Disability equality is important right now than ever.
This is because of the current global pandemic Covid has taught us If we do not take action now, the global south nations take the risk of reversing the gains they have collectively realized in the past decades.
According to ILO 2018, UNDP 2017 show that persons with disabilities are at higher peril to be in poor state if no adequate measure are undertaken by the global south governments.
Evidence clearly indicates that persons with disabilities are more likely to live in poor
households, have limited access to employment opportunities, and have lower
education enrolment and attendance rates. They also face significant disability related
costs as they try to overcome the multiple barriers hindering their participation.
The CRPD highlights obligations of States parties to ensure that persons with
disabilities have equal access to mainstream social protection programmes, access to
required disability related services and devices as well as coverage of disability related
Is this the reality on the ground?
It’s imperious to say that persons with disabilities during this pandemic who mostly were in informal employment before lost the jobs and also those in employment joined the league of poverty.
As you know disability and poverty are twin sisters thus it will cause deep economic shocks and increase of social inequalities, exclusion and further marginalization.
One of the few example from Kenya during the Covid era the National council for Persons with Disabilities indeed set aside Kshs 200
million to cushion 33,000 persons with disabilities against the effect
of the pandemic which is a drop from the ocean in comparison with the already 600,000 registered individuals in the data base.
In contust, south Africa government has been able to caution all its citizens with disabilities.
Moreover, research in Sub-Saharan Africa shows only 7% of person with significant disabilities access related
disability benefits. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the limitation of existing social
As a public policy scholar, I have frequently advocated or universal basic income in order to restore dignity and also ensure all persons with disabilities get an equal footing in social protection.
Universal Social Protection (USP) is central for achieving SDG 1.3 which aims to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and vulnerable. Through a system of policies and programmes, USP can promote access to social protection measures and protect people against poverty and other risks to their lives and well-being. It also helps countries to be better prepared for crises and shocks.
Likewise, this will Promote inclusive social protection schemes in line with Article 28 of the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities towards enabling inclusion
and full and effective participation.
Also, governs in the global south like Kenya need to realize that when persons with disabilities are enrolled in search a programme it will even encourage those who aren’t registered because of attitudinal barriers and also those who don’t want to be associated or recognized as persons with disabilities will be at the forefront.
This is to say an identification of beneficiaries based on human rights instead of the current medical
Approach being practiced.
I believe Having disability desegregated data will enhance proper planning and execution of both public and private social security measure, policies and regulations.
Will the global south nations establish a single social registry system?
Through a single social registry system universal basic income can be achieved since it will reduce the bureaucratic tendencies and also ease the process of beneficiaries and promote complementarity in support of identification.
Moreover, through universal basic income it will open up door’s foe economic empowerment since most persons with disabilities will have to contribute and get basic needs from the market.
I opine persons with disabilities make up the 3rd economic power house after China and the USA.
On the other hand, according to a report by Oxfam; the Inequality Virus; it took just nine months for fortunes of the top 1,000 billionaires to return to their pre-pandemic
highs, while recovery for the world’s poorest people could take over a decade.
Eighty seven percent of their respondents said the virus will lead to an increase or a major rise in income inequality in their country. This included
economists from 77 of the 79 countries polled in the survey.
You can now imagine what will happen to persons with disabilities!
The survey findings seem to be validated by a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report that highlighted that most low-income countries (LICs) face
the risk of “a great divergence”.
What can policies makers execute urgently:
Some of the measures the global south can adapt is enlisting all persons with disabilities in the national insurance fund. This can be easily done since NCPWD has a data registry of 600,000 individuals with disabilities
All in all, universal basic income can be achie ed through resource omptimization by having global south minister of finance allocating at list 2 % of the national budget to the social system assistance. This can also be enhanced through support from development partners.
secondlyConsulted closely and actively involve people with disabilities, including children
with disabilities, through their representative organizations in the design,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social protection schemes. [peter Whiteford 2018
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The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”