Global Disability Summit 2022 Side Event: We are Able! Are YOU able too?

HomeGlobal Disability Summit 2022 Side Event: We are Able! Are YOU able too?

During the Global Disability Summit 2022, a side event was organised on February 17, 2022
from 10h00-11h15 CET titled “We are Able! Are YOU able too? – Co-creating Inclusive
Governance for Access to Basic Resources that Leaves No-One Behind.” This side event was
organised by African Disability Forum (ADF), a continental organisation that seeks to
strengthen and unify the representative voices of Africans with disabilities, their families,
and organisations.

Watch the recording of the event here:

Through this webinar, the panelist from African Disability Forum, National Union of Disabled
Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), Sud-Kivu Provincial Health Authority of DRC, the UN World
Food Programme, and Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared some highlights on: The design
of rights-based approach for inclusive food security; challenges and finding innovative
interventions with combine efforts and resources to strengthen voices of persons with disabilities
to secure the rights of food security for persons with disabilities at community level; roles and
responsibilities of OPDs and local authorities in creating synergies; investing in an inclusive food
security situation for persons with disabilities.

The strategic objective of the We are Able! focuses on empowerment, amplifying voices and
creating resilience among men, women and youth with disabilities and other excluded groups.
By 2025, through engagement with public authorities, people with disabilities and other
excluded groups, resilient and capable local DPOs are successfully influencing laws, policies,
practices and norms for improved food security for all.

Discussing about a rights-based approach for inclusive food security, the first panelist Shuaib
Chalklen, Executive Director of ADF, said “There’s a lack of awareness about the rights of
people with disabilities, especially in the countries we work in. Another critical challenge is the
lack of data. If you are not counted then you don’t matter. And this results in poor or limited
engagement by OPDs due to the lack of capacity resulting in less participation in food security
initiatives. If we don’t know how many people with disabilities are in a particular area or the
diversity or the kind of disabilities then it’s difficult to provide services or to include people with
disabilities in any food security projects or programmes. We say leave no-one behind so
government’s will to engage with people with disabilities is lacking. Government needs to
commit and meaningfully engage with persons with disabilities and their organisations. We also
need stronger energy, more information, more partnership, and stronger collaboration.”

Esther Kyozira from NUDIPU was the next panelist. She is a person with a visual impairment
and has been associated with the disability movement since 2000. “NUDIPU’s role on this
programme is to advocate and influence service providers to ensure that persons with
disabilities access the right to adequate food and the right to access land.” Sharing about the
barriers to food security by persons with disabilities, Esther Kyozira said “Many persons with
disabilities do not know how to register their land. This is because they don’t have information
and the systems do not enable them to easily understand the registration process. Also, I want
to highlight that there’s limited awareness when it comes to disability issues by the actors in the
food security sector. When it comes to gender, it is more challenging for women with disabilities
as they are likely to be left out in accessing land – given the patriarchal settings that we have in
our communities. Food security is a right and it’s enshrined in different international and national

Murali Padmanabhan of the UN World Food Programme, one of the panelists of this side event,
highlighted the rights-based approach for inclusive food security and said “People with
disabilities are impacted differently compared to persons with disabilities when they are food
insecure. Disability is not a standalone constituency, it’s an intersection – be it gender, age,
ethnicity, race. Everywhere we will find disability as an intersectionality. There are three major
issues we are encountering resulting in food insecurity: conflict, climate change, and the
Covid-19 pandemic in the last couple of years.”

Dr Polepole Tshomba, SDU-KIVU from the Provincial Ministry of Health (MoH) – Democratic
Republic of Congo, said that “Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) is the basic strategy that
the MoH has designed for persons living with disabilities. We are running the CBR program
nationwide and at the lower level, each of the 26 provinces of the DRC, has a provincial
department that implements the CBR National Program in different health zones. The WaA!
Project is implemented in two health zones: Idjwi and Kalehe territories in the East of the DRC.”
He further added “The ongoing WaA! Project is at Year 1 of its implementation and is already
showing us good results, in terms of respectful partnership, empowering voices of people with
disabilities to secure them in getting better access to basic resources that leaves no one

The final panelist, Jeroen Kelderhuis from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said “Working
with civil society is a key element in the Dutch Ministry’s policy. We like to reach consensus by
including all stakeholders in decision making. We are proud of the WaA! Consortium’s ambitious
plans and are proud to support them not only with funding but also diplomacy. Our partnerships
are focused on supporting the capacity for lobby and advocacy of civil society actors, groups so
that they are able to raise their voice more strongly and serve as active participants in their
society by shaping decision making power that affects their rights.”

The side event also held a question and answer session at the end of the panelists’
presentations. Almost 220 plus participants signed up for the webinar including members of the
OPDs and persons with disabilities as the main advocates from all levels: international, regional,
national, and local community.

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