UNESCO and ILO UNPRPD Multi-country training programme ends on high note
It was all smiles as the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) project Advisory Committees received their certificates of participation after completing the five-day multi-country regional induction training organized by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation Regional Office for Southern Africa (UNESCO ROSA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Regional Office on 4 March 2022.
The induction training program that began on the 28th of February 2022 ensured that the nominated advisory committee members from the 4 countries (Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, and Mozambique) were capacitated with knowledge on key disability inclusion concepts that will support the smooth implementation of the regional project.
The workshop was also used as an opportunity to remind the UNPRPD Project Advisory Committee of the regional project’s main goal and focus areas of fighting the prejudices and stereotypes that currently prevent persons with disabilities from accessing skills development and employment opportunities in the region.
About 70 stakeholders drawn from OPDs, Government, TVET institutions, Workers’ and Employers’ Organisations, TVET learners with disabilities, and UNESCO and ILO members from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia, and Mozambique attended the workshop.
The first day of the training, led by Magdeline Madibela (UNRCO ZIM) and Umbrella Body ZIM FODPZ, saw the participants being given an overview of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with a focus on Articles 24 (Education) and 27 (Work and Employment).
Article 24 of the CPRD speaks about the need for children with disabilities to be able to fully participate in the general education system.
“Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides not only that children with disabilities should not be discriminated against but also that they should be able to participate in the general education system.”- CPRD Article 24
In addition, CRPD Article 27 on recognizing the rights of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others was also unpacked.
“States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labor market and work environment that is open, inclusive, and accessible to persons with disabilities. States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation.”- CPRD Article 27
The overview also saw the Chief Director for Disability Affairs and Social Development in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr. Mthethwa narrating the historical development of the disability models.
“In the past, persons with disabilities were seen as a charity case (Charity model), defective (medical model), and now in the new realization, people with disabilities are seen as a group disabled by barriers in society (Social model),” said Dr. Mthetwa from (MPSLSW)
The second day of the induction training further guided the UNPRPD advisory committee through the key concepts of equality and non-discrimination where Agness Chindimba (Zimbabwe) and OPDs from Tanzania, and Mozambique shared experiences faced by persons with disabilities via an online plenary.
“In some cases, women with disabilities experience forced sterilization because there are fears they might give birth to a child with a disability.” –Agness Chindimba
Society’s failure to understand the needs of persons with disabilities was also highlighted as the reason behind inequality and discrimination.
“Society fails to understand the needs of persons with disabilities, there is a lot misunderstanding on albinism which also leads to discrimination and negative stereotypes which are discriminatory.”- Deborah Tigere the CBM Country Director.
To solve the inequality the recommendations suggested that persons with disability should also get equal opportunities in society.
“Achieving substantive equality requires going beyond just equality of treatment to equality of opportunity and outcomes!”
The third day of the workshop lively began with participants being shown how to carry out Disability Assessments in TVET and the Workplaces before a discussion on designing and audit tools.
In addition, concepts of Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodation in TVET and Workplaces, facilitated by Phinith Chantalangsy (UNESCO), were also examined before case studies from two countries in the UNPRPD project were shared.
“Reasonable accommodations means necessary and appropriate modifications and adjustments, not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure enjoyment or exercise of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, on an equal basis.”- CRPD Article 2
Moses Mukabeta (UNESCO Education sector), led the fifth day’s discussion on making mainstream services inclusive in TVET and workspaces. Moreover, issues of data for inclusion and advocacy and Designing an Audit Tool also became central.
In addition, Stefan Tromel (ILO), Phinith Chantalangsy (UNESCO) and Adolphus (ILO) then introduced and narrowed down on the aspects of cross-sector coordination on bridging the learning and working environments, and accountability and governance using the audit tool to enhance monitoring.
To conclude the proceedings, Zimbabwe Albino Association, Deaf women included, and other OPDs from Mozambique explored the issues of meaningful participation of persons with disabilities, underrepresented groups of persons with disabilities, and women and girls with disabilities.
The two-year UNPRPD Regional project seeks to support the 4 countries to jointly develop and test models and tools that can help Technical Vocational and Training institutions (TVET), employers, employees, and employers’ organizations to collectively understand and address stigma and discrimination patterns that exist towards persons with disabilities.