The National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), hosted a media awareness event.
The aim is to raise awareness through the media about the importance of collecting disaggregated and gender-specific data on people with disabilities.
The event was hosted at Hotel Thüringhof with representatives from organisations championing the rights of people with disabilities present. The Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, gave the opening address.
Disaggregated data is data that has been divided into detailed sub-categories. This data is often broken down by region, gender and ethnicity. It can reveal inequalities that aggregated data cannot. In this case, it brings into focus information on people with disability and builds data capacity and knowledge of people with disabilities.
This will inevitably benefit people with disabilities in Namibia and their representative organisations.
As Dr Steytler of GIZ explained during his speech, disaggregation of data is the only way a clear picture can be created of the number and situation of people with disabilities in Namibia. Once that is known, services delivery and targeted interventions ensure that people with disabilities can participate in every aspect of work, life and play. Becoming an inclusive society is at the very basis of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the principle of Leave No One Behind (LNOB). The United Nations and the World Bank have stated that high and persistent inequality is morally wrong and a symptom of a broken society. It can lead to entrenched poverty, stifled growth, and social conflict.
Currently, disability is still largely absent from national development data collection and monitoring mechanisms. The absence of this data means that policymakers are more likely to put disability aside when making decisions. The disaggregation of data formulation and implementation of policies in the best interest of persons with disabilities and who to involve in these decision-making processes becomes possible.
The broad spectrum of attendees of the event included stakeholder organisations that represent the disabled community and policymakers and the media. In her address to the press, Mrs Angelique Philander, Director at the National Disability Council of Namibia (NDCN), pointed out, “People with disabilities are strategic players for our national development.” Before continuing by stating, “Therefore a well-equipped data collection system must be put in place and ensure collected data from all stakeholders to measure various levels of disability entities are included. Disaggregated data can provide a clear picture of what works and help create policies that ensure the needs of the disabled community are addressed.”
A myriad of challenges face people with disabilities. For example, the lack of trained professionals, a lack of capacity, a lack of schools for children with special needs, and insufficient information and data are the most tests.
The event created a platform to make these challenges aware to the public and ensure people with disabilities enjoy the same benefits as any other Namibian. It takes another step to make sure that Namibia Leaves No One Behind.
Alexia Manombe-Ncube, the deputy minister of Disability Affairs, summed it up when she stated, “It is essential that organisations acknowledge people with disabilities so that their voices may be heard loud and clear.”