In Uganda, PWDs groups and associations existed as early as 1972, when the Association of the Blind was formed. By 1987, a number of associations had been formed and came together to form an umbrella organisation called National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU). This section looks at why and how UNAPD was formed.
By 1998 persons with hearing impairment, the blind, the epileptic and those with learning difficulties had already or were in the process of establishing strong national disability organisations. However, by then, Persons with Physical Disabilities, who comprise 60% of the PWDs in Uganda, had no strong national organization. The Disability Fraternity would be weak as long as such a big percentage was not organised and united.
Therefore, the formation of UNAPD was long overdue, and was mainly in response to three factors:
The need to unite PWPDs for collective action. This would provide them a forum for analysing needs, challenges and opportunities, and make a united front to overcome the barriers to achieving equal opportunities.
The need to lobby for support for specific needs of PWPDs that had not been considered due to lack of an appropriate forum.
To strengthen the Disability Fraternity through forming a national organisation.
This is not to say, however, that before the formation of UNAPD, PWPDs had not been active in the Disability Fraternity. Many organisations including NUDIPU were started and had been strongly influenced and supported by PWPDs.
The growth of the Disability Fraternity, the trends in the fraternity structure and the large percentage of PWPDs made it necessary to have their own organisation.
UNAPD envisions “a society where People with Physical Disabilities are accorded rights enjoyed by all citizens.”
UNAPD works to become “a leading action-oriented Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) dedicated to the removal of barriers in society, which prevent People with Physical Disability from enjoying their full rights”.