PLATINUM INTERVENTIONS’ CARE INITIATIVE(PICI) IN PARTNERSHIP WITH WOMEN AND GIRLS’ ADVANCEMENT AND RESOURCES CENTRE(WAGARC) AND VOICE
The meeting was an avenue to bring together key stakeholders in building regulatory councils, government ministries, agencies, civil society organizations and disability groups to address the lack of accessibility and inclusivity of public structures and transport systems in Nigeria. This had become very paramount especially in light of the recently passed Disability Act in Nigeria and its lack of implementation.
The meeting had three objectives; to:
• Evaluate the accessibility challenges of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria and the recently passed laws on Disability Rights
• Identify the roles that key stakeholders (policy makers, building regulators, heads of public and corporate organizations, CSOs) can play in ensuring accessible public structures and transport systems in Nigeria
• Develop strategies to eliminate institutional and environmental barriers against PWDs in Nigeria
The meeting held on the 26th October, 2019 at Laps New World Hotel, Jabi from 11AM to 1PM. Over 15 heads of public institutions were invited including Ministries of Works and Housing, Transport, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Women Affairs, Federal Capital Development Agency, National Human Rights Commission, Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), UN Women, Norwegian Embassy, Cedar Seed Foundation, Peniel Foundation, Project One, YALI and various media houses. The following institutions were represented at the meeting:
• UN Women Nigeria
• Cedar Seed Foundation
• Peniel Foundation
• Project One
• This Day
• News Diary
The welcome address by the convener, Blessing Mary Ocheido (Executive Director, PICI) gave a background to the dialogue, explaining how she had to install ramps in the places she has schooled, lived and worked and the systemic barriers and institutionalized discrimination that have continued to hold back the 25 million PWDs in Nigeria. She also spoke about the projects she has undertaken this year to ramp up public schools and donate wheelchairs and how a dialogue of this nature will ensure that such projects do not have to fall under humanitarian interventions as they would become an enforced policy for all buildings and transport facilities in the country. She also expressed her profound gratitude to WAGARC and Voice whose sponsorship made the meeting possible.
This was followed by Goodwill messages from WAGARC, Project One and UBEB. Blessing Onwudiwe of WAGARC talked about the importance of amplifying the voices of the youth to advocate for a society that works, a Nigeria that leaves no one behind and hence their reason for standing behind Blessing Mary Ocheido believing strongly in her advocacy for PWDs.
Thereafter, a keynote was given by the UN Women Nigeria Country Director, Mrs. Patience Ekeoba. She talked about the need to change societal perceptions on disability in Nigeria and also highlighted the work that UN Women has done in empowering and advocating for PWDs. Afterwards, she emphasized the need for such stakeholders’ meetings to discuss inclusivity and accessibility for PWDS and she expressed the continuous support of UN Women in this regard.
The closing remarks by Hafeezah Abdulraheem of PICI reiterated on the objectives of the dialogue and the need for further conversations until actual results are produced to that effect. She also thanked everyone present for honouring the invitation and for contributing greatly to the conversation on leaving no one behind.
POST EVENT PUBLICATIONS
The event got published in a few dailies (This Day and Leadership) and an online blog (News Diary). AIT was contracted to cover the event but came late.
Photos Speak of the event: