The Disability Champions International Programme continued in 2016 in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. The programme was delivered by African trade union disability champions previously trained by ICTU/TUC affiliates.
The main focus of the training programme took place in Ethiopia where, in partnership with the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions, a number of Disability Champions training workshops took place.
The project aims to ensure that the full range of Ethiopian trade unions – currently the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) has 204,000 members – have access to accredited training of an internationally recognised standard in disability rights (including disability rights in the workplace), and that each trade unions affiliated to CETU will have its own Disability Committee, its own Disability Champion(s), and a commitment to PWDs written into both its constitution and in each Collective Bargaining Agreement to be negotiated with employers.
An interesting development in the Ethiopian project is that the ILO Ethiopia has been providing administration assistance to the programme and the ILO Geneva have invited the NI project co-ordinator, Neil Aldred, to attend a meeting in Geneva in March to discuss a possible partnership to provide Disability Champion workshops in all ILO development programmes.
The Ethiopian project is funded by:
- TUC Aid
- Disability Aid Abroad
2016 brought a lot of changes in the trade union movement in Uganda when the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) and the Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) agreed to merge and establish the National Organization of Free Trade Unions (NOFTU). The new constitution of NOFTU has:
- Mainstreamed disability as a CBA issue.
- A Worker Disability committee is now recognized in the new constitution
- The chairperson of the Disability Committee is a member of the NOFTU executive board
- Nine member of the Disability Committee are members of General Congress
Much praise is due to our project worker, and trade union colleague, in Uganda Yazidi Balisgasmay for negotiating the constitution changes reflecting the rights of workers with disabilities.
The disability awareness training programme for primary school teachers continued in Tanzania in 2016. Two regional training seminars were held in Morogorro and Dar es Salaam. A total of 96 teachers took part in the workshops.
The training was aimed at creating awareness on disability issues and the need to bring awareness of inclusive education to mainstream primary school teachers. The facilitators of the training were Vincent Kaduma (TUICO) and Saimon Ngido (Mehayo). The whole training was conducted in SWAHILI.
This project is in partnership with the Tanzanian Teachers Union (TTU) and at their request we arranged a two day seminar on disability and disability inclusion to Dodoma TTU & Dodoma regional Education Authority’s staff. Our experience to date in Tanzania with this programme is that both national and regional educational authority staff have little, if any, knowledge of disability issues.
The overall objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of regional authorities on disability rights and disability inclusion to ensure disability inclusive practices are implemented in all spheres of life. Specifically the training intended to:
- Increase the knowledge of the participants on the concept of disability from a human right- based perspective as well as types and causes of disability
- Enable the participants to have better understanding of challenges and barriers for including children with disabilities in educational processes
- Improve understanding of the participants on the concept of disability inclusive education, and how to include PWDs in development processes
- Raise awareness on disability laws and policies, and how they can be used to advocate for the rights of PWDs and promote their inclusion in the society
The training was facilitated by 2 disability trainers from Dar es Salaam: Vincent Kaduma (TUICO) and Peter Mlimahadala (TTU)
This project is funded by:
- Disability Aid Abroad
In 2017 we plan to continue the Ethiopian and Tanzanian programme and to develop a working relationship with the ILO Geneva. We have been invited by the East African Trade Union Congress (EATUC) to make a presentation on disabled workers rights at their annual congress.
Issued: 17 February, 2017