Building Strategic Alliance for Disability Rights in Uganda (SAAP) 2018 – 2020

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”

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Project Outcomes:

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.

Increasing Access to Waged Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Kampala (2018-2020)

Leonard Cheshire (LC) which is a UK registered charity that works globally in the field of Disability and Inclusive Development received funding from Big Lottery Fund to deliver a 2 year project (Aug 2018-July 2020) entitled ‘Increasing access to waged employment for Persons with Disabilities in Kampala’. This project is implemented by Cheshire Services Uganda in collaboration with a consortium of four selected National organizations of persons with Disabilities in Uganda including; the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU); Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD); Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD) and the National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU).

This project is aimed at increasing access to waged employment for skilled persons with disabilities in Kampala in a sustainable and holistic way by addressing the capacity gaps of three DPOs (UNAPD, NUDIPU, NUWODU and UNAD). The end result of this project will be increasing employability skills of 100 Persons with disabilities, create an accessible online database bringing PWDs job seekers and employers together. This project will also work directly with potential employers to reduce stigma and negative stereotypes among employers, and increase their awareness and knowledge about the potential, abilities and rights of PWDs as well as incentives provided to employers who employ PWDs

Sexual and Reproductive health and Rights of PWDs 2018 – 2020

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) has been overlooked by both the disability community and those working on Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (SRHS). This leaves PWDs among the most marginalized groups when it comes to SRHS, they have the same needs for SRHS as everyone else. In fact, PWDs may actually have greater needs for SRH education and care than persons without disabilities due to their increased vulnerability to abuse. The challenges to SRH faced by PWDs are not necessarily part of having a disability, but instead often reflect lack of social attention, legal protection, understanding and support. PWDs often cannot obtain even the most basic information about SRH thus remain ignorant of basic facts about their bodies, rights and available services. PWDs may be denied the right to establish relationships, or they may be subjected to sexual abuse where they may be treated as objects than members of the family. As a group, PWDs fit the common pattern of structural risks for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections due to high rates of poverty and illiteracy, lack of access to health resources and power to negotiate for safer sex

Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD) with funding from VOICE is implementing the advocacy for inclusive implementation of the National Policy and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Uganda. UNAPD is working in partnership with Mbale Action on Physical Disability (MAPD) and Pallisa District Action on Physical Disability (PDAPD) to implement the project activities in the two districts. The project period is 18 months from December 2018 to May 2020. The project is focusing on access to SRH services by Persons with Disabilities and its goals is “PWDs have equal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights”.

The project targets 1200 beneficiaries. The 500 beneficiaries are from Pallisa district and the 700 from Mbale district.

Accessibility Improvement Project (2019 – 2020)

The National Coalition Project is for a continuation of UNAPD and coalition partner’s efforts on adoption and enforcement of the Act and Bye laws and building the social movement in Rwanda in line with article 9 of UNCRPD (Accessibility).

Our National Coalition Project is to build partnerships with Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), Makerere University, Uganda Martyrs University and Mukono Action on Physical Disability to effectively work with identified stakeholders relevant in legal enforcement to operationalize the Building Control Act 2013 and its National Building Codes/Regulations and spread the social movement in Rwanda in line with Accessibility Standards. Such stakeholders include; Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), Uganda Law Society (ULS), and Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC)

The activities of the previous work of the coalition (2017-2018) has been aimed at advocating for the implementation of the Building Control Act 2013 and specifically by advocating for accessibility standards to be part of the National Building Codes/Regulations. This has been achieved by completion of the regulations inclusive of accessibility standards and the commencement of the Act by the Ministry of Works and Transport. After the completion of the National Building Codes/Regulations of the Building Control Act, was followed by the commencement of the Building Control Act by Ministry of Works in April, 2018. This therefore calls for efforts by the national coalition towards enforcement for implementation of the National Building Codes, but most specifically adoption of the Accessibility indicators of the National Building Codes by the construction industry. This will lead to an improved accessible physical environment for PWDs in line with article 9 of CRPD and SDG11.

The spread of the accessibility advocacy social movement across the Ugandan Border to Rwanda is one strategy of national coalition to move beyond the box and share the success stories, best practices and strategies to Rwanda in an effort of building the social movement on accessibility in East African Region. Therefore, the interventions/activities are designed to achieve the set objectives in these two dimensions and explained as below;

The national coalition which will be composed of KCCA, Makerere University, Uganda Martyrs University(Nkozi), Mukono Action on Physical Disability and UNAPD will build on the on-going work of the 2017-2018 National Coalition using several strategic interventions such as: (i) Engagement through an MOU to jointly agree on key resolutions/responsibilities between the members towards the promotion of accessibility compliance in Kampala City (M.O.U- review, analysis/audit of building plans, advice constructors, monitoring of on-going construction activities, enforcement mechanisms)(ii) the coalition will also work with human rights based agencies UHRC, EOC, ULS, and PILAC to jointly draw strategies on the enforcement mechanism of accessibility provisions in the Building Control Act 2013 in Uganda, (iii) additionally will strengthen the on-going work at Makerere University(department of Architecture and Physical Planning) on the disability friendly training curriculum for Architects and replication of the same to Uganda Martyrs Nkozi University, (iv) engage in a public interest litigation to test the law on accessibility in a combined effort with EOC, UHRC, PILAC, (v) work with Ministry of Works and Transport and KCCA to hold an accessibility forum to bring together the different players in this field (legal, practitioners, construction companies, government) to practically understand the linkages between disability, accessibility, legal and practice.

The coalition will further build partnerships with stakeholders such as Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), Uganda Law Society (ULS), and Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) to use their expertise to support for adoption and enforcement of accessibility laws/practices in the community, Build legal capacity of the existing National Accessibility Audit Committee(NAAC) and Mukono Accessibility Audit committee to enhance accessibility laws dissemination and understanding for effective adoption and enforcement

Similarly the partners will support NAAC to conduct accessibility auditing of physical infrastructure in Kampala to identify in-accessible infrastructure and write a report be shared with National Building Review Board(hosted by Ministry of Works and Transport), and human rights based agencies for action, support the established accessibility audit committee in Mukono district to conduct audits, write reports for compliance and shared with district plan approving committee/district building committees(new structure by Building Control Act 2013) for action, support the district accessibility audit committees to hold engagement meetings with district plan approval committees to review the building plans and agree on actions for compliance of constructors to accessibility provisions, and build the capacity of the local government approving committees (Mukono and Kampala) of building plans on the existing accessibility provisions, accessibility indicators and relevance for inclusion in plans before approval.

Finally, in the effort of going global and share expertise on accessibility advocacy, the coalition wants to build on the current work by initiating connections with Rwanda based organization of the physically handicapped (Association Générale des Handicapés du Rwanda (AGHR) for an open discussions on the possibilities of jointly launch an accessibility advocacy campaign in East Africa, create an engagement forum between Makerere University(department of Architecture and Physical Planning) and University of Rwanda(Department of Architecture) to share experience on the relevance of an Inclusive training curriculum for architects in order not to leave no one behind, initiate the strategies of developing a regional Physical Accessibility Protocol which can kick start the regional efforts of accessibility integration in the region, organize a meetings with the relevant Ministry in charge of Infrastructure Development and Ministry in Charge of Gender and Disability in Rwanda to discuss the strategies of sustained inclusion of accessibility indicators in the on-going construction of the country, convening a regional meeting in Kampala to bring together the key DPOs, and other relevant players in the field of accessibility/inclusive designs together with Uganda counterparts to share experiences, engage in media campaign at East African level to discuss the disability and Accessibility concerns/experiences in Rwanda and Uganda. As seen above, the efforts builds on the current work of the coalition.

BlazeSports International Sports Project 2017 – 2018

This is a small project funded by BlazeSports International and being implemented in collaboration with Uganda Paralympic Committee and Uganda National Action on Physical Disability – UNAPD

Brief Description of proposed project and activities

This project is about increasing participation of Youth with Physical Disabilities (YWPDs) in amputee soccer and physical activities with a goal of improving their physical literacy in order to be confident and physically active for life. Activities include, training, coaching and follow ups, mobilization, meetings, procurement, and awareness raising.   

Project target Audience: The target audience of the project is in two forms that is primary and secondary. The primary audience are the youths, children and girls with physical disabilities and then the secondary are the staff/volunteers of UNAPD since the organization is expanding the disability sports among her growing membership.

Project Summary: Proposed project is about increasing the active participation of youth, children and girls with physical disabilities through amputee soccer and physical activities with a goal of improving their physical literacy in order to be confident and physically active for life. Activities will include, training, coaching and follow ups, mobilization, meetings, procurement, and awareness raising.   

Statement of need: Amputee soccer sport is still new in the country and a very good game for youth, children and girls with physical disabilities. UNAPD is implementing disability sports project in selected sports disciplines and realized the need for engagement of amputee members in amputee soccer in order to enjoy their right to sports and also act as an avenue for improved self-esteem, active life, socialization and good health. The amputee soccer sport has been piloted and appreciated by most youth with physical disabilities and this calls for the promotion of the game among children and girls with disabilities. In Kampala district, where the project shall be implemented, there are very many amputee members of UNAPD who want to benefit from this game and they have always demanded for it. This is why UNAPD is presenting this proposal in order to enable her young members with physical disability, especially children and girls to access this amputee soccer sport opportunity. The project is needed in the community because it will help in mobilization of the youth, children and girls with physical disabilities, improve on their esteem, access to physical activities and enhance social interactions among young people in the community where they live.

Project Goal: Improved participation of 65 youth and children with physical disabilities in amputee soccer and physical literacy

Project Objectives are:

  1. To empower 65 youths and children with physical disabilities in amputee soccer

The activities to realize this objective will include the following:-

  • Conduct the project induction meeting with the stakeholders

  • Conduct sensitization and awareness raising about the project to the members

  • Identify and mobilize 65 youths and children with physical disabilities.

  • Procurement of amputee soccer sport equipment

  • Train amputee youths and children in amputee soccer skills

  • Conduct sensitization and awareness raising about the right to sports

  • Conduct follow up monitoring to the beneficiaries

  • Develop and disseminate IEC materials

  1. To enhance UNAPD staff/volunteer capacity in adaptive sports

The activities to realize this objective will include the following:-

  • Conduct induction of the project to UNAPD staff/volunteer

  • Train UNAPD staff/volunteers in adaptive sports

  • Develop UNAPD disability sports policy

Description of the specific target Audience: The specific target audience of this project are the 65 youths and children with physical disability. Specifically the project targets 40 youth, 25 children and 47% of this target audience are expected to be girls with physical disabilities.

Geographical location of the project: The project is located and implemented in Kampala district among young girls and boys with physical disability as result of their amputated limbs.

SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOOD PROJECT 2017 – 2019

This is a project being funded by the Big Lottery Fund for a period of 2 years with a possible renewal of 3 years upon satisfactory in the first two years. ADD International is the lead partner in this coalition with Uganda National Action for Persons with Disabilities (UNAPD) for project activities in Kawempe Division of Kampala Capital City Authority and Nansana Municipality in Wakiso District, Gulu District Union of Persons with Disabilities for activities in Amuru district and Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism in Jinja

The project has two major outcomes in Uganda:

  1. 1000 households of PWDs in Uganda have sustainable livelihoods and experience greater inclusion in their communities. Given the average size of six children per woman in Uganda, each of the 1000 households with a person with a disability will have 5 family members for each disabled individual i.e. Resulting in a total of 6000 direct beneficiaries.

  2. At least 20 community based organizations/self-help groups/village savings and loans associations of people with disabilities (PWDs) will be strengthened and will work together to challenge negative social norms about disability and persons with disabilities.

Project interventions will contribute to broader strategic outcomes too e.g. reducing all forms of domestic violence against people with disabilities especially girls and women with disabilities as a result of their increased self-esteem and family understanding of disability.

The project activities are about:-

  • Increasing human capital, in particular by providing better access to skills, including an understanding of markets and value chains

  • Promoting financial literacy and access to financial services

  • Improving access to physical capital through the provision of grants and appropriate production technologies including assistive devices

  • Building social capital and reducing stigma through formal and informal networks, including with other less marginalised groups, to improve access to mainstream services and reduce negative social norms about disability

We are targeting households (as opposed to individuals with disabilities) for a variety of reasons

  • Our research shows that involving other household members is critical and that many other interventions will fail without this.

  • Some opportunities require a wide range of skills and tasks can be divided up to suit the interests, skills and capacities of different individuals in the household.

  • For a person with a severe disability, exploring options for other household members to play supportive roles may increase the range of livelihood options available.

  • The household is a major “production unit” and members should equitably and inclusively utilize household resources/assets to increase production.

However, we will take care to identify livelihood opportunities in which PWDs can take on the most meaningful roles and ensure they maintain significant control over decision-making and finances.

Inception meetings

We will start with a variety of inception meetings to ensure full involvement of relevant stakeholders.

  1. ADD will convene meetings with technical managers and Board members of partner DPOs.

  2. The staff of partner DPOs will convene meetings of leaders of community based organizations in the project area in Kawempe division and Moor District.

  3. ADD (in consultation with leaders of DPOs) will organise meetings with leaders of the respective local governments in Kawempe division, Nangana Municipality and Moor District.

These meetings will be conducted in the first three months of the project and will clarify the roles of ADD and partner DPOs and develop buy-in from community leaders and local government.

Livelihood mappings

Livelihood mapping involves the visual representation of assets in the form of a pentagon. This helps us look at the relative position of assets: human, natural, financial, social and physical capital and their significance in the way people develop their livelihoods strategies.

We will train 10 representatives of PWDs on the methodology of this work. The training will involve practical, hands-on training delivered through residential workshops, one for Kampala and Nansana. The key product of this activity is the baseline report showing the status of livelihoods of persons with disabilities and possible interventions.

Interventions to improve Livelihoods of persons with disabilities and their households

Each person with a disability, together with their household, will be supported to create a medium-to-long-term plan for engaging in a series of activities to improve their livelihoods. The plans will be developed through a series of conversations between a field worker (who will usually be a DPO member) and the target person with a disability (and members of their household). The process will help to forecast the amount of technical support the participant requires which then informs training and coaching needs and will also identify potential support within the household or community. Households will be grouped in clusters of 20 (total of 50 clusters) and each cluster will be attached to a field officer who will be the facilitator and mentor. A total of 1000 household plans will be developed.

  1. Increasing human capital

Our project will provide the technical skills required to manage a specific activity and to understand the basics of managing finances as well as “Soft” skills, such as self-esteem, confidence and motivation. Building both types of skills is important for marginalized people, particularly for those who face multiple forms of marginalization, as is often the case with people with disabilities.

Customized trainings will be delivered to persons with disabilities and members of their households (based on the livelihoods analysis) in order to improve their capability to tap into opportunities and reduce their vulnerability to risks and shocks in their contexts. These will inevitably vary between urban and rural settings. Training will be delivered in groups or on an individual basis and will include specialised training, coaching and learning visits by the Field Worker.

  1. Promoting financial literacy and access to financial services

Statistics are hard to come by but in 2006 it was estimated that less than 0.5% of people with disabilities were microfinance clients. We will provide training in:

  • Understanding the basic principles of profit and loss

  • The importance of saving and how to build savings discipline

  • How to safely keep savings outside of the home

  • How to cope with seasonal, health, and weather shocks without selling productive assets

  • Investing in and expanding profitable activities

  • Increasing their decision-making authority and becoming more independent

  • Increasing their financial education and literacy

Given the difficulties of securing formal bank loans, we shall encourage Informal strategies for financial inclusion such as self-managed savings groups (commonly known as village savings and loans associations in Uganda). A study by Maya Thomas found that “…the social status, self-esteem and acceptance of disabled people improved as a result of their membership in the groups, they participated more in community functions, and they gained the respect of their families and community. They also voted in elections, and some of them could become decision makers in the community.”1

The National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDIPU) has successfully mobilized thousands of VSLA groups among people with disabilities and their supporters in Eastern Uganda (not in the geographical area of the project). Groups are managed by members themselves, and adhere to the norms of the savings-and-credit methodology. The uniqueness of the VSLA model of NUDIPU is that groups must be led by people with disabilities and must maintain a certain percentage of members with disabilities. Family members and support people of members with disabilities are encouraged to join. We shall contract NUDIPU technical officers to train members of the clusters on the operations of VSLAs.

Improving access to physical capital through the provision of grants, appropriate production technologies including assistive devices

  • For the extreme poor, deciding to invest in new livelihood activities carries significant risks and few families can bear these risks by funding new activities on their own. ADD will provide some PWDs with conditional cash transfers or grants to help them launch livelihood activities without debt.

  • PWDs often require “supports” such as assistive devices to engage in livelihoods and often there are no government programmes to provide these. These will be provided on a case by case basis, following assessment and recommendation of DPOs.

  • ADD will use grants as part of a robust livelihood planning process that is carefully monitored and requires significant input from participants to minimize the risk that grants will be diverted for other purposes. Grants can have a significant, positive effect on a participant’s motivation in the programme functioning as an external, tangible affirmation of that individual’s potential.

Building social capital and reducing stigma through formal and informal networks to improve access to mainstream services and reduce negative social norms about disability

We will use a combination of strategies that enable persons with disabilities to build their self-confidence and challenge negative social norms/beliefs/perceptions about disability and persons with disability. We shall design a campaign strategy based on a good understanding of:

  • What are the local norms about roles, economic engagement and mobility?

  • Are there taboos against economic engagement by people with disabilities?

  • What are the attitudes toward disability in the community?

DPOs will design and implement customized person/household programmes to minimize negative attitudes towards disability and PWDs e.g. supporting PWDs to develop communication strategies, or to prove they can participate in household livelihood activities; or exposing family members with less “belief” in a PWD to other persons with disabilities who are active and positive.

We will also use a “niche” media communications strategy targeting certain audiences in the project area to design and deliver messages and engage with members of such communities on perceptions about attitudes, for example, getting a religious radio station to design an appropriate message for their congregation and following it up with open discussions through the structures of the respective religious groups. We will target four media houses – two for each project area.

LEARNING

We would also conduct a learning review looking at the effectiveness of interventions, quality of partnerships, involvement of stakeholders and others and also at the second livelihood maps to identify positive changes in the livelihood pentagons of persons with disabilities. A learning report will then document changes brought about by the project, the impact of intervening factors and lessons/recommendations for scaling up interventions.

We would look at the following questions:

  • The role of DPOs in supporting livelihood programmes and influencing key services

  • The relationship between increased livelihood opportunities, attitudes to PWDs, participation in decision making and access to services

  • How to avoid adding to marginalisation for certain groups/in certain circumstances?

  • The impact on household power relations

  • Role of state and social protections

ADD international will deliver the project with three partner organizations of persons with disabilities:

We shall encourage each organisation to involve community based DPOs. We expect each partner will identify and work with at least ten community based self-help/associations/groups of persons PWDs.

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Inclusive education in Uganda project 2017 – 2019

UNAPD is committed to ensure that Children with Disabilities (CWDs) access education at all levels as enshrined in UNCRPD, Article 24 which states that “State Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning” and SDG #4 “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

In line with the above, UNAPD in collaboration with other stakeholders will promote inclusive designs/ accessibility provisions in construction works with special focus on schools in the project districts, introduce child to child approach in selected project schools to promote child support at school, initiate- teachers-learners-parents termly learning and sharing sessions, introduce Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) approach to strengthen family livelihoods, advocate for inclusion of disability sports in primary schools Physical Education (PE) and co-curricular activities in order to improve physical  literacy ( the  ability,  confidence  and  desire  to  be  physically  active   for  life), strengthen the national steering committee on Menstrual Hygiene Management(MHM), complete MHM policy and work with stakeholders to operationalize the policy in schools, build capacity of the senior women teachers to train Girls With Disabilities (GWDs) in MHM issues, advocate for co-funding of Menstrual Hygiene Management(MHM) in schools by education ministry, conduct refresher trainings on making of low cost sanitary pads, ensure that Government of Uganda commits funds to the Special Needs and Inclusive Education policy, advocate for increased subvention grant in order to benefit more learners with disabilities, Monitor the subvention grants to ensure effective benefits to learners with disabilities, collect data on the level of enrollment and retention of CWDs in schools, conduct debates in schools to promote learning and rights of CWDs, conduct accessibility auditing in new schools for reasonable accommodation, build capacity of journalists on disability and inclusion issues, conduct TV/Radio awareness raising campaigns on inclusive education, documentation of success stories, lessons learnt for publication on social media and newspapers, conduct a budget cost analysis of constructing an accessible facility and a non-accessible one to be used as an advocacy tool for inclusive designs, work with Uganda Society of Architects to conduct Continuous Professional Development Seminars(CPDS) sessions for practising architects/students on inclusive building plans, work with stakeholders to expedite the process of completing the regulations in order to commence the Building Control Act (BCA-2013) and also work with Education Standards Agency to develop a disability sensitive national schools inspector’s check list.

The specific goal of the project is People with Physical Disabilities (PWPDs) are enjoying equal rights in all aspects of life and are mainstreamed in national and local level development programs”.

The outcomes of the project activities will be;

  • increased awareness on child rights and inclusive education,

  • increased enrollment and retention of CWDs in schools,

  • inclusion of disability sports in primary schools PE and co-curricular activities,

  • co-funding of MHM in schools by education ministry, improved MHM among girl with disabilities in schools,

  • MHM policy in place and being implemented,

  • increased subvention grant for CWDs in schools,

  • Draft national schools inspector’s check list in place,

  • active national steering committee on MHM,

  • improved accessibility/reasonable accommodation in schools ,

  • BCA 2013 regulations completed and Act commenced,

  • Allocation of funds to the Special Needs and Inclusive Education policy by Government of Uganda and improved livelihoods in households of CWDs.

Goal of the Project: The long term goal of the project is People with Physical Disabilities (PWPDs) enjoying equal rights in all aspects of life and are mainstreamed in national and local level development programs.

The short-term outcomes within the grant period are:-

  • Improved enrolment, retention and learning environment for CWDs

  • Empowered parents supporting their children with disabilities to access education

  • Strengthened collaboration with partners for strategic advocacy and policy/legislative reforms towards inclusive education

Accessibility Improvement and raising profile of PWDs in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies January 2018 – December 2018

This is a National Coalition project with support from the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF) being implemented by Uganda National Action on Physical Disability in partnership with Makerere University Department of Architecture and Physical Planning and Mukono District Action of Physical Disability.

To advocate for the implementation of the Building Control Act and related by-laws in Uganda’s Kampala and Mukono districts, to ensure an accessible environment in line with CRPD Article 9 (Accessibility).

The project objective 1: To advocate for the implementation of the Building Control Act 2013 by :-

  • advocating for accessibility standards to be part of the implementation regulations currently being drafted

  • Engage Makerere University to complete development of a curricular that will guide training of architects on these standards as part of a course on universal design;

  • Continue the dissemination of both the Building Control Act and the Nabbale bylaw;

  • Continue conducting accessibility reviews of public infrastructure such as courts, ministries, hotels, etcetera and using this assessment to refer to authorities to make relevant changes and to advocate for attention by government to these issues in development planning;

  • Engaging stakeholders in the construction sector and regulatory bodies (Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers-UIPE, Uganda Institution of Physical Planners – UIPP, Uganda National Association of Building & Civil Engineering Contractors UNABCEC, Kampala Capital City Authority –KCCA, and Uganda National Roads Authority – UNRA) to ensure that the accessibility provisions within the regulations of the Act are implemented;

  • Strengthen the media campaigns on Building Control Act 2013, the regulations, accessibility bye-law, accessibility standards, disability and accessibility rights;

  • Undertake advocacy for reform of Bududa District policies and programs on disaster to effectively integrate disability issues

  • Work with the district local government and the membership to establish climate committees/Groups in the sub-counties;

  • Work with the Bududa District office of Environment & National Forestry Authority to support and plant 10,000 trees to mitigate the effects of climate change in the community;

  • Engage local authorities to include PWDs in the work of DRR committees.

Budget Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities in Soroti and Hoima District

 2018 – 2019 supported by Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA)

According to the Local Government Act (as amended in 2010), PWDs and other marginalized groups in Uganda have to be represented at all levels of local government beginning from the L.C 1 committees, up to the district councils to have a clear platform of discussion of issues affecting them/or their constituencies. This was intended to ensure that the specific needs of such groups (e.g. PWDs) are not ignored but incorporated at any level of planning, budgeting and implementation of service provision all aimed at having an all-inclusive social-economic development, reducing the poverty levels in the community and also live up to the disability slogan of “Nothing for Us without Us”. Such concerns include among others as access of PWDs to poverty alleviation programs, education, employment and health which are very key in human development.

Although the process of local government planning and budgeting seems to be participatory, open and transparent, it’s noted with concern that the involvement of PWDs is very limited and in most instances non-existent at certain local government levels due to limited knowledge about the process, PWDs are  at times represented by non PWDs in decision making forums, poor attitudes of concerned stakeholders, communication barriers especially for the deaf and blind persons, inaccessible planning and budgeting venues, lack of skills in influencing, negotiating, lobby and advocacy by PWDs, ignorance of disability rights by district and sub county technical and political leaders(UNAPD baseline survey 2016).

Whereas the concept of “equalization of opportunities” states  that it’s the duty of the government to ensure the benefits of development programs reach out to the disabled citizens, they continue to be marginalized in development programs  due to a number of factors such as; low education levels among PWDs leading to lack of confidence and self-expression, inadequate information access, intentionally being ignored or discriminated by local government technical teams, not being effectively represented on the committees, in-accessible physical environments where developmental  workshops are organized and held from, lack of technical knowledge to contribute towards the elite led discussions, lack of skills of effective representation and negotiation, among others .

In areas where PWDs are involved, their technical capacity to contribute meaningfully to the discussions is very limited due to their low levels of education. In the long run, this situation leads to lack of prioritization or limited prioritization of disability mainstreaming in the existing local government programs and justifies the saying that “government policies of inclusion or affirmative action in favor of PWDs have remained more on paper than in action”.

Through the project, UNAPD strengthens participation of PWDs in the process of planning and budgeting to ensure that their issues are prioritized during the process to result into improved relationship between PWDs, district and sub county technical and political leaders, and increased budget allocation to disability specific areas such as inclusive education, access to poverty alleviation programs, rehabilitative health among others. In the proposed continuing project.

Also, UNAPD empowers PWDs with appropriate skills and knowledge required to effective participate in the planning and budgeting process at various levels of local government. The project among other areas of emphasis capitalizes at ensuring that empowered PWDs leaders participate in planning, budgeting and advocate for increased budgetary allocation to the education sector at the district level. This increment is targeted to offer better access to inclusive education services by CWDs/PWDs in the targeted districts  through; availability of special needs equipment, recruitment or training of teachers in special needs skills, improved accessibility situation in schools, disability sensitive  school environment, disability sensitive district councils,  and adoption of disability sports in the school sports calendars, among others.

The specific goal of the project is: – PWDs effectively participating in Planning and Budgeting process in Hoima and Soroti Districts.

The specific objectives are:-

  1. Improve technical capacity of PWDs councilors/UNAPD leaders to ensure effective participation and disability inclusion in planning and budgeting
  2. To ensure increased budget allocation to education departments of the targeted districts by at least 2% with bias to inclusive education.

Raising profile of PWDs in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies in line with article 11 of the UNCRPD

January 2016 – December 2016

The issue of climate change is increasingly important in Uganda and UNAPD recognizes that PWDs are especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change and plans to ensure that this project addresses this vulnerability; the project is supported by Disability Rights Fund (DRF). Currently UNAPD has 5,449 registered female and male individuals scattered around the different regions of the country including Bugisu sub region. Most of these members are settled in rural mountainous areas; either depends on subsistence or commercial agriculture for their survival to improve on their household income in their rural settings. In recent years, Bugisu sub region where UNAPD’s district associations of Mbale, Sironko and Bududa are located, has suffered deadly landslides triggered by heavy rains, leaving scores dead and destroying homes and gardens of people including those of PWDs. Government of Uganda tried to respond by relocating the locals, but due to logistical challenges, vulnerability, fears of losing their ancestry, many of the locals including those with disabilities did not move and are still trapped in the prone cages of the disaster. PWDs have suffered greatly due to effects of the climate change because there is no clear mechanism by government and private actors to raise profile of PWDs in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Article 11 which states that ‘State Parties are required to take , in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters’. The UNCRPD and its Optional Protocol was signed by Uganda on 30th March 2007 and ratified on 25th September 2008 without reservations.

It is important to note that Natural disasters cause accessibility challenges to PWDs in the regions where they occur which affects PWDs full participation in society. For example the landslides that happened in June 2012 in Bunakasala parish Bududa district, left in its wake huge land gaps that cover a surface of about 35-45 meters. Such gaps are a huge challenge to visually impairment people as well as the physically disabled when it comes to mobility. Huge swathes of rocks were swept downwards when the landslides struck and this not only blocked/covered pathways but led to destruction of homes, crops, water sources, vegetables and livestock in the area thus hampering survival of residents including those with disabilities. According to the Uganda Red Cross, this heavy landslide in June 2012 occurred after a two-day downpour, 08 people went missing, 09 were injured, and 72 survived and 15 houses were buried. Despite of this information, there is no clear mention on what happened to residents with disability or how many disabilities occurred or were registered as result of the environment challenge. Although it is claimed that some residents were able to vacate in time partly in response to a distress call from fellow residents at the pinnacle of the hill, many PWDs were not able due to communication challenges for the deaf and deaf-blind as well as mobility problems for the visually impaired and physically challenged people among other disabilities.

It is against this background context based on the human rights that UNAPD desires to intervene in Bugisu sub region to try to address the plight of over 300 PWDs residents in times of disaster so that they can live a good life any other citizen. In particular UNAPD wants to conduct a baseline survey to establish the situation of PWDs in disaster prone areas of Bugisu sub region, hold a one day workshop to disseminate the survey findings and seek stakeholders inputs, print and disseminate copies of the survey report in electronic and print media, Partner with the media to raise awareness on the needs and challenges of PWDs in disaster prone areas and train PWDs in disaster prone areas on human rights and equip them with advocacy skills to demand for their  rights during situations of risk and disaster and inclusion in climate change programs in the region.