By Wallace Mawire
The Federation of Organizations of Disables People in Zimbabwe has commemorated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities whose theme this year is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“.
The observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3 and it is commemorated on 3 December every year.
The commemorations are aimed at promoting an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
As the world commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Federation of Organizations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ) presented this statement:
The government of Zimbabwe has made great strides in fulfilling its obligations by formulating the 2013 Constitution Amendment no. 20 which clearly stipulates the rights of persons with disabilities, ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2013 and adopting the 2021 (first-ever) National Disability Policy to accelerate disability inclusion.
Policy planning and the enabling legislative framework are the springboard of inclusive development in an ever changing world.
The New Normal which the COVID-19 pandemic has brought calls for strategic and focused people driven response. The 2022 Theme: “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“ is a deliberate and imperative call to harness the power of technology to advance disability inclusion. Technology can promote equality of opportunity, break down barriers, and create disability-inclusive environments in the socio-economic and political spaces.
To this end, FODPZ summons the government of Zimbabwe to: Explore the linkages between employment, knowledge and skills required to access employment in an innovative, rapidly changing technological landscape for persons with disabilities and how the critical assistive technologies can increase accessibility to employment and be mainstreamed in the workplace.
Essentially, transformative innovations are required for the economic empowerment and entrepreneurship to advance the participation of persons with disabilities in the labour market on equal terms.
Reduce inequalities by creating innovations, practical tools and good practices which are inclusive to persons with disabilities in their diversity across all sectors of the economy including in the education sector.
Promote paralympic sport as a good practice example and a site of innovation; the proposed budgetary allocation for the refurbishment of stadiums must put on a disability lens by providing accessible recreational facilities to fulfil the right to inclusive leisure for all including persons with disabilities.
Implement the provisions of the National Disability Policy in line with the international standards; disability-inclusive budgeting and adoption of the CRPD compliant legislation. Hence, the imperative to expedite the enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Bill in line with current global trends cannot be overemphasized.
We, (persons with disabilities) hereby call upon everyone to embrace the promise of innovation and technology; which means closing the digital divide by expanding accessibility, inclusivity and better protection of persons with disabilities against the numerous barriers which confront them daily.