ADVOCACY VISIT TO MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (MAN)

The TAF Africa and Sightsavers team led by Ambassador Jake Epelle, the CEO/Founder of TAF Africa, visited the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) at their office in Lagos. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the ongoing Economic Empowerment Project for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), which is funded by Sightsavers and implemented by TAF Africa. The primary objective of the visit was to get the buy-in of MAN and explore potential partnership opportunities between TAF Africa and MAN to enhance the project's impact and promote disability inclusion among its member organizations, as well as to establish a collaborative partnership between TAF Africa and MAN to promote economic empowerment and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) within the framework of the Economic Empowerment Project. The meeting had in attendance the Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) – Segun Ajayi-Kadiri, TAF Africa’s delegates led by its CEO/Founder and the representative of Sightsavers. Amb. Jake Epelle introduced the Economic Empowerment Project and made the following requests to MAN:
  1. Sign Language Interpreters: The engagement of sign language interpreters during meetings to ensure effective communication with deaf and hard-of-hearing participants.
  2. Accessibility Audit: TAF Africa and Sightsavers offered to conduct a comprehensive accessibility audit for MAN and its partner organizations at no cost, aiming to identify and address barriers that hinder the full participation of PWDs. It was observed that the building housing MAN’s office was not accessible to Persons with Disabilities.
  3. Joint Team for Project Examination: A proposal was put forth to establish a collaborative team comprising members from both TAF Africa and MAN. This team would examine the project's details and jointly design modalities for its successful implementation.
In response to TAF Africa's presentation and requests, the Director General (DG) of MAN committed to opening avenues for further engagement with the organized private sector, facilitating a platform for TAF Africa to engage with other Director Generals on the project thereby reaching more organizations with the message of disability inclusive workforce. He also acknowledged the absence of PWD representation in the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms. The DG expressed his willingness to address this issue and ensure the inclusion of PWDs in the committee. He requested TAF Africa to prepare a position paper on this matter for presentation to the committee and committed to the appointment of a disability Desk officer from among the staff to handle disability matters. Gambo Yohanna reassured the Director-General that Sightsavers has a pool of well-qualified and extensively trained individuals with disabilities who are ready for employment. Some of these individuals hold master's degrees and have received specialized training in information and communication technology (ICT). In addition, Gambo explained that Sightsavers is implementing the project through OPDs to ensure sustainability. George Dominic Anwayi, the Assistant Programme Manager, TAF Africa added his voice to the advocacy. He requested access to ten (10) key organizations in Lagos and ten (10) in Abuja as pilot organizations for this phase of the project. Accessibility Audit will be conducted on the selected organizations both in Lagos and Abuja, to prepare the ground for the recruitment of persons with disabilities.Top of Form This advocacy visit to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) marked a significant step towards promoting economic empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) within the context of the Economic Empowerment Project funded by Sightsavers and implemented by TAF Africa.

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