Disability rights experts have tasked the Lagos State Government with the need to expand its social protection interventions to include vulnerable Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in urban poor communities across the state.
The experts made the appeal during the validation workshop of the draft report of the Expanding Disability-Inclusive Social Protection (EDISOP), which is the outcome of a Focused Group Discussion conducted by Festus Fajemilo Foundation (FFF) with support from the Disability Rights Fund.
The FGD was earlier conducted, separately, with Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) and Social Protection (SP) focused Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Lagos.
While presenting the report which outlined the challenges of OPDs in accessing SP interventions for their members, Disability-inclusive expert, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, who was represented by Publisher of BONews Service, Blessing Oladunjoye harped on the need for MDAs to be deliberate about incorporating PWDs at the design and planning stage of its interventions.
Oladunjoye stressed that “there are persons with deaf-blindness, psychosocial disabilities, women with disabilities and several others who face marginalization within the disability community and are residing in rural and informal communities across the state, and it is imperative that the Lagos State Government in its interventions cater for them.”
She also charged OPD members to equip themselves with the provisions of the Lagos State Social Protection Policy (LASSPP) so that they are better positioned to demand the inclusion of PWDs accurately.
Mr. Afolabi Fajemilo, the Executive Director of FFF shared that the FGD which was earlier conducted with OPDs and MDAs was aimed at evaluating the measurable impacts of the SP interventions by MDAs as provided by the LASSPP, and the human and institutional capacity available to support disability-inclusive SP.
Fajemilo also charged the MDA representatives to begin mainstreaming PWDs into their intervention strategies, either by working in collaboration with the Lagos State Disability Affairs Office (LASODA) or creating a disability-focused desk or unit.