THE Federation of Organizations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ), an umbrella body of various national disabled people’s organizations has challenged all stakeholders to implement the newly launched National Disability Policy (NDP) for it to have tangible meaning in the lives of persons with disabilities (PWDs).
By Patricia Mashiri
The National Disability Policy was launched by President Emerson Mnangagwa on 09 June 2021 in a move that is likely to bring better livelihoods for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
Speaking during a virtual meeting on critical reflection on the newly launched National Disability Policy, Dr Nedy Matshalaga, Director Primson Consultancy said it is everyone’s responsibility to implement the policy so that the National Disability Policy will not remain a theory on paper rather is needs to be put into practice.
United Nations provide much needed technical assistance to government of Zimbabwe for effective implementation if the disability policy to including bulsing capacity to the Zimstat in inclusion of disability in data collection and management, supports Zimbabwe on reporting for the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD).
“CRPD also articulates that private entities should offer facilities and services which are open to the public and including accessibility for PWDs. In line with NDP, private sector in Zimbabwe should consider reasonable accommodation for disability inclusion this includes services, employment and participation in decision making, ” Dr Matshalaga said.
She added that if stakeholders are made aware of their role in the implementation of the Disability Policy, they can go an extra mile and even raise funds to source for the disability policy implementation. She also, mentioned that when Civil Society Organizations and Community based Organizations design programs, they should also look at what the NDP says and plan accordingly.
Professor Tsitsi Chataika, University of Zimbabwe Lecturer in the department of Educational Foundation said when dealing with research knowledge disability data, there was need to be inclusive.
“This is called an emancipatory or inclusive research where we demystify structures and processes and see if we can capacitate PWDs. The PWDs need to be generators of knowledge (nothing for us without us). This way, we can see the best practices, what needs to be improved, provisions and the rights of the persons with disability,” Proffessor Chataika said.
Meanwhile, Debora Tigere, Christian Blind Mission Country Director, said a multisectoral approach must be used in dealing with infrastructural development for the PWDs.
“Infrastructural developments work hand in hand with the services provided as well as the human resources. Appropriate assessment of these developments needs to be done. Provisions in less resource countries should be considered. Tried and tested solutions that are affordable should also be considered without compromising quality,” Tigere said.
Christine Peta, a Public Health practitioner said the basis of NDP doesn’t need people to look at disability as a medical problem and they need not to focus on disability alone rather look at the person gender or something else. The FODPZ is working with different partners to make the policy known in all works of life. They have posted it online and they making arrangement to have it translated in different languages so that it will reach to the grassroot level.