By Elie Mutangana
The African Initiative for Mankind Progress Organization (AIMPO) a local Nongovernmental organization has launched “Turengere Abafite Ubumuga Project”, aimed at promoting inclusiveness of persons with disabilities (PWDs), through creating an enabling environment for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in which the vulnerable groups would realize their own abilities, enhance their participation for economic and social support.
Local NGO launches a project to enhance capacity buildings for CSO for inclusive participation of persons with disabilities
The new project was funded by the European Union and would be implemented by AIMPO in partnership with the Integrated Sustainable Development Organizations (ISDO), Hand in Hand for Development (HIHD) and Organization or Integration and Promotion of Persons with Albinism (OIPPA), targeting to improve the well-being of at least 8,000 persons with disability at the end of project.
The target is to strengthen advocacy to capacitate about 30 Civil Society Organizations for rights of persons with disabilities, teach leaders to eliminate discrimination against them and empower parents of children with disability for sustainable livelihood.
In addition, it plans to enhance economic participation of youth with disabilities through cooperative support.
“We want to raise voice for persons with disability to make sure that the society understand their contribution to the economic development. We want to champion their inclusive participation in different areas of opportunities. The history shows that the group used to be neglected in the society due to the stigma. With the project, the efforts will be stretched to beneficiaries for empowering them and building their capacity”. Said Richard Ntakirutimana, Executive Director the AIMPO.
Among the key activities throughout the project will include inception meetings, capacity buildings for CSOs and local leaders.
In fact, Training sessions, public awareness events, economic support for youth and community outreach as well as national dialogues meeting are expected.
According to the Executive Director of Organization for Integration and Promotion of Persons with Albinism in Rwanda (OIPPA), Nicodemus Hakizimana, the government of Rwanda has made tremendous strides in supporting and empowering persons with disabilities, compared to the last decades.
He referred the progress to his own testimony. Nicodemus reveals that he holds PHD degree while he is an albino. He acknowledges that he receives support from the government and individuals that encouraged him to pursue his dreams and attain them.
“Firstly, we thank the government for understanding the challenges facing persons with disability as marginalized group. As a result, it set the law protecting and dignifying them for upholding their rights and consideration in the society. The current constitutional law determines the rights of persons with disability and the government ratified the Convention for Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD). This is a tremendous step towards engaging persons with disability in all social and political landscapes”. He said.
Nicodemus Hakizimana, Executive Director of OIPPA
Nonetheless, Nicodemus calls for more effort to bridge some existing gap. He said ” though there is law, there is still gaps in implementing it at all levels. For instance, person with disability are still scarce in high positions of administration in both government entities and private ones. We wish to see a mayor, minister or deputies with disabilities, so as to reflect an example to others and to inspire fellow persons with disability to glow their confidence and tap their potentials”.
Critical eye on rural areas.
The “Turengere Abafite Ubumuga project” will critically allocate operations mainly to rural areas of country as they are reported to be prone to discrimination against persons with disabilities.
According to the project, about 23 sectors, largely from rural areas are set to benefit from the project and evacuate the person with disabilities from the hardships including discrimination.
It is reported that rural areas record exponential cases of discrimination and injustice against people with disabilities compared to the cities.
“Several statistics show that all developments are found in the cities more than in rural areas. This disparity is also evident in development of persons with disabilities where those residing in rural areas suffer the most. But this is a starting point, we plan to scale up even to cities”.
Responding to sustainability of the project, Jean Pierre Baragahoranye who is in charge of Disability and Mainstreaming at National Council for Persons with Disability (NCPD) urged local leader to leverage the project for addressing the pressing issues of the concerned group.
“Initiatives such as this should come to help us (public leaders) with tackling with issues we have already detected and dealing with. it shouldn’t be coming and to show us where there are issues, but leaders should direct these civil societies to the critical concerns existing in a certain area, for allocation of support” he said.