Adewale Adeyanju (INN), Lagos
Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI), a disability NGO working to advance the rights of women and girls with disabilities across the three geo-political zones, in Nigeria, has organized capacity building training and workshop for 20 Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) and inducted some members as Champions and advocates for women’s rights.
Speaking during the capacity building training, the AWWDI National Co-ordinator – Ms. Bilikisu Yakubu, urged women and girls with disabilities to be bold, assertive, speak out and demands for their sexual and reproductive health rights.
She charged them to shun the stigma and come out of cocoon of their shell to make their voice count and change society’s negative perceptions about persons with disabilities.
Ms. Aderonke Ogunbiyi, the Social Behavioural Change Officer of Marie Stopes Nigeria spoke on the steps the organization has taken in educating nurses on sexual reproductive and family planning for women and girls in hard to reach communities.
The public enlightenment unit of NAPTIP, represented by Ms. Elizabeth Ajeseni educated the participants on issues in trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation and hard labour abroad. She shed light on several efforts the agency is making to curb the practices while enjoining all to work with the agency to eliminate the scourge of trafficking.
Mrs. Olayinka Odibe an official of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in her remarks explain some success stories recorded by her agency in the defence of human rights as well as sensitizing participants to understand their human rights and dignity and to resist exploitation.
Mrs. Jessica Jidanke-Ofia who represented Legal Aid Council of Nigeria also speak on law and human rights of citizens and enjoined women with disabilities to seek for legal aid anytime their rights are infringed upon.
Mrs. Josephine Omolola, representing the Lagos Albinism Awareness Foundation spoke on the need to reach out to the Office of the Public Offender in case of any issue regarding deprivation of the rights of PWDs in this area as the office is available to offer pro-bono legal services.
Over 30 women with disabilities made up of the Deaf, Albinism, Dwarfs, and those with physical and intellectual disabilities were present at the training and workshop facilitated by AWWDI with support from Welead, an International Organization, HiVOS and EVA in a 3-day event held at Ikeja, Lagos.
The training was graced by some officials of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Legal Aid Council, NAPTIP, LASODA, Marie Stopes Social Behavioural Change Centre and OPDs.
Participants were drilled through various issues including advocating for inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in policy and programmes, managing stigma, building self confidence as well as developing career and self fulfilment.
Some women with disabilities were inducted as Champions and advocates of sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls with disabilities. These includes representative of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Marie Stopes Behavioural Change Centre, LASODA, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Organization of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs).
AWWDI charged the advocates to further formed committees and engage in aggressive advocacy efforts so as to improve the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls with disabilities.