By: Happy Arnold Soko
Disability Fund Organization (DFO) has called on disability organizations, people living with disability and activists to collaborate with government in tabling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that create an inclusive opportunity for disabled people.
Speaking in an interview with The Malawi Star, DFO Program Director, Lisa Adams said through the implementation of SDG’s, Malawi will benefit from the development funding, donor agencies, multilateral and international agencies.
She urged the government to table development plans in line with agenda 2030 for the implementation of SDG’s inclusive of disabled people.
“Disability organization and activists need to be on a table when the government is deciding these development plans to make sure that persons with disabilities are part of the process. In everything, disability should be mentioned so that it’s part of the programming and it has to be monitored.
If people with disabilities are not present, I don’t think it will happen. Disability is explicitly referenced throughout SDG’s which is deferent from Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) which does not mention it. There is more opportunity to push government,” she explained.
According to Adams, the government is supposed to have the focal point for the implementation of SDG’s. She further suggested for a co-ordinated effort from civil society organizations to form the mechanization for achieving the SDG’s.
She added, “It’s an opportunity for the government to advocate for funding to develop strong plans and implement them for achieving SDG’s. The government has to have the focal point for the implementation and civil society needs to have a voice so that disability organizations can come in.
In his remarks, Federation of Disability Organizations of (FEDOMA) Action Amos hinted that disability organizations are well and equipped to engage government and development partners so that they are not left behind.
Amos was optimistic that with the 17 references and 7 indicators targeting persons with disabilities, the organization will lobby for equal development opportunities.
“We had MDG’s which were not taking on board issues of persons with disabilities. Disabled people were not fully included in the national development. We would want to take advantage of SDG’s so that all the goals mentioning specifically persons with disabilities and making references that all people be included, which means all people with disabilities are included.
Currently, we don’t have a clear roadmap of engaging people with disabilities so that means it’s like a voluntary kind of approach to engage people with disabilities,” cited Amos.
Meanwhile, more than one billion people in the world, one in seven have a disability. 80% of people with disability live in developing countries and there make up 20% of the poor, living on less than $1 a day.