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HomeNEWSOlugbenga Ogunmefun: A Champion for Data-Driven Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities

Olugbenga Ogunmefun: A Champion for Data-Driven Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities

Lagos, Nigeria — Olugbenga Ogunmefun, a distinguished researcher and consultant, has dedicated his 25-year career to illuminating the development sector, particularly focusing on health-based social research, sanitation, family planning, and public health. As the Director of Research and Institutional Strengthening at Africa Polling Institute (API), Nigeria’s foremost opinion research think tank, Ogunmefun has carved a specialized niche advocating for policies that enhance the lives of persons with disabilities (PWDs) across Nigeria.

A Call for Data-Driven Change

In a recent conversation with journalists, Ogunmefun passionately underscored the critical need for accurate data on PWDs to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria. He lamented how the absence of reliable data has exacerbated the challenges and problems facing the nation’s disabled population.

Highlighting the importance of this data, Ogunmefun recounted a pivotal project from 2021 when the Ford Foundation commissioned a two-year grant to API. The project aimed to conduct comprehensive research on PWDs, generate vital data, and monitor the implementation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act of 2018 across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Promoting Compliance and Understanding

The project’s objectives were multifaceted: promoting compliance with disability laws and policies, conducting action research to integrate gender and disability considerations into public policies, and collaborating with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to gather disaggregated data on PWDs. This collaboration aimed to ensure state governments adopt evidence-informed policies addressing the unique challenges faced by PWDs, especially women who encounter additional barriers due to gender-based violence.

“To monitor progress on the implementation of the Disability Act across the 36 states and FCT, data is crucial for tracking compliance with disability laws and policies,” Ogunmefun emphasized.

Empowering PWDs through Data

The project’s advocacy extended to ensuring equal access and inclusion of PWDs in public spaces and buildings. This included providing data-driven recommendations on the availability of ramps, lifts, and other accessibility features. Ogunmefun highlighted the importance of advancing the rights and dignity of PWDs by generating awareness and understanding of their lived experiences through rigorous research.

“It was to ensure equal access and inclusion of PWDs in public spaces and buildings by providing data-driven recommendations on the availability of ramps, lifts, and other accessibility features while also advancing the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities by generating awareness and understanding of their lived experiences through research,” he added.

Leadership and Collaboration

Ogunmefun’s leadership was instrumental in coordinating all activities related to planning, surveying, reporting, and presenting findings for this groundbreaking project. He worked closely with government agencies such as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), and the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD). Additionally, there was significant collaboration with scholars selected to gather the necessary data across Nigeria’s geopolitical zones.

Through his unparalleled leadership and expertise, Ogunmefun, the author of “Modern Approaches to Market and Social Research: Leverage Technology,” has driven and ignited change for PWDs in Nigeria. His efforts have ensured that the voices of PWDs are heard and their rights protected. He recognized the pivotal role of data in driving policy reforms and inclusive development for Nigeria’s over 19 million PWDs. His passion stems from a deep commitment to amplifying their voices and ensuring their full participation in society.

A Clarion Call for Action

As a member of the Nigeria Market Research Association (NIMRA) and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria (ICEN), Ogunmefun continues to highlight solutions to the barriers PWDs face in accessing education, healthcare, employment, transportation, and other essential services. He calls on the government at all levels and stakeholders to join the cause for the good of the nation.

Olugbenga Ogunmefun’s advocacy and data-driven approach are paving the way for a more inclusive Nigeria. His work underscores the importance of accurate data collection and inclusive policies in ensuring that PWDs are not left behind in the nation’s development agenda. Through his dedication and visionary leadership, Ogunmefun is making a profound impact on the lives of PWDs, championing their rights, and fostering a society where everyone, regardless of ability, can thrive.

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