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Disability Inclusion and Accessibility in Zimbabwe

Sharing Views and Experiences of Blind and Partially Sighted Persons Living in the City of Bulawayo

Abstract

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.

 

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Published:
Pages:269 to 278
Section: Viewpoint
How to Cite
Ndhlovu, E. and Mudzingwa, N. (2022) “Disability Inclusion and Accessibility in Zimbabwe”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(2), pp. 269-278. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v7i2.1606.

Author Biographies

Zimbabwe Association of Visually Handicapped
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

Mr Ndhlovu is a dedicated, competent and dynamic social work lecturer who always aspire to influence social change and promote social justice for marginalised groups. He has experience in the private sector, coordinating national and regional HIV and AIDS programmes for Persons with Disabilities, including offering technical support to their organisations. Additionally, he is skilled in statutory social work as a probation officer, advocating for the welfare and protection of children in line with various international, regionaland national guidelines, and policy frameworks. Using multi-stakeholder approaches, he has a record in the provision of social welfare services to vulnerable populations as a District Social Development Officer. He is a disability rights promoter, an AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa alumnae, involving members from East and Southern Africa, trained in HIV, Gender Based Violence and Human Rights for key populations. He is also experienced in working in multidisciplinary and culturally diverse environments, to address the needs of persons with disabilities in their multiplicity. He led several advocacy campaigns on HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health, including trainings as well as health and policy dialogues to facilitate access to SRH, HIV and AIDS services for social inclusion.

Zimbabwe Association of Visually Handicapped
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

Nyunyutai Mudzingwa has a first degree in BA General acquired in 1992. She also has a masters degree in educational sociology. She was a secondary teacher for seventeen years and currently a programs officer since 2010. She was a part time lecturer with Great Zimbabwe University from 2015 to 2019. She conducts advocacy work for persons with disabilities under the banner of Zimbabwe Association of Visually Handicapped. She has also published two articles. She is now a doctoral student with UNISA - University of South Africa.

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