Multi-country project on ending stigma and discrimination of persons with disabilities induction workshop underway

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are this week conducting a 5-day induction workshop within the framework of the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) multi-country project on Ending Stigma and Discrimination, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Marginalization of Persons with Disabilities in Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Held in a blended format, the training is targeting the project-based national dialogue committees in the four countries. 

The first day of the very informative workshop started with an overview and background of the UNPRPD Multi-country Project. Moreover, the objectives of the regional induction training were also outlined. The need to uplift persons with disabilities and marginalized groups in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and workspaces was stressed.

Despite the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disability in Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, persons with disabilities continue to be left behind and marginalized group in TVET and workspaces. This has resulted from several issues, including negative cultural and religious beliefs, and societal and or institutional systemic prejudices and stereotypes that still exist in societies.
David Onyango, UNESCO Nairobi

To unpack the proceedings of the workshop, participants from the four countries were taken through a pre-workshop survey where they were allowed to share their understanding of disability inclusion in a session led by the workshop’s lead facilitator Professor Tsitsi Chataika.

Disability inclusion is the universal design of institution and services where persons with disabilities participate on an equal basis.

Moreover, participants were also taken through an overview of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was led by the Gender and Disability Coordination Advisor in the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (Zimbabwe), Magdeline Madibela. The overview mainly focused on Article 24 which is on Education and Article 27 on work and employment. The overview also saw Chief  Director for Disability Affairs and Social Development in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare (Zimbabwe) Dr. Mthethwa unpacking the historical development of the disability models.

In the past, persons with disabilities were seen as a charity case (charity model), defective (medical model), and now in the new realization, people with disabilities are seen as a group disabled by barriers in society (social model).
Dr. Mthetwa, MPSLSW (Zimbabwe)

Participants from the four countries engaged in an offline group work exercise. In the group work exercise, questions tackled included:

  1. What are the ongoing interventions aligned to the CRPD Articles 24 and 27 at Country Level and what are the gaps? 
  2. What Stigma and Discrimination patterns towards persons with disabilities are the most prevalent in your countries in TVET and workplaces? 

The two-year UNPRPD regional project seeks to support the four countries to jointly develop and test models that can help TVET institutions, employers, employees, and employers' organizations collectively understand and address stigma and discrimination patterns that exist towards persons with disabilities.