HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY
This program aims to create awareness on disability inclusion in all sectors. It is also intended to equip persons with intellectual disabilities, local leaders and communities with knowledge on the rights of people with disabilities with reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities through trainings, meetings with local governments, dialogues on inclusion and regional meetings to share experiences.
i. Trainings of parents and support persons on the CRPD and Intellectual disability
These trainings are dominated by females (mothers and grandmothers) as most of them are the sole caretakers of persons with intellectual disabilities in their families. We have realized that there is still a gap as we need to bring the fathers on board as well. Most mothers allege that fathers completely turned the responsibility of caring for children with intellectual disabilities as they consider them to be losses to the family. A parent in Kyampisi shared that her husband told her that “in his lineage, they don’t have any one with Down syndrome and thus abandoned his son”.
It is such beliefs and mindsets that Inclusion Uganda is fighting to address through these advocacy trainings. We therefore believe that with more trainings especially in the rural areas, we will be able to attain communities where the rights of people with intellectual disabilities are respected.
ii. Trainings of local leaders on the CRPD and laws governing the rights of persons with disabilities in Uganda.
These trainings are aimed at reminding the local leaders of their roles in protecting and preserving the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. As a result, the local leaders are empowered to take on the advocacy role within their communities so that persons with disabilities are involved and equally represented in all local governance committees.
iii. Training of persons with intellectual disability on the CRPD.
In these trainings, Persons with intellectual disabilities were trained on the CRPD and self-advocacy. These trainings are intended to uplift the self-esteem of these people so that they are able to stand up and defend their rights right from home and their communities at large. As a result of these trainings, we shall have groups of people with intellectual disabilities standing up for their rights and also be in position to defend the rights of others as well.
iv. Advocacy trainings for persons with Down syndrome.
An advocacy group with 10 persons with Down Syndrome was formed to advocate for their rights and the rights of others. This group has undergone several trainings on the CRPD with emphasis on work and employment - Article 27 of the CRPD. As a result of these trainings, these self-advocates have been able to negotiate for better working conditions at their work places. A case in point is Wafula Ian who was not paid promptly like other employees at his work place because he has Down syndrome, however as a result of these trainings together with other members in their advocacy group, they visited the garage where Ian works and advocated for inclusive employment for Ian. We can boldly testify right now that Ian is paid promptly and fully supported by all employees in the garage.
v. National and regional meetings for local executive committee representatives to share experiences and resources.
18 persons with intellectual disabilities and 18 representatives from three different regions i.e. Central, Eastern and Greater Masaka met to share experiences and also learn from one another. People with intellectual disabilities and local committee representatives were educated on advocacy and human rights.