‘Wait. You’re Blind!’
“You can’t participate!”
People with disabilities learn to be agile as we adapt every single day to an ableist world that isn’t designed or built with us in mind—and worse, doubts that we have something meaningful to contribute. The acute limitations some of us live with require imagination and creativity that often surprise persons who are yet to be disabled who make assumptions or have grown accustomed to expecting less from people who are blind and others with different disabilities. The fact is, we’re quite adept at figuring out alternative ways of getting things done, often because we have to. We don’t have an option!
As matter-of-fact state and non-state actors in the global south do not engage persons with disabilities as major stakeholders in the policy design, planning implementation, monitoring and evaluation in a meaningfully manner.
I observe it is normally a check boxing exercise.
Most of the time they are engaged at the eleventh hour just to rubber stamp the ideas.
How many strategies, policies and regulations measures mennt for public presented at te 11th hour without input of persons with disabilities?
Isn’t it the daily practice?
As disability sausage media we opine When organizations of persons with disabilities are involved, it is often on disability-specific issues, but rarely on broader development issues that also concern persons with disabilities.
It will take more damage control to undo the already messed up disability statecraft.
In other words, this means most policy documents are poorly made disability inclusive and promote exclusion practices.
For proper participation and recognition of Article 4.3 of the UNCRPD requires close consultation with and active involvement of persons with disabilities, through their representative organizations.
Moreover, when persons with disabilities participate in decision-making processes, it provides strong support towards ensuring that policies, strategies, programmes and operations to be more effective in addressing barriers
to inclusion and more relevant in supporting their full and equal participation.
On the other hand, the rights of persons with disabilities are protected and promoted by the 2006
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The Convention has served as the major catalyst in the global movement in
shifting the view on persons with disabilities as objects of charity, medical
treatment and subjects of social assistance towards the human rights approach
recognising them as full and equal members of society.
It is also the only UN human rights instrument with an explicit development
Never the less, Persons with disabilities have first-hand experience of the challenges they face and know better what can be don article venues and reasonable accommodation needs to be put in place.
More so, in the Covid era we need to ensure facilitation is guaranteed. Obviously, many barriers remain, such as inaccessible venues and information, inadequate funding for reasonable accommodation, and limited knowledge about how to engage with persons with disabilities.
In other words, state and non-state actors are increasingly inviting persons with disabilities on the table but they do not engage them meaningfully [ida 2020 UNDP 2018 whiteford 2017[.
Several studies have indicated Some groups are rarely invited: persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, persons who are blind, persons with deaf blindness and women with disabilities are among the groups largely left out of consultation and decision-making processes [HI 2019 KAIH 2020].
This is true a a race without an end.
I opine, that as global south emulates policies from the west, they will one day ensure meaningful participation of persons with disabilities.
As a public policy scholar and with lived disability experience I have severally demonstrated that we want to belong to the society. together with my fellow students I remember vividly, under the Australian scholarship we were able actually to create global disability awareness in 2018 through this video which was broadcasted in all Australian missions.
Do not under estimate me:
I know some people with disabilities are gifted with artistry that generates delight when it finds expression.
In the same year luckly, it is when the Australian government recognized me and awarded me “the chief minister award” for my excellence work of making inclusion happen. This was not a mere achievement for me but a confidence which Australians be stalled mean being the first non-Australian and also coming from Africa.
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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”