A non governmental organization, Disability Rights Advocacy Center, DRAC, has launched special schemes to combat violence against women and girls with disabilities.
Launching what the group titled, ‘Break The Cycle (BTC): Empowerment to combat Violence against Women / Girls with Disabilities in Nigeria’, the group believes the time has come for serious efforts to eradicate violence targeted at women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria.
The group said Women and Girls With Disabilities, WGWD, “face triple marginalisation due to the intersection of their gender, disability and poverty, often leading to violence.
According o the research in which the group undertook, they revealed that WGWD “experience higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage than non-disabled people such as lack of access to education, and job opportunities.
“None of the Women With Disabilities, WWD, from FGDs had ever been employed. Some had tried to access vocational training opportunities and start businesses, but face barriers such as transport, stigma and lack of capital. “Poor access to education and work make them more vulnerable to IPV. Lack of financial resources for independence, leaves them trapped in violent relationships.”
In their research findings, they revealed that “5% of the public thought that a WWD has no right to disagree with her partner.
“More than 85% of disabled primary-age children have never attended school FGDs confirmed that most WWD in project areas have rarely completed primary school.
“Only 8 / 41 indicators from Nigeria’s 2016 National Policy on Inclusive Education have been achieved. Many WGWD experience exclusion and abuse from an early age, and are often hidden at home with no recognition of their right to education Without basic education or life skills, GWD are vulnerable to dependency on abusive caregivers. “
Taking Nasarawa and Abuja as test cases, a three-year project Covering 14 communities in the FCT; two from each of 6 Area Councils and Karu LGA in Nasarawa State, where many households have low incomes would be undertaken.
The group said the 14 communities are peri-urban, including some informal settlements / slums and some communal living for people with disabilities (PWD).
The project components according to the group would cover 85% of disabled primary-age children where experts will work with community-based inclusion champions, male influencers and peer support groups to address persistent exclusion.
The group said 80% of PWDs of the unemployed would be empowered to enable them have access to financial resources.
The programme will “work to improve community attitudes towards WWDs and ensure that the public are willing to support their leadership ambitions.”
The group pointed out that, the target at this initial phase is to have 1-696 women with disabilities economically empowered with equal access to, and decision-making power over, household economic resources.
The group also expect, “Increased action towards inclusion of girls with disabilities in education in FCT and Nasarawa states.
“Communities are inclusive and supportive of women and girls with disabilities, ensuring that women with disabilities have equal opportunities for meaningful participation, leadership and influence in community and political decision-making.”
Speaking during the launching of the programme, the Executive Director of DRAC, Dr Irene Patrick called for collaborative efforts to tackle issues affecting people living with disabilities in Nigeria.
She said the initiation of this project is to deepen efforts to ensure WGWD get a new lease of life.