By Ugo Aliogo
The United States Consulate in Lagos called for concerted efforts to ensure the full inclusion of persons living with disabilities in every aspect of social, political, economic, and cultural life.
Disclosing this at a programme organised by Project Enable Africa in commemoration of the 2018 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, US Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks, reaffirmed the United States government’s support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Brooks explained that the United States, as part of its foreign policy, works to remove barriers and create a world in which disabled people enjoy dignity and full inclusion.
He also added that promoting disability rights is an integral part of the promotion of human rights.
“In pursuing diplomacy that is inclusive and empowering of persons with disabilities, the United States opposes discrimination against persons with disabilities everywhere and in all its forms. If we permit anyone in our society to be accorded less than their full human rights, we are all diminished as a result,” Brooks stated.
At the event, the President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, and Access Bank’s Head of Sustainability, Ms. Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, highlighted the importance of the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society.
In 2017, Project Enable Africa, a Nigeria Civic Society Organisation (CSO) that promotes the rights, empowerment and social inclusion of persons with disabilities established a disability-friendly digital hub in Lagos with funding from the US government.
To date, the hub has trained 20 young persons with disabilities in various information and communication technology-based skills, and supports them through mentorship.
At the event, Project Enable Africa announced a second cohort that would be trained next year.
Project Enable Africa is also the winner of the Google impact challenge funds competition in Nigeria and will receive an award of $250,000. The initiative is led by Mr. Olusola Owonikoko, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and 2014 Fellow of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI).