COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE VIRTUAL STAKEHOLDER’S ENGAGEMENT WITH THE THEME, COVID-19: STRENGTHENING SOCIAL INCLUSION AND PROTECTION FOR PERSON WITH DISABILITIES
On the 11th June, 2020, the Disability Community in Kaduna state and Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED) in collaboration with partners organized a virtual stakeholder’s engagement with the theme, Covid-19: Strengthening Social Inclusion and Protection for Person with Disabilities (PWDs) in times of Emergencies and Beyond. The engagement had the objectives to: reflect and review key blockages hindering adequate inclusion of persons with disabilities in government’s social protection responses to emergencies like covid-19 and beyond; brainstorm and proffer short, medium and long term solutions to strengthen social inclusion and protection for PWDs; and build consensus on approaches to adopt in executing the solutions generated by stakeholders.
The panelists and participants were a mix of the government, disability community, civil society organizations, media and development partners. The engagement featured interactive discussion with the panelists sharing their wealth of knowledge, experiences, lessons learnt and suggestions; while the participants made comments, asked questions and offered recommendations. In the course of the engagement, a number of key observations were raised and resolutions reached at the end.
The Kaduna state government through the Rehabilitation Board was commended for providing free residential trainings for, start-up support to and driving institutional mainstreaming of the disability community in the governance process;
Furthermore, the government aside the reintroduction of monthly subvention to the community and educational scholarship, is presently constructing three additional rehabilitation centers in the senatorial zones and has also donated a land to them;
Presently, there is no database of the members of the disability community in the state, however, due to the capital intensive nature of the process, the Rehabilitation Board is working with relevant agencies to generate the data;
Stakeholders bemoaned the fact that issues of disability community is still being addressed as charity by the society, as against right-based;
Political, economic and social discrimination against disability community are still prevalent in the society;
The government was commended for taking the bold step towards mainstreaming issues of the disability community by initiating the disability rights bill and development process of the social protection policy in the state;
Concerns were raised that designing laws and policies has never been the issue in the country, but strict adherence and implementation has continued to be the biggest challenge;
The disability community are not adequately carried along especially in the planning and preparation of policies formulation, as most times they are only consulted at one-off town-hall meetings, which hinders them from taking ownership;
The lockdown order by the Kaduna state government to check the spread of covid-19 badly affected members of the disability community, as many of them are unemployed and survive on daily income doing menial jobs or begging;
The palliative intervention by the state government is highly commendable. However, only a few compared to the total number of the disability community benefitted in the first phase in nine local government areas, however, improvements were observed in the second phase that covered the remaining fourteen;
There is presently no representation on the palliative committee on covid-19 or adequate consultation with the organized disability community during the first round of distribution in the 23 local government;
Stakeholders are not adequately leveraging on documents developed with support of development partners that proffer solutions to the challenges faced by the disability community in the state.
Looking at the trend, there is presently inadequate budgetary allocation, releases/cash-backing for line items that have to do with issues of the disability community.
Stakeholders need to have a good understanding of the fiscal space to influence and increase public investment in supporting the disability community.
Strengthen the capacity of the disability community on advocacy strategy, budget process, social protection and digital skills in response to the new normal necessitated by covid-19;
Initiate an advocacy campaign to ensure adequate stakeholder’s engagement and acceleration of the passage of the Kaduna state disability rights bill into law;
Initiate a network made up of disability community, civil society organizations, media and development partners to track budget implementation and subsequent palliative intervention to ensure the disability community is adequately captured as beneficiaries.
Advocate to the Executive and Legislative arm of government to prioritize line items that has to do with the disability community in the budget 2020 review, 2021 formulation and adequate releases/cash-backing;
Advocate for 5% quota for the disability community in all employment and social protection interventions in the state;
Support the generation of data for the disability community in Kaduna state.
Strengthen multi-stakeholders synergy and collaboration to ensure full implementation and regular review of the law and policy when they come into effect;
Collaborate with media organizations to introduce specialized programs that are tailored to set agenda and advocate for issues affecting disability community;
Our gratitude goes to the following partners for making the engagement a success: Kaduna State Rehabilitation Board; Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL), Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Save the Children, Ground Zero radio program (Invicta fm) and Hope for the Handicapped Persons.
Disability Community, Kaduna
Rilwanu M. Mohammed
Physically Challenges Association, Kaduna
Risikat Toyin Mohammed
Women with Disability Self Reliance Foundation
Head – Leadership, Governance & Advocacy
Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED)