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Empowering the Disability Community: A Two-Day Workshop on Advocacy and Resilience in Abia State

Umuahia, Nigeria – In a landmark effort to bolster the resilience and advocacy capabilities of persons with disabilities (PWDs), the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in collaboration with Project Enable Africa, and with support from the US Consulate, organized a two-day intensive workshop. Held on the 21st and 22nd of May, 2024, the workshop was aptly titled “Strengthening the Community Resilience of the Leadership of the Community of PWDs through Advocacy in Abia State.” This event was part of the larger TheseAbilities project, aimed at promoting inclusive economic opportunities and community resilience for PWDs in Abia State.

Day One: Foundations of Advocacy and Understanding Disability Rights

The workshop commenced with an inspiring welcome remark by Mr. Godwin Unumeri, the Acting Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities. Mr. Unumeri warmly greeted the participants and succinctly outlined the objectives of the meeting, setting a collaborative and optimistic tone for the two-day event.

The first presentation of the day, “Understanding Disability Rights and Advocacy,” was delivered by Florence Attah, a renowned advocate for disability rights. In her compelling session, Attah urged PWDs to actively advocate for their rights and build their capacities to overcome the numerous challenges they face. She highlighted various barriers PWDs encounter in accessing economic opportunities, including attitudinal, institutional, communication, and environmental barriers. Her presentation underscored the importance of dismantling these barriers to create a more inclusive society.

Following Attah’s enlightening session, Mr. Godwin Unumeri took the stage once again to deliver the second presentation, titled “Introduction to Advocacy and Advocacy Action Plan.” Mr. Unumeri provided an in-depth exploration of the components necessary for a robust advocacy action plan. He walked participants through the process of drafting effective action plans, emphasizing strategic planning and execution to achieve tangible results in advocacy efforts.

Day Two: Building on Knowledge and Fostering Collaboration

The second day of the workshop built on the foundational knowledge gained from the first day. Participants began by sharing their reflections and learnings, fostering a collaborative environment of mutual support and growth. This exercise not only reinforced the key takeaways from the previous sessions but also allowed participants to learn from each other’s perspectives and experiences.

The highlight of the second day was a pivotal presentation on “Partnership & Collaboration for PWDs’ Inclusion.” The presenter emphasized the critical role of partnerships in advancing the cause of disability inclusion. He articulated the numerous benefits of fostering inclusive workplaces, which extend beyond just accommodating PWDs. Inclusive workplaces, he argued, benefit all employees by promoting a culture of acceptance and support, thereby ensuring equal opportunities for everyone to succeed. The session underscored that partnerships and collaborations are essential for driving systemic change and achieving broader societal inclusion.

A Collaborative Effort Towards Inclusion

The workshop concluded on a high note, with participants expressing a renewed sense of empowerment and commitment to advocating for disability rights. The collaboration between the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Project Enable Africa, and the support from the US Consulate was instrumental in making this event a success.

The TheseAbilities project continues to make significant strides in promoting inclusive economic opportunities and community resilience for PWDs. This workshop is a testament to the project’s commitment to empowering PWDs and fostering an inclusive society where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can thrive.

Mr. Godwin Unumeri’s closing remarks encapsulated the spirit of the event: “This workshop has been a significant step towards building a resilient and empowered disability community in Abia State. By equipping our leaders with the knowledge and tools for effective advocacy, we are laying the foundation for a more inclusive and equitable society.”

The success of this workshop signifies a promising future for PWDs in Abia State, as it strengthens their capacity to advocate for their rights and fosters a community resilient in the face of challenges. With continued support and collaboration, the vision of a society where PWDs have equal opportunities to succeed is within reach.

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