Windhoek-The Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) has encouraged the Namibian government to mainstream disability in its 5th National Development Plan (NDP5).
ADA chairperson Grace Massah, who last week handed over the disability ambassadorial country award to Vice-President Dr Nickey Iyambo, also requested the government to assist in removing negative myths and stereotypes faced by persons with albinism.
“We request that you become our ambassador as you work with other governments to ensure that the rights of persons with albinism are respected. ADA is willing to cooperate and provide expertise in all aspects of disability mainstreaming,” Massah appealed.
The award, which is conferred for a 10-year period, aims to showcase the achievements of Namibia based on its commitment to achieve the human rights of persons living with disabilities.
ADA also praised Namibia for its National Disability Act of 2004 and the National Policy on Disability.
Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Anita Kiki Gbeho said that globally there are approximately 650 million people with disabilities, which is 10 percent of the global population. She added that an estimated 80 percent of the population live in developing countries, many in conditions of poverty.
In Namibia, there are over 98,000 people living with some form of disability.
Gbeho said when it comes to disability, Namibia is once more showcasing best practice on the African continent.
Further, she said, through the implementation of national, regional and international development agendas Namibia is empowering people with disabilities and promoting inclusion through various levels of society.
The UN representative cited the National Disability Policy of 1997, the National Disability Council Act No. 26 of 2004 and the ratification by Namibia of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007.
In 2015, Namibia accorded further prominence to issues faced by persons with disabilities by establishing the Ministry of Disability Affairs under the Office of the Vice-President.
Gbeho noted that although Namibia has made significant progress when it comes to signing international policy frameworks and mainstreaming disability into policies, people with disabilities continue to face challenges.
According to the National Statistics Agency (NSA), only 33 percent of people with disabilities in Namibia receive disability grants.
She congratulated Namibia for receiving the award, which is only one of its kind.
She reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to support Namibia to empower its vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities.
“Let me affirm the UN’s continued belief in Namibia’s vision. A vision of a peaceful and industrialized nation, driven by a healthy and educated people, a nation where no person with disability feels left out,” she stated.