The Executive Director of the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), Grace Jerry, has expressed confidence in the Domestication of Disability Bill in Benue State as soon as possible.
The Executive Director who disclosed at a One-Day advocacy workshop at the Benue Metropolitan Hotel and Resort, Makurdi, on Thursday, urged participants to draw inspiration from the achievements of the past and recognise the potential impact the collective efforts can have on shaping inclusive policies.
“Benue State, with its unique strengths and characteristics, has the opportunity to become a trailblazer in the advancement of disability rights.”
“The journey ahead may be challenging, but with our shared commitment, unwavering dedication, and the lessons learned from successful initiatives, I am confident that we can set in motion a positive transformation for persons with disabilities in Benue State and beyond.”
Represented at the occasion by the Director of Programme, Mr Molly Joshua Ardo, the Executive Director noted that it is noteworthy to reflect on the recent impactful strides made by the Association in championing the cause of persons with disabilities.
“I am proud to share with you that our relentless efforts have not only led to the establishment of a disability commission in Abia State but have also set the ball rolling in inspiring similar initiatives in other states like Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba. The establishment of the disability commission in other states and most recently in Abia State is a testament to the power of advocacy and collective action”.
According to Grace Jerry, it stands as a tangible outcome of their shared commitment to creating a society where the rights and needs of persons with disabilities are recognised, respected, and prioritised.
She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), for funding the project and all participants and supporters who contributed to the success of the Inclusive Friends Association’s advocacy initiatives thus far.
Lead Facilitator at the Workshop, Safiya Bichi, who spoke on the topic, “Civic Advocacy, Legislative Engagement and Political Inclusion”, described advocacy as a means for citizens to agitate for a particular issue, creating awareness on it as well as mobilising support to effect change and causing the authority to take action towards achieving such a goal.
According to her, to achieve such target goals, there must be a problem, identification and clarity of issues being advocated and carried Stakeholders along and must be timely.
She noted that building partnerships and bridges is very important in achieving set targets, saying identifying messages and communication plans such as letter writing, press conferences and visits are critical in the course of achieving goals.
In his remarks, the Program Manager of IFA, Mr Steve Idoko, noted that the presence of participants in the advocacy workshop has reaffirmed the collective commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of persons with disabilities.
He sued for harnessing the spirit of collaboration, learning from successes and working tirelessly towards the common goal of creating an inclusive and equitable society.