The United States Consulate in Lagos on Thursday called for more concerted efforts to ensure the full inclusion of persons living with disabilities in every aspect of social, political, economic, and cultural life.
Delivering remarks at a program organized by Project Enable Africa in commemoration of the 2018 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks, reaffirmed the U.S. government’s support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Brooks explained that the United States, as part of its foreign policy, works to remove barriers and create a world in which disabled people enjoy dignity and full inclusion. According to him, promoting disability rights is an integral part of the promotion of human rights.
“In pursuing diplomacy that is inclusive and empowering of persons with disabilities, the United States opposes discrimination against persons with disabilities everywhere and in all its forms. If we permit anyone in our society to be accorded less than their full human rights, we are all diminished as a result,” Brooks stated.
At the event, rights activist and President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, and Access Bank’s Head of Sustainability, Ms. Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, emphasized the importance of the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society.
In 2017, Project Enable Africa, a Nigerian civic organization that promotes the rights, empowerment and social inclusion of persons with disabilities established a disability-friendly digital hub in Lagos with funding from the U.S. government.
To date, the hub has trained 20 young persons with disabilities in various information and communication technology-based skills, and supports them through mentorship. During today’s event, Project Enable Africa announced a second cohort that will be trained next year. Project Enable Africa is also the winner of the Google Impact Challenge Funds Competition in Nigeria and will receive an award of $250,000.
Project Enable is led by Mr. Olusola Owonikoko, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and 2014 Fellow of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI).