By Chukwunyere Nwosu (INN), Abuja
Abuja Association of the Deaf (AAD) has called for capacity building training for the Deaf Community. This is even as the association recognizes the need to refine skills, strategies, and tactics of members of the community to improve leadership capacity and management while creating opportunities for minimizing unemployment and discrimination against people with disabilities.
The association made the call while paying courtesy visit to Data-Lead Africa in Abuja on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
The chairman of AAD, Mr Ayoade Beyioku-Alase admitted that the association is struggling with effective management since the recent election and swearing in of new executives.
He appreciated the positive impact Data-Lead Africa (DLA) has been making in the Deaf community by training members and employing one of them as a leader in the organization.
Mr Ayoade however requested a special capacity training on tech matters which will be relevant to administrative functions of the Association’s executives.
He sought for collaboration in selecting vibrant deaf youths for the next cohort of Data Analysis training (Data 4.0), and for assistance with linking AAD members to available job opportunities in both government and private sectors. He also solicited participation and contribution by Data Lead Africa in the association’s future events.
AAD Women Leader, Hosea Jumai stressed the need for gender equity in the selection process, the creating of an inclusive environment that supports and empowers women in the Deaf Community and removal of gender-based biases to motivate women to enroll and thrive in the tech field – breaking gender stereotypes.
Data-Lead Africa’s co-founder and visionary leader, Dr. Arowolo Ayoola Abimbola expressed appreciation for the visit and promised to collaborate and work more closely with the association.
According to him this will be through training Deaf persons and ensuring their inclusion in businesses, finance, decent work, and economic opportunities. Dr Ayoola says the organization will strengthen inclusion, employment, and income generation for PWDs.
He said: “Data-Lead Africa is working towards hosting another data driven capacity building training. This time it will be online and will be advertised across Africa.
“We want our training to be online so that deaf people in Egypt, Rwanda, Ghana, Namibia, can join and learn. We think beyond Abuja. However when it comes to Abuja, we will always have AAD to recommend the people that will come for each of our training because we want the community to grow beyond Abuja.
“In our last training, people applied from Lagos and Cameroon but were not accepted simply because they were outside Abuja and we were using Sign Language Interpreters then to facilitate classes. We want to stop using them. The mission is to train more deaf people across Africa.
“Currently, we have two interpreters in our boot-camp who are on our free scholarship from October last year till now. We have already trained five Sign Language Interpreters for free. They will facilitate seamless training to others.
Dr. Ayoola noted that as an inclusive organization DLA ensures every staff learns sign language for easy and better communication with the Deaf.
“Once interpreters can facilitate the classes themselves, we can have the training online, and other deaf persons in other places can now benefit because it is a long term goal. One of the Deaf trainees and staff of DLA, will be teaching the next cohort because he won’t be needing an interpreter to train.”
Dr. Ayoola also pointed out that Data-Lead Africa will train the leadership team of ADD in grant writing, support them in web design and hosting for the first year and assist with creating and optimizing ADD’s presence on social media platforms in order to promote the projects of the Association.
“We want to be able to give undivided attention to the Deaf community. The biggest problem with the community is lack of access to information. The world is moving very fast and those with hearing impairment are catching up very slow.
“Concerning the linkage to job opportunities and work, our idea of training the Deaf doesn’t stop at that. We plan to connect them to employment. However that has been very difficult for us because those supposed to offer employment to Deaf persons don’t talk about inclusivity. Many organizations are just not ready for inclusivity and they keep asking what Deaf people can do. So we want to use ourselves as an example.
“We’re also reaching out to organizations like the Immigration Service Commission to tell the Comptroller General that we want the Commission to reserve slots for Deaf persons during recruitment and we will wait for their feedback.
Dr Ayoola continued: “while we are happy to support your organization with funding, it has to be projects that are aligned with our goals. For instance, by working with us, you now know some of the things that align with our goals. One such is data analytics training. If you want to do data analytics training for your people or you need any support or funding, we’ll be able to do that.
“We are ready to give money to support any viable business idea, but before the venture capital, the person will pitch the idea and we will sit and reason together to ensure that the business is investment worthy.”
Dr. Arowolo thanked the visiting AAD team for coming and assured that his door is always open to welcome them at all times.