Liberia: AIFO,-Liberia, Partners Embark On Preparatory Symposium for Action On Disability

Monrovia — AIFO-Liberia, a professional non-profit organization and partners, have embarked on a five-day training session focused on highlighting coordinated action on persons living with disabilities in Liberia.

The workshop which kicked off on Tuesday in Monrovia aims to target the area of economic empowerment of persons with disabilities as a means to deliver positive change in their lives as well as in the overall society.

The project titled, Coordinated Action on Disability (CAD-L also intends to address gender imbalances in the participation of disabled women to development initiatives and has identified Organizations of Women with Disabilities to work with at county level.

The project is funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia. It mainly focuses on economic empowerment, self-employment and entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities.

The aim of the workshop is to review key lessons and results of the inception phase of the project which ends in May, 2021 with a view of elaborating a full phase of the programme.

AIFO, Liberia is an Italian International Organisation specialised in the areas of disability, non-profit health and development organization that enables opportunities for persons affected by leprosy, persons with disabilities, women, children and members of poor and vulnerable groups, through focused healthcare, education and economic empowerment initiatives in Liberia with the aim of providing a better quality of life and creating large scale positive change.

At the start of the workshop, AIFO Country Director Melany Oey told participants that they will have the opportunity to discuss economic independence of persons living with disabilities.

"Today, a Participatory Workshop of the Coordinated Action on Disability (CAD-L) in Liberia project kicked off at Murex Plaza Hotel & Suites in Sinkor bringing together different stakeholders in the public and private sectors including representatives of persons with disabilities. We were also remotely joined by our colleagues at AIFO HQ in Italy," she said.

"All participants will have the opportunity to discuss about how to improve economic independence of persons with disabilities in Liberia and to give their valuable inputs or share their perspectives, thus contributing to the formulation of CAD-L full phase," Madam Oey said.

In January 2020, AIFO Liberia in partnership with the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD), the National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD), the Liberia Labor Congress (LCC) and the Alliance on Disability, launched the inception phase of the project "Coordinated Action on Disability in Liberia- CAD-L: People living with a disability in Liberia enjoy opportunities for employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship in the public and private sectors", which is currently implemented in the counties of Montserrado, Bong and Nimba and will end in May 2021.

However, Madan Oey added that the first day of the ongoing training will reflect on the lessons learned and results of CAD-L Inception phase, while on the following day participants will jointly formulate CAD-L full phase program's goals and objectives. Find more information on the Coordinated Action on Disability in Liberia in the document attached.

Making remarks at the start of the workshop, Labor Minister Cllr. Charles Gibson committed government to providing an inclusive society for people living with disabilities in Liberia.

Minister Gibson, officially opened the workshop with a commitment to ensuring conducive work environment and opportunities for persons with disabilities as far as employment is concerned.

Minister Gibson said: "Government understands that lot more needs to be done, as such, working to ensure adequate assistance is given to basic education for people living with disability."

He said the government believed that person with disability should be provided an opportunity to engage into economic activities within the larger society of the country.

For his part, the Swedish Embassy Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation, Johan Romare said the government of Sweden remain more concern on working with disables to provide an accessible environment at various sectors of the Liberian society.

Mr. Romare added that her embassy is working with person disability to ensure in the inclusion of their economy empowerment programs.

"I am working said with various organizations from the disable community to create more awareness about the convention and rights for person with disability," Mr. Romare averred.

He further said back in January 2020, the government of Liberia and partners launched an assessment tour for all government projects in the country for person with disability to assist to public building, noting that such an initiative was worth undertaking.

In the same way, Minister Gibson reemphasized the Sweden's government's commitment in promoting greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in Liberia.

The workshop is expected to end on April 23, 2021. It is hoped that a high-level action plan and budget will be realized.

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