Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC), in their commitment to strengthen the collaboration and work towards ensuring that all persons have access to the right Assistive Technology that they need regardless of their socio-economic status, paid an advocacy visit to the Minister of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. (Sen) Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora.
The advocacy visit is part of DRAC activities under her DATA 360 project supported by Ford Foundation. Through the project, they have trained relevant stakeholders on adoption of assistive technologies for persons with disabilities and they have held a National Dialogue to engage with and secure commitments of key stakeholders towards investing in assistive technologies.
Some of the key recommendations from the engagements is the need to strengthen Government efforts towards policy formulation that ensures equal and subsidized access to Assistive Technologies for PWDs.
Following the recommendations from the stakeholders, DRAC team embarked on advocacy visit to Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and was received by the The Hon. Minister, Dr. (Sen) Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora. This visit provided opportunity for DRAC to solicit collaboration from the Ministry towards improving access to assistive technologies for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria and they made the following specific requests:
- Promotion of research and investment in Assistive Technology
- Strategic engagement with persons with disabilities to promote local fabrication of assistive technology
- Establishment of a technical working group on Assistive technology.
- Commitment to support collection and harmonization of Disability Disaggregated Data to capture the needs of persons with disabilities towards the production and provision of relevant assistive technology
- Support the adoption of financial policies to reduce the cost of importation and local production of Assistive Technology.
The Minister in his response, assured DRAC of his interest and commitment towards identifying home-grown solutions and low hanging fruits that can yield immediate result for persons with disabilities in accessing Assistive Technology.
He stated specifically that the requests from DRAC will be reviewed and follow-up actions will be taken to see how assistive devices can be made available seeing its importance to functioning of persons with disabilities in the society.