Advocacy Visits by mentors and mentees in the Pilot Phase of the Holding Rights, Leading for Rights Project

The Pilot Phase of the Mentorship Program  for Young Women with Disabilities, under the Holding Rights, Leading for Rights Activities is being implemented in FCT, Kaduna, Gombe, Plateau. Bayelsa, Kwara, Gombe, and Lagos state.

In Abuja, mentees, Emenike Blessing and Juliet Chinyere, with their mentor, Ukachi Cynthia, undertook an advocacy outreach to the Chief Palace, Pigbasama Apo mechanic village, Apo – FCT

The intention was to familiarize with the community heads to promote the inclusion of women with disabilities in the community.

The Community head, the Coordinator of Women with Disabilities in the community, and the Palace secretary were in attendance.

At the end, there was an increased knowledge of women’s movement and the inclusion of women with disabilities.

Women with disabilities resident in the community were identified and encouraged by their Coordinator.

The community head promised to promote the affairs of women with disabilities.

In Bayelsa State, the mentor. Ada Tari and her mentees undertook a sensitization project in their community.

One of the mentees was encouraging the rest of the mentees and other women to get involved in politics and also come out for the upcoming off cycle election in Bayelsa State which will take place in November 2023

Ada Tari Iniruo and one of her mentees, Watchful Gift, went on an Advocacy Visit to an Assembly Member, Hon. Ebizi N. Brown, at the Assembly quarters, Opolo Epie, Yenagoa – Bayelsa State.

The purpose of the visit was to lobby for the signing of the Disability bill in Bayelsa State. Another purpose was to gain knowledge on the involvement of women in politics.

The mentee learned about being a woman in politics. She was encouraged to not allow her disability come in the way as she can also go into politics.

The mentor and mentee left the office with so much enthusiasm.

Also, the mentee learned about some of the challenges women face which include being sidelined by their male counterparts. A lot of times, bills brought up by women are most times not domesticated and resources is always an issue.

On another occasion, one of the mentors from the Federal Capital Territory, Yakubu Bilikisu and her mentee, Rashidat Tauheed Isah, went on an Advocacy Visit to the Ministry of health.
The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen partnership and collaboration.
A representative from the Ministry, a Director, was impressed about the way women with disabilities coordinate themselves and the presentation made by the mentor and mentee was also applauded.
At the end of visit, the mentor and mentee’s understood that ‘there is unity in togetherness and there is power in our voice’
Kano State Mentor, Hussaina Lami Umar, and her mentees, Bilkisu Ibrahim Ishaq, Badiyya Muhammad Ibrahim, and Rukayya Yahaya Haruna, went on an Advocacy and Sensitization Visit to Alhaji Umar Haruna Doguwa, the Honorable Commissioner of Education, Kano State,
The purpose of the visit was to discuss with stakeholders on ways to enhance access to Inclusive Education for Persons with Disabilities in Kano state.
This is imperative as it helps the government and other key stakeholders to understand their role as stated in the Kano State Disability law and the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.
It is important to note that Kano state former governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, had signed the Kano state Persons with Disabilities amendment bill 2022 into law.
Another reason for the visit was to evaluate how accessible the school buildings, infrastructure, and facilities are for People with disabilities.
The Commissioner disclosed that the State Government will explore the possibility of establishing Inclusive schools across the State. 
The Commissioner promised that the state government will not relent in partnering with NGOs to improve the welfare of People with Disabilities and further urged development partners to key into the administration policies and programs to ensure sustainable results.
The Commissioner assured that the state government would also collaborate with development partners to address the critical education needs of the state, especially in Teachers Professional Development, Girl Child Education, Education for Vulnerable Children, and Access to Digital Education.
He also mentioned that the Kano State Government has offered overseas scholarship to some Persons with Disabilities in the state.

On another occasion, one mentor from the FCT,  Bilkisu Yakubu and her mentee, Nwafor Cynthia Toochi, went on an advocacy Visit to NAPTIP Headquarters
The objectives of this visit were the following:
– Commend the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) on having a Disability Inclusive policy in their organization, 
– To seek partnership with organizations representing Persons with Disabilities, 
–  To inquire about the availability of any data on Persons with Disabilities involved in trafficking. 
– To review relevant laws, such as the Violence Against Person Prohibition Act VAPP), 
– To explore avenues for improved access to justice for survivors of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) especially women with disabilities. 
– Discuss measures to make their office environment more accessible to all Persons with Disabilities, and 
– Explore ways to enhance information dissemination about NAPTIP, specifically targeting women and girls with disabilities in rural areas.
The primary lesson learned from the visit to NAPTIP was the importance of accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities as the inaccessibility of their office building, highlighted the barriers that Persons with Disabilities encounter in accessing services and participating fully in society.


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