By Angela Atabo
Disability Rights Advocacy Centre (DRAC) has supported some youths to proffer innovative solutions to address Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria especially among Persons With Disabilities(PWDs).
The Executive Director DRAC, Dr Irene Patrick-Ogbogu, said this at the Disability Innovation Lab organised by DRAC in Abuja..
The lab was an avenue where young innovators, software developers, disability advocates and students presented their ideas and solutions to improving access to SGBV services for persons with disabilities in Abuja.
“The innovation challenge is aimed at finding new solutions, new ways of tackling the issue of SGBV especially as it affects women and girls with disabilities.
“So, we have young people from all over the country including those with disabilities, who have been here for the last three days developing new ideas, new thoughts, and new solutions towards tackling the issue of SGBV.
“The criteria for selection was that, first of all ,they have to be above 18 years ,they need to be passionate about the issue of SGBV and social justice issues generally.
“They need to be capable of creative and innovative thinking because that is what this thing is about,’’ she said.
She said that DRAC wanted new ideas because it did not want to keep doing things the old way with which the issue of SGBV continued to be on the rise.
She said that the group wanted people of who were capable of new and fresh thinking so a call for application was put up and people with disabilities and those without from across the country applied and were shortlisted.
She added that the good thing was that whatever ideas and solutions they came up with were going to be implemented in a sustainable way so even the ideas of those who did not win would not die off.
“We are going to begin to test them and pilot them and push them out so it becomes a standard for society to use to tackle issues of SGBV,’’ she said.
Patrick-Ogbogu said that all ideas were solutions that were cost effective and self-sustaining so DRAC planned to sustain it by making sure they become something that every single partner could up take and begin to use .
She said that they were cash prices for the first, second and third winners and the idea was to give them funds ,to test their innovations and work with them based on their budget.
This,she said, was to look at what they proposed and support them to bring it to the stage where it could be useable in society .
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, James Lalu, who was represented by Lawrence Idemudia, Acting Director, Social Integrity, commended DRAC for the initiative.
Lalu said that the commission was happy with what DRAC was doing because it was bringing the challenges of PWDs to the forefront and addressing issues.
“With this innovation ,we can now endeavour to solve their problems ,all these are already available in other parts of the world but in Nigeria ,it is lacking.
“So our problems are made easier, when we have innovative ideas that will tackle it; we will continue to partner with DRAC to meet the needs of PWDs.’’
Ms Aishatu Ella-John who spoke on behalf of the Team Dynamite ,the group that came first said what made them stand out was the practicality and simplicity of their idea.
Ella-John said that the project executed by her team was a report it sub domain that gathered all the information of where people could report abuse ,and it has information of people convicted for abused.
She said that the aim was to encourage people to speak out adding that “immediately you come on the sub domain, you will see that people have been punished for rape ,abuse ,child trafficking and so on.
“So if you are faced with such a situation or know someone, you are sure that if you report it you can get justice .’’
Ella-John said that the essence was to also move the narrative from focusing on the survival to exposing the abuser because most times the news was on the survival and people don’t want to be out there due to stigmatisation.
She said that the idea of the project was to have a report it website that was user friendly especially for PWDs .
Mr Aminu Mohammed, another member of the dynamite team advised youths to do more in focusing on more practical things than what was though in the university.
Mohammed said that this was because the education the university system thought was somewhat outdated compared to the services required in the outside world.
“So what I think youths can do is to go out of their way to learn practical skills because at the end of the day,it is practical skills you can use to make changes in life and that is what is needed.’’(NAN)