Improving PWD Access to COVID-19 Information on Safety Measures

The COVID-19 Grassroot Justice funding project contributed tremendously to our efforts in addressing injustices that have been made worse by the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of persons with disability. Income losses from economic activities which led to much hunger among persons with disability.

More People with Disability received food item In Delta state

The Joint National Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD), Delta state chapter led series of advocacies, through the support of the COVID-19 Grassroot Justice fund to demand for additional palliatives (food and non food items) donated by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID),distributed by the government during lockdown, but most persons living with disabilities could not benefit, because of not taken into consideration of those who are visually and physically impaired would find it extremely difficult or almost impossible to move from their homes to distribution centers. The advocacy effort led by the leadership of JONAPWD to the State Emergency Management Authority (SEMA),under the Ministry of Special Duties, as well as the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development resulted to the provision of additional 200 bags of Rice to JONAPWD by the state government in December, 2020, through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development. The bags of rice were to be shared to families of visually and physically impaired across the state, to enable them have sufficient food during Christmas and New Year Holidays.

Knowledge increased on COVID-19 protocols and safety measures.

Before the Grassroots Justice Funds, PWD in Delta state, including People with hearing, talking and vision impairments were evidently excluded from information dissemination on COVID-19 safety measures, and there were substantial complaints about the information gaps by the head of all clusters making up JONAPWD. However, the fund ensured that special COVID-19 information dissemination strategies on safety measures was comprehensively planned for and implemented.

These include:

  1. Physical Training- This was conducted for PWD with hearing and speaking impairments
  2. Live Television COVID-19 protocol and safety measures-This was conducted for all categories of PWDs. 3.WhatsApp Platform-The Leadership of various PWD clusters has all shared the TV production on Safety measure, with an interpreter (A sign language specialist ) to their various WhatsApp cluster platforms to reach more of their members with information on COVID-19 safety measures.

PWD Voices in Delta state are now being heard.

Following our media engagements, particularly, the Live Radio-Phone-in program, where issues relating to poor inclusion of persons with disability as part of major beneficiaries of the Federal Government-CBN Intervention Funds for households affected by COVID-19. A caller who was following the Live program, and who identified himself as the Head of Business and Product Development at the NIRSAL MICRO FINANCE BANK Headquarters, Abuja, who is also on Christmas Holiday in Delta state, called to invite JONAPWD leadership to the launch of Part II of “A New Part to Financial Inclusion for People With Disabilities in Nigeria”, with funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Also, the Live Radio program was used by JONAPWD representatives as a platform to draw the attention of the Delta state government to the following key issues as they affect PWD:

  1. Domesticating the Disability Law in Delta state, as signed by the President of Nigeria, with a Commission already established to ensure that people with disabilities have access to housing, education, and healthcare, and equally receive complaints of rights violation and support victims to seek legal redress.

  2. Appeal to the state government to learn from the federal government initiative and establish State Disability Right Law and equally implement the component of the Health Insurance law that specifically deals with the right of vulnerable people, particularly people with disability.

Persons with disability prefer doing things themselves to demonstrate their ability-in-disability. This is the reason they resolved to champion the protection of their rights under existing laws in this COVID-19 era. But there here is currently a poor data of all persons with disability in Delta state. This has led to services being provided for PWDs by the government not backed-up with any evidence .As a result of this, both the government and the leadership of JONAPWD failed sufficiently to provide concrete evidence in terms of numbers of PWDs who received palliatives (food and non food items- health materials) during the lockdown.

We are currently planning to Support JONAPWD to improve their data-based management system to ensure an evidence-based policy response targeting PWDs in Nigeria.

Strategies and tools used

Our Right-Based Strategy (RBS) was effective, and it contributed to the process of reaching our goals. This is because all issues raised by PWD borders on injustice, and exclusion from benefiting from social services, as a result of their disability, which is a clear violation of the nations’ constitution and other international conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disability. So, the RBS was a morale booster, because the demands made by PWDs were covered by relevant and applicable laws and conventions.

Advocacy, Social and News Media tools were used, and we were able to achieve our targeted audience, which much result Again, the television program were able to reach both direct and indirect beneficiaries, and GDEV has been receiving commendations for the work, and many government and civil society actors who have been following the project through our face book page, the radio and television program have been sending inquires to know more about the Grassroots Justice fund (The Fund for Global Human Rights). Also, the WhatSaPP- shares reached more PWD according to their clusters as being testified by cluster leaders.

The use of a local mobile town announcer at night was also effective, because PWD without hearing impairment received the COVID-19 information on safety measures, including other community members without seeing the announcer in-person.

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