According to the the World Bank, the disability community is the largest minority and vulnerable group in the world.
That’s not all.
According to the UN, poverty is both a cause and consequence of disability, and this makes it an important part of the United Nations’Sustainable Development Goals.
We live in a world where ICT drives innovation and development. It has been a way for us to learn, connect and access opportunities. It’s why this project is building a platform where everyone is equal, and the only thing that matters is what they can get done, and not their disabilities.
Hence, it has become imperative that all stakeholders — private, public and civil society organisations — work together to remove every form of barriers to accessing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by persons with disabilities. Promoting access to ICT skills and opportunities is important in empowering persons with disability and reducing poverty and gender violence while improving access to education and decent work.
To reduce the barrier of the community of persons with disabilities in Lagos to ICT, Project Enable Africa has set-up a Disability-friendly Digital Hub at the Lagos State Secretariat of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD.
It’s supported by the United States Government through the Alumni Engagement Innovation Funds and the US Consulate Small Grant.
At its core, the hub will promote access to ICT skills and opportunities for young person with disabilities. The hub which is located at New Oko Oba, Lagos will be declared opened by Darcy Zotter, the Acting Consular General of the United States Consulate, Lagos on Tuesday, December 19, 2017.
To kickstart the Disability-friendly Digital Hub, Project Enable Africa has selected 20 young people with disabilities as Fellows who will be the first beneficiaries of the training opportunities at the Hub. They will make up the first class of the Project Enable Fellowship program.
The executive members and leaders of the various disability cluster groups will also be trained by Project Enable in an Organisational Development Workshop to provide institutional strengthening for the Lagos disability community.
Joining Darcy Zotter to open the Disability-friendly Digital Hub is a Director at the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs, LASODA, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, the Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Lagos, Mrs. Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase and leadership of Project Enable Africa: Olusola Owonikoko (founder and Project Director), Dr. Olusoji Adebisi and Mr. Olusegun Mcmedal (both members of the Advisory Board of Project Enable Africa). Other partners that have contributed to the setting up of the hub are HACEY Health Initiative and Access Bank Plc.
As the Disability-friendly Digital Hub is launched, the founder of Project Enable Africa and alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Olusola Owonikoko believes that the driving principle of the organisation is that the rights of everyone, irrespective of their disability deserves to be protected, and one an important one is equal access to ICT education and opportunities. The organisation also appeals to the Nigeria senate to pass the disability bill so as to provide a national framework for the protection of disability rights and social inclusion.