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United States embassy unveils digital hub for persons with disabilities


Chairperson, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, (JONAPWD), Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase (left), Acting Consul General, United States Consulate General, Lagos, Darcy Zotter, and Founder/Director, ‘Project Enable’, Olusola Owonikoko, at the unveiling of Digital Hub for Persons with Disabilities in Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

The Acting Consul General of the United States, Darcy Zotter, yesterday unveiled a Disability-Friendly Digital Hub, at the Lagos office of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD).

A Nigerian civic organisation, “Project Enable,” with the support of the U.S. Government Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) of $25,000, set up the digital hub to promote the empowerment and social inclusion of persons living with disabilities.

The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos also provided additional funding of $4,401 to run the centre, which was attended by civil society leaders and senior government officials working on disability issues.

She explained that promoting disability rights is an integral part of the promotion of human rights.

Zotter added that discrimination against people with disabilities is not only unjust, but also hinders economic development and limits democracy and social cohesion.

She said: “We are happy to identify with this initiative which seeks to promote the empowerment and social inclusion of persons living with disabilities in Nigeria. Through this technology and entrepreneurship hub, over 250 people with disabilities will have free access to inclusive technology.

“An additional 20 young persons with disabilities would be trained and mentored in various technology-based skills at the hub.”

According to her, the technology and entrepreneurship hub would provide volunteer opportunities to young people with disabilities, while serving as a centre for their continuous development in entrepreneurship.

Mr. Olusola Owonikoko, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and 2014 Fellow of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI) is the leader of Project Enable.

Through the AEIF, 68 grants of up to $25,000 each were awarded in 2017 to the U.S government’s exchange alumni teams worldwide, including Project Enable, to support their public service projects.

AEIF was created in 2011 to support alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges.

Since its inception, the AEIF has supported more than 300 alumni-led initiatives around the world, and reached millions of people through trainings, awareness campaigns, leadership and empowerment initiatives.

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