About 63% young people with disabilities in Nigeria, (mostly female with disabilities), are out of education, employment and training (NEET). A research study conducted by International Centre for Evidence on Disability at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of Abuja in partnership with Mastercard Foundation reveal that the per cent is higher compared to 21% of those without disabilities.
The report noted that about 61% of young people with disabilities (aged 13-18 years) are significantly more likely to be out of school. It was also discovered that monthly earning of people with disability employed is nearly half compared to those without disability working in same level with them.
The study presented in a zoom meeting held on Tuesday explored the experience of and factors affecting, the inclusion of young men and women with disabilities in education and employment in the area of agriculture, creativity and digital sectors in seven African Countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda).
“The findings will form an integral part of Young Africa works strategy”, says Fatimah Kyari, Director of Institute of Advanced Medical Research and Training, University of Abuja, who leads the Nigeria components of the research.
In January 2019, the Nigerian government signed into law Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 which herald a new era of the prioritization of disability rights by stakeholders and duty-bearers across the country.
At subnational level, about one-third of all states have disability inclusive legislation. Some states have an agency to implement laws at State level. However, implementation of policies has been a challenge due to weak law enforcement, inadequate funding, negative attitudes towards disability and a lack of data on disability.
The study notes that one-seven of the 43% Nigerian population are persons with disabilities according to NBS DHS 2018 but lack of National Disability data in Nigeria is inconsistent and it’s affecting planning and development in the country.
To ensure full integration of young persons with disabilities into education and employment, it was recommended that assistive devices should be produced locally, National and State inclusive education be reviewed, increase representation of women, caregivers and marginalized groups within the disability community to participate during policy development.
The recommendations also include scale-up training on digital skills for youth with disabilities and generate evidence on what works to strengthen inclusive education, livelihood and understanding stigma drivers and negative attitude influencers.
The event had in attendance National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Access bank.
Forner Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof Tolu Odugbemi, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), National Association of the Blind (NAB), and Inclusive News Network also attended the meeting.