D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN A STEP-DOWN TRAINING ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (GVB) DATA ENTRY.

The event was held at the Ministry of Women Affairs. This training focused on how to mitigate the incidences of gender-based violence (GBV) by proper data entry into the Federal database the participants practically entered data on the national gender-based violence incident forms. This document has sections that included the organization’s information method or channel of contracting the organization’s survivor/victim’s information and vulnerability level case description of the alleged perpetrator’s information and final outcome.

The online practical data entry highlighted the setting up contacts submission profiling by the GBV center and reporting. The training enabled trainers to explore various components of the national report database and its entry method and modalities. D-Ability Initiative has commenced the setting up of the GVB data entry platform for adequate report entry. One of the lead presenters was the President of D-Ability Initiative Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu. The Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs is the civil service Department of Rivers State charged with advising the government on policies and programmes involving women and gender equality. 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN EUROPEAN UNION’S “CROSS-REGIONAL REFLECTION FOR ACT-CSOS

CSO Executives in Group Photograph

CSO Executives in Group Photograph

D-Ability Initiative AND other selected European Union (EU) partner organizations in Rivers and Plateau States participated in a “Cross-Regional Reflection for ACT-CSOS” organized by European Union (EU) under the Agents for Citizens-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme in Lagos, May 16-17, 2022. The two days event which held at the Lagos Continental Hotel. The purpose of the Cross-State regional reflection was apt to the ACT programme as it offered partnership opportunities for partners to cross-reflect on ideas, capacity development areas, ways of translating same to institutional capacity building for sectorial transformation, effective project implementation, and impactful humanitarian service delivery that promotes Civic Action and Sustainable Communities.

ED, D-Ability Initiative and other CSO Executives

ED, D-Ability Initiative and other CSO Executives

Some of the guiding questions were:

What was different?

How will you sustain it?

What should we improve on?

There were Cross-state learning and presentations from two groups on different topics including Citizen Engagement, Government engagement, Regulatory environment, Gender, and social inclusion as well as Media engagement and partnership. Group one was Plateau State and group two was Rivers State.Dr. Kingdom U. Nwanyanwu, the Founder and President, D-Ability Initiative gave a presentation for Rivers State. The programme featured a comedy and colorful cultural dinner night between Rivers and Plateau States. Participating CSOs from Rivers State include Talklove Africa, Harmony Centre, Advocacy Center, Kabetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, VEANI, SISDEV, Centre for Creative Development Strategies, EIFEY, LOCE, RINNGOS, and CENGOS.

CSO Executives in their Traditional Attires

CSO Executives in their Traditional Attires

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN EUROPEAN UNION-FUNDED REGULATORY COMPLIANCE TRAINING

The issue of poor compliance of Civil Society organisations  (CSOs) to existing civil society regulations can be attributed to so many factors including CSOs lack of the requisite knowledge and information about these regulations and how to go about such compliance. This assertion was reinforced by the outcome of the survey conducted by  European Union (EU-ACT) programme in March 2021 to establish the current levels of compliance with legal frameworks amongst its supported CSOs/Networks/CBOs in the FCT (Abuja), Lagos, Sokoto, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Adamawa, Enugu, Plateau and Borno States.  On this note, the ACT organised trainings for its partner CSOs/Networks/CBOs across the aforementioned 10 focal states to improve CSOs’ awareness of the important regulations (CAMA, Taxation, Anti-Terrorism and Money Laundering, and Pension) and how they affect their operation; capacitate them on how to become effective in their compliance obligation to these regulations; as well as improve their compliance to them.

The hybrid training was held for two days in each of the Programme’s focal states with participants comprising two representatives per organisation for in-person attendance, and one representative for virtual attendance.  Working in partnership with relevant regulatory agencies, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenues Service (FIRS), Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) and Pension Commission (PenCom), the training enabled EU-ACT CSO partners to gain in-depth knowledge of the requirement of the laws/regulations as well as receive continuous guidance on how to meet these requirements effectively and efficiently. Representatives of these regulatory agencies would participate (in-person) in the training to provide technical inputs as well as address any compliance issues participant organisations might have.

We are grateful to European Union, British Council, and the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT). The CSO Regulations and Compliance Training offered us a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with the specialists and officials of key government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs)s that are responsible for the management and administration CSO Regulatory framework.

D-Ability Initiative now has a better understanding of how to file our tax returns, how and to whom we are required to remit our Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and withholding taxes. We also have better knowledge of our limitations and boundaries as regards the extent to which we can operate in the context of the objects of our registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). It was also delightful to know that there is a platform that can enable us to file our Annual Returns with the CAC. We also have a better understanding of how to cooperate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in promoting financial propriety.

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE BUILDS THE SKILLS OF DEAF WOMEN IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY

President of D-Ability Initiative and some of the beneficiaries

 

Project Title: Improving Livelihood Outcomes for Deaf women and girls in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area (OBALGA) of Rivers State, Nigeria.

Project  Duration: 9 months (February- October 2022)

Funded by the European Union, through the British Council’s Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) Programme.

The Goal: to Improve financial independence for Deaf women and girls in Rivers State, Nigeria.

Deaf women and girls in OBALGA live in extreme poverty. These women and girls find it challenging to earn a living. Those living with partners or children cannot contribute financially to the sustenance of their household. The poverty cycle has continued within the Deaf community.

D-Ability Initiative’s President Sensitising the Deaf Women and Girls during the Flag-off Ceremony

Disability brings additional undesirable consequences in Nigeria. So far, it is sad to note that there are few policies and programmes geared toward enabling Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to gain employment. Since most of them are not educated, living with disability, without skills, in the face of unprecedented unemployment and COVID-19 is critical.

Our Organisation’s mission is to support, empower, and build the capacity of the Deaf and Hard of hearing persons so that they can compete favourably with the hearing persons and have meaningful lives. Empowering them will make a difference.

D-Ability Project Flag-off session in progress

D-Ability Initiative’s President Sensitising the Deaf Women and Girls during the Flag-off Ceremony

This project addresses the issues of gender and social inclusion. Traditionally and culturally, women are less preferred. Persons with hearing disabilities (Deafness) are the most ignored and ridiculed. Therefore, this project focuses on enabling Deaf women and girls to gain financial independence and compete with the male, and other women and girls without disabilities. It will reduce the inequality rate.

The European Union and the British Council through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) Programme are poised to contribute to more inclusive, effective, accountable, and gender-responsive development in Nigeria. They are also strengthening the system of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), to improve their internal, external, and programmatic capabilities. We are deeply grateful that our Organisation is promoting inclusion, gender equity, and responsiveness.

The President of D-Ability Initiative, Dr. K. U. Nwanyanwu stressed the need for the beneficiaries to take the skill-building programme very seriously, noting that the European Union, and the British Council, through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) have shown interest in their welfare by funding their capacity-building programme. They also need to prove their worthiness of such an investment. 

D-Ability Initiative’s President Sensitising the Deaf Women and Girls during the Flag-off Ceremony

 

Thank you European Union, British Council, and the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT). You made it happen!

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE ENGAGES WITH PARENTS AND PARTNERS OF DEAF WOMEN AND GIRLS ON SKILL AND PEACE-BUILDING.

D-Ability Initiative, with funds from the European Union, held a sensitization workshop to engage parents and partners of Deaf women and girls on the need for peaceful coexistence and support for the skill-building programme for Deaf women and girls. This event took place on the 8th of April 2022, at Emerald Hotels conference hall in Port Harcourt.

The Objectives of the meeting were: 

  1.   To help parents and partners of Deaf women and girls understand the plight of deaf women and girls and the burden unemployment poses on them.
  2.   To learn the importance of peaceful co-existence between them, Deaf women and girls, and other family members.
  3.   To inform them of our intention to empower their Deaf women and girls through skill building and earning capacity in the tailoring / fashion industry.
  4.   To itemize and share ideas on anticipated challenges that the training program might face, and to chart a way forward.
  5. To seek their collective buy-in into this life-changing opportunity for Deaf women and girls.

The President of D-Ability Initiative explained that there is a general challenge of unemployment and that parents and partners of Deaf women and girls needed to understand their plight and the burden unemployment poses. The President of D-Ability Initiative, Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu stressed the need for parents to live in peace with their Deaf women and girls in their various homes. He informed them that D-Ability Initiative is embarking on a European Union-funded project through the British Council’s Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) Programme, aimed at improving the livelihood outcome for Deaf women and Girls in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State Nigeria.

After an insightful engagement with parents and partners of beneficiaries, he proceeded to ask them how they usually communicate with their children and partners at home since they are not conversant with sign language. Mr. Salaudeen one of the parents of a beneficiary said he usually communicated based on the little understanding he had with his daughter at home, and that anything he finds difficult to communicate, he has to ask another of his child who has a better understanding to help him.  Mr. Daniel a partner to one of the beneficiaries asked if the beneficiaries would be empowered with equipment after the training program. Dr. Nwanyanwu responded that the scope of the training for this first phase is for trainees to receive skills and knowledge and that in another phase there would be a hub where trainees would be able to practice and work while earning income and remain within that community for support. Finally, Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu pleaded with parents and partners of Deaf women and girls to support the project by encouraging their wards to take advantage of the life-changing opportunity. 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTNERS CENTRE FOR CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES TO ADVOCATE FOR MENSTRUAL JUSTICE (MARK WORLD MENSTRUAL HYGIENE DAY 2022)

Menstrual Hygiene Day

The World Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed globally every 28th of May because the average interval of a menstrual cycle is 28 days and the cycle continues for about five days a month. Since May is the 5th month of the year, it was chosen.

Dehat Ability Support Initiative (D-Ability Initiative) partnered with the Centre for Creative Development Strategies to observe the World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022, and to launch the Sustainable menstrual hygiene project. D-Ability Initiative ensured that women with Disabilities were invited, cared for, and made to participate actively in this event. The event received goodwill messages from different organizations, including D-Ability Initiative, represented by a team of Deaf and Hard of Hearing women, an interpreter, and the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. The President, Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu, D-Ability Initiative, and other partner organizations carried out a campaign promoting the importance of menstrual justice.

Group Photo

The Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Officer thanked the audience for identifying with women and to show support for women regarding their menstrual hygiene. He emphasized that D-Ability Initiative is at the forefront of supporting girls and women who have challenges that may hinder their ability to take advantage of different opportunities. He sighted that the Organization is currently undertaking a project that is aimed at improving the livelihood outcomes of Deaf women and Girls in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State by building their skills and earning capacity in the fashion industry.

He noted that some of the trainees are participating in the menstrual hygiene day with support from a sign language interpreter who is interpreting the activities of the event to them. One of the Deaf women (Mrs. Marvis Alam Igiri) shared her experience with participants at the event on the challenges she faced when she started seeing her menstruation at the age of 14, but that she is poised to educate her children and other Deaf girls about menstrual hygiene from the lessons she has learned.

Other stakeholder called on Government and international partners to ensure that just as condom is being given free to men/boys, sanitary pads should be given to girls & women for free. The representative from the Ministry of Women Affairs emphasized the need for government at all levels to ensure that they always provide free sanitary pads at schools and public centers. A panel of discussants talked about the role of stakeholders in promoting menstrual hygiene. They urged Educational institutions to be at the forefront of educating the girl child on the need to maintain menstrual hygiene, and to ensure that stigma from the male students is mitigated.

 

D-Ability Initiative Participates in the Celebration of European Union-Funded International Women’s Day 2022.

International Women's Day 2022

International Women’s Day 2022

D-Ability Initiative, which represented Rivers State CSOs, participated in the celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. The celebration was tagged “Break the Bias.” Breaking the Bias, addressing disparities in access to justice for women with disabilities, the event featured a press briefing, the procession (dance) by 7 disability clusters (the Blind, the Deaf, Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), Albinos, Amputees, Autism etc). Participants included Damilare Babalola, National program manager, Agent for Citizen Driven transformation (ACT); Dr. Ukiwo Ukoho National Programme Manager, Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN); Nike Akinbola, Head, Women and Gender Unit, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, representing the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Samuel Isopi, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, among others.

International Women's Day 2022

International Women’s Day 2022

The event featured two-panel discussions with six panelists. the first-panel discussion focused on the realities of accessing justice and key services. The point highlighted the challenges faced by women with disabilities. All participants were motivated to keep the welfare of women with disabilities in the fore D-Ability Initiative renewed her resolve to advocate for women with disabilities. This event was funded by the European Union, and implemented by the British Council, through the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC), Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN), and Agent for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme respectively.

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN EUROPEAN UNION GRANT MANAGEMENT INDUCTION PROGRAMME

 

A Cross-Section of participants from Rivers State, Adamawa State, and EU-ACT Staff

As part of the onboarding process for the grant awarded to D-Ability Initiative and other selected organisations, the European Union, through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation –(ACT) Programme organised a capacity development/induction session for all its phase 2 grantees. The objective of this session was to enhance CSO grantee’s better understanding of the ACT grant management process and the requirement/expectation from CSO partners for effective implementation of the grant projects. The session also provided other relevant information including an understanding of the monitoring implication, communication and visibility requirement, and understanding the need to mainstream gender and social inclusion in project implementation. The session was held for two days (February 16-17. 2022) in Abuja with in-person attendance.

A Cross-Section of participants from Rivers State, Adamawa State, and EU-ACT Staff

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE JOINS IN FINAL VALIDATION OF ADOLESCENT YOUTH AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT (AYPHD) IMPLEMENTATION PLAN, RIVERS STATE

A Cross Section of Participants

Objectives of the Programme

1. To provide a progress update on the AYPHD implementation plan.

2. To validate the State implementation Plan for AYPHD

3. To validate the draft of the AYPHD Implementation Plan and

4. To revise the National Policy on The Health and Development of

Adolescents and Young people in Nigeria (2021 – 2022).

Rivers State Policy Domestication Process: The Rivers State Ministry of Health (RMOH) in collaboration with various MDAs and partners, commenced the process and adaptation in September 2021.

Advocacy and Stakeholder’s Engagements. Advocacy Courtesy Visit. Situational Analysis of Adolescent Health and Development.

The Review Process:

A four (4) day UNICEF funded meeting was conducted on the 19th – 22nd of October 2021.

Development of the Draft Rivers State Implementation Plan (Informal Reviews via Skype).

Where We Are?

Presentation by Dr. Adebayo Emmanuel

Situation Analysis of Adolescents and Young people’s Health and Development in Rivers State.

Session ongoing

Session ongoing

Overall, one thing that was very prominent, was the “lack of dissemination of information”, because of indiscriminate documentation.

For the first time in Nigeria, we are beginning to include Adolescent indicators.

Adolescents are properly captured, going forward. We should know that 50% of the population are Adolescents ranging from the age of 10 – 24 years. Increase in non-communicable diseases because children are involved in lesser physical activities. Sexual activity, contraception, unintended pregnancy, and abortion among young people. Early marriage and childbearing, co-habiting is on the increase. AYP HIV Cascade (Number of people living with HIV).

FLHE is the most effective approach in Nigeria now, but implementation has been slow. FLHE has trained teachers/students alike.

Substance Use is very high in Rivers State. It has led to a high increase in admission in clinics (psychological clinics). Accidents and Homicide; high rate of mortality for young boys. Communicable diseases account for 41% – 43% of causes of death in Rivers State.

School Healthcare System Response; if a school health system works very well (youth-friendly facilities/services); young people will become healthy and healthier. Rivers State has a document that strictly addresses Adolescents (Rivers State Strategic Health Development Plan). There is more to Adolescents than Sexual Reproductive Issues.

Some Components of the Implementation Plan:

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Mental Health, Substance Use, and Addiction

Violence and Injury.

Nutrition and Physical Activity

Non-Communicable Diseases and Disability

Communicable Diseases

Oral Health

How the Implementation Plan is developed?

The vision of the policy, Mission of the policy, Key Implementation Strategies, and Advocacy are key in everything.

Implementation Programmatic/Thematic Areas and Key intervention Activities:

• Policy and legal framework for adolescent health in Rivers State

• Service delivery for AYP in Rivers State

• Basic infrastructure for the health of AYP in Rivers State

• Human resources for the health of AYP in Rivers State

• Family and community systems

• Sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people

• Mental Health and Substance abuse

• Nutrition and Physical activity

• Oral health

• Violence and injury

• Mortality and morbidity among adolescents and young people

• Non-communicable diseases and disability

Communicable diseases.

Note: Have State-Level Data, it helps.

Most of the HIV/AIDS Programmes, focus more on normal Adolescents, excluding Adolescents with Special needs.

Breakout Sessions (In Groups):

The groups analyzed the thematic areas of the interventions and made inputs where necessary.

Dr. Adebayo Emmanuel added, “just because something is a good idea, does not mean, it’s sustainable”. Come new Government, comes new policies. Government can’t do everything, hence, the need for partners.

In closing and to do a formal adoption of the validated document; Dr. (Mrs) Smith, thanked everyone present, partners, and CHAI for helping us fill this gap. By 2021 we came together to carve out a roadmap and niche for our Adolescents. There were facilities, vision, and structure for that phase. We are on a cause of defining the personalities of our Adolescents. On behalf, of the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Health, and other Ministries, we adopt the validation of this document. Congratulations!!!

EUROPEAN UNION TRAINS D-ABILITY INITIATIVE ON HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

European Union and British Council through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme trains D-Ability Initiative on human resources management alongside other CSOs partners in Rivers State. The three days training program held at Novotel Hotel, Port-Harcourt was part of the capacity strengthening programme for selected organizations in Rivers State. The intensive training was facilitated by Mrs. Folake Okonubi who took the participants through several modules as designed for the training. It was interesting, impactful, and all-inclusive as she never shifted focus on Human Resources with the introduction of each module demonstrating expertise in the field.

She started with the human resources strategy definition taking a special look at both literal and contextual meaning and expanded to learning and development, performance management, conflict management, gender, and social inclusion amongst others. D-Ability Initiative joined other EU partners CSOs in group works and presentation of group projects. This training had in attendance Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu, the President of D-Ability Initiative, Christian Paul, and nineteen (19) other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) participated in the training in Port-Harcourt.

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN ADOLESCENTS YOUNG PERSONS (AYP) TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP (TWG) AND FAMILY LIFE HEALTH EDUCATION (FLHE) DISSEMINATION WORKSHOP

The Technical Working Group and FLHE Teachers

This programme took place on December 2, 2021. The main purpose of this workshop was to share update(s) of the final copy of the harmonized action plan, to plan for the 2022 International Adolescent Health Week, and to disseminate Family Life Health Education’s (FLHE) findings from some implementations.

The workshop was moderated by Mrs. Mbreba Wokoma, the Desk Officer, Adolescents, and Young Persons Health, Rivers State Ministry of Health.

Some issues that Adolescents face were identified, among which were: 1) Teenage Pregnancy and Abortion. 2) Rise in Cultism 3) Prevalent Drug Abuse among Adolescents. So, how do we mitigate and solve this issue, apart from identifying the challenges? There are implementing partners to ensure these objectives are achieved through the stipulated strategies. One of the strategies agreed on to tackle this menace was parental engagement

We need to have “Parental Engagement” alongside traditional rulers. They can talk to the consciences of their children. And then, work-out strategies to talk to those involved in Cultism (the cultists themselves), so that they don’t attack back. First, we need God and then, we need Parents to be bold. We will help the cult leaders understand what they stand to gain on the other side of life. When they have been convinced, they can help us to sensitize their followers. We need to use the Media (Radio) through regular jingles to sensitize the public. Also, Church/Religious Leaders, we need to talk to them as well. In approaching Cult Leaders, we should address them as “Social Organization Leaders or Youth Leaders”, let’s be subtle in our approach. Most Cult Leaders are violent and arrogant in nature.

Next on the Agenda is “2022 International Adolescent Health Week”; this will happen on the 3rd week of March, 20th – 26th, 2022. Youth Ambassadors will be recruited and the theme is “Transition: Laying Foundation for Adolescent Development”. Plan for screening (HIV/AIDS screening/Mental Health Check) for Adolescents in school and out of school. Carry out activities to create awareness.

The Challenge

It was clear that one of the factors militating against the success of this programme is inadequate facilities. We don’t have enough facilities at the Primary Health Centres, unfortunately, most. Adolescents need confidentiality, they need respect and privacy and with these, you can get any information from them. 23 LGA’s in the State, have two (2) to three (3) Focal Persons and they visit schools, but the linkage facilities are still an issue and it’s challenging. Some of the issues, include; STIs, Post-Abortion issues, etc. In the State, we have over 4000 (plus) Secondary Schools and how many Teachers are taught the FLHE Programme/training. The Primary Health Board is ensuring that facilities in the Health Centres are Adolescent friendly.

Several issues were raised. The FLHE Programme and the needs for Facilities. We will start small, but we will get there. D-Ability Initiative was represented by Dr. Kingdom U. Nwanyanwu.

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE MARKS INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (IDPD) 2021

After a Live Interview on Television

December 3rd each year is set aside to remember, celebrate and commemorate persons with disabilities the world over. D-Ability initiative, in partnership with Voices of The Vulnerable, marked the IDPD 2021 by engaging in media advocacy and granting interviews on Atlantic Television Network (ATN).

Part of the interview centered on the progress or otherwise recorded as regards the implementation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

It is obvious that while the Nigerian Government did well by enacting such a laudable law, the implementation leaves much to be desired.

However, we will keep up the advocacy, hoping that someday we will get it right.

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE SUPPORTS THE REVIEW AND DOMESTICATION OF THE NATIONAL ADOLESCENTS HEALTH POLICY DOCUMENT IN RIVERS STATE

AFTER THE REVIEW AND DOMESTICATION SESSION

AFTER THE REVIEW AND DOMESTICATION SESSION

In the process of Policy Development, we cannot develop policies without consultation and people who design programmes for Adolescents are key. Adolescence is a critical stage- a transformational stage where a Child begins to take decisions. It is pertinent to have a document and invest in our Adolescents for them to have direction. Citizens of Nigeria, Adolescents occupy 1/3 (one-third) of the Nigerian population. The essence of the Policy Development gives us a priority needs/investment in Adolescents. The National Policy was developed in 1995, 2007 – 2010 – 2019. Target Population: In 2007 National Policy. Age 10-24 years determine a young person according to the United Nations, while age 10 – 29 years determines a young person (local content-Nigerian perspectives).

• Major Stages of Policy Development:

Situation Analysis.

National Stakeholders Policy Workshop.

Engagement of an experienced National Consultant and Production of an Initial Draft of the Policy Document.

Stakeholder’s review of the Initial Draft of the Policy and Revision of the Initial Draft.

Finalization and National Adoption of the Draft Policy Document.

Final Approval Processes.

• The Policy process started in 2019 and because of the covid-19 in 2020, it was not adopted but has been adopted in 2021 at a Conference in Abuja. Adolescents are diverse, based on differences in sex, age, wealth, education, ethnicity, etc. Tomorrow’s Agenda will be to discuss “The Situation Analysis” and Attendees will be divided into groups for focused discussion.

• Issues identified by Attendees/participants include:

Teenage Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion

Drug and Substance Abuse

Cultism and Violence among Adolescents and young people.

Establishment of Adolescent Friendly Centres and people that should manage the facilities are Psychological Clinical Person and Social Workers.

During the Consultative Global Health Conference, GBV, Inequality, and Empowerment issues were addressed.

Policy declaration and guiding principles: strategic targets; roles of stakeholders in the Adoption and Implementation process

Young people as a vital resource for a sustainable future and national development.

Right Based Approach.

Diversity of Adolescents and young people’s needs and situation.

Gender equity and responsiveness

Cultural sensitivity

Participatory and Consultative Integration of Services.

Life-Course Approach

Evidence-Based and Innovation Driven.

Quality-Focused and result oriented.

Policy Declaration: The Government (FGN);

Investment in the health and development of Adolescents and other young people shall be prioritized in the National Agenda.

This Policy shall be complementary to other National Policy Documents.

Young people, themselves have the right and duty to lead as well as to participate individually and collectively referred in the planning implementation, and evaluation of health and development programmes for young people.

All Stakeholders and development partners, including Government and its Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, and the Private Sector as well as international development and Organizations.

THE REVIEW AND DOMESTICATION SESSION

THE REVIEW AND DOMESTICATION SESSION

An enabling environment will be created and relevant implementation frameworks, including a Strategic framework, an action plan, and costed monitoring.

Vision: A Healthy Life and Optimal Development for all Adolescents and Young people in Nigeria and Successful transition towards a healthy, active, productive, successful, and fulfilled Adulthood.

Strategic Objectives:

Reduce morbidity, disability, and preventable mortality rates.

Strengthen the capacity of the health systems and their linkage with the health sector.

Roles of Stakeholders in the Adoption and Implementation of the Policy:

For Media: Role of Stakeholders-involves informing, and educating the Adolescents on the policy. Example: Sex Education, etc via Radio and other channels.

Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning to ensure a budget line/allocation for the Adolescents programmes flies.

Ensure Teachers give correct information for Adolescent care- (Education Sector).

Ensure we have a workable Policy that is implementable and ensures the Adolescents in Rural areas will also have access to these.

Religious Leaders should be engaged; a lot of Adolescents are influenced through Spiritual growth; The Churches/Mosques matters.

Faith-Based Organizations help Adolescents meet their needs.

To design informed programmes for Adolescents.,

Start designing Employability Skills for Young People to take them out of Poverty.

D-Ability Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu gave a presentation on behalf of group 3.

Organizers: Rivers State Ministry of Health and Partners.

Participants:

D-Ability Initiative (Dehat Ability Support Initiative)

RSMOH-Rivers State Ministry of Health

MYD-Ministry of Youth Development

MSWR-Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation,

Civic Society Organization (CSOs)

Community-Based Organisation (CBOs)

RIVSACA-Rivers State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDs

RIV-CISHAN-Civil Society on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

IHVN-Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria

NOA- National Orientation Agency

FIDA- International Federation of Women Lawyers

NPF- Nigeria Police Force (Police Medicals)

UPTH- University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital

RSUTH-Rivers State University Teaching Hospital

Rivers media for health and Family Planning

RIV-NYNETHA-Youth Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter

RSPHCMB-River State Primary Health Care Management Board.

Rivers State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning.

Nigerian Police Force (Medicals) NPF.

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN STRENGTHENING AND LAUNCHING OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS’ LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVIEW MECHANISM.

Local Government Review

Local Government Review

This 2 day programme was held at Adgate Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State on October 18-19,2021.

This project was funded by United Nations Democracy fund (UNDEF) and implemented by Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE). D-Ability Initiative, along with some selected Civil Society Organization (CSOs) participated in the project. The goal of the project was to strengthen the capacity of CSOs to serve as trainers to local citizens on civic education for the promotion of democracy and good governance in Rivers and Akwa/Ibom States.

This would translate to an increase in the citizens participation in democracy and ensuring good governance in the target state.

The specific objectives were.

(I) To awake the CSOs community -based organization (CBOs), Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs), and others to demand accountability and from the operators of the system.

(II) To raise critical mass of citizens at the Local government level who would be constantly demanding accountability from duty-bearers at the local government level.

(III) To keep the duty -bearers alert to the fact that they are being watched hence should behave in line with democratic tenets among other.

(IV) This project was key because local people have superior capacity to conduct their affairs better than anyone else service delivery would be efficient when conducted through the local government system that are hearer to the people.

Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu, President, D-Ability gave a presentation o behalf of group 3. The gap analysis exposed considerable lapses in the nature operations, and processes in the local government in Nigeria.

EUROPEAN UNION BUILDS D-ABILITY INITIATIVE’S CAPACITY ON SOCIAL RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

Stakeholders and CSOs in Group Photograph

From 12th to 15th October 2021, selected EU-ACT CSOs were trained on the rudiments of social research and how it can be used to drive development. CSOs, including D-Ability Initiative, needed this training as data gathering, analysis and documentation are a key part of our development work. This was the EU and British Council’s series of capacity-building programmes that D-Ability Initiative participated in.

Some of the key takeaways were:

• Research helps CSOs to gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insight into it.

• It portrays accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation, or group.

• Research helps CSOs to determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else.

• We also learned how to construct research tools such as questionnaires. The D-Ability Initiative was ably represented and gave a presentation.

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH WORKSHOP ON THE IMPLEMENTATION PHASE OF THE ADOLESCENT RESPONSIVE HEALTH SYSTEM STRENGTHENING IN RIVERS STATE.

IMPLEMENTATION SESSION IN PROGRESS

IMPLEMENTATION SESSION IN PROGRESS

This project, a five-day programme started with an advocacy visit to the honourable commissioner of health. The Programme was moderated by Mr. Nwankwo Steven (Chief Health Assistant/FGM Focal Person, Gender Branch/GASHE Division, Family Health Department, F.M.O.H). He was very instrumental in ensuring that the event runs smoothly all through the five days.

Welcome, Address by the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Health, ably represented by Dr. Iroro Smith. She said: “We are charting on a cause into making history for the Health of the Adolescent during and after the meeting/capacity training; as we make a quality contribution to the end of the Programme”. Mrs. Mbrema Wokoma (Desk Officer, For the Adolescent (SMOH); shared an action plan on way forward for the Adolescent. Partners present, promise to support as much as they can for the growth and betterment of the Adolescent group. Dr. Anslem Audu (Health Specialist/Officer in charge of UNICEF Port Harcourt, emphasized that they will continue to sponsor the activities of the Technical Working Group for Adolescents.

The objectives included 

To conduct State-level needs assessment, landscape analysis, and prioritization of Adolescent Health problems in Rivers State.

To develop State level of Political support and commitment.

To provide five days of capacity building for health care providers at State and Local government levels for Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!).

To secure the engagement of key Adolescent Health and development Stakeholders on AHD programmes.

The outline for the introduction is as follows:

Who are Adolescents?

What is their relevance in National Development?

What challenges do adolescents face?

How global, regional, and national targets the adolescents.

Introduction:

Adolescents belong to the period of transition from Childhood to Adulthood. This period offers the opportunity for consolidation of the earlier health investment in the childhood years and for laying the critical foundation. Who are Adolescents? 2007 National Policy on the Health and Development of Adolescent and young people adopted by UN definition of “Adolescents”; as individuals between the ages of 10 –19 years. “Youth” as a person aged 15 – 24 years. Looking at the Statistics of the Population of Nigeria; 22% are the Adolescent Population and 78% as the rest of the population. We have 64 million people as young people. Adolescents and young people are a major demographic force as they constitute more than a fifth of the world’s population. Ensuring quality health care services for Adolescents and other young people is also critical to the Universal Health Coverage Agenda.

Efforts at National Level

Policy formulation and Dialogues.

Resource Mobilization

Capacity Building

Monitoring of Adolescents Programmes

Sharing Experience at Global Commitment

Adolescent Health Programmes

Adolescent Technical Working Group (TWG)

Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (M&E).

Expectations from Rivers State Government (RSG):

Provide support at the State level and help secure L.G.A level political support.

Enhance the process of revamping State level Multi-Sectoral Working Group.

Facilitation of Participation of Partners.

Expected Outputs:

SMTWG revamped.

Built competencies of the SMTWG

State priorities were identified and State Level Implementation Plan was Developed.

Necessary Capacity built.

Proposing For Adolescent Friendly Clinic:

We want the Government to understand what Adolescent friendly Clinic is. Also, for people to understand Adolescents.

Development Partners

They assist the Government to achieve results.

Status of AHD Programming in the State and L.G.A’s:

Why a focus on Adolescent Statistics shows that 10-19years constitute 22.1% of the population.

Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA):

It helps countries to plan, implement and evaluate the Adolescents health programmes’ interventions in each country.

D-Ability Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu made four presentations on the landscape analysis of responsive health system strengthening in Rivers State. 

On day 4, Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu presented the recap. and at the end of the presentation, he was applauded. The Group session resumed immediately on Work Plan.

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN THE INAUGURATION OF EUROPEAN UNION AND BRITISH COUNCIL-SUPPORTED PEER LEARNING PLATFORM.

The EU-ACT Peer Learning Platform (PLP) was inaugurated on Wednesday 8th September 2021 at Landmark Hotel, Port Harcourt.  D-Ability Initiative along, with other EU-ACT partners Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Rivers State, participated actively in the launch. Organisation working closely with the EU through its Agent for Citizen-Driven Transformation programme were distributed and represented on the different peer learning platform set up on that day. The groups are in two categories namely Action Learning set (ALS) and benchmarking club (BMC) with two persons from each organization in each group.

The Rivers State Focal Person, Mr. Temple Oraeki described the ALS as when a “Group of people, often peers or at a similar level of responsibility and experience, from same or different organisation, coming together over a fixed period to find practical ways of addressing real challenges they face and to support their own learning and development. While BMC was defined as a “Group of like-minded CSOs (or people) coming together to learn about how to push their boundaries of performance to higher levels through mutual support and peer challenge”.

This arrangement would facilitate cross-learning, experience sharing, and collaborative engagement about how to push their boundaries of performance to higher levels through mutual support and peer challenge. With this launch, all EU-ACT Programme partner-CSOs of the British Council in Rivers State would be meeting from time to time to share ideas on improving one another’s organisations practices on what work, what did work, and how to make it work among the peer. D-Ability Initiative was represented by the Executive Director Dr. K.U Nwanyanwu and Mr. Francis Eghehan, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer.

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVES PARTICIPATES IN EUROPEAN UNION FEEDBACK WORKSHOP IN RIVERS STATE.

Executive Directs with the EU reoresentstThis high-profile feedback workshop was for Executive Directors only. D-Ability Initiative and other selected CSOs together with the officials of the European Union (EU), British Council, and Agents for Citizens-Driving Transformation (ACT) held a feedback session on the EU-ACT series of programmes in Rivers State. The feedback session summarized the months-long organizational capacity development program and heard from participants about the success of programmes so far. It also created an avenue for the Executive Directors to suggest possible ways of making the training better, more productive, interactive, and generally more conducive. This was necessary, as the CSO leaders understand their operational terrain and hence could suggest what would work best.  The EU-ACT team from Abuja joined the Rivers State Focal person, Temple Oraeki in the feedback session. The EU-ACT delegation used the opportunity to announce the commencement of phase two of the program which focuses on strengthening the regulatory framework so that civil society organisations can operate in a friendly regulatory environment while staying compliant with the requirements of concerned regulatory bodies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), State Revenue Services, among others. Dr. Nwanyanwu the Executive Director of D-Ability initiative represented the Organization, along with the Executive Directors of other selected EU partner CSOs.

EUROPEAN UNION AND BRITISH COUNCIL STRENGTHEN D-ABILITY INITIATIVE’S CAPACITY ON MONITORING AND EVALUATION.

Monitoring and Evaluation session

 

D-Ability Initiative participated in a capacity strengthening programme on monitoring and evaluation (M&E). This training held from 13th to 16th July 2021. This training was a part of the capacity strengthening programme for the organization alongside other (CSOs) selected by the British Council and European Union Agents for Citizen-Driving Transformation (EU-ACT) programme. The (M&E) training workshop equipped partner organizations to face the tasks of measuring and quantifying the level of impact their work is having on their communities. This workshop was key and timely as community development efforts have been the landmark of non-governmental organizations. D-Ability Initiative was represented by the President Dr. Kingdom U. Nwanyanwu and Miss Mary Jeremiah Admin and HR Oficer and other representatives from various organizations.

 

EUROPEAN UNION AND BRITISH COUNCIL TRAIN D-ABILITY INITIATIVE ON COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STRATEGY

The D-Ability Initiative, together with other selected EU CSO partners benefited from capacity building programme organized by European Union,  the British Council, and Agents for Citizen Driven Transformation (ACT). D-Ability Initiative and other EU-ACT partners Civil Society Organizations in Port Harcourt participated in Communication and Media Strategy training. The training lasted four consecutive days from June 29th through Friday, July 2nd, 2021, and was held at Landmark Hotel Port-Harcourt.

The main focus of this training was:

To strengthen the capacity of CSOs to confidently use their words, voice, and tone to deliver compelling messages.

To build the capacity of CSOs to understand the development and application of strategic communication and media engagement principles for effective program planning and implementation.

Some of the main points covered include:

  • Communication: definitions, Elements, and types;
  • Understanding the Nigerian media landscape: Print, Radio, Television, and online mass Media;
  • The media tools: Press release, opinion piece, Articles/Feature, press conference;
  • Media relations: how to build successful media partnerships
  • Developing Social media policy and measuring impacts
  • Introduction to social and behavior change communication
  • Communication strategy/plan
  • Communication content development:  success story/case study
  • Journalism and Journalists; what they are:
  • Techniques for media interviews;
  • Handling tough questions, Reporters ‘tricks and traps’
  • Social media space, relevance, and its role in development
  • Creative Brief to develop materials and effective messages.

To help CSOs understand the roles and importance of communication; including identifying appropriate channels and developing evidence-based messages and contents. And to help CSOs monitor and evaluate the contributions of the media

engagements and communication in the overall impact of their programmes. D-Ability Initiative led some group works and presented during plenary sessions.

In Attendance were the President of  D-Ability Initiative Dr. K.U Nwanyanwu and Media Engagement Officer Miss Faith Abeyi.

 

EUROPEAN UNION AND BRITISH COUNCIL BUILD D-ABILITY INITIATIVE’S CAPACITY ON GENDER AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

The capacity of D-Ability Initiative was strengthened from 2nd to 4th June 2021 on the “Gender and Social Inclusion” training programme by the European Union (EU) and the British council through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme series for civil society organizations (CSOs) in Rivers State. Gender and Social Inclusion had these objectives:

  • To strengthen the capacity of CSOs in Gender and Social Inclusion mainstreaming in organizations. Training participants to have a robust discussion and interactive sessions in the facilitator-encouraged interactive training programme. The training programme high level of interactions during training sessions, practice groups work example exercises, and freedom interjections to ask questions contributed to a very high level of assimilation of the course contents and topics which helped to achieve the objectives of the training.
  • To provide a basic understanding of gender and social inclusion in program design.
  • The training of EU-ACT CSOs capacity–building series of programme.
  • Building Gender awareness: gender concept and definition: Social inclusion, as well as gender and social inclusion mainstreaming in organizations, were part of its module. This training made clear the difference between “equality” and “equity.” D-Ability Initiative was ably represented by the Executive Director, Dr. K.U Nwanyanwu, and Miss. Faith Abeyi, the Media Engagement Officer.

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN EUROPEAN UNION’S FUNDRAISING AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION TRAINING

 

European Union and British Council through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme have built the fundraising capacity of D-Ability Initiative and its staff. The training programme which was held in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State took place from 24th to 26th May 2021.

This training programme focused on:  The meaning and basic techniques of Fundraising; What Concept note is all about, how fundraising proposals prepared by CSOs can be structured most effectively; how a Project budget can be prepared by following clear steps and using the EU-ACT template and how to build strong networks amongst participants via collaborative sharing and learning.

This training was aimed at enabling the participant CSOs to be able to sustain the life of their organization even in the face of Low-funding or dwindling financing opportunities. This training ran for three days. Dr. Nwanyanwu Kingdom, the Executive Director, and Ms. Faith Abeyi represented the D-Ability Initiative in this important training.

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE STRENGTHENS ITS CAPACITY THROUGH EUROPEAN UNION’S TRAINING ON PROJECT CYCLE MANAGEMENT

Project Cycle Management

Project Cycle Management

The European Union (EU), through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme has strengthened the capacity of the D-Ability Initiative in project cycle management. This important training programme was held at Visa Karena Hotel in Port Harcourt Rivers State capital.

The programme helped participants to;

Understand what project life cycle management means in the international development context.

Be able to plan, implement, and monitor projects effectively and efficiently.

Understand how to navigate through each of the phases of the project cycle.

Programming includes

Problem identification, appraisal, planning, financing, implementation, and evaluation, among others.

The EU, British Council, and Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation have done so much to strengthen the development capacity of twenty (20) CSOs in Rivers State. This effort is geared towards enabling them to become agents of sustainable transformation.

 

EUROPEAN UNION AND BRITISH COUNCIL BUILD D-ABILITY INITIATIVE’S CAPACITY ON HUMAN RIGHT-BASED ADVOCACY

Action Plan Development

This 3-day workshop focused on Understanding Advocacy Actions planning and adopting a Human Rights-Based Approach.

This training dealt with analysis that should be carried out before and during project planning implementation.

These include, but are not limited to the following.

Situation analysis:

• What facilities are on the ground?

• Problem analysis:

• Is it really a problem?

• Do the right-holders perceive it as such?

• Why does the problem persist?

• Core players analysis:

• Who are the right-holders?

• How do we engage them?

• What method of communication do they appreciate?

Capacity analysis:

• What are our strengths?

• In what areas are we lacking?

• What opportunities do we have to succeed?

• Who can partner with us in our area of weakness?

This capacity-building workshop helped us to adjust the way we viewed the people we are helping. We now adopt a human rights-based approach to advocacy.

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE AND SELECTED CSOs TRAINED ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

The European Union and British Council have trained the D-Ability Initiative on Financial management. This much-needed capacity-building training programme was implemented by the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT).

The training took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital city.

Some of the key points covered include:

Understanding the true cost of programmes to develop an accurately realistic budget

Monitoring the financial status of each programme and that of the organization on an ongoing basis.

The usefulness of developing and using financial manual or finance policy

Fraud and how to mitigate fraud.

Qualities of a good financial report, among others.

The importance of financial manuals, all procedures, and processes ensuring that donors’ money will be used wisely and only for the intended purpose crafted into the document must be followed by implementing the programmes for the organization. The document is developed by the board to ensure accountability and transparency by all actors working with and for the financial manual and its implementation in the organization. The manual is a well-established financial system in an organization that makes such an organization more attractive to donor agencies.

Financial manual and its implementation help in finance governance, Jobs roles and description, Department principles and values, Audit roles and responsibility, Fraud and financial fiduciary, internal audit report, external audit and audit report, annual financial report, and stakeholder’s management.

The training was one of the many ways the European Union and British Council strengthened the capacity of selected CSOs in Nigeria so that they can be sustainable and drive development in their various communities.

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE ENGAGES IN ACTION PLAN DEVELOPMENT UNDER THE EUROPEAN UNION CAPACITY-BUILDING PROGRAMME

Action Plan Development

The European Union and British Council trained D-Ability Initiative staff on Action Plan Development in preparation for a long series of capacity-building workshops in the months to come beginning from February 2021.

The European Union (EU), through its Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation, selected 20 Civil Society Organizations 9CSO0 in Rivers State. The selected CSOs were groomed to make more impact and be more sustainable.

D-Ability Initiative, prior to the action planning development workshop, had concluded its organizational capacity assessment (OCA) with the staff of the British Council and the European Union.

Based on the outcome of the OCA, organizations including D-Ability Initiative were classified for training as needed. Dr. Nwanyanwu Kingdom; Ms. Mary Jeremiah, Mr. Nwanyanwu Promise represented the D-Ability Initiative in this workshop.

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE ENGAGES IN ACTION PLAN DEVELOPMENT UNDER THE EUROPEAN UNION CAPACITY-BUILDING PROGRAMME

The European Union and British Council trained D-Ability Initiative staff on Action Plan Development in preparation for a long series of capacity-building workshops in the months to come beginning from February 2021.

The European Union (EU), through its Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation, selected 20 Civil Society Organizations 9CSO0 in Rivers State. The selected CSOs were groomed to make more impact and be more sustainable.

D-Ability Initiative, prior to the action planning development workshop, had concluded its organizational capacity assessment (OCA) with the staff of the British Council and the European Union.

Based on the outcome of the OCA, organizations including D-Ability Initiative were classified for training as needed. Dr. Nwanyanwu Kingdom; Ms. Mary Jeremiah, Mr. Nwanyanwu Promise represented the D-Ability Initiative in this workshop.

Covid-19 Community Outreach

COVID-19 awareness Session with the Deaf

COVID-19 awareness Session with the Deaf

The challenge: COVID-19 creates barriers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as People with disabilities are disregarded in COVID-19 information awareness campaigns There is growing concern that information awareness campaign messages about COVID-19 are on platforms and formats that persons with disabilities have limited access to. While the Coronavirus continues to ravage the world, there is growing concern that critical messages about the disease that are disseminated by health authorities, telecom companies, and broadcasters are not reaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. In Nigeria, sections 24 and 25 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) require public hospitals and the government to ensure that persons with disabilities are given special considerations, including the provision of special communication during situations of risk, and emergencies (such as Covid-19) and other natural causes. In the midst of a fast-moving outbreak, officials in developed countries use technology to get health information to the deaf and those with hearing loss, but communication gaps remain. What then can be said of developing countries in Africa? The majority of the Deaf in Rivers State are completely cut off from information about the COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, the WHO issued guidelines to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on persons with disabilities. It called upon governments to take action to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind in the fight against COVID-19.

visiting the Deaf at workshop for COVID-19 safety sensitization

visiting the Deaf at a workshop for COVID-19 safety sensitization

We are doing what we can: Our team has been reaching out to various Deaf persons in under-served communities in Rivers State for sensitization and orientation on Coronavirus safety guidelines and tips. This orientation takes place both in private homes and at places of work. While it has become necessary to restrict movement, the Deaf are being encouraged to maximize the period for some soft skill acquisition online. This will help minimize street begging. We don’t know who invented the sign for COVID-19 in American Sign Language. But at D-Ability Initiative, we want Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in Nigeria, starting from Rivers State, to know what it means.  And we want them to know what they need to do to keep themselves and their families safe during the outbreak. The challenge in the deaf community is with their access to information. People who can hear get incidental knowledge from the television, radio or conversation. Not so for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

Demonstrating hand washing under running water.

Demonstrating hand washing under running water.

Getting information to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people is challenging, especially in a period of pandemics when information is not only constantly changing but movements are also restricted.  But all the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people need to know and understand the health information surrounding the outbreak. In a crisis where information on hand washing and social distancing is the main line of defense, this outreach takes on a new urgency.

Gratitude: We sincerely appreciate all those who have contributed and those who will contribute to foster this great project. We greatly value you. We love you dearly. Thank you. To encourage safety consciousness, we gave out nose masks and hand sanitizers to each person. So far, 56 Deaf persons reached.

The Impact Project (TIP) for the Deaf

A session with the Deaf

A session with the Deaf

In her continued efforts to promote equal access for the Deaf community, D-Ability Initiative promoted inclusive leadership by providing American Sign Language Interpreters and arranging for the Deaf to participate in this high-profile leadership project at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. 32 Deaf persons were positively impacted along with other youths. We leave no one behind. Special thanks to Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN) and our volunteers.

Campus-Wide Project

 

This project was done in collaboration with the Department of Government and Public Affairs, Gallaudet University, Washington D.C. This project enlightened the entire Gallaudet University campus community and other invited guests on the “Current Status of Deaf Education in Nigeria: Creating A Way Forward.”

In Nigeria, the state of Deaf education has hardly improved over the years, which has resulted in the underdevelopment of the sign languages in use. Some of the problems militating against the proper education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in Nigeria and fueling the embers of stigmatization against them include negative attitudes of many Nigerians toward people with special needs, inadequate government support, lack of equipment, shortage of personnel, late identification of deafness, high levels of illiteracy, and poverty.

Much hope for a rapid development of Deaf communities and Deaf education was raised among deaf learners and deaf educators in the mid 70’s when the federal government assumed the responsibility of running the Schools for the Deaf and to provide basic education for the Nigerian Deaf children. More than four decades after this, the situation remains discouraging and the development of deaf communities and sign language(s) in Nigeria remains gloomy. Deaf education in Nigeria is still far below standard in comparison with deaf education in developed nations.

With Gallaudet Univerity President Roberta Cordano

With Gallaudet University President Roberta Cordano

We seized the opportunity to celebrate and appreciate the work of Andrew Foster for the key role he played in bringing Deaf education to Nigeria. This project also highlighted our plans to reshape Deaf Education in Nigeria.

Appreciation: We are give our heartfelt thanks to: The President, Gallaudet University  President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano; U.S Department of State (YALI); and IREX. We are grateful to Dr. David Penna (Chair, Department of Government and Public Affairs), Dr, Catherine O’Brien who painstakingly worked with our President on the Project. Her support and guidance cannot be quantified. We thank the Gallaudet University Faculty. We also appreciate the works of the hardworking interpreters       .

D-Ability Rural Outreach (DARO)

Nwala's family demonstrate with DARO looks like

The challenge: Understanding is everything. The importance of understanding the peculiar needs of people with hearing disability cannot be overemphasized. Because of linguistic differences many Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in Nigeria and other parts of Africa experience marginalization within the circle in which they are supposed to find security- their families. Again many families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children also stigmatize them by presuming that Deafness is synonymous with inability to learn. They mistake disability for incapability. The potentials of many Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons have been cut short by their families who clip their wings out of misguided concerns for their disability and safety.

Our solution: in our effort to reach the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, promote inclusion, unite families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons, as well as support them, we launched this on-going project: the D-Ability Rural Outreach (DARO) Project. This Project provides the opportunity for the hearing family members to understand Deafness and other issues that affect their Deaf and Hard of Hearing family members.

Reaching out to rural areas in search of the families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons is a heavy task. It has taken a lot of sacrifices so far and will still do.

Our impact: 38 the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s families impacted. Viewpoints about the Deaf are changing, starting from the family circle!

Appreciation: We are grateful to the various families of the Deaf we have so far visited.  They have been friendly. We sincerely thank the Nwala’s family for their support. It’s been awesome. We appreciate our volunteers and supporters. This project is worth every effort.  We are encouraged. We want to do more.

D-SignAbility Project

ASL Learning session

Learners with the Project Lead

Deafness is an aspect of disability. Being Deaf in a developing country comes with many undesirable consequences. Illiteracy is one such.

We carried out D-SignAbility Project to enable some Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in Rivers State, Nigeria, to learn to communicate using basic American Sign Language (ASL).

Impact: This project helped to reduce the burden of illiteracy among the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as it enhanced the free flow of communication among the Deaf community. 62 Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons reached

Mandela Day of Service

Students participate in selfless service.

Mandela Day of Service: Students participate in selfless service.

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, and the ability to make an impact. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010.

The genesis of this day of service stems from Mandela’s passing on the torch of public service to everyone. “It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all,” he said. Positive change was the gift left to all of us by Nelson Mandela, but it can only become a living legacy if we take up his challenge.  We are all encouraged to emulate the servant leader we loved by becoming servant leaders ourselves.

What we did to make the world a better place.

To mark the Mandela Day of Service for 2018, we held a 2-day event (July 17 and 18) at community secondary school Rumuapara, in Port Harcourt, . This event highlighted and impressed on the mind of the teens the importance of servant leadership, creating social impact, giving back to society, and the need for teens to be more civically-minded. To help them cultivate the spirit of volunteerism, we did some volunteer works for their school. We also planted the ‘Mandela Tree.’ 142 teens reached.

Over the past decade, Mandela Day has enjoyed global support and solidarity as an opportunity to practice commitment to uplifting the dignity of others and as a day to commemorate the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. Mandela Day has moved away from an ad hoc, individualized, reactive approach and moved towards a sustainable, long-term, collaborative methodology to address issues affecting our society. The new Mandela Day strategy will primarily encourage collaborative partnerships in the area of active citizenship among others.

Students participate in leadership building session

Students participate in leadership-building session

There are so many ways to make a difference. We did what we are passionate about. The Mandela Day campaign is a celebration of our collective power to create a global movement for good and make a positive impact on the world. Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that

everyone has the power to transform the world, and the ability to make an impact. Mandela Day represents two things, optimism, and hope. There is value in paying it forward. It isn’t about giving but making it easier for someone else who is coming behind us. It’s about asking ourselves what we can do to make things better and thus encouraging a culture of paying it forward.

We sincerely appreciate Mrs. Shulammite Ureh Amannah; Mrs. Amasaba Membere; and Mr. Justice Otto. Their support was awesome. We say a big thank you to the Management, staff, and students of Community Secondary School, Rumuapara, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Their support gave us the courage to do the work.

Project: Read-to-Lead

Project banner

How important is literacy to education and development? People who cannot read risk being excluded from full participation in their communities and societies. Failing to be literate therefore limits life chances and hinders an individual’s participation in much of the world around them. Literacy is so fundamental to learning that its importance cannot be overstated — it is the essential foundation of education. The ultimate aim of any education system is to equip its children with the necessary literacy, numeracy, and wider skills that they need to take control of their destinies and fulfill their potential.

According to one UNESCO Director, “Literacy is the first step towards freedom, towards liberation from social and economic constraints. It is the prerequisite for development, both individual and collective. It reduces poverty and inequality, creates wealth, and helps to eradicate problems of nutrition and public health.”

Project Leads

Project Leads

The Honourable Minister of Education in Nigeria, Adamu Adamu stated:  “Education is the bedrock of any country’s development, and any country that does not educate its populace is bound to fail. Unfortunately in Nigeria, we have a very large population of illiterates; the number of illiterates, considering our population, is unbecoming.” The Federal Ministry of Education also plans to approach the crisis by implementing a mass literacy program to help youth and adults gain the literacy skills needed to improve their lives.

On 7th March 2019, in commemoration of the World Book Day (UK), we partnered with Teens and Youth Renaissance, to reach and sensitized 1000 teens and youth, the Deaf inclusive, in Rivers State. It centered on the importance of literacy, its connection with leadership, and the many international leadership opportunities available to youth. We always ensure we leave no one behind. We give a shout of gratitude to our volunteers, supporters, and other youth who made the day worthwhile. Their labour of love did not go unnoticed.

 

 

D-Ability MentorTeens Project

 D-Ability MentorTeens Project session in progressD-Ability  MentorTeens Project  was initiated to help address the many challenges the teenagers are facing. There are many issues affecting teenagers especially in developing countries. These include reproductive health, HIV prevention and care, psychoactive substance abuse, and many others. Reproductive health education is a key strategy for promoting sexual safety among teenagers. The challenge is that there are millions of teens who are uninformed. Many become victims of sexual exploitation and suffer the attendant consequences.

Substance abuse, on the other hand,  refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drug. The rate of psychoactive substance abuse among teenagers in and out of high school in Nigeria is alarming. It can only be understood through direct interaction with the teens by trusted mentors. It is now a major Public Health challenge all over the world, particularly in developing countries. Complications of substance abuse by young people are grave including increased odds of engaging in risky sexual behaviour, personality disorders, sexual violence, criminal tendencies, and drug dependence among others.  Many factors have been identified to be responsible for drug abuse among young people, these include experimental curiosity, peer pressure, poor socioeconomic condition at home, and the need for extra energy for daily activities among others. While many studies have been conducted in Nigeria on substance abuse, the menace of this social anomaly has remained unabated, particularly among the youths.

The burden of substance abuse is still high among students who had not received any formal teaching on the subject. Awareness campaigns on the dangers associated with substance abuse should be intensified in various secondary schools in Nigeria. It is necessary that social media and other channels of communication could be positively engaged in reaching the youths on this subject.

Launched in 2018, this Project has been changing the future of hundreds of teens for the better. It has been leading them on the path to greatness in areas such as reproductive health education; HIV/AIDS prevention and care; psychoactive substance abuse; and many more. It is also designed to equip teens to become mentors to their peers, spreading the word and saving lives.  We have established small hubs known as D-Ability MentorTeens’ Club in 5 secondary/high schools, reaching over 1050 teens in Rivers State, Nigeria.  We are catching them young!

Project: Business Ideas Activation Plan (BIAP)

Some of the participants

Recently, there has been a lot of focus on the role that entrepreneurship can play in the development of emerging and developing economies. Entrepreneurship is one of the drivers of sustainable economic growth, mainly because the new businesses that entrepreneurs create have the potential to drive and shape innovation, speed up structural changes in the economy, and introduce new competition – thereby contributing to productivity.

If properly harnessed, Africa’s youth bulge has the potential to translate into a dividend for the continent through the creation of enterprises that not only contribute toward economic growth but also create jobs for their fellow youth. Africa’s youth bulge is an opportunity, but only if it is leveraged for all it has to offer. Instead of expecting youth to be recipients of the results of economic growth, Africa’s youth need to be in the driving seat, initiating and creating that growth through entrepreneurship.

Despite the presence of a number of entrepreneurship hubs, many African countries do not have thriving support ecosystems that facilitate youth entrepreneurship. More intense efforts are required to bridge this gap, making existing support services from ‘entrepreneurship hubs’ and other service providers accessible to entrepreneurs in countries with less-developed support ecosystems.

While a significant number of resources exist to support youth entrepreneurship in Africa, there are still considerable gaps, with many youths lacking the support they need to either create or grow a business. There is no dedicated one-stop solution that caters to the needs of entrepreneurs across the continent, providing support to the entire spectrum of entrepreneurship sectors and stages of growth.

Some of the Project facilitators

Some of the Project facilitators

 

November 12, 2018, remains a day to remember. In collaboration with Dekiruyo Africa, we impacted 44 youth with in-depth presentations on business ideas, activation plans, and how to leverage information and communication technology and social media for business growth, expansion, and international reach.  Participants were also exposed to many leadership opportunities they could take advantage of as social change agents.

We are grateful to all our amazing facilitators who generously shared the result of their many years of hard work and expertise with the participants. It was awesome collaborating with Dekiruyo Africa.  We keep building capacity, enhancing growth, and encouraging social impact.