My Journey to Permanent Employment at Kasese Local Government
“My Visual Impairment did not stop me from becoming a Community Development Officer of Masaka District Local Government”
With support from our Danish partners Dansk Handicap For bund (DHF) and Para-sport Denmark (PD), UNAPD secured funds to implement a two year project titled “Building Strategic Alliance for Disability Rights in Uganda” which will focus on three thematic areas of Livelihoods, Physical Accessibility and Disability Sports. The project is to use a strategy of building a broad coalition of DPOs/CSOs in the above three thematic areas in order to improve the lives of PWDs. At the end of the projects, one of the key outputs from the coalitions/caucuses will be a United Disability policy on Livelihood and Disability Sports, among others.
Livelihoods: One of the UNCRPD recommendations to government in 2016 was: “State party, should Adopt a strategy and incentive measures to facilitate access to the open labor market for persons with disabilities, in particular youth and women, including through the provision of training and accessible information on job vacancies; and ensure that persons with disabilities receive equal pay for work of equal value”. Different stakeholders including DPOs have implemented several livelihood interventions aimed at benefiting PWDs at different levels. However, gaining access to Poverty Alleviation Programs which caters for the informal sector that employs most Ugandans is a major challenge for PWDs in Uganda. Most programs are administered at District level by District Development Offices in which PWDs are often mentioned as part of the target group for these programs but are not included in plans and indicators. The situation is not much different from the formal sector as well.
Physical Accessibility: One of the UNCRPD recommendations to government in 2016 was: “Adopt an action plan to ensure accessibility to physical environment, transportation, communications, technologies and systems, with allocation of resources and time bound framework”. Physical Accessibility is a key barrier to social inclusion in which many PWDs are not able to access public transport, educational institutions, health care services, job venues and/or offices of government, CSO and private sector. Although a lot has been done by UNAPD in collaboration with several stakeholders/partners, National Accessibility standards have not been adopted by all relevant institutions and companies involved in construction industry coupled with limited awareness and technical skills among the relevant technocrats on inclusive designs.
Disability sports: UNAPD has piloted disability sports as a tool for mobolisation,rehabilitation, organization and social inclusion. Sports have been found to be a powerful crosscutting self-help tool for personal empowerment, talent identification, exposure and for social recognition and inclusion. In partnership with Parasport Denmark, UNAPD, SIA and BISOU have since 2010 piloted grassroots disability sports in Uganda in four districts of Mubende (MRC), Busia, Nebbi and Kampala with over seven disability sports disciplines. There are a lot of successes registered with the community disability sports in the above districts ranging from talent identifications among PWDs, exposure, membership mobilizations, and above all “the Uganda Defence Forces´ Mubende Rehabilitation Center has institutionalized disability sports as a tool for rehabilitation, with a budget allocation”. However, despite the several successes, there are also numerous gaps to be addressed; UNAPD has worked unsuccessfully to likewise attract the attention of Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to adopt disability sports as a tool for respectively inclusion and rehabilitation of CWDs/PWDs and the disability sports experience is still limited among the DPOs, and at district levels due to lack of proper framework (e.g. disability policy) for mainstreaming the sport at different levels.
The above three thematic analysis motivated the design of this project for the DPOs/CSOs to work together in “an Alliance Building Spirit”
- Project goal
Improved quality of life of Persons with Disabilities in Uganda through Alliance Building with DPOs, CSOs, private and governmental actors for physical accessibility, disability sports and secure livelihoods for PWDs.
- Objectives of the project
- Building a broad coalition of DPOs/CSOs for improved livelihoods among PWDs. The coalition will develop a united policy platform to secure livelihoods among PWDs and will promote formal and informal sector employment of PWDs among relevant government, business and civil society stakeholders
- Supports the creation of a physical accessibility caucus with participation of DPO and CSO stakeholders. District Audit Committees and the National Audit Committee to feed the Physical Accessibility Caucus with Best Practices.
- Promoting disability sports as a tool for personal empowerment and rehabilitation, organization and social inclusion at National and local levels by formulating a national disability sports policy and presenting it to the public, sponsors, parliament, and the line ministries for Sports, Health and Education.
Outcome 1: UNAPD is instrumental in building a broad coalition of DPOs/CSOs for improved livelihoods among PWDs. The coalition has developed a united policy platform for secure livelihoods among PWDs.
Outcome 2: UNAPD supports the creation of a physical accessibility caucus with participation of DPOs in which the District Audit Committees, National Audit Committee feed the Physical Accessibility Caucus with Best Practices.
Outcome 3: A National Sports Caucus promotes disability sports as a tool for personal empowerment and rehabilitation and social inclusion at National and local levels by formulating a national disability sports policy.
Pretty Nyamwezi is my name and I am twelve years old and living with my mother, now in primary one at special needs education Centre, Kitanga (Kabale District). I feel very proud to see that I am also in school like my other brothers and sisters. My father never wanted me to go to school but later, my mother took me to school without the knowledge of my father after being sensitized by Kiconco Hope (UNAPD Project Assistant) about the right to education for CWDs. Good enough when I reached school, I got a sponsor for my education and this reduced my mum’s burden of looking after me. Later, my father passed on and because he never love me, I was not told until I went home for holidays. However I pray to God to forgive him because he did not know that I am also useful. I am in a boarding school, and i am loved by my fellow children even those who are not disabled. My teachers are doing a lot of work to see that I am successful in my education.
Lumino Sub County is in the southern part of Busia, 20km from the district headquarters. It consist of four parishes and thirty seven villages, and Its population majority are women.
When the Disability sports project was introduced in Lumino, it came with a number of experiences. First, it was my first time to know about disability sport, secondly its love by Persons with disabilities in Lumino then its major pillar of membership mobilization which as a sub county fulfilled a total of over 50 members that has been brought together as a result of the sport project. While the quarterly coaches meetings brought all the sub county CDOs in one place, made me to learn a lot from other sub counties on the best practices of implementing sport activities.
This enabled me to always support Lumino PWDs sport groups. The sport project came handy and played very significant role to the PWD in Lumino which includes:-
- Community awareness, where Lumino got to know about PWDs sports and will always accord support it deserves since plays a role of building self-esteem of PWDs and physical fitness.
- It brought PWDs together through playing the different sports disciplines, got closure to each other and in the same way, shared problems and solutions.
- We got to know about other physical disabilities like spinal Injury and Acquired brain Injury
- Group formation, Lumino PWDs sport group was formed as an organization that will bring together all mobilized PWDs doing sport. Coming up with the group idea was very positive because it helps us as a sub county to easily allocate members for any support
- Exposure and saving culture promoted, through sport activities, as members are able to save according to their earning. This is a very great activities that as a sub county, we shall continue encouraging Lumino, we will forever be grateful to UNAPD and partners for bringing such an initiative and we pledge to carry on with the legacy
“As a woman born and raised in Denmark who’s never been outside Europe, my knowledge about life in African countries has been very limited. Prior to my three weeks in Uganda, I thought I knew a lot about Africa. In reality, I only knew three things for sure: we have very different cultures, we look different, and once a year we collect money on big television shows for you. We’re schooled to pity by the children in commercials with huge stomachs and no parents, the same way we pity amputees, wheelchair users and mentally impaired.
That’s why the most valuable experience I had in Uganda was through our multiple visits to schools for physically disabled children. The mental strength and the kindness of the pupils was humbling, and as I watched one girl help another, a wheelchair user, up a hill, I found my pity transformed into sheer admiration for their will to succeed and help each other. This kind of determination was found everywhere we went – no matter the disability; the children were intent on learning and making the best of what they had been given. It was inspiring and it gradually changed me. It also made me realize that no matter how big a challenge you face, it can be overcome when you use that incredible determination of yours, and that the best way I can help you is by sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with you.
I now know a little bit more, I know that the people of Uganda are determined. I know how difficult it is to wheel oneself on wheelchair up a dirt road. I know that the picture they paint of Africa in western countries is only a tiny part of your identity. But most of all, I know that the strength you share will accomplish anything you set your minds to.
My name is Janet Ajangi and I am a member of UNAPD based in Lira, I was born normal but suffered severe malaria in 1996 when I was 7 years, my dad tried all possible ways to help me but in vain. He took me to all the good hospitals in Kampala but could not help me regain my strength and both of my legs were paralyzed. Later the doctor noted that I should return home and undergo physiotherapy. My dad paid some money and I was given calliper, I never lived with my mother and I don’t know her where about. Unfortunately my father died in 1999 and I became an orphan.
My uncle then took over and he refused to cater for my education saying that “am a useless disabled girl without any future”. He further noted that I will not get married and therefore no need to go to school as it will be a waste of money. My uncle died and my grandmother took me to stay with her, she started paying my school fees. I was lucky that she got for me a sponsor who paid my school fees till I completed certificate in stenography (secretarial) and Diploma in social works. Before education, I was not able to speak freely in public because of fear and if any visitor comes home, I would hide under the bed of my grandmother. I even wanted to commit suicide because I had lost the confidence in Me. My relative mistreated me and I faced negative attitudes from all corners. It was really painful for me since I was born without disability; it took me time to accept my condition till I was identified by Lira Physical Disabled Association (LIPHA) board–members and joined the disability movement where I attended a series of trainings and conferences which gave me courage and confidence.
In April, 2014, I was elected as Board member for LIPHA representing youth. Later with the capacity built by UNAPD, became a treasurer for Lira District Disabled Female Youth Association, an Accountant with Lira District Disabled Women Association and a treasurer of the VSLA group. I am now empowered, confident and living an independent and happy life and all attributes to LIPHA and UNAPD. My relatives who rejected me and looked at me as nobody now respect me and wants to be close to me, they even wanted to follow my child’s father for the bride price. I am proud of my handsome son, a plot of land of my own, 3 cows and a motorcycle for my transport. I want to thank UNAPD for the great work which made me an inclusive woman living an independent and dignified life.
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