Screenshot from the video of the Regional Workshop on Inclusive Education, organised by the African Disability Forum in Addis Ababa in 2022 | ©HI
On the International Day of Education, we would like to amplify the voices of our partners from the African Disability Forum, calling for advancing inclusion of persons with disabilities in education, across African countries. Along with the African Disability Forum, we co-produced a video to highlight their viewpoints.
244 million children globally are excluded from education, more than 40% of them living in the Sub-Saharan region (UNESCO, 2016). Children and youth with disabilities are further left behind, with about 50% of them being out of education in low and middle-income countries (UNESCO, 2022).
Barriers to access and thrive in education include inaccessible infrastructures, non-adapted materials and curricula, lack of teachers’ training and support, persisting stigma and discrimination towards persons with disabilities, lack of assistive technologies and devices, violence and lack of security, and poverty of the households.
Due to the persistence of these barriers and the increasing number of conflict and crises in the African continent, it is urgent to take action. This is why the African Disability Forum and other Organisations of Persons with Disabilities are calling on all stakeholders to mobilize for education to leave no one behind.
“Every child including a child with a disability has the right to education. Education is a key and a powerful tool for individual and national development. It is the entry door for inclusion in society and its positive impact is long-lasting.” – Manifesto for inclusive education across African countries
In October 2022, the African Disability Forum organized a Regional Workshop on Inclusive Education, in Addis Ababa. Organisations of Persons with Disabilities from 7 African countries shared experiences and knowledge, discussed the gaps, and prepared the ground for further collaboration, in order to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities in education. The Manifesto resulted from these exchanges and set their intentions to join efforts and advocate together.
These activities were carried out in the frame of the Health, Education and Livelihoods in Africa: a Sustainable Inclusion Approach(HELASIA) project, funded by Norad and implemented by Humanity & Inclusion, the African Disability Forum and their partners in Benin, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Mozambique The project has provided further opportunities to join forces with Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and amplify their voices in national, regional, and international spaces.
January 24th marks the International Day of Education, a date proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly to recall the role of education for peace and development. This role can be achieved only if the right to education is upheld for all, including persons with disabilities.
The Manifesto elaborated by the African Disability Forum and its members provides a set of recommendations to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities in education across African countries, calling on:
“We want to see a complete transformation of education systems that is in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; that looks at a whole person approach, a whole school approach, and a whole system approach; and that ensures that learners with disabilities benefit from the same education opportunities as learners without disabilities.” Fatma Wangare, Inclusion Africa (Kenya)
If you wish to reach the African Disability Forum for further information, please contact [email protected]