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Youths Tasked to Advocate Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities

by Atlantic Chronicles

More than 200 youths from various backgrounds have been tasked to advocate the rights of Persons Living with Disabilities, PWDs.

This was the outcome of a two-day intensive training that took place in Yaounde from September 29 to 30, 2023. The two-day intensive training was a continuation of a 15-day workshop and training which is part of a 50-day advocacy on the role of youths in human rights and the rights of persons living with disabilities.

The programme is coordinated by Betty Nancy Fonyuy, Human Rights Activist and International Visitors Leadership Program, IVLP fellow.

While emphasising the need for everyone to be involved in addressing disability as a societal issue, Betty Nancy stated that children with disabilities often feel marginalised, stigmatised, and traumatised due to their inability to fully participate in society and express their challenges.


Betty Fonyuy and participants in discussion mode during the training

Recognising disability as a human rights problem, Betty Fonyuy organised the 50-day programme to educate people, bridging the gap between those with and without disabilities to foster understanding and empathy.

According to the organisers, the objective is to empower participants to advocate for the rights of PWDs in their communities. Believing that involving youths in the programme is crucial as they are active members of society who can help spread awareness through social media and personal interactions, Betty Fonyuy stressed that the aim is to create a society where disability is not seen as a taboo, but as a normal aspect of human rights that affects the nation as a whole.

Eliot Etonde N. Ndeley, one of the facilitators, emphasised the importance of the training, highlighting the multiple barriers faced by PWDs in accessing their basic needs and the lack of reporting on human rights abuses against them.

She added that the programme is geared towards mobilising over 200 advocates to sensitise the community about the rights and challenges faced by PWDs. “By doing so, the programme seeks to promote social cohesion, inclusion in policies, structures, and businesses, and create awareness about the rights of PWDs.”

Participants expressed their determination to become advocates for PWDs indicating that they shall among other things particularly advocate through social media content creation and mobilising other youths.

In mobilising over 200 young Cameroonians, the three-month programme that ends in November will help to enrich them to advocate for the rights of PWDs in their communities.

Among other things, the programme which started in September 2023 involves training workshops, community outreach, and the establishment of youth-led advocacy initiatives. The programme covers various topics such as understanding disabilities; a multifaceted approach, civil and human rights, gender-based violence and protection for PWDs and addressing hate speech against PWDs.

In addition, topics like challenges faced by youth in advocacy roles, understanding the rights and duties of PWDs, social cohesion and inclusion for PWDs, advocating for the rights of PWDs through social media, self-advocacy training for PWDs, and accessing their rights are also in the menu.

By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo

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