Flagship Program 6: SA-DGMP
Southern Africa Disability and Gender Mainstreaming Program (SA-DGMP)
Under this program, the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) seeks to actively influence strategies on economic empowerment of persons with disabilities through initiatives that support inclusive national policies, legislative, poverty reduction strategies and other related national development plans and programs.
Disability mainstreaming is understood as a process of assessing and addressing the possible impact of any planned action on Persons with Disabilities. It is a way to promote inclusion and to address the barriers that exclude Persons with Disabilities from the equal enjoyment of their human rights. Mainstreaming is about challenging discrimination. It involves supporting basic services to ensure that persons with disabilities are included, and enjoy equality of access to those services. It pertains to universal mainstream services such as education and health, which are not particularly focused on disability.
Case studies in developing countries show that higher disability rates are associated with higher rates of illiteracy, poor nutritional status, lower immunization coverage, lower birth weight, higher rates of unemployment and underemployment, and lower occupational mobility. Given that persons with disabilities represent a significant portion of the population, and are more likely to live in poverty than their peers without disabilities, ensuring that they are integrated into all development activities is essential in order to achieve regional and international development goals.
Unfortunately, most development policies and programs at both national and regional/SADC levels do not take into account the needs of the Persons with Disabilities including women with disabilities who, studies show, are more at risk than their male counterparts. Women with disabilities experience double discrimination as women and as persons with disabilities, hence in this flagship program, SAFOD’s approach is not only to work towards enhancing mainstreaming disability in the regional development agenda but also ensuring that the needs of women and girls with disabilities are taken into account.
SAFOD has, therefore, identified key actions and programmatic interventions in order to operationalize the program, as follows:
- Promote an active culture that emphasizes on the right to information and support for partners to demand gender-disaggregated information from all actors including government in order to promote local accountability to persons with disabilities, disabled men and disabled women, disabled boys and disabled girls, equally.
- Advocate and lobby for mainstreaming of disability development agenda in the National Development Plans of governments that benefit male and female persons with disabilities on an equal footing.
- Collaborate with Civil Society Organisations, Private Sector and the media to influence policies, legislation, frameworks and programmes that promote the realization and respect for human rights of male and female persons with disabilities.
- Lobby and influence SADC and its member States for resource allocation in line with the African Union Decade of Persons with disabilities and the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights frameworks.
- Map policies and priorities of policy makers within SADC and member States to ensure protection and promotion of human rights for male and female persons with disabilities in Southern Africa,
- Influence SADC to have disability as a key policy agenda and promote it to national governments and development partners.
- Collaborate with NFDPOs and other partners to advocate and campaign for policies and practices that promote human rights for persons with disabilities at both SADC and national levels.
- Facilitate partnership that enable diverse constituents of bilateral and multilateral actors to forge effective alliances for addressing disability and development agenda in Southern Africa.
- Identify and work with strategic CSO partners, networks, strategic alliances and other like-minded organisations including academia, research bodies, media, think tanks and key individuals to engage constructively yet critically with governments and others on issues of mainstreaming gender and disability in the development agenda at both regional and national level.
- Advocate for more coordinated response to reduce fragmentation and promoting harmonization to enhance performance and impact of disability related programmes and equity opportunity for persons with disabilities.
- Influence governments, partners, development practitioners and private sector to deliver significantly sustainable and gender-disaggregated programs that can catalyze disability by demonstrating what is possible and scalable