The viewpoint explores challenges and opportunities for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in accessing public institutions in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Zimbabwe. The study is based on the social model of disability, reinforced by the human rights perspective, which seek to meaningfully address issues bedevilling PWDs in their quest to be accorded the rightful place in the society, particularly in their access to public spaces. It further explains attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers. Qualitative research method was used, coupled with a few key informant interviews. The target population for this study were first and foremost PWDs. The study also targeted councillors, urban planners as well as administrators. Two subcategories of visually and physically impaired persons were carefully selected. The study findings indicated that attitudes and inadequate knowledge on disability by some community members and duty bearers also contribute to exclusion of Persons With Disabilities in public spaces. The study also found out that there are unfriendly facilities available. Additionally, the negative attitudes of stakeholders and administrative complications have deprived Persons With Disabilities from obtaining the benefits of available entitlements. Inadequate legislation, policy and lack of political will have also been established to be some of the factors leading to the side-lining of PWDs. The research recommends for creation of specific services in public spaces to support the needs of this group, integration of new technologies, and the domestication of the UNCRPD as well as the implementation of the disability policy, including best practices in disability inclusion, Specific policies should be supported by the allocation of funds and rigorous monitoring.
Read the full article in accessible html-format here.