Minister of Gender Labour & Social Development, Hon. Janat B. Mukwaya appending signature in acknowledgement of the Uganda Commitments for Inclusion of Persons With Disabilities in the development Agenda. In set is Minister of State for Higher Education. Hon. Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo, Hon. Sofia Nalule, Hon. Babadiri, Hon. Ndeezi Alex, Member of EOC, Zaminah Malole, Representatives of the British High Commission and Swedish Embassy.
On Tuesday, 3rd June, 2018, a National Disability Dialogue was held at the Kampala, Sheraton Hotel under the theme, “Renewing our commitment to disability inclusion”. The dialogue was a pre Global Disability summit activity organised by the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development wherein the position and commitment of Government of Uganda on the central themes of the 2018 Global Disability Summit was underscored.
The Global Disability Summit scheduled for Tuesday, 24 July, 2018, in the United Kingdom (UK) has been organised by the UK Government, in partnership with the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance (IDA). The Summit will open discussions and agree commitments to action around the four central Summit themes: that is; Tackling stigma and discrimination; Inclusion in Education; Routes to economic empowerment as well as harnessing technology and innovation.
Overly the Summit will aim to: raise global attention and focus on a neglected area; bring in new voices and approaches to broaden engagement to disability inclusion; mobilise new Global and National commitments on disability; and showcase best practices and evidence from across the world.
In Uganda, the disability context is enshrined in legal policy frameworks say the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the EOC Act, 2007, LG Act, 2007, Mental Health Act, 1964, National Policy on Disability in Uganda, 2006, National Council for Disability, 2013, wherein Section 31(c) of the Act thereto provides for Sensory, physical, deformities and other disabilities like albinism. According to UBOS, 2016, the prevalence rate of disability is 12.4%, approximately 4.5 million Ugandans, highest number of PWDs below the age of 15 years.
Despite being a significant minority of the population, PWDs have rarely been the focus of development. However the Global SDGs explicitly reference PWDs and pledge to leave no one behind. To achieve a middle income status by 2020 as envisaged by Uganda, it is imperative that all development planning, budgeting and programming needs respond to the concerns of all.
On the progress so far and commitments by Government of Uganda towards enhancing disability inclusion, a number of interventions undertaken ranging from the supportive legal policy framework as already espoused and Community Based Rehabilitation programmes. However in order to tackle stigma and discrimination that persists, Government commits to ensure that the EOC and UHRC effectively coordinate and monitor disability inclusion in policy and programming across sectors as well as review the National Policy on Disability.
In order to enhance economic opportunities and empowerment of PWDs, GOU commits to: engage all sectoral Ministries, Departments and Agencies to allot quotas for PWDs across major National poverty reduction/wealth promotion programs; review and increase funding to the Special Grant for PWDs, a National Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) for PWDs, Produce and submit to parliament and cabinet an annual status report on Persons with Disabilities for consideration and action.
Government has adopted a twin track approach to ensure inclusive education, thus special schools exclusively for learners with Disabilities and inclusive Schools. Country commitments to enhance inclusion in education for PWDs include; finalization of the National Inclusive Education Policy by 2020; progressively revive the Education Assessment Resource Services (EARs) Programme; adherence to the Building Control Act, 2014 as amended.
On harnessing information and communication technologies-ICT has the potential of improving effectiveness and efficiency, creating jobs, as well as catalysing rapid equitable growth and development. Government of Uganda is committing to finalise the National ICT policy for PWDs including a costed action plan and fund its implementation by 2020, with a senior officer appointed as a focal person on disability under the Directorate of Information Technology and information management system as well as tax waivers on assistive ICT products.