Disability Inclusion

The summary of the World Report on Disability (2011) reveals that: over 1 billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, have one form of disability or the other; 1 in 5 people, 20% of the population of the poorest people in developing countries have a disability; 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries (including Nigeria); persons with disabilities are much less likely to attend school than persons without disabilities, and that there is wide gap in primary school attendance rates between disabled and non-disabled children (World Health Survey, 2004 cited in World Report on Disability, 2011); in many low and middle income countries, only 5% – 15% of persons with disabilities who require assistive devices/technologies receive them; only 20% of women with disabilities in low income countries are employed compared to 58% of men with disabilities while unemployment is prevalent among persons with disabilities than among persons without disabilities; and that persons with disabilities are at greater risk of violence: up to 4 – 10 times the rate of violence against persons without disabilities (World Report on Disability, 2011). This clearly points to the fact that persons with disabilities experience inequalities including unequal access to means of livelihoods (economic empowerment) leading to poverty and hunger, health, education, water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) services, poor access to clean energy, denial of the right to employment and poor work environment and stringent cum discriminatory employment requirements, as well as inaccessible environments, etc. owing to their impairments, with many subjected to violations of their human dignity such as violence, abuse, prejudice, or disrespect. Disability is not strange to Nigeria, as reported by the 2006 census; 3.3 million Nigerians have disabilities, placing the official incidence rate at 2.32% of the total population (National Population Commission, 2006). These figures have been questioned, suggesting that they are an underestimation of the actual population of persons with disabilities in the country. While an accurate census of the disability population in Nigeria does not exist, the World Health Organization estimates that there are 25 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria, with 3 million persons with significant barriers to social and physical functioning (World Report on Disability, 2011). Haruna (2017) corroborated WRD cited in Center for Disability and Development Innovations (CeDDI, 2016) by noting that Nigeria has approximately 25 million persons with disabilities. In spite of their large numbers, persons with disabilities are generally excluded socially, politically, economically and suffering from all forms of stigma and discrimination in virtually all aspects of societal life in Nigeria and many parts of the world. They are either seen as people that can only live on charity or social misfits who are objects of pity. They remain the poorest of the poor, considered unable to handle a job, unfit and incapable of holding public offices, even when many of them have the necessary skills, qualifications and essential character required for top management/leadership positions. In the social system, stigmatization and discrimination have merged to keep persons with disabilities at the periphery. In Nigeria, the marginalization of persons with disabilities and the lack of disability friendly infrastructures deny persons with special needs, employment opportunities in both government and corporate establishments. Most Government and private organizations have outrightly refused to engage them into their workforce thereby denying them the opportunity to contribute their quota to Nigeria’s socioeconomic development. Our task regarding Inclusion is to create awareness on the rights, respects, dignity, capabilities, achievement and contributions of persons with disabilities in the society. Also to promote educational scholarship (both formal education and requisite skill acquisition), accessibility and affordability of quality healthcare, soft loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) led by persons with disabilities and the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in the country’s electoral processes including other development initiatives. This will further enhance the socio-economic and political inclusion of persons with disabilities in Nigeria. Sustainable Livelihoods: DAEF is committed to fostering sustainable livelihoods for persons with disabilities and other vulnerable members of the society including disadvantaged communities. Our sustainable livelihoods context underscores the fact that most households in Nigeria should rely on more than one type of capital while continually vary its activities and their importance depending on the context and the livelihood outcomes pursued. DAEF believe that achieving this requires strictest diversification of our livelihood strategies which remains fundamental for attaining sustainability. Adopting the Integrated Human Development (IHD) framework, DAEF identifies six main livelihood strategies that will guide our programming.

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