Access Bank demonstrates commitment to support people with disabilities

22 Feb 2021, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria

Summary

People with disabilities need to be supported to facilitate their full integration into society.

A giant $1,000 cheque presented to the winner of the Business Support Programme pitching competition organised by Access Bank and Project Enable

Providing assistance and support to Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) is a moral obligation of individuals and organisations. People with disabilities need to be supported to facilitate their full integration into society. The lack of necessary support makes people with disabilities overly dependent on family members and deprives them of the opportunity to be economically active and become socially included.

As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Access Bank Plc has been supporting and implementing programmes that empower PLWDs by providing them with life skills. On December 3, 2020, the bank part-nered with Project Enable – a community development initiative that promotes the rights, empowerment and social inclusion of PLWDs in Africa – to commemorate the International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD).   

According to a World Health Organisation's report, 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than one billion people, are living with disabilities. Human Rights Watch estimates that about 25 million Nigerians (12 per cent of the population) have disabilities. The United Nations-sanctioned IDPWD is an annual observance proclaimed in 1992 by the UN General Assembly to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

The global theme of the 2020 IDPWD was "Not All Disabilities Are Visible." The theme was meant to spur activities that spread awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.

The theme of the commemoration of last year’s IDPWD by Access Bank and Project Enable was “Building Back Better: Towards a disability inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” According to a statement sent to Financial Nigeria by Access Bank, a number of programmes were organised to showcase the ideas, businesses and productivity of the disability community in Nigeria. The objective was to amplify the voices of PLWDs and strengthen the capacity of the community.
    
One of the events that took place was the Disability Inclusion and Leadership Awards. The event recognised 30 most inspiring persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
    
A documentary was also unveiled as part of the Project Enable's Follow DisACT campaign, which seeks to monitor, track, report and drive the implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2019. The legislation came into force in January 2019. Amongst other things, the Act prohibits all forms of discrimination based on a person's disability and imposes a fine of N1 million for corporate bodies and N100,000 for individuals or a term of six months imprisonment for violation of the law.
    
In addition, the law established the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD). The commission was set up last year and in August 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the commission's Executive Secretary and composed its Governing Council.

A Business Support Programme was organised over several days by Access Bank and Project Enable as part of the 2020 IDPWD. The programme’s faculty was co-chaired by Head of Sustainability at Access Bank, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, and General Manager of Lagos States Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), Dare Dairo. Part of the activities for the programme was a business pitch competition organised to showcase business ideas by PLWDs. The winner of the competition and the most innovative entrepreneur was awarded $1,000.

A few individuals participated in-person in the Business Support Programme, while additional over 500 people joined virtually on livestream and social media to observe COVID-19 social distancing protocols.