A’Ibom: Stakeholders seek inclusion of PWDs in governance, decision making 

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Stakeholders in Akwa Ibom have made a case for the inclusion of Persons With Disabilities, PWDs, in governance and decision making in the state.

They made this known when the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) State2State programme facilitated a four- day sensitivity and awareness training for representatives of MDAs, CSOs, as well as traditional and religious leaders in Eket yesterday.

They maintained that this became necessary because the PWDs peculiear needs need to be taken into account at every stage of the project cycle adding that they have the right and  capacity to contribute meaningfully to societal development and decisions affecting them.

Mr Friday Jacob, a stakeholders in the State Ministry of Information and Strategy has expressed concerns over the attitude of some Nigerians towards persons living with a disability.

“I have been observed that persons with disabilities have been marginalized, stigmatised and discriminated in the past in the society.I have been considering persons with disabilities as people from the other world but this training, I have considered them as part of me.” Jacob said.

Jacob called on the public not to sidelines or marginalised persons with disabilities, they should considered them as normal people in the society.

He urged the society to always assist persons with disabilities whenever the needs arises, saying that persons with disabilities should not considered themselves as downtrodden or who had been sidelines in the society.

Also speaking, Miss Joy Ubong, a programme officer at Family Centre Initiative for challenge persons appealed to the society not to pity or sympathise with persons with disabilities.

“During their work some biases based informed knowledge or attitude such as attitudinal barriers. The way society perceived persons with disabilities is from the sympathy and that persons with disabilities do not like.The preferred the empathy to the sympathy.The training has made us to the sensitive to the concerns of persons with disabilities,.” Ubong said.

Ubong called on the society to make programmes , policies such that it integrates or bring together persons with disabilities emphasizing that, “it shows that together we can do it better, there is no ability that has know disability,”she said.

The training was an immediate response to the knowledge gap on social inclusion of PWDs in governance reforms, policy development, fiscal planning, project design and stakeholders-participants to transfer the skills learned to members of their respective parastatals, organisation or communities within eight working days.

The training was also meant to help the State to State project team develop the knowledge, the skills and attitudes necessary to ensure project initiatives effectively address the needs.

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