Government to Work Closer With Disabled Community

The Minister for Community Development and Social Services Emerine Kabanshi has announced that the Zambian Government will work in partnership with the disabled community and its stakeholders to ensure that their voice is heard. In addition, they want to focus on strengthening the voice of disabled women.

The Minister addressed an audience at the Global Disability Summit and committed herself and the Zambian Government to addressing the stigma attached to disability in Zambia. She wants to work with traditional leaders, policy makers and the media to challenge negative attitudes.

“I am delighted to be on the panel to discuss on gender and disability. One of the biggest barriers to disability inclusion is the issue of stigma and discrimination, while the biggest barrier to gender equality is violence often caused by negative social and behavioural norms. These are challenges that are deep rooted in communities in Zambia and elsewhere, and to support development for women and girls with disabilities we need interventions that address discrimination faced at household and community levels,” she said.

The Minister said in an effort to address challenges that physically Challenged people face, His Excellency the President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu launched the 7th National Development Plan (2017-2021) on 21st June 2017, whose theme is “Accelerating development efforts towards the Vision 2030, without leaving anyone behind”. This plan has led a foundation for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said taking this approach can prevent violence, reduce discrimination and support people to achieve their potential, overcoming barriers and promoting political, economic and social participation of persons with disabilities.

“We have seen some good results, for example integrating disability into programmes to end violence against women, using technology, such as WhatsApp to create advocacy groups to empower women and girls with disability who are frequently denied services and are not adequately trained or prepared to offer the right support to survivors of violence. We also know there is much more to be done to ensure women and girls with disabilities are able to realise their full potential,” she said.

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