Sierra Leone’s Minister of Social Welfare Baindu Dasama-Kamara has reaffirm Sierra Leone’s commitment to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in national development plans during the 15th conference of states parties to the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
The minister who led the delegation of Sierra Leone to the conference on 16th June 2022, disclosed that the government was implementing a project titled, ‘Closing the Gap in COVID-19 Response using a disability lens for inclusion’, a project designed purposely to ensure that access to vital information on COVID-19 gets to the doorstep of persons with disabilities.
Continuing, Madam Dassama-Kamara further stated that the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone was currently implementing a Socio-economic Empowerment Project for persons with disabilities with the objective of building their capacity through the provision of life skills training and alternative means of livelihood.
“This is in line with the government’s proactive measures in addressing post-COVID challenges facing persons with disability” she added.
Speaking on legislative measures, she informed the august gathering that Sierra Leone was amending the Persons with Disability Act, 2011 with provisions to further strengthen the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, look into the issues of discrimination, equalization of opportunities as well as supporting of the National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities to ensure disability inclusion at all levels.
“I am honored to join this debate on the theme, ‘Building Disability Inclusive and Participatory Societies in the COVID Context and Beyond,’ which is very apt, for Sierra Leone, the minister stated.
She reminded the meeting of the devastation of the COVID 19 Pandemic on their respective communities and called for deeper reflections on the grave challenges posed to the little gains accrued since the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disability.
She added that Sierra Leone had aligned with the Global Disability Summit with the intention to further accelerate progress towards disability inclusion through the submission of the second set of concrete political commitments towards the attainment of the goals enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disability.
Concluding, the minister stated that despite the tremendous efforts made by the government of Sierra Leone to provide conducive environment for persons with disability, the country was still grappling with resource mobilisation to address issues such as the provision of personal protective equipment and accessing information by persons with visual, hearing, and cognitive impairments.
She underscored the need for partnerships for both technical and financial support to enhance capacities with the view to addressing those challenges. She reaffirmed Sierra Leone’s commitment to the inclusion of persons with disability in national development processes thereby making the country disability inclusive and participatory post COVID.