Disability Inclusive Experts have called for increased commitments by Governments, Citizens, Media, Organization of Persons with Disabilities, towards enhancing a disability inclusive society.
The experts made the call during the Disability Inclusion Dialogue which was incorporated with the Disability Inclusion and Leadership (DIAL) Awards 2021 organized by Project Enable Africa.
Peter Ekemini, Project Officer, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, explained that it is important to institutionalize disability laws and policies to ensure PWDs are carried along in governments’ interventions and programs.
He noted that disability issues should not be treated with the charity model of disability but the right based approach.
He also shared insights on how CCD has been engaging with governments and organizations to drive disability inclusion across various sectors.
Blessing Oladunjoye, Publisher BONews Service also highlighted the need for collaboration between OPDs and Media organization for dissemination of accurate information about PWDs with the aim of putting PWDs in a positive spotlight.
While lamenting about the negative reportage of PWDs in the media, Ms. Oladunjoye tasked media professionals to see disability issues as cross cutting and diverse, which could be incorporated into any topic.
Also on the panel, Mr. Victor Oteri of Traffic FM shared that mainstreaming disability has been a difficult issue overtime and noted that disability should be viewed from a holistic point of view.
Ahead of 2023 general elections, Oteri noted that there should be more engagements with the Independent Electoral Commission and political parties to ensure that all barriers that PWDs are exposed to in the electoral process is removed, thereby increasing the participation of PWDs in leadership positions.
On her part, Dolapo Agbede, who moderated the session, noted that it is high time that private organizations began to incorporate disability into their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) component.
Sharing insights, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, harped on the need for OPDs to begin to drive the conversation and lead effectively on what is expected from state and non-state actors.
He also noted that OPDs should engage and work closely with PWDs at the grassroot level as they are further marginalized because of their locality.
Earlier while giving his opening remarks, Olusola Owonikoko, Executive Director, Project Enable Africa, noted that the Disability Inclusion Dialogue is an opportunity to engage experts who are working within the disability space.
He noted that the goal is to find the way forward and opportunities to advance disability inclusion in the society.