TAF AFRICA TRAINS STAKEHOLDERS ON DISABILITY INCLUSION IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AT THE GRASSROOTS

During a two-day capacity building on disability inclusion in the electoral process at the grassroots level for Electoral Management Bodies in Kaduna state, organized by TAF Africa with funding from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, Prof. Joseph Gambo Akpoko, the Electoral Commissioner of Information and Public Affairs for the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission, urged the community of persons with disabilities to overcome all fears and actively participate in politics within the state. According to him, Persons with disabilities should show interest by registering with political parties, picking their forms, and coming out to show the public what they can offer in leadership, in his words, “How do we know you have the capacity when you don’t come out?” Despite legal provisions made to enhance the participation of persons with disabilities in Elections, Mr. George Anwayi, assistant program manager, at TAF Africa stated that the disability community continues to face significant barriers partly because Voter education programs developed by electoral management bodies often overlook the specific needs of persons with disabilities, leading to low awareness of their voting rights and voting procedures. While providing an overview of the state of disability inclusion in Elections, Mr. George noted that implementing inclusive policies and practices, such as the provision and adequate deployment of assistive tools, training election officials on disability rights, collaborating with disability advocacy groups and civil society organizations to raise awareness, and encouraging political parties to include persons with disabilities in their internal democracy will enhance the cause of disability inclusion. TAF Africa's Senior Communications Officer, Lynn Agwuncha, spoke with the commission about effective communication tactics to be used to guarantee disability inclusion in the state's local government elections, considering the diverse needs and abilities of the marginalized population. In addition to expressing a desire to integrate disability inclusion into the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission through interventions and programs tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, the commission's management also pledged to establish a disability desk to promote inclusive policies.  

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