By Chris Agbo
On the 1st and 2nd of August, 2019, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul, Province of Nigeria as a strategic partner organization (SPO) of Liliane Fonds organized a two-day training on Advocacy and Lobby for the Daughters of Charity, her implementing Partners Organizations, Persons with Disabilities, Parents of Children with Disabilities and other Relevant Stakeholders with the theme: Ensuring the Inclusion of Persons with disabilities in a changing World through the implementation of the UNCRPD and the SDGs.
Rev. Sister. Fidela Unigwe, the coordinator of the Daughters of Charity Coordination Office for Liliane Fonds Supported Services in her opening remark, welcomed all the participants and the facilitator of the workshop, Mr. David Anyaele, The Executive Director of Centre for Citizens with disabilities (CCD). She recalled the immense contribution of David Anyaele to ensure that Disability Rights Bill is signed into Law. She said that the essence of the workshop was for them to start paying attention on advocacy which is more far reaching in their quest of having a better life for persons with disabilities. After their evaluation, they found out that over the years, they have paid almost all their attention and services towards offering services to children with disabilities, paying their school fees, doing corrective surgery, rehabilitating them etc. These are not enough, it will be better to create an enabling environment for them, get the system to work for them, whereby they will not depend solely on charity to access all the services due for them. It is on this premise that Daughters of Charity is getting all the partners organizations to change their approach to advocacy in their various areas and that’s why the Daughters of Charity also involved the leaders of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities(JONAPWD) and other people with disabilities in some states to be part of the workshop. The Partners Organizations will be collaborating with leaders of JONAPWDs and other leaders of People with disabilities in various states to carry out their advocacy. On this advocacy and Lobbying, the focus will be on Inclusive Education just like the We Ring The Bell, the advocacy and lobbying will be on how to get the government to fully implement the National Policy on Inclusive Education.
The facilitator David Anyaele on first day, took the participants through SDGs and how it relates to Disability Act, according to him, the SDGs was designed with full consideration of people with disabilities. The highlight of the event which also took place on the first day was when he played a documentary on the struggle led by Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) which eventually led to the signing of the Disability Rights Bill into an Act by President Buhari in January 23rd 2019.
He took the participants through all the sections of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.
On the second day, he took the participants through the Africa Charter on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
A representative of Ministry of Education, Mr. Abel Asuedion took the participants through the National Policy on Inclusive Education and what the Ministry of Education is doing to ensure its implementation. He expressed their gains so far and their challenges which is mainly on budgetary allocation to special needs education.
There was a group work to formulate a plan to drive advocacy on Inclusive education in Nigeria. Participants are expected to apply these plans in their various states as soon as possible.
Some leaders of JONAPWD and other leaders of Disability Community who attended the workshop were Stanley Onyebuchi from Abia State, Ugochukwu Okeke, SSA on Disability Matters to The Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Ann Ojugo from Edo state, Betty Mube Women leader JONAPWD Abuja and Vice President National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities (NAPWPD), Olufunke Ogunronbi from Lagos State, Agbo Chris, The Publisher of The Qualitative Magazine and Many others from North West, North Central, South West, South East and South South.
Some important materials like National Policy on Disability, National Policy on Inclusive Education and Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 were shared to all participants for them to have a knowledge based to embark on this advocacy on inclusive education.
SOME PICTURES OF THE WORKSHOP