On 27-28 September, WFD launched a new initiative under the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D), to improve the social, political and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities in Mozambique.
In partnership with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria and the National Association of People with Disability (ADEMO) the programme will look to influence policy that impacts on persons with disability ahead of the general election in October 2019.
Funded by the UK government, under the CP4D initiative that promotes inclusive and accountable governance in 18 Commonwealth countries, the two-day conference brought together disabled peoples’ organisations and networks, academic institutions, the national committee for human rights and civil society organisations working on human rights, development and social inclusion with government ministries.
A common understanding among participants about the challenges and barriers experienced by persons with disabilities in Mozambique was established. Delegates left with the understanding that disability rights should not be viewed in isolation but should be seen as vital to the country’s wider development priorities.
Speaking at the launch, the Deputy High Commissioner in Mozambique, Henry Kenrick, welcomed the initiative:
“Social inclusion is a fundamental element for democratic society and is aligned with the commitment of the British Government. Creating space and opportunity for PWDs dialogue is an important step for social change.
The British Government congratulates WFD and its partners to put together this first PWDS High-Level Policy Dialogue in Mozambique. I want to re-affirm our commitment and support to WFD and the Government of Mozambique in creating an inclusive, just and inclusive environment for all citizens of Mozambique”
The event was a fantastic opportunity for persons with different types of disabilities to unite and discuss issues which impact on their lives. Persons with disabilities shared their experiences, challenges and aspirations with all conference delegates during a panel on what it means to be a person with a disability in Mozambique: life experiences and challenges of persons with disabilities.
Dr Farida Gulamo, the first Executive Director of ADEMO and founder of the disability rights movement in Mozambique said:
“I waited for the day when people with all kinds of disabilities in Mozambique could join in the same room with civil society groups, representatives of the government and the parliament, for an open discussion on the inclusion of social, political and economic rights of people with disabilities. I am happy that we have finally found a way that aims to address the aspirations of all of us.”
The conference ended with a commitment from all delegates to work in a coordinated manner to influence legislation and policy that impacts on persons with disabilities in Mozambique. WFD looks forward to working with its partners to achieve this goal.