The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) will be implementing a project on “Influencing Policy for Social, Political, and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Mozambique” over the next two years and has partnered with the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights and ADEMO (an organisation representing persons with disabilities in Mozambique) in the implementation of this project. As an initial step in the implementation of this project, a stakeholder engagement and project work plan validation workshop was held in Maputo from the 27th to the 28th of September 2018. Various stakeholders including government ministries, organisations of persons with disabilities, media, and the private sector were present at the meeting and gave an input into the project. The workshop received a lot of media coverage with several newspapers in Mozambique covering the workshop.
The goal of inclusion of persons with disabilities in various spheres of life is essential for their enjoyment of all fundamental freedoms and human rights. Persons with disabilities are usually excluded due to several barriers including attitudinal barriers, environmental barriers, legal barriers and institutional barriers. Yet, they are capable of participating effectively with the right support. As one of the participants so aptly put it, “give us opportunities so that we can show what we are capable of.” The project will address the goal of inclusion by focusing first on the right to public and political participation for persons with disabilities which is enshrined in article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is envisaged that if persons with disabilities can participate effectively in the public and political life in their country then they can influence policies and laws which can pave the way for greater inclusion in different spheres of life including economic, social and political spheres. Greater inclusion means greater enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities. This project will make an important contribution to the achievement of this greater goal.