Integrated Disabled Women Activities (IDIWA), a not-for-profit organization based in Eastern Uganda has launched a campaign to engage authorities in Mayuge district for the implementation of a 2018 ordinance which aimed at ensuring that persons with disabilities are considered in the allocation of employment in the district.
IDIWA Executive Director, Elizabeth Kayanga told SoftPower News that weaknesses at local government levels hinder the realization of rights of persons with disabilities and thus require the development of localized commitments through district ordinances.
Kayanga said that through a thorough consultative process, a draft ordinance on the rights of persons with disabilities was presented to Mayuge district council which was later passed in September 2018 with specific focus on employment rights.
“The ordinance whose implementation we are currently advocating for prohibits disability-based discrimination in public and private employment processes and compels employers to design affirmative action policies to address the needs of persons with disabilities in employment,” Kayanga said.
She explained that as part of the campaign, IDIWA has gone ahead to identify groups of women with disabilities and empower them through trainings on self-advocacy, entrepreneurship and financial saving.
“Over 40 employers representing public and private institutions were trained on developing disability-inclusive human resource policies”.
This training placed emphasis on understanding the potential of persons with disabilities in the work space and how this potential can be maximized through creating an enabling framework, Kayanga noted.
She said that given the trends in completion of education levels, employers were urged to recruit persons with disabilities in lower positions and provide them with opportunities for personal growth and development through on-job trainings.
A study conducted early last year highlighted gaps in completion of education for women and girls with disabilities in Iganga and Mayuge districts.
Out of the 270 respondents, only 23% had completed primary education, and 3% had completed university education. The study, thus, concluded that the lack of academic qualifications hindered women with disabilities from accessing formal employment.
The same study further noted that over 200 respondents earned less than Shs 50,000 a month and were not involved in any economic activity. This was greatly attributed to limited access to economic resources, including land and financial capital.
IDIWA is a voluntary, not for profit non-governmental organization established in 2000 by women of different disability categories including physical and sensory disabilities together with parents of children with disabilities from Iganga District.
Its establishment came out of realization that women and girls with disabilities face heightened discrimination on account of gender and disability.