The 8 participants from Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe came to Japan through the JICA knowledge co-creation program “Promoting Independent Living through Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in Africa”. As one of the events, the public seminar co-hosted with the World Bank was held on June 27th.
At the seminar, the World Bank introduced its works to achieve SDGs.
The participants discussed actions required to achieve “Accessible Society and independent living for Disabled.”
SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) has a set of 17 "Global Goals" towards 2030. These included ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education.
The slogan is “No one will be left behind.” Persons with disabilities have been explicitly included in the seventeen SDGs, as well as children and elderlies.
In addition, “the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” was entered in force by the UN in 2008. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law.
Through tele conference, Coordinator for Disability and Inclusive Development, Ms. Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo elaborated the World Bank’s commitment to SDGs. The World Bank leads in disability inclusive-development. She emphasized the importance of investing in accessibility. “It is not only for persons with disabilities, it will help parents with kids and elderlies, too.”
Ms. Regina from Lesotho has hearing difficulties. She made her presentation on sign language. She said “I studied at a mainstreaming-school. It was very difficult to gain understanding from teachers who do not use sign language. I think providing education opportunity for all is the key to achieving SDGs. Lack of education opportunity may lead less opportunity and endless poverty. I will promote accessibility as a representative of an association for disabilities.”
Mr.Sieben from Namibia told with passion how it is important to live your life the way you want. When he was a child, he had to be hospitalized for many years because of polio. He has had to use a wheelchair and lost his education opportunity. He struggled to get a permanent job. However, he is now working as a Senior Liaison Officer at Disability Affairs, Office of the Vice President. He said, “We need to raise our voice to mainstream disabilities’ opinion into society.”
Mr.Chule, Tanzanian administrative officer at Department of Labour of Prime Minister’s office, lives with albinism. He said, “In Tanzania, the law related with disabilities has been enforced. But it does not work well. Consequently, a lot of disabilities lose their opportunity of education. In our nation, “Independent living for disabilities” is a mere theory. In order to change the situation, I will introduce practical examples in Japan.”
Mr.Sanders from Zimbabwe is also living with albinism. He said “Finally, Zimbabwean government is changing its attitude to disabled people. We are more accepted and we can live more freely than before. However, it is still restricted in a narrow area. Education opportunity is not equal yet and it disturbs poverty reduction in our country.”
Some goals in SDGs refer to disabilities. Mainstreaming SDGs into national policies can be enhancing accessibility in member countries.
The 8 participants of the program finished training in Japan and they are taking part in additional training in Thailand.
JICA Tokyo Human Development Division