The needs of people with disabilities must be included in national planning policies to deal with cross cutting issues affecting them to ensure that they live a dignified life.
This observation was made by the Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs, Alexia Manombe-Ncube at the official launch of the Media Awareness Campaign today in Windhoek.
The United Nations Convention on Rights of Disabled Persons advocates for a dignified life for all disabled persons, and with the new launch under the theme ‘Disability Disaggregated Data Benefits All’ the National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) has embarked on public sensitization through various media outlets in partnership with its stakeholders.
Ncube emphasized that all stakeholders need to come together to address the concerns raised by disabled persons, pointing out that data collection will help in executing informed decisions when planning.
She stated further that information needs to be made available in all forms of communication and that it will also provide factual data on persons with disability in the country and issues faced by them. The campaign is intended to create more awareness and to serve as the voice of all disabled persons and ensuring that their rights are well accounted for.
Ncube further lamented that, without the partnerships and holding hands the goal cannot be achieved, thus calling on all parties involved such as the National Planning Commission (NPC) and GIZ as well as the National Disability Council of Namibia (NDCN) to collaborate with each other for the benefit the targeted population.
The disaggregated data will not only benefit one but all, which is a catalyst to for the NDP5 and will also enable the mainstreaming of the issues into the next NDP 6 development plan. Ncube also, praised the media for playing its role in reporting on issues pertaining to persons with disabilities, applauding them on their improvement in reporting stories affecting disabled persons.
She however, has urged the media to also start reporting inspiring stories about successful disabled persons.
Ncube also shared concerns on many disabled children not attending school due to lack of resources to accommodate learners with special needs. She however, added that efforts are being made to rectify inaccessible infrastructure, particularly in regions that lack schools to cater for people with disabilities
The NDCN director Angelique Philander, said objectives of inclusive policies cannot be achieved by the government alone, and that collective collaboration is needed to breach the gabs and barriers preventing disabled people to participate fully in all spheres of life.
The deputy chief of the National Development Advice Directorate at NPC, Roux Sampati, in charge of the monitoring and evaluation, has urged all stakeholders to ensure that data collected is factual and that it is decentralized for inclusivity purposes in order to make informed decisions when drafting the National Development Plan of the country.
Sampati pointed out that he does not see active involvement of disabled persons when consultations are carried out.
“I have not seen participations from the individuals in the communities coming forth and contributing to the consultations and often they only speak out after all planning has been concluded, which hampers the NPC to make informed decisions,” Sampati said.
He however, urged the stakeholder partners to ensure that this processes are carried out thoroughly, saying “no one should be left behind”.
Sampati called on stakeholders to develop mechanism to improve interactions, adding that data needs to be justified in order for the right financial allocations be made to projects.
John Steytler, GIZ Namibia project manager on SDGs urged all stakeholders to start interrogating the budget, not on how much is being spend, but rather on how responsive it is to addressing the realities unfolding on the ground.