DEAF WOMEN GRADUATE FROM D-ABILITY INITIATIVE’S SKILL ACQUISITION PROGRAM

A cross-section of The Graduands and the Executive Director

Thirty Deaf women have graduated from six months of entrepreneurial skills training acquisition program initiated and implemented by D-Ability Initiative. This non-governmental organization provides support and empowerment for persons with special needs. This project was sponsored by the European Union (EU) through the British Council and Agents for Citizens-driven Transformation (ACT).

Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the Executive Director, Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu, stated that the program was part of their Organisation’s commitment towards capacity-building and improving the livelihood and financial well-being of such women and girls in Rivers. He explained the reasons for choosing to build the capacity of Deaf women at this time: “When it comes to the persons with disabilities, the Deaf are the most marginalized. If they are unskilled or uneducated, how can they measure up to the demands of society?”

The Executive Director addressing the graduands

Dr. Nwanyanwu hinted that the first batch of trainees comprised 30 Deaf women and girls, who are now gearing up to start their own businesses to enable them to earn a living, improve their financial well-being and cope with the current economic situation in the country. “We change their story by building their skills and earning capacity in the fashion industry. We are determined to create a world where persons with special needs are empowered, made competent and independent” said the Executive Director.

He also outlined the various positive impacts, the skill acquisition program would have on society. “When a woman with disabilities renders services and you patronize her, she will feel accepted and gains a sense of belonging. This will in turn make her a better person who creates value and receives a value. Earning money through their skills will stop them from begging which could open them up to rape and other vulnerabilities. Also when a woman has a source of income to support her partner, it reduces the incidences of domestic violence.”

Appreciation

One of the trainers, Ms. Queen Dakah, commended the organizers and charged the beneficiaries to remain focused and utilize the opportunity. She thanked Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu, the Founder and Executive Director of D-Ability Initiative for showing concern for Deaf women. She also appreciated the European Union (EU) through the British Council and Agents for Citizens-driven Transformation (ACT). Ms. Dakah called on the state government to borrow a leaf from the organization and create an enabling environment for PWDs in the state.

The graduands and other attendees

Mrs. Chi Oduagu, another trainer expressed satisfaction with the effort put in by the trainees in the course of the training, stating that they

progressed so rapidly beyond her expectations. She called on the general public to patronize them.

Dr. (Mrs.) Nte, a mother of one of the beneficiaries said: “This program has opened our eyes to see that our daughter can interact with people and can also learn fast. Because of the way she performed in this training, we have enrolled her in a University. I thank the organizers of this project. They have done so well. God bless them”.

Some of the beneficiaries, through an interpreter, expressed their appreciation for the training program.

Mrs. Tochi Ibe expressed appreciation for the opportunity given to them to have a meaningful life. “We are grateful to D-Ability Initiative and the European Union for helping us to gain skills in the fashion industry.  We will use this knowledge to benefit ourselves. I say thank you”.

Mrs. Abigail Otobo thanked the organizers of the program for the training and for the opportunity to earn a living and live independently. She said:  “this is the first time anyone remembered to carry out a project for us the Deaf women.  We are very grateful to the D-Ability Initiative and to the European Union. I now have a skill. People have been telling me to make dresses for them. I need a sewing machine to do that. I am happy I can now make beautiful dresses.”

Jane Ottah, another beneficiary said: “I am grateful to Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu of D-Ability Initiative for thinking about us and helping us to get a skill. Thanks to European Union, British Council, and Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT).  I have made dresses for more than twenty clients.  This training is already benefiting me and others. I will do more.”

Mrs. Divine Ivy John Said “I am now a fashion designer. Thank you, D-Ability Initiative. Thank you, European Union. Thank you, ACT and British Council”

Mrs.  Marvis Igiri said: “The love shown to us is touching our hearts.  This training has opened a way for us to have money to support ourselves and family. Thank you D-Ability Initiative and the European Union. We love you too. We need sewing machines so that we will not forget what we have learned.”

 

CALL TO ACTION

Dr. Nwanyanwu called for support from the Federal and State government, as well as kind-hearted individuals and organizations to partner with D-Ability Initiative in setting up a Skills Hub where the newly trained women would put their skills to use, and where more persons with disabilities would be trained. He made this appeal: “we have concluded the training program. However, the beneficiaries have nowhere to practice their skills. We are calling for help. We want to set up a skill training hub where all the trainees can work to support themselves and their families. We want to create something unique, something we all will be proud of. Do you care for the welfare of Deaf women and girls? We are calling on you to support us to set up a Skills Hub”.

 THE INAUGURATION… IN THE NEWS

Authority Newspaper

Why Group Embark on Free Skill Acquisitions for Hearing Impaired Women: https://authorityngr.com/2022/04/17/why-group-embark-on-free-skill-acquisitions-for-hearing-impaired-women/

Thisday Newspaper

Hope Blossoms for Hearing-impaired Women, Girls: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/05/04/hope-blossoms-for-hearing-impaired-women-girls/

Guardian Newspaper

Group trains 30 women with hearing impairment on entrepreneurial skills: https://guardian.ng/appointments/group-trains-30-women-with-hearing-impairment-on-entrepreneurial-skills/

Inclusive News

D-Ability Initiative Trains 30 Deaf Women On Entrepreneurial Skills: https://inclusivenews.com.ng/2022/04/09/d-ability-initiative-trains-30-deaf-women-entrepreneurial-skills/

Tide Newspaper

Group Trains 30 Deaf Women On Entrepreneurial Skills: https://www.thetidenewsonline.com/2022/04/11/group-trains-30-deaf-women-on-entrepreneurial-skills/

Vanguard Newspaper

Financial well-being: 30 Rivers deaf women get entrepreneurial skills: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/04/financial-wellbeing-30-rivers-deaf-women-get-entrepreneurial-skills/

The Nations Newspaper (Hard Copy of 11th April 2022)

 

                          THE GRADUATION…IN THE NEWS

Inclusive News

NGO Trains 30 Deaf Women on Entrepreneurial Skills: https://inclusivenews.com.ng/2022/11/10/ngo-trains-30-deaf-women-entrepreneurial-skills/

Guardian Newspaper

Why we trained 30 physically-challenged women in skills: https://guardian.ng/news/why-we-trained-30-physically-challenged-women-in-skills/

Kristina Reports

Deaf Women Graduate from Skill Acquisition Program: https://kristinareports.net/deaf-women-graduate-from-skill-acquisition-program/

Authority Newspaper

Initiative concludes free skill acquisition training for deaf women in Rivers: https://authorityngr.com/2022/11/12/initiative-conclude-free-skill-acquisition-training-for-deaf-women-in-rivers/

Tide Newspaper

Group Plans Industrial Hub For Persons With Disabilities: https://www.thetidenewsonline.com/2022/11/16/group-plans-industrial-hub-for-persons-with-disabilities/

Watch on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PejTDBE48bM

Our Deaf women Trainees are in style, displaying the dresses they made.

The Deaf women with the Executive Director and a Trainer (middle)

The Deaf women with the Executive Director and a Trainer (middle)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN EUROPEAN UNION-FUNDED CSO-MEDIA ROUNDTABLE

The workshop was funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council, through the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) programme.  The workshop took place at Novotel Hotel in Port Harcourt on 5th September 2022. Many media houses, bloggers, and influencers were in attendance along with D-Ability Initiative, and other EU-ACT partners CSOs in the State.

EU-ACT Partner CSOs, Represented by their Executive Directors

EU-ACT Partner CSOs, Represented by their Executive Directors

Some key takeaways:

  1. STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP: There is a need to make the media house a part of our project from the proposal stage. Allow them to make input to fine-tune the project. This would promote our credibility as a Civil Society Organization (CSO) and make the media house a beneficiary of some part of the budget allotted for media publicity.
  1. RECIPROCAL INVITES: CSOs and media can invite each other as resource persons on issues related to their thematic areas of focus.
  1. KNOWLEDGE SHARING: CSOs and media houses can invite each other for training that will build or strengthen their professional capacity for development.
  1. COLLABORATION: We need to include the media when planning stakeholders’ engagement /town hall meetings.
  1. VISIBILITY AND EXPOSURE: In all our social media and other media handle, tag, and acknowledge each other. That way, we give each other visibility and exposure.
  1. The media need us as much as we need them. There is a need to strategize ourselves for relevance.
  1. We need to be sound and authoritative in our thematic focus areas so that the media will look for us as resource persons from time to time.

DR. NWANYANWU DISCUSSES THE IMPORTANCE OF INVESTING IN CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS’ CAPACITY STRENGTHENING.

Banner of Dr. Nwanyanwu’s Presentation

Did you join the conversation?  Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu, our Founder and President was live on Nigeria Info 92.3 PH Thursday from 7:30 am to 8:00 am. He discussed the importance of investing in strengthening the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and how this would translate to sustainable development in Nigeria.

It was a great outing. Thanks to European Union, the British Council,  Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT), and the Civic Action, Sustainable Communities. We will keep impacting.

“If an organization is not sustainable, it cannot drive sustainable development” Dr. Kingdom Nwanyanwu. See this

 

 

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!!!

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.

 

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.

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.