considered as a priority in society. For instance, in the area of the election, PLWDs should be allowed to participate in all processes of the election with some protection for the community. The inclusiveness also includes having PLWDs in politics and governance. We are Nigerians and also human beings. We are most marginalized in all facets of our society and national life, but things have to change.”
The moderator at the event, Mrs. Dolapo Agbede, a human resource management expert, called on the private sector not to wait for the public sector in driving the inclusion of PLWDs in society.
“Because leadership is going to be crucial to what’s going to be possible for the disability community, which I belong to, this conversion needs to be taken beyond every December 3 for action to match words and policy statements.
“I am visually impaired myself, you know, since 2007, due to glaucoma, so healthcare in this country needs to improve. But back to the subject, a lot has been done in getting the society recognises that PLWDs matter too.”
Distanced working, digital skills and emotional intelligence are what businesses in Nigeria are looking for from jobseekers, according to a new report. The Labour Market Assessment 2021 report, published by Inclusive Futures, also highlighted that while these attributes are possessed by many PLWDs, job seekers feel businesses continue to consciously discriminate against them.
“Businesses across Nigeria have been disrupted by the pandemic and are looking at how to build back inclusively but only a few among them are thinking of ensuring they are disability-inclusive,” said the Country Director for Sightsavers in Nigeria, Dr Sunday Isiyaku.
“Our report shows that employers are recognising that distanced working is the new norm, requiring digital skills and prioritising soft skills like empathy and resilience.
“But at the same time, job seekers with disabilities feel they are still being discriminated against, whatever their capabilities. People with disabilities have the skills to bring huge benefits to businesses but generally aren’t being considered,” he said.
While progress has been seen in Nigeria with the enacting of the Discrimination Against People with Disability (Prohibition) Act, requiring companies to reserve five per cent of their workforce to peoples with disabilities, the report highlights that leaders of organisations of people with disabilities feel that the Act is little known or acted upon.
HR Director, West Africa Unilever, Ola Ehinmoro, said: “More work needs to be done to socialise the Disability Act in Nigeria. However, organisations like Unilever are pushing the frontiers by driving internal inclusive behaviours and deploying PLWDs to value across its West Africa markets.”
Inclusive Futures is a flagship disability development inclusion programme funded by UKAID. It brings together global leaders and specialists from 16 organisations to test and deliver innovations for people with disabilities in education, healthcare and livelihoods.
ACCORDING to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than one billion people experience disability, and this figure is predicted to rise, due in part to population ageing and an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. WHO said it is committed to supporting member states and development partners to fulfil their commitment to leave no one behind, by addressing disability inclusion in the health sector.
For the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the number of children with disabilities globally is estimated at almost 240 million. “This new research confirms what we already knew: Children with disabilities face multiple and often compounding challenges in realising their rights,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore.
“From access to education to be read to at home; children with disabilities are less likely to be included or heard on almost every measure. All too often, children with disabilities are simply being left behind.”
The report includes internationally comparable data and covers more than 60 indicators of child well-being – from nutrition and health, to access to water and sanitation, protection from violence and exploitation, and education. These indicators are disaggregated by functional difficulty type and severity, child’s sex, economic status, and country.
The report makes clear the barriers children with disabilities face to participating fully in their societies and how this often translates to negative health and social outcomes.