In an attempt to improve the capacity of Women with Disabilities (WWDs) in accessing sexual and reproductive health rights as enjoyed by other women in the society, the Advocacy for Women With Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI) has organized a two-day intensive workshop on sexual reproductive health literacy purposely to equip women with disabilities in Kogi state in particular, and the country at large with relevant skills and knowledge they needed to fight for their rights as far as sexual reproductive health is concerned.
INN reports that the two-day intensive workshop was held at modern age hall Lokongoma, Lokoja Kogi state between Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th September respectively under the theme: “Baseline Survey on Challenges of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Women and Girls With Disabilities.”
Speaking in an interview with Inclusive News Network (INN) the Acting National Coordinator of AWWDI, Mrs Yakubu Bilikus, explained that “AWWDI is an organization of women with disabilities that advocates for the right of women and girls with disabilities in Nigerian”
She notes, “Our work is mostly a community based driven”
“AWWDI got support from funders to implement a project that is geared towards sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls with disabilities”
According to her, “the project is being implemented in Edo, Lagos, FCT, Kogi, Ekiti, Bauchi and Plateau states respectively”
Bilikus also revealed that the project embarked upon by the organization is on its second phase of creating awareness and understanding on the rights of women with disabilities in having access to basic health services just like their counterpart in Nigeria.
The project according to the Acting National Coordinator is at the kick off stages and women and girls with Disabilities were trained to engage other organizations and stakeholders to advocate for their rights.
A physically challenged beneficiary of the training, Mudi Maminetu from Kogi state who could not hide her joy for being one of the successful trainees, took to social media (facebook) to express her appreciation to AWWDI management for organizing such an enlightening event.
She wrote, “I was opportuned to be among women with disabilities to attend a training in Lokoja on 26 and 27 of September”
“The training was organized by AWWDI through our national coordinator, Princess Bilikus Yakubu”
“We were trained as disabled women to acknowledge that It’s our right to get married, It’s our right to bear children, right to determine the number of children we desire to have by procuring family planning medication”
“It’s also our right to access healthcare services, It’s our right to be attended to first before any other person to mention but a few”
She cautioned, “nobody should discriminate against us because of our disabilities”
She added, “the training was focused on enlightening woman and girls with disability on the challenges we face in accessing sexual and reproductive health rights”
“The best way to achieve our goals and claim our rights is through sensitization & advocacy to duty bearers & stakeholders”
Maminetu also spoke more on the experiences she and her colleagues garnered during the workshop which could add values to her personal development as a PWD woman.
She noted, “we learned more about our various rights as a women & girls with disabilities on sexual and reproductive health rights, how to access them and as well as going out to various agencies to advocate for those rights”
“We were taught for example, how to take an advocacy messages to our local government chairmen, to call on all healthcare service providers to pay attention to our needs and make their facilities accessible to our people like building having ramps for wheelchair users and a sign language interpreter in various hospital to make communication smooth for the Deaf patients etc.
INN reports that, the two days intensive workshop was not only meant to train women with disabilities on how they can stand to claim their health-related rights. Several stakeholders were equally invited by the AWWDI management to have an understanding of the project and how they can support women and girls with Disabilities in carrying out their advocacy.