Nothing About Us Without Us

Street rallye in Enugu for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2019

RedAid Nigeria starts pilot project for Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) in Enugu State

One of the major problem confronting Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria is social exclusion. It is further worsened by poverty. There are other challenges such as discrimination, stigma, abuse of rights, lack of socio-economic skills, basic education, unemployment and social exclusion in community activities.  Some persons with disabilities due to poverty and lack of family support are forced into street begging as a way to survive while the few educated ones are not gainfully employed due to discrimination. Some people see persons with disabilities as people who need to depend on others to survive and therefore require alms. This negative attitude creates barriers to social inclusion and can only be tackled through community sensitization.

Importance of Disabled Persons Organisations

Organisations of persons with disabilities have taken up the role of advocats and support individuals while giving them a voice towards social and political leaders. However, many Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) are not properly organized to fight for the rights of their members and ensure social inclusion in their various communities. The associations often do not have the necessary skills and knowledge on advocacy and fund raising to support their members. At the same time persons with disabilities seldomly have access to trainings that educate them on to promotion of participation and involvement in disability issues in the community. Still to this day, a high number of persons with disabilities are hidden in the communities without information about the existence of groups such as Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD). Especially in rural settings, children with disabilities are often seen as a curse to the family and therefore receive little or no care from family members.

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Striving for empowerment and social inclusion

In order to tackle these problems, RedAid Nigeria has started a Community Based Inclusive Development project in August 2020. It aims to promote social inclusion of persons with disabilities by empowering disabled persons organizations (DPOs) through networking with relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, the core activities include capacity building of persons with disabilities including training on advocacy with the objective of promoting the Disability Act as well as general rights and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in Enugu. The trainees will conduct advocacy visits and appropriate surveys to identify the needs and opportunities of persons with disabilities as well as threats to social inclusion. Additionally, selected persons with disabilities will be mentored on grant proposal writing to access funding opportunities for DPOs. Newly formed self-help groups of persons with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities will be equipped with necessary skills for socio-economic independence, while assistive devices are provided for those in need.

The pilot starts in Enugu State

RedAid Nigeria is implementing the pilot project in Enugu State in the South Eastern geo-political zone of Nigeria, precisely in the two Local Government areas of Awgu and Aninri. The project beneficiaries are persons with disabilities living in Awgu and Aninnri. Despite this focus on specific locations, the project aims at a wider community participation and support in carrying out this project. The successful conclusion of the first project phase in January 2021 will hopefully be the starting point for a wider scope of the CBID project.