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Voice PWD CoP Holds A Landmark Stakeholders Convening To Advance Disability Inclusion in Nigeria

June 27th-28th, 2024, Abuja: A Defining Moment for Disability Rights

In a monumental stride toward enhancing disability inclusion in Nigeria, the Centre for Ability Rehabilitation and Empowerment (CARE), in collaboration with the Voice Persons with Disabilities Community of Practice (VOICE PWD CoP) and supported by Voice and Oxfam, hosted a pivotal 2-Day National Co-creations Stakeholders Convening. Held at the prestigious Grand Cubana Hotel, Jabi, Abuja, this event marked a significant advancement for the National Disability Act post-moratorium.

A Confluence of Commitment and Collaboration

The event saw representatives from all 36 states converge, underlining a collective resolve to domesticate and implement the National Disability Act. Over 150 attendees, including Senior Special Assistants, community representatives, implementing partners, and government officials, participated in this landmark gathering. Their unified focus was on ensuring the Act protects and promotes inclusion and accessibility for the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals in Nigerian society.

Key Highlights and Dynamic Discussions

1. A Nationwide Representation: The convening brought together a diverse and influential group of stakeholders from across Nigeria. Their presence underscored the broad-based support for disability inclusion and the shared commitment to making the National Disability Act a lived reality for all PWDs.

2. Insightful Exchanges on Progress and Challenges: The event provided a platform for candid discussions about the progress made and the obstacles encountered in mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). These dialogues highlighted the importance of sustained effort and innovative strategies in overcoming barriers to inclusion.

3. A Call for Representation: Barrister Yusuf Iyodo delivered a compelling call for a 5% quota for PWDs, emphasizing the need for concrete measures to ensure their representation and participation in all aspects of life. His call to action resonated deeply with attendees, many of whom expressed support for this initiative.

4. Emphasis on Education and Employment: Dr. Chris Nwanoro stressed the critical role of education and job opportunities based on qualifications. He advocated for a merit-based system that empowers PWDs to achieve their full potential and contribute meaningfully to society. This focus on education and employment was a recurring theme throughout the event, highlighting its centrality to achieving true inclusion.

5. In-Depth Analysis of the Act: Funso Olajide led an interactive PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental) analysis of the National Disability Act. This comprehensive review provided stakeholders with a nuanced understanding of the Act’s implications and the broader context in which it operates. The session facilitated a collaborative environment where attendees could share insights, identify challenges, and propose solutions.

6. Showcasing Best Practices: Panel discussions featuring state representatives highlighted successful strategies and best practices in implementing disability inclusion initiatives. These sessions provided valuable lessons and inspiration for other states to emulate, fostering a spirit of cooperation and shared learning.

A Nationwide Commitment to Implementation

The convening was not merely a forum for discussion but a demonstration of nationwide commitment to fully implementing the National Disability Act, particularly at the state and local government levels. Attendees left the event with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear roadmap for action. The event underscored the importance of collaboration and the need for all stakeholders to work together to bring about meaningful change.

A Vision for the Future: Sustaining the Momentum

As we look ahead, this monumental convening represents a significant step forward in bringing relief and inclusion to over 25 million PWDs across Nigeria. It is a collective effort to create a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

The progress made at this event must be sustained through ongoing efforts to implement the National Disability Act at every level of government. By working together, we can ensure that the rights and needs of PWDs are recognized, respected, and addressed.

Conclusion: Building a More Inclusive Society

The 2-Day National Co-creations Stakeholders Convening at the Grand Cubana Hotel in Abuja was a landmark event that showcased a nationwide commitment to disability inclusion. With representatives from all 36 states, insightful discussions, and powerful calls to action, this convening marked a significant step forward in advancing the National Disability Act. Together, we are taking crucial steps to bring relief and inclusion to over 25 million PWDs across Nigeria.

Let us continue to champion the cause of disability inclusion and work towards a more accessible and equitable society for all.

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