The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, conducted a training course on disability mainstreaming, coordination, financing and implementation for senior government officials of the Africa Union member states and focal persons from the African Union Commission (AUC). Senior government officials from Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Somalia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and Zimbabwe attended the one-week training which took place from 18-22 September 2017 at Capital Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The AUC Department of Social Affairs (DSA) initiated the training in 2015 in recognition of the fact that despite the adoption of the African Union Disability Architecture (AUDA) at the regional level, in the preponderant of African jurisdictions conspicuous gaps in the formulation, domestication and implementation of disability rights remain. Mr Lefhoko Kesamang, Senior Welfare Officer in DSA stated in his presentation on AUDA during the training, that these gaps which have hindered the realisation of disability rights on the continent are in part a result of a lack of capacity in disability mainstreaming, coordination, financing, implementation and monitoring by senior government officials responsible for disability portfolio’s.

Speaking at the commencement of the training Dr Benjamin Djoudalbaye, acting Director of DSA of the AUC said that the AUC was acutely aware of the fact that there is still a lack of reliable data in most AU member states which hampers the efforts to document the relationship between poverty, social exclusion, inadequate service delivery and disability. This has resulted in the disability dimension not adequately been taken into account in general social development and poverty reduction strategies in many of the AU member states.

The topics covered during the training included disability as a global development and human rights issue; the protection of disability rights under the African regional system; strategies for policy reform and disability financing; disability mainstreaming and disability monitoring and evaluation. The training team comprised of a rich mix of regional and international disability rights experts including Dr Daniel Mont (Centre for Inclusive Policies), Mr AK Dube (Africa Disability Alliance), Professor Marcia Rioux (York University), Ms Innocentia Mgijima-Konopi (Centre for Human Rights), Professor Serges Kamga (University of South Africa), Ms Xoliswa Ndamase (Department of Statistics, South Africa) and Mr Thomas Ongolo (AUC).

The training was made possible by the financial support of Department for Africa and the Middle East of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Mr Samson Terefe reaffirmed GIZ’s commitment to support the AUC DSA in its endeavours to create an inclusive African continent where the rights of children, men and women with disabilities are realized.

Participants were awarded certificates at the end of the training by Mrs Barbara Schaefer, Counsellor, Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany and Mr Juuka Pajarinen, Counsellor, Embassy of Finland who urged participants to use knowledge, tools and strategies gained to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities on the continent.line

For more information on future AU Disability Mainstreaming trainings contact 

Thomas Ongolo
Disability Expert-Advisor
Department for Social Affairs
African Union Commission
Cell: +251-930-589736




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